Updated: July 31, 2016 9:31:09 am
Xiaomi has finally ventured beyond smartphones and smart devices with its latest Mi Notebook Air. As the name implies, it’s going after Apple’s extremely successful Macbook Air. Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air is everything one would expect from a 2016 laptop – lightweight design, aluminium unibody construction, great hardware specifications… a Macbook Air clone in true spirit.
Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook Air didn’t just stop by Cupertino but it also took some inspiration from Redmond’s Surface range. Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air is technically a design marriage between Microsoft Surface Book and Apple Macbook Air. At a bargain price of 3,699 Yuan (approximately Rs 37,250), there is just nothing to complain about this one. But what’s interesting about the device is its timing. Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air comes at a time when PC shipments have been declining quarter after quarter.
According to Gartner, PC shipments declined for the seventh straight quarter with 5.2 per cent decline in Q2 2016, but the decline was less worse than the 9.6 per cent decline in Q1 2016. The arrest of the decline last quarter gives enough reason for Xiaomi to explore the market. If the PC industry has to rebound, Xiaomi could well be the surprise initiator and obviously it isn’t going after numbers here. With Mi Notebook Air, Xiaomi enters a niche territory dominated by industry stalwarts like Lenovo, Apple, HP and Dell. Another surprise element about Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air is the fact that it’s being made by a partner company named Tian Mi.
Xiaomi, which has been called budget smartphone maker, seems to be losing ground in China’s smartphone market and it is apt for the company to turn to PC industry for next wave of growth. With smartphone market already cluttered with several manufacturers, the PC industry gives Xiaomi enough scope to get recognised and most importantly expand to the US continent. While Xiaomi plans to sell the Mi Notebook Air only in China for now, the device very well gives it an option to enter the US market. According to Gartner’s latest shipment numbers, North America was the only region where PC shipments grew and it is exactly the market Xiaomi needs for its smartphones to sell as well.
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air propels on two pillars — premium design and cheap price. Xiaomi Mi Notebook is one of the most striking laptop designs in recent years, at least if you go by the press renders. Xiaomi has built an actual notebook and not a convertible or a 2-in-1, which clearly suggests the company is not betting on ideas , rather getting into what has been working well for years now.
For Xiaomi, it won’t be an easy task to get existing PC users or new buyers onboard. Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air runs Windows 10 and the critical thing for most buyers would be the quality of trackpad/keyboard, and secondly the memory management. Windows 10 users, for the past one year, have criticised the OS for its poor memory management. Windows 10 users have faced Blue Screens quite often due to memory issues. With Xiaomi adding its own Mi Cloud platform, we will need to test the device to understand how it works in reality.
Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook Air might be inspired by Apple’s Macbook Air, but does it offer a trackpad that is responsive or a keyboard with decent travel? These questions will certainly loom over the quality of the device.
Having tested some of the top Windows 10 PCs this year like HP Elitebook Folio, HP Envy 13 and budget iBall Compbook Excelance, I can’t wait to lay my hands on the Mi Notebook Air. Here is hoping it lives up to the hype.
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