My New Ultra Portable Laptop For Travel! Xiaomi Mi Air 12.5” Review
, Its quite a powerful machine and can do pretty much anything. I want the problem I have with. It, though, is at 15 when Im travelling and Im on a plane or a bus and cramped on a seat for hours at a time. It is actually a bit too big for what I need. Prior to the recent virus issues. I would actually travel every month or so and do smaller one or two day trips. So I wanted something that would be more portable, so i could still get some work done during those trips. All Id be using the laptop for is basic tasks like writing. Scripts. Replying to comments watching YouTube videos, the occasional excel spreadsheet, to make the graphs for my videos nothing too special.. I probably would have been perfectly fine using a Chromebook to be honest, but in the end I decided that I wanted a Windows system just in case I needed to run the odd application that would need it.. In the end I settled on buying the Xiaomi Mi Air 12.5 for 590 USD.. I actually paid more money to get the smaller size and lower specs.. The 13.3 version was cheaper and had higher tier hardware like the i5 8250U., But my priority was on size and weight first and foremost.. So, with my use case in mind, lets get into the rest of the review. For the specs mine has an 8th, gen, dual core processor. Only Intel HD graphics here due to the smaller size, theres 4gb of LPDDR3 memory in dual channel.
Mine, has a 128GB SATA SSD for storage and theres, a 12.5 1080p 60Hz screen. Theres WiFi, 5 and Bluetooth 4.1 for network connectivity. However, its far too thin for an ethernet port, so youll need a dongle. If you want that., The Mi Air has a silver finish and there are no sharp corners or edges anywhere.. The whole body is metal, so it actually feels quite sturdy given its size.. I really liked that theres, no logos or anything on the lid all weve got is the small mi logo below the screen, otherwise its very clean.. The weight is one of the main reasons I bought this. Its listed at 1.07kg online and mine was basically spot on with this., With the small 45w type c charger. The total weight rises to just 1.26kg, so its quite lightweight for travel. As a 12.5 laptop its on the smaller side at less than 1.3cm thin. So, quite a portable package.. This allows for 9mm thin screen bezels on the sides, though the chin was larger. Despite the smaller bezels. The 720p camera is found above the display no Windows, Hello, support, though. The camera and microphone arent too bad, especially when you consider I have had more expensive laptops with much worse.. The keyboard has white backlighting, which illuminates all keys and secondary key functions. Although the coverage was a bit patchy., The brightness cant be adjusted only turned on or off with the F10 key.. I found the keyboard alright to type with, though the presses felt a bit shallow, which I suppose is expected from a thinner machine like this other than that no issues to call out heres.
How typing sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.. There was some keyboard flex while pushing down hard, but I never had any problems with the stability during normal use.. Interestingly screen flex was extremely low. The metal lid did an excellent job and was very solid.. The synaptics touchpad clicks down anywhere and worked ok for the most part, however, the far left side would only properly click down. If I press a little harder, which was annoying at times but clicking in the middle was fine.. The 12.5 1080p IPS screen has a glossy finish and I thought it looked alright, given the lower colour, gamuts. Ive tested it with the Spyder 5 and got 69 of sRGB 49 of NTSC 51 of AdobeRGB and 51 of DCI P3. At 100 brightness. The screen got above 300 nits, so decent enough results and ok contrast ratio. Its worth, noting that after my clean Windows install I wasnt able to adjust brightness until I manually installed the Intel graphics drivers, Windows update, never grabbed them. For me. There was a little backlight bleed in this worst case scenario. However, Ive never actually noticed it with my own eyes during normal use, but this will vary between laptops and panels. For IO on the left, theres a HDMI port up the back and a 3.5mm audio combo jack right down the front.. The HDMI port only ran my 4K monitor at 30Hz, so it must be version 1.
2. On the right, theres, just a USB 3 Type, A port and a USB Type C port, which is also used to charge it. The small dot at the end is a status Led. Theres, nothing at all on the back and the front just has a groove for getting your finger in to open the lid. Fingerprints and dirt are difficult to see due to the silver finish. However, it was easy to clean with a microfiber cloth, as the finish is smooth. Theres, nothing really underneath no air intakes.. The bottom panel was a little tricky to remove. You need to take out 8 TR5 screws and theres one hidden at the back in the center. Behind the rubber foot. Once inside, we can see why theres no air intakes. There are no fans, its all passively cooled as its using a lower wattage CPU. Just a 5 watt TDP for the m3, 8100Y. WiFi and memory are soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded. However, I was very surprised to find two SATA M.2 slots for storage. Seriously. This is a 12.5 laptop and its got two Ive had 17 inch laptops that only have one.. The speakers are found towards the front left and right corners and despite the size they werent too bad. They still got fairly loud at maximum volume and the latencymon results looked good.. The Mi Air is powered by a 36.5wh battery., Despite not being that large, it lasted for almost 8 hours when just watching YouTube with the screen on 50 brightness and keyboard lighting off.
Quite a nice result in this test compared to others, especially when you factor in the battery size.. This is due to the lower powered specs, which means, as a result, it wasnt possible to run the gaming test.. As for thermals, in my 21 degree Celsius room, it was cool at idle and even under CPU stress test, it was only peaking at 60 degrees.. This is because PL1 gets set to 4.5 watts and the two cores were clocked at around 1.3GHz under this workload. Heres. What the CPU performance was looking like in Cinebench. Just for comparison, a modern i7 based laptop, will score higher than the multicore speed of this dual core chip in single core. So we definitely wont be winning any races with the m3.. As for the areas where youll actually be touching, it was quite cool at idle., When the CPU stress test was going, it was still quite cool, barely a little warm towards the back in the center, absolutely no issues at all and as theres no fans, it remains Silent, regardless of the workload. Ive used Crystal Disk Mark to test the 128gb SATA M.2 SSD and the speeds were about what Id expect from a SATA based drive. For updated pricing check. The links in the description as prices will change over time.. When I bought this notebook in November 2019. It was 590 USD today its a little bit more, but I think, still a fair price for what youre getting.
More premium. Alternatives like the Macbook Air or XPS 13 are not only larger and heavier, but also more expensive., Something like the Xiaomi Mi Air is for those that really value portability and are able to get by with more basic functionality. You wont be editing, video or doing anything resource heavy here, but if you just need to get basic tasks done, then I can easily recommend it for travel.. Just set your expectations appropriately. It is only a 5 watt, TDP dual core processor machine with 4gb of memory, but for what I got it for it works well.. Yes, Im fully aware: theyre a Chinese company., Rather than using the Chinese version of Windows that came installed with various Xiaomi apps. I instead installed a fresh version of Windows. For the tasks Im using it for Im perfectly happy to accept any further risks.. A lot of people seem overly paranoid about buying a laptop from China, which is kind of ironic when you consider how many other laptops and components come from there.. In any case, if a nation state actor wants to blow some hardware based exploit to watch me reply to comments once a month, then by all means go ahead.. So what did you think about the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12.5 model? Is it something youd consider, Or would you pay more money for something, a bit more powerful and only slightly less portable? Let me know down in the comments and if youre new to the channel then get subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech.