Is Xiaomi’s first-ever Windows PC notebook a shameless MacBook Air ripoff?

By , Jul 27, 2016

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air teaser 001

Xiaomi (pronounced “sh-YEOW-mee”), a booming Chinese smartphone and consumer electronics maker, today took the wraps off its first-ever Windows PC notebook and it looks awfully familiar to the MacBook Air. The familiarity starts with the device’s silly ‘Mi Notebook Air’ moniker and extends to its unibody industrial design that’s thinner and lighter than Apple’s notebook.

Offered in 12.5 and 13.3-inch varieties, the product matches and—in terms of graphics, lightness and thinness—one-ups the MacBook Air while costing half as much. Xiaomi’s new notebooks run Windows 10 and will hit store shelves in China on August 2.

Quick specs

The entry-level 12.5-inch model is 12.9 mm thick and weighs in at 1.07 kg, or about 2.36 pounds. It includes 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Intel’s basic Core M3 processor with integrated graphics and a battery life of 11.5 hours. The 13.3-inch model is 14.8 mm thick, weighs in at 1.28 kg, or about 2.82 pounds, runs Intel’s more powerful Core i5-6200U chip with Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz, has 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM.

It’s got a battery life of 11.5 hours, two hours shorter than the 12.5-incher. The machine is thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air at its fattest edge although Apple’s machine tapers down to just 0.3 inches, or about 1.7 cm, at its thinnest edge.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air teaser 002

Both machines are outfitted with a full HD 1,920×1,080 LCD screen, unibody aluminum enclosure, a backlit keyboard, a single USB-C port for charging, two USB 3.0 ports, a single HDMI port and the standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

The gaming notebook

The more powerful Xiaomi notebook, however, has a feature that’s notably absent from the MacBook Air: a discreet NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics chip with 1GB of DDR5 RAM that lets it run games more smoothly than Apple’s machine and edit video.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air teaser 003


The entry-level 12.5-inch model starts at just 3,499 yuan, or approximately $520, while the 13.3-incher is priced at just 4,999 yuan, or about $750. By comparison, the 11-inch MacBook Air is priced in the United States at $899/$999 with 13.3-inchers costing $999/$1,199, depending on the configuration.

Xiaomi’s new notebooks will be available in Gold and Silver beginning August 2 in Asia, but it’s unknown if the machines may launch internationally. That said, those interested in buying one should import it, or pick it up from a third-party on Amazon or eBay.

Xiaomi’s expanding ecosystem

Xiaomi is known for producing inexpensive consumer electronics devices with beastly specifications. Its Mi 5 smartphone, for example, packs in hardware comparable to Apple’s iPhone 6s or Samsung’s Galaxy S7, but for half the price.

The $60 billion startup, just six years old, recently entered the commercial drone market with its first-ever quadricopter and last year targeted the iPhone 6 with a massive 5.7-inch Mi Note phablet. It also produces things like headphones, set-top boxes, action cameras, smart weighing scales, water purifiers and more.

The company’s Vice President of International is Hugo Bara, who used to be a product manager for Android and the public face of Google’s mobile software before abruptly leaving for Xiaomi in August 2013.

Source: CNET

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  • morningbell5

    Did Cody help you with the pronunciation? Hopefully not.

    • Don’t get the joke…

      • lookHOWMADheis

        (pronounced “sh-YEOW-mee”)

    • I always thought it was Zee-oh-me

    • iShaun3.84

      From studies in ancient chinese art, it would be pronounced as Zibreg suggests below or like “show me.” Although I lean toward Zibreg’s suggestion.

  • Hunter

    You article says MacBook Air sells for $99-$1,199. Might want to change it to $999 😉

    • Bugs Bunnay

      Your post says “you.” Might want to change that to “your” 😀

  • Bugs Bunnay

    They must LOVE Apple.

    • Christopher Lim

      Obviously everyone does, as evidenced by Future Brand’s perception index.

  • desmondysc

    So they mention, “we are not china version of Apple” And here you got Mi notebook “Air”

    • Joey_Z

      in a sense, they are correct because they are miles behind and trying to be Apple.

  • leart

    taking creativity to another level… Xiaomi’sung

  • Rob

    Ask Siri what 0.3 inches is in millimetres, it’s nowhere near 1.7cm lol is the 1.7cm the thickest edge?

  • Gethro

    They must be working with a Trump.

  • askep3

    Isn’t most things they make an Apple ripoff?

    • Franklin Richards

      Pretty much. They did have a stint at their own designs at one point but then jumped straight back into copying Apple. Although I guess they one up on Apple in that Xiaomi actually makes TVs and their premium in-earphones are pretty amazing.

      • askep3

        The mi in ear headphones pro?

      • Franklin Richards

        I currently have the Piston 3s atm and they stomp a lot of other brands no to mention it’s price. I haven’t had a go with the pros yet. Are they better?

  • askep3

    It makes me wonder, other than R/D and services cost for Apple, what makes their laptops specifically more expensive than these? Component quality?

    • rauldzmartin

      Brand value.

      • askep3

        And actually they have go make and maintain their own os

      • BoghosAvetikian

        Wait its not Windows?

      • askep3

        On MacBooks

  • Charlie

    Well, they already copied the iPhone design so might as well go all the way

  • ravinigga

    But he is still better value than a Samsung machine

  • Jayy

    If I purchase one and place one of the Apple stickers that came with my 6s plus will it then be a MacBook or is that not how it works?

    • Christopher Lim

      The MacBook has a metal, colour matched, shiny Apple Logo, your plain white Apple Logo will never suffice, and if you were trying to copy a MacBook Air/Pro, your’s doesn’t shine. Not to mention no wedge design, black backlit butterfly keyboard, or USB C. And after all that, you still need Mac OS and other things I might have missed. No, that’s not how it works. Chill, don’t take me seriously, just having fun. #summer

      • Jayy

        Hahaha for a second there I thought you were serious. I didn’t know how I wanted to reply. I was either going to give a serious reply back thanking you for the information you provided or just say “sorry, I was just kidding”. Anyways… Lol good laugh and happy summer to you as well!

  • Chinch07

    Gaming? Lol. 1gb VRAM wont play anything.

    • BoilingWater264

      Oh it does! Play Minecraft and flash games…

  • Great Lengths

    Looks more like a Surface Book Pro than a stupid CrapBook, I mean MacBook.

    • Christopher Lim

      WTF is a Surface Book Pro? If you’re saying Surface Book, no, it doesn’t have that stupid gap caused by the hinge, if you’re saying Surface Pro, still no, because it doesn’t have that ugly line caused by the kickstand, also Surface Pro has a tapered/slanted side. CrapBook, isn’t that what that is? MacBook, no, not as gorgeous without rose gold or that classic taper.