For those of you in the states, you may not have heard of Xiaomi. It’s a massive Chinese company that I like to refer to as the “Apple of China,” as they are very well known in China and they make high quality products. The company recently released a series of laptops that take aim at Apple’s MacBook. This is the Xiaomi Air 12. And before I get started with the review, I want to thank GearBest.com for sending this unit out to me from China for review. I was very curious to get my hands on this device, and so I sent them an email and they delivered. Now, you can purchase the Xiaomi Air 12 from GearBest.com for a little less than $600. However, it’s important to note that the device ships with Windows 10 in Chinese. So you’re going to need to reinstall Windows 10 in English if you’re an English speaker. It’s really not very difficult, all you need to do is install via a USB drive and then install all the drivers. I’ll leave a link in th description to a forum that walks you through the steps.
Let’s take a look at the build. The Air 12 is a stunning laptop that is beautifully simple. It features a rigid aluminum build construction with very little curves. The only logo on this laptop is the small "MI" underneath the display. Where Apple plasters a logo on the front of the MacBook and other laptops of theirs, Xiaomi decided to keep the front clean so that you can plaster whatever stickers or wraps that you’d like. I commend them for doing that. A neat touch is the ability to lift open the display with one finger. That is a big selling point for me and I’m not really sure why. I just look for that in my computers. In terms of ports, there is a USB-Type C port and an USB 2.0 port on the right hand side. The left side features a full-sized HDMI port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
As the name implies, there is a 12.5” full HD ips display with very thin bezels. The display is very bright and vivid with good black colors. The only major cons are that it can be a bit glossy and it’s not touch screen.
The trackpad is about average in size, it’s not terribly small but it’s also not huge like on the MacBook. It’s a comfortable size. It does feature multi-touch so you can pinch to zoom. The very top of the pad is solid, so you can not click it like on the MacBook, which features force touch that actually replicates a click even though nothing is physically moving. Overall, the pad feels well built. It’s way better than HP’s trackpads but not quite up to par with Apple’s.
The Air 12 is running Windows 10 Home. Since I reinstalled the OS, I removed all the bloatware. There’s not a ton of bloatware to begin with, but the cleaner the software the better in my opinion. Windows 10 runs well on this machine but it could be faster. The Air 12 comes equipped with an Intel Core m3- 6Y30 processor with 4GB DDR3 RAM and a 128 SSD. For browsing the web and reading textbooks, the Xiaomi Air 12 will be perfect for you. That is what it’s designed to do. But don’t plan on editing 4K footage or playing graphic intensive games. You’ll want to look for something with a little more power.
What’s neat about the Air 12 is that in addition to the HDMI, full-sized USB 2.0 and USB-C ports, it features Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11 Wi-Fi. There’s even a 1MP webcam. It’s clearly not the best, it’s able to record at 720p at 30fps. But for the occasional Skype call it’s totally adequate.
One of the most important features of a laptop for school especially is the keyboard. And the keyboard on the Air 12 is one of my favorite features. The keys are very tactile, there’s plenty of travel and feedback. My main laptop is the MacBook and while I have adjusted to the butterfly keys, they’re not my favorite. These keys are like clouds in comparison. They’re soft and puffy and they’re a pleasure to use. When compared to a MacBook Pro, there’s not quite as much travel, but the keys themselves are slightly larger which is nice. The keys are backlit as well.
The battery is a non-removable 37 Watt hour battery that Xiaomi says can last 11.5 hours on a single charge. I’m not sure what kind of conditions they set to achieve that time, because I didn’t get close to that number. In my testing, I was able to get around 5-6 hours of use per charge. I could get more juice out of it if I were to further dim the display and turn of Bluetooth and activate energy saver mode, but I like to work comfortably and I’m usually always near an outlet.
One of my biggest complaints is with the speakers. Sound appears to be outputted from the center of the laptop near the keyboard and trackpad, which as you can imagine doesn’t sound good. This is one area where the MacBook and MacBook Pro will outperform this machine any day of the week.
So the Xiaomi Air 12 is a great laptop. For $500 or $600 give or take, I can absolutely recommend this machine for high school or college students who are looking for something portable, with plenty of power to run productivity apps like Chrome, PowerPoint, Excel, and Microsoft Word. The downside is this laptop is from Xiaomi, a Chinese company. You will need to reinstall the OS, so if you’re not very tech savvy, I wouldn’t suggest you buy this laptop. But if you are interested, I’ll leave a link in the description to purchase the laptop via GearBest.com. They are a reputable source; they sent me this laptop in great condition -- I have no complaints. It’s not every day we review laptops here on PhoneDog, so if you enjoyed this video I’d appreciate a thumbs up. I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have in the comments. As always, I’m Beau HD from PhoneDog.com, I hope you enjoyed this video thank you for watching/reading and I’ll see you in the next one.
Xiaomi Air 12 via GearBest.com:
Convert Xiaomi Air 12 Chinese To English: