The best laptop at this price?

April 2, 2022 0 Comments

The Mi NoteBook 14 marked Xiaomi’s entry into the laptop space in India last year. Although we got the new RedmiBook laptop from the company a few months ago, the new Mi NoteBook Pro and Mi NoteBook Ultra are the true successors of the Mi NoteBook 14 that we’ve all been waiting for. Both the Mi NoteBook Pro and the Mi NoteBook Ultra are solid upgrades with many significant improvements over the Mi NoteBook 14.

I have been using the Mi NoteBook Ultra as my primary laptop for the better part of last month, and I think it is a great option for those looking to buy a new laptop in India for under Rs 60,000. In this review, I will discuss in depth some of the key aspects of laptops that will help you to better understand about laptops.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Specification

The Mi NoteBook Ultra Review unit I tested is compatible with Intel’s 11th gen Core i7-11370H CPU but the base variant of the laptop comes with an H-Series Core i5 processor. I will talk in detail about the functionality of this laptop but before that, let’s take a quick look at the specifications –

Mi NoteBook Ultra Specs

Processor: Intel Core i7-11370H 3.30GHz Base Clock and 4.80GHz Max Turbo, 35W
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe graphics with 96EU
RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM 1600MHz
Storage: 512GB Kioxia NVMe SSD
Display: 39.6cm (15.6) Mi TrueLife + Display, 3.2K resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio

Mi NoteBook Ultra Performance

The Mi NoteBook Ultra Intel Core i7-11370H CPU powered by us for review. It is a high-end quad-core CPU commonly found on some slim and light gaming laptops. Using this SoC instead of the i7 from the U-series is an interesting choice. The result? Well, that makes the Mi NoteBook Ultra more powerful than any other ultrabook on the market. Obviously, this comes at the cost of thermal, which we will discuss a little later in this review.

The processor has 4 willow cove cores and 8 threads which support for hyperthreading. Inside this laptop the H-series chip is configured to 35W TDP with 3.30GHz base clock. It has a single or two core boost up to 4.8GHz where all cores and maximum 4.3GHz frequency hits. It is higher than the Core i7-1185G7 which has a lower TDP and, later, lower performance.

My NoteBook Ultra Cinebench

On the Cinebench R23, the Mi NoteBook Ultra was able to score 5,539 on the multi-core test and 1,527 on the single-core test. Both the newly launched RedmiBook 15 Pro and Fujitsu UH-X convertible laptops powered by Intel Core i5-11300H and Core i7-1165G7 have higher scores than we were able to get. Here, take a look –

The Mi NoteBook Ultra also scored 5,034 on the PCMark 10, which is again higher than some other ultrabooks like the ASUS Expertbook B9400 on the market. Even beyond the world of benchmarking, the Mi NoteBook Ultra specializes in withstanding my daily workload. I was able to work with about 15-20 Chrome tabs with some more apps like Lightroom, Spotify etc. running in the background. The Core i7-11370H really helps bring out the best in this machine.

Not having a separate GPU may sound like a contract-breaker but Iris Xe graphics with 96EU do not power this machine. It handles most 3D workloads very well. I was able to play multiple games of Valerant on this laptop and it was a really enjoyable experience for that 90Hz panel. Yes, you can play games on this laptop as long as you control your expectations. The Mi NoteBook Ultra should be good for esports titles and even some AAA titles in low settings.

My NoteBook Ultra 3DMark

Here’s a quick look at some of the 3DMark numbers I’ve been able to record on the Mi NoteBook Ultra. I have used Mi NoteBook Ultra for creative work like photo and video editing and it has provided reliable performance. I was able to edit my normal test edit timeline faster at Davinci Resolve than other notebooks like the ASUS Expertbook B9400. Adobe Lightroom was able to export our test files without any problems. And did I mention that the 16:10 ratio helps with creative work stress? It’s hard to go back to a typical 16: 9 panel after getting a taste of more screen real-estate.

Thermal performance

Even in mainstream notebooks like Xiaomi’s Redmibook, it seems hellish to use Intel’s H-Series chips. As long as the heat is out of control I’m not going to complain. So, what can you expect from Mi NoteBook Ultra? Well, let me look at some graphs before answering that question.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Core Watch

The Cinebench R23’s multi-core test pushes the i7-11370H to its limits by hitting it at a maximum turbo frequency of 4.8GHz. The original clocks lasted around 3.3GHz throughout the entire test. As a result, I was initially able to record a maximum temperature of 97 degrees Celsius before it stabilized at about 80 degrees Celsius throughout the entire test. I’ve never seen the core temperature go above 85 degrees Celsius outside of a benchmarking application, which is good.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Core Temperature

This is also true for running applications that are heavy on gaming or IGPU. So as long as you maintain a decent ambient temperature, the Mi NoteBook Ultra will be able to handle almost everything without any major thermal problems. Yes, laptops will occasionally throttle when running some resource-intensive applications, but I’m glad to report that this is not a common occurrence and will not deviate from the user experience.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Display

The Mi NoteBook Ultra is not only one of the best displays you can find on a laptop in this price range, but I think it’s one of the best laptop displays I’ve ever used. Yes, other OEMs offer laptops with both larger and higher resolution panels but the Mi NoteBook Ultra’s 15.6-inch 3.2K panel hits the sweet spot for me with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This is a fantastic display and easily one of the best things about this laptop.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Display

To see which one is a better option I can compare it to the Realme Book’s 14-inch 2K panel and you can watch this video to see a detailed comparison here –

The video also highlights other aspects of the Mi NoteBook Ultra’s display, so be sure to check it out if you want to know more about the panel.

