Xiaomi, contrary to what you’ve been hearing lately, isn’t just a smartphone company. (Company executives are keen to point out that they’re a software or internet company.)
It’s built all sorts of stuff, from accessories to TVs to rice cookers and bags. Recently, it debuted a cool electric scooter that eagerly folds with the touch of a button.
Today, Xiaomi went the boring route and unveiled a MacBook Pro