Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Review: Upsetting the Status Quo

If there’s one thing Xiaomi is good at, it’s upsetting the status quo in any market it enters. They achieved it with smartphones in a variety of price and performance categories, and now they’re finally approaching the laptop market.

The Mi NoteBook 14 sits at the crossroads of the mainstream and thin-and-light laptop sectors, combining important characteristics from each in a single device. After a few days of using the laptop as my primary machine, here is our Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition review.

Performance of the Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition

The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition packs the newest from Intel in the shape of their Comet Lake Core i7-10710U combined with 8GB DDDR4 memory (soldered, non-upgradeable), a speedy 512GB NVMe disc, and the Nvidia GeForce MX 350. Please keep in mind that this is the most expensive option, costing Rs 59,999.

Benchmarking the machine showed that it performs admirably. We begin with PCMark 10 and its office-focused test tools, then move on to disc speed measurement and, finally, the performance of the new Nvidia GeForce MX350. Some of our benchmark charts are presented below.

It was fascinating to compare the performance of the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition and the Lenovo ThinkBook 14. The latter’s review unit, which we benchmarked, is powered by an Intel Core i7-10510U, a 4-core, 8-thread processor. The Intel Core i7-10710U processor has six cores and twelve threads.

While the 10510U has a faster base clockspeed of 1.8GHz compared to the 10710U’s 1.1GHz, the latter has greater cache. When it comes to PCMark 8 Work benchmark results, the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition greatly outperforms its Lenovo competitor.

The same workload, however, when evaluated using PCMark 10, a more recent criterion, places the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition just slightly behind the Lenovo. Surprisingly, despite the dedicated GPU, the majority of 3DMark’s benchmarks were unavailable “due to hardware restrictions.”

We were able to obtain FireStrike and SkyDiver scores, with the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition scoring nearly twice as well as the ThinkBook 14. However, in the WinRAR benchmark, the ThinkBook 14 edges out the Mi NoteBook 14 by a hair, processing 7753KB/s of data to the Mi NoteBook 14’s 7284KB/s.

The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition’s day-to-day performance backs up the benchmark results. I used the laptop as my daily car for a week and discovered that even with close to 20 tabs open in Firefox at all times, multiple word documents, and a couple of our scoring sheets open in Excel, the machine didn’t break a sweat.

Only when I opened Adobe Lightroom to edit 50 RAW files did I notice the traces of struggle. Despite the distinct graphics, the system stuttered between each adjustment slider movement. Switching to Photoshop and processing RAW files one at a time was less fluid than with ACR.

With the image imported in Photoshop, tweaking curves, drawing masks, and dealing with adjustment layers all exhibited stuttering. The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is fantastic for day-to-day use, but it falls short as a creator’s laptop.

Thermals for the Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition

The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is cooled by a straightforward design. The single copper line that connects the Intel Core i7-10710U and the Nvidia GerForce MX 350 CPU is cooled by a single fan. In regular use, the laptop’s keyboard never gets hotter than 34 degrees, however the frame directly above the function keys can get considerably hot at roughly 44 degrees.

The heat is largely expelled from the left side, although we didn’t notice any unpleasant temperatures there. The wide cuts on the bottom panel allow the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition to draw in enough air to keep the base relatively cool, with temperatures reaching 42 degrees Celsius at its warmest point.

Normal use, on the other hand, is a little different. If you only use this laptop for ordinary office and task duties, like I did, it manages to stay quite cool on both the top and bottom.

Only the rear 1.5-inches of the base register greater temperatures owing to the presence of the CPU, however if you use this laptop on your lap, you may position it such that you don’t feel the heat.

Display Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition

The 14-inch Full HD IPS display of the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is a highlight of the device. The thin bezels distinguish the Mi NoteBook 14 as a “Horizon Edition” computer. It’s a nice-looking screen with decent viewing angles and colour reproduction.

The panel is also exceptionally bright, reaching 430 lux on our lux metre. In practise, we were able to utilise the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition without straining our eyes, even while we were outside.

The display’s matte coating does a good job of reducing reflections, but don’t expect it to be effective against strong, point sources of light like the sun or even a high-wattage bulb. The display hinge is also really nicely made. The display panel has no play and stays exactly where you leave it.

Battery for Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition

The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition comes with a 48-watt-hour battery and manages to impress us. The system lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes on the PCMark 10 battery benchmark, which is a really outstanding statistic in and of itself. Following the benchmark testing, I used the system without plugging it in for a few days, getting roughly 6 hours of use each time.

My usage included 30-45 minutes of Netflix streaming, as well as a lot of writing and researching, which is a regular aspect of the job. As previously said, I had 20+ tabs open in Firefox and was switching between various MS Office products. The battery life of the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is unquestionably one of its strongest points.

Keyboard, Trackpad, and Ports for the Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition

Everything isn’t peaches and gravy with the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition, and the keyboard and trackpad are the first to show it.

For a pleasant typing experience, the keyboard has 1.3mm of travel and scissor switches. In our experience, we get a mushy keyboard with variable actuation points on some keys. The keys aren’t very solid, and typing on it doesn’t inspire much confidence.

I found myself double-checking the letters in my manuscript to ensure that the keystroke had been registered. You might live with all of this, but we can’t stand the absence of illumination on the keyboard. No matter how you look at it, the lack of backlighting is a significant shortcoming that might be a deal breaker for many.

The trackpad, which is a single piece of plastic with no distinct buttons, is maybe the worst offender. The left and right clicks also have way too much play, and by the time the click is recognised, the trackpad appears to be bending more than it should.

While everything on the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition seems sturdy, the trackpad appears to be the first to break.

Finally, there are ports. On the right, there are two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a Type-C connector that supports USB 3.1 gen 1 speeds. In addition, there is a charging connector and a full-sized HDMI port. While the port choices is quite usual for a computer of this calibre, the location is a little tricky.

Plug any device into these ports, and you’ll see that if you use an external mouse, it will frequently collide with those wires. Fortunately, there is an extra USB 3.0 port on the left side, directly next to the unified headphone/microphone port.

Verdict

The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is a pleasantly surprise notebook. Its performance is decent, but arguably its finest feature is the overall strong build quality. What doesn’t work is the absence of backlighting on the keyboard, which results in a less-than-satisfying typing experience, along with an overly-playful trackpad.

The remarkable battery life makes up for the cut corners, and when you consider the superb quality of the display and the fact that this machine weighs just 1.35 kilos, we truly have a realistic alternative for a small and light machine in this price range.

The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is great for anybody seeking for a laptop to meet their everyday demands of entertainment, typing, web research, and perhaps, just maybe, very little picture editing.

It is not intended for folks searching for a low-cost editing or gaming computer. You’re still better off opting with a true cheap gaming laptop, such as the Asus TUF Gaming A15 (Review) or the Acer Predator Triton 300. (Review).

Leave a Comment