Mi NoteBook Ultra keyboard, trackpad and IoT

Before moving on to the Design and Build Quality section, let’s talk a bit about the trackpad, keyboard, and IO situation on the Mi NoteBook Ultra. Just like its design, the keyboard deck of the Mi NoteBook Ultra will instantly remind you of the MacBook. You see a traditional laptop keyboard layout with a generous space between the keys.

Xiaomi says it uses the scissors mechanism for keys and they look like the keys on a MacBook. I mean honestly the Realme Book (Slim) keys move closer to the MacBook keys but the Mi NoteBook Ultra comes closer if it’s also a metric to look at. That being said, they are very comfortable typing with 1.5mm deep key travel and I have personally become accustomed to them. The good thing about the keyboard is that it comes with backlighting which was missing from both Mi NoteBook 14 and RedmiBook 15 Pro.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Keyboard Deck

Moving on to the trackpad, this is now definitely a bigger surface than what we saw on last year’s Mi NoteBook 14. It’s a bit better than what I’ve seen in both the Mi NoteBook 14 and the RedmiBook 15 Pro, but I still think there’s room for improvement. The smooth finish helps with gestures and tracking, but clicking the bottom half of the trackpad still feels like a “budget-tie” for lack of a good sound. This is certainly not a contract-breaker, but something I wanted to mention.

One thing I like about Mi NoteBook Ultra is the variety of port selection on offer. Most laptops in this range, including Realme Book (Slim), come with only a few USB Type-C ports, the Mi NoteBook Ultra gives you many options. For charging you get a Type-C USB port and Thunderbolt 4 and two USB Type-A ports, one of which is the 3.2 Gen 1 port and the other is USB 2.0. Also, you’ll find an HDMI port and a 3.5mm combo jack.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Design and Build Quality

Not surprisingly, the Mi NoteBook Ultra keyboard is similar to the MacBook Pro on both the outside and inside of the deck. And for all its purposes and purposes, in my honest opinion it is not a bad thing at all. In fact, I think this is one of the best laptops you can buy in this price range which is strictly from the point of view of design and build quality.

The chassis is made of Aircraft Grade Series 6 aluminum and weighs 1.7 kg. It’s certainly not as wafer-thin or light-weight as the MacBook Air, but it does scream quality. The lid also has a ‘Xiaomi’ branding that gives it some more personality than the RedmiBook 15 Pro does. Overall build quality is very premium and makes it different in this price range.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Design

Other additional features like the built-in fingerprint scanner on the power button make it very convenient. Don’t forget, there’s now a webcam on top of the display, which was missing from both the Mi NoteBook 14 and RedmiBook 15 Pro. The laptop is also fitted with dual 2W stereo speakers with support for DTS audio processing app. The speaker quality is unmatched by any other ultrabook on the market, but it gets loud enough to fill a small room with decent audio quality.

Also very easy thanks to open the lid which allows you to open the lid with just one finger. Opening the lid reveals a beautiful display with all its bells and whistles which we mentioned in the video embedded above.

Mi NoteBook Ultra Battery Life

Mi NoteBook Ultra Battery Life Test

The Mi Notebook Ultra packs a 69,993 mWh battery, which Xiaomi says can last up to 12-hours of use. It charges via a 65W Type-C power adapter which makes it convenient. In terms of battery performance, the Mi NoteBook Ultra can last for about 7 hours and 20 minutes with its brightness set at 100-percent. This is one of those machines that can keep you running smoothly all day long before forcing you to look for a charger. Obviously, your mileage may vary but I still think it’s commendable because of playing a 3.2K panel with a 90Hz refresh rate.

My NoteBook Ultra Verdict

Xiaomi has launched the Mi NoteBook Ultra in India with a starting price of Rs 59,999. At this price, you see the base variant of the machine with Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM. The variant I tested for this review is the most expensive option priced at Rs 76,999. For that price, you’re looking at a fantastic laptop with one of the most beautiful displays, a powerful 11th generation Intel Core H-Series processor and a very well-built machine that is unheard of in this price range.

The Mi Notebook Ultra also surpasses some expensive ultrabooks when it comes to spending a fraction of their price. For those who are using an older machine or even the Mi NoteBook 14 this is a tough upgrade that was released last year. The Mi NoteBook Ultra or Mi NoteBook Pro, which weren’t released a long time ago, are also no-brainer, compared to the RedmiBook 15 Pro. Realme Book (Slim) stands out as one of the main competitors in this price range, but there are some significant differences that you may want to consider as a small display with an unusual shape ratio and much more. That being said, the Mi NoteBook Ultra is actually a laptop to beat within this price range and I can already see that this particular machine has made it to our list of many recommendations.

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