Mi Notebook Ultra review: Xiaomi energises the boring consumer PC segmentSeptember 9, 2021
I was planning to buy a midrange laptop and was amazed to see that every other legacy brand in the consumer PC market had products with similar features and specifications. Blame the oligopoly, but as a consumer I was almost convinced that the product offerings by the legacy PC makers were the best available in the market. And then was released the Mi Notebook Ultra by Chinese technology company Xiaomi.
A premium laptop, the Mi Notebook Ultra challenged the conventions set by legacy consumer PC makers by democratising features and specifications usually seen in laptops that cost almost twice as much as the top-end model (review unit – Rs 76,999) on offer here. Starting with the design, the Mi Notebook Ultra boasts a unibody made of series 6 aluminium alloy. For a laptop with 15.6-inch screen, the Mi Notebook Ultra is appropriately built but does not meticulously fit in the thin-and-light category. Speaking of build, the Mi Notebook Ultra is spot on. From smooth edges to a sturdy hinge, the laptop’s build quality is nothing short of premium.
Complementing the solid build quality is the 15.6-inch 3.2K resolution screen of a 90Hz refresh rate with support for 100 per cent sRGB colour gamut. The display is stretched in a 16:10 aspect ratio and is covered with anti-glare coating. Compared with conventional 16:9 aspect ratio screens, the Mi Notebook Ultra screen is both wide and tall. Therefore, it is suitable for both productivity and entertainment purposes. As for the quality, the display is not the best out there in terms of brightness, colour rendition and viewing angles. These compromises, however, come to notice only if you work in bright outdoor conditions. When indoors, at home or office, the screen dazzles. While the Mi Notebook Ultra is a visual treat, the laptop’s audio leaves you asking for more. The laptop’s bottom-facing dual stereo speakers (2W each) lack loudness, depth and clarity. They work fine for basics but do not quite match the viewing experience offered by a competent screen.
Coming on to the keyboard, it is spread evenly and has big keys, including full-size arrow keys. It is a backlit keyboard with three-level backlight settings (off, low, and high). Writers and editors will appreciate the keyboard for its tactile feedback and modest 1.5mm key travel, both of which boost the typing experience. Others will appreciate the keyboard simply because there is nothing wrong with it. One must give it to Xiaomi for paying attention to detail here because even the small things are well taken care of. For example, the caps lock has a dedicated light to show if it is enabled or disabled. Likewise, the function keys can be locked/unlocked to use with the Fn key.
Complementing the fun of using this keyboard is a big trackpad, supported by Windows precision drivers. The trackpad is easy to use and supports Windows gesture navigation. Unlike…