When I first saw the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition, I thought the laptop would be as expensive as the Dell XPS 13 or a MacBook Air. It’s got an aluminum build, an extremely comfortable keyboard, latest Intel processors, and a screen with the thinnest bezels in the market. All of those features, I just mentioned, are trademark of any high-end laptop these days. The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition doesn’t cost as much as some of its rivals, but still offers excellent performance in a thin and light package. I have been using the top-end variant of the Mi Notebook Horizon Edition for a few weeks now to find out just how good a laptop it is.
Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition: 14-inch FHD Anti-glare display|Intel Core i7 (10th generation)|8GB DDR4 RAM|512GB NVMe SSD|Nvidia GeForce MX350|1.35kg|Up to 10 hours of battery
Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition price in India: Rs 59,999 (Intel Core i7 10th gen processor)
What’s new in the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition?
With the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition, Xiaomi mirrored the design of the XPS 13 and a MacBook Air. That’s not a bad thing as both laptops have defined what a modern notebook should look like. Coming back to the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition, I love the sturdy aluminum unibody chassis. Weighing at just 1.35 kg, the notebook is slim and extremely light. It’s thin, too. That brings the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition in the ultrabook category. Regardless of how you perceive Xiaomi’s flagship notebook, there is no denying the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is a well-built machine.
I am also glad to see that despite its size and weight, the notebook has plenty of ports including a Type-C port for data transfer and charging, an HDMI 1.4 port, two USB 3.1 ports, a USB 2.0 port, and a headphone jack. What’s missing from the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is a microSD card slot and Thunderbolt 3 support.
Why would you buy the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition
The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition I tested had a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, and a Full HD display, which is the best configuration available now. After a week of testing, I found the notebook was powerful enough to handle my average workday which includes writing and editing copies, web browsing, editing lots of photographs, videoconferencing on Zoom or Microsoft Teams, chatting with the team on WhatsApp, watching YouTube videos in between the work, and streaming Apple Music all day. The notebook is clearly designed for light to medium tasks. The good thing about the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is that it rarely overheats – at least, I never felt it even when I had the notebook in my lap. Gaming is possible, thanks to the entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX350, though the notebook isn’t meant for serious gaming.
To me, the most exciting feature of the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is its display. The notebook comes with a 14-inch screen but crammed into a 13-inch chassis. That’s because of minimal bezels around the screen. What is the use of slim bezels on a laptop? Well, Xiaomi’s Horizon Display adds a bit extra screen real estate. This display makes the screen slightly better at reading ePapers, watching movies, or glancing photos. I loved the display. As someone who spends most of the day in front of a laptop, the quality and resolution of the display matter a lot. For most users, the Full HD resolution should be fine. Even though the display lacks touch capability, it never bothered much. That’s because the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is a standard laptop and not a 2-in-1 that could be used as a tablet.
A lot of people are going to like the notebook’s scissor-style keyboard with 1.3mm key travel. The full-sized keyboard is ideal for someone who types all day long. I typed the entire review on this keyboard, and I found the keys to be so comfortable. However, the most annoying thing about this keyboard is the lack of backlit keys. For many, the lack of a backlit keyboard is a deal-breaker while buying the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition.
The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition battery is excellent. Xiaomi estimates it will last for up to 10 hours. In my own battery life test, which involves web browsing and a lot of binge-watching, the laptop lasted nearly eight hours.
What to keep in mind while buying the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition?
There are a few minor gripes that I would like to highlight. The biggest is the lack of a built-in webcam. Sure Xiaomi does provide a USB-enabled HD webcam in the box with the laptop but it might frustrate some users. Think of the situation when you forgot to carry an external web camera on your next work trip. Will you work on the presentation or hunt for a web camera? By the way, the web camera that comes bundled in the box does not support Windows Hello, the Windows 10 new face-scanning security feature. The notebook also lacks a physical fingerprint scanner as well.
The other downside of the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is that there is no way to expand the notebook’s 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM. So, If I want to upgrade RAM on my laptop after a couple of years, I would be forever stuck with 8GB RAM. That makes the notebook squarely aimed at users who need this type of machine for basic tasks like web browsing, streaming videos, and light video editing.
The audio system on the notebook is weak. The stereo speakers don’t get loud. Plus, they lack bass. They are fine for video calling but if you want to use the laptop for watching a movie, you may need an external speaker.
Who should buy the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition and why?
Well… a lot depends on who you are and what purpose this notebook serves in your life. If you are a mid-level employee or a college student or just someone who needs a laptop that can handle your everyday work running a web browser, video calls, or chatting with friends or colleagues on Slack or WhatsApp, I would happily recommend the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition. The laptop has a good design, better processing power and keyboard than every other Windows laptop in this price bracket. For users who are into coding or designing, the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is not something you should even consider.
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