Xiaomi’s first ever Notebook is closely referenced to the Macbook Air and it is one of the best looking Ultrabooks currently available. Aside from looks, it definitely packs a punch and the features it offers makes it even better. It is my favorite notebook and it offers the best typing experience.
Best Macbook Air Clone
Strengths or PROS of the Xiaomi Mi Air 12:
Stunning Looks and Premium Grade Materials (100% All Aluminum)
Reminiscent of a Macbook look
Good Thermals (idle 31-39C), Gaming/Heavy load (60°C)
Fast SSD Storage (Samsung MZNTV128HDHP SSD )
Awesome 1080p IPS Display (Vibrant, Deep Contrast and Wide Viewing Angle)
End to End Glass Screen protected by Sapphire Glass
Good Quality Front Facing Camera (good for skype)
Decent AKG Loudspeakers (high volume, doesn’t distort and crisp sound)
Dolby Surround Sound Technology
3.5mm Audio Jack has excellent Audio Quality, no static sounds
One of the better 1080p IPS Screen currently available
Sturdy hinge design for the screen (can be opened easily one handed)
Fast and Stable Dual Band WiFi 2.4/5GHz (Intel Dual Band Wireless AC-8260)
One of the best Keyboard and Touch pad I have ever tested
Good typing experience, 1.2mm spacing and good tactile feedback and LED Backlit
Quick Charging support (Fast Charger can quickly charge 40% to 90% in less than 1 hour)
Supports both USB 3.1 and USB Type C (supports external devices)
SSD can be upgraded to M.2 SSD
Can be used on Video Editing (1080p or lower), Photoshop etc…
5-6 hours average battery life
Updated information January 22, 2017
Noticed downclocked to 1.55GHz at 100% core clocked used, for example Adobe Premier Pro CC 1080p Encoding
It seems to throttle the CPU just to maintain a stable 50-52° Temps (deliberate attempt to maintain ideal temps
Non touch screen (despite the IPS panel) and even on the more expensive models
Intel HD515 (gaming potential is limited) – for better gaming, go for the Xiaomi Mi Air 13
Limited number of Ports (1x USB 3.0)
Comes with Chinese Win10 (only one with valid license), English version (cannot be activated)
Throttle to 1.5GHz on Full Load, deliberate downclock to maintain good temps
Xiaomi’s first Notebook is one gorgeous machine. I wasn’t really surprise of the Macbook reference, because Xiaomi has been doing that over the years. Anyway, the Xiaomi Mi Air 12 is perhaps the best Notebook I have ever tested and certainly you will not be disappointed in having one.
There are actually 2 models available, a notch higher is the Xiaomi Mi Air 13, which is more powerful and offers a discreet Nvidia Graphics Card. So you will expect it to have better gaming capabilities. See the comparison below
Xiaomi Mi Air 12
Xiaomi Mi Air 13
Intel Skylake Core M3-6Y30
Intel Core i5 6500U Dual Core
12.5" IPS 1920 x 1080p
13.3" IPS 1920 x 1080p
RAM: 4 GB
ROM: 128 GB SSD
RAM: 8 GB
ROM: 256 GB SSD
292 x 202 x 12.9 mm
309.6 x 210.9 x 14.8mm
The Xiaomi Mi Air is indeed more powerful but it is only a Mobile Core i5 Dual Core Chip. Frankly, the Nvidia GT940MX isn’t really a hardcore gaming GPU, but more for discreet gaming. It is capable of running 3D intensivve games at low to medium settings but isn’t really a powerful gaming notebook.
The Xiaomi Mi Air 12 is far more frugal and is in fact comparable to the Cube i7 Book. But what it gives is better battery life. So if you are not really into gaming too much, then the Mi Air 12 offers far more better value.
What you should know
When the Notebook arrived, it had Chinese version of Windows 10 installed, so basically it is useless to me. What I did is changed it to Windows 10 Home Single Language English. But you will be surprised that the Product doesn’t work from the Chinese version. Basically on my review, I was using a inactivated Windows 10 System.
Premium Grade Materials, All Aluminum and totally worth it
The looks and build quality is the first thing you will notice of the Notebook. The build quality is top notch, it is all aluminum, from the back panel to the front siding the keyboards. The notebook was well put together, and clearly has the stamped of premium quality in it.
