Xiaomi has a long-standing reputation for great budget smartphones, offering competitive specs and a premium design without the high price tag. That’s especially true since the company arrived in the UK, where it’s hoovered up much of Huawei’s market share following the latter’s US trade ban.
It’s clear that Xiaomi doesn’t want to be only known for its smartphones, though. The company has released a series of a laptops under the RedmiBook brand in recent years, as it seeks to provide a credible alternative to devices from the likes of Dell, HP and Lenovo. However, with today’s China unveiling of the new RedmiBook Pro, Xiaomi appears to have another company in its sights – Apple.
Available in 14in and 15in models, the new RedmiBook Pro devices offer a sleek, minimalist design, silver aluminium finish and large trackpad. Sound familiar? It looks almost identical to Apple’s MacBook Pro, albeit with the touch bar replaced by a touchscreen. The 14in model comes in at a resolution of 2560×1440, slightly lower than you’ll find on the latest 13in MacBook Pro. However, the 15in variant bumps this up to 3200×2000, as well as adding a 90Hz refresh rate. High refresh rate laptops are relatively rare in the consumer space, so it’s a big selling point for the larger RedmiBook Pro.
Of course, Xiaomi doesn’t have access to Apple’s new M1 chip, so it’s opted for Intel’s latest Tiger Lake processors instead. Both models offer a choice between Core i5 and i7 models, which can be paired with either Intel Xe integrated graphics or an Nvidia GeForce MX450 discrete GPU. They’re also matched on storage options, with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD.
One area the RedmiBook Pro laptops beat the MacBook all ends up is ports. They both offer two USB-C ports (one with Thunderbolt 4 support), two USB-A, a 3.5mm headphone jack and even full-size HDMI port. Apple hasn’t included the latter on its laptops for six years.
The 14in model also has a 56Wh battery and 65W power adapter included in the box, although figures for the 15in variant aren’t quoted. Many other features are consistent across both models, including (but not limited to) Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, backlit keys, a 720p webcam and fingerprint sensor. It also comes with pre-installed software like Microsoft Office for Students, phone companion app MIUI+ and voice assistant XiaoAI.
The RedmiBook Pro 14 starts at 4,699 CNY (approx. £515) and will go on sale from 4 March. The 15in model will cost you at least 4,999 CNY (approx. £548). However, it’s not clear when, or indeed if, these laptops will make their way to Europe. Xiaomi’s US trade ban means they’re unlikely to ever arrive in North America, but the presence of Microsoft’s Windows 10 Home on both device is unaffected.
Can the RedmiBook Pros establish Xiaomi as a major force in the laptop sector? Only time will tell. In the meantime, check out our guide to the best laptops you can currently buy.