Another important component of a notebook is the hinge attachment to the screen. On the Mi Air 12, it looks well built and will surely last quite a while. You can also easily open the screen with just one hand, the hinge slides along with leaving the rest of the body stationary.
Design and build complement the Thermals very well
The Intel Skylake Chip underneath is Passively cooled, so the aluminum build makes it ideal for heat dissipation. On my thermal test, idle temps range from 30C to 40C and on heavy load or gaming, the temps can jump up to 60C. Still cooler compared other Skylake tablets that I had tested (Cube i7 Book and the Cube i9).
Fast Samsung SSD Storage
The notebook has a built in 128 GB Samsung SSD, on my CrystalDisk test I was able to get very good results. It was able to reach 547 Mbps maximum speed.
The Crystaldisk disk results are far higher compared to the Foresee SSD of the Cube i7 Book and Cube i9.
Guaranteed 100% Performance of the Intel Core M Skylake Chip
The Intel Skylake Core M3-Y630 chipset underneath is currently one of the most powerful low powered Chip available. It holds similar performance to the Cube i7 Book (more closer) and the Cube i9. Cinebench Benchmark tests reveal similar or close performance to the Cube i7 Book, which also offered 100% performance on the benchmark test. The Cube i9 has a bit of performance issues, so it is actually a bit slower.
OpenGL: 33fps CPU: 211cb
The Cinebench performance test results were actually similar to the Cube i7 Book. In terms of real world performance, I did test it on CorelVideoStudio Pro (1080p) video encoding, and It was able to run the video editing tool without any issues. Although when it comes to compiling, it will certainly take a bit longer.
IntelHD515 Gaming, not the best but capable
The IntelHD515 Gaming capabilities are a bit limited, but can certainly run mainstream games. It can run smoothly at its native 1080p resolution but at a lower detail. On my test, I used Dota 2 on my benchmark test and was able to get good fps numbers between 30 to 60 fps. But still it doesn’t dip below 30 fps and in game, there are no issues in terms of lags, spikes, and slow down.
The Best Keyboard and Touch Pad
I was really surprise as how good the Keyboard and Touch Pad was. Upon using it for a couple of days, I fell in love with it, and especially with the touch pad, I tend to forget using a mouse. Despite the small size, it has full size keyboards with good spacing or travel and very good sensitivity. My typing experience is even better than my old laptop. The keys are highly responsive and you never miss it.
The Touch pad is also quite nice, it occupies much of the space on the palm rest, just like the real Macbook Air. It is very responsive, supports two hand scrolling or gestures, and the clicks register properly, you don’t need to push hard to get a response.
A must have of Audiophiles (AKG Loudspeakers and Dolby Surround)
The AKG Loudspeakers offer great audio output. Good range, bass with no distortions even on full volume. It also has Dolby Surround Sound Technology, and you can change the effects to your liking. Moreso, the 3.5mm Audio output is also on par, honestly, it sounds amazing using a pair of headphones.
IPS 1080p Display with Sapphire Glass Protection
The Mi Air 12 has a gorgeous 12 inch IPS 1920 x 1080 pixels Display. The colors are vibrant, with deep contrast and high lux brightness. It is still very usable on direct sunlight. It is real Glass Screen, Edge to Edge. The image quality is excellent.
Battery Life (Xiaomi’s unrealistic number) but still good
11 hours battery life according to Xiaomi? On my test, realistically using it casually like Youtube Streaming, Web browsing or watching movies and 50% screen brightness, I was able to get a good 6 to 7 hours of use. On gaming, it was a bit lower, around 3 to 4 hours depending on the brightness levels. But these numbers are still good compared to other Notebooks in the market.
It charges quickly, and I mean that literally, like if you had 40% battery life, and in less than 1 hour, you can charge it to 90%, which is really quick. I think, you can full charge the notebook in just 90 minutes.
If you are in the market and looking for a great Notebook, then the Xiaomi Mi Air 12 is your best choice. It has everything you need for a traveler or student. Comfortable Keyboard, Good touch pad, Great performance, awesome screen, studio type Audio and finally great connectivity and battery life. Despite the lack of activated OS (you can purchase it in windows). It is still overall a great Notebook, and compared to the premium Xiaomi Mi Air 13, I think the Mi Air 12 is still a better value. Because of the much better battery life. But if you want discreet gaming, then the Mi Air 13 would be a optimal choice. Nevertheless, Xiaomi’s Mi Air line up is the best Ultrabooks to be released this 2016. (video review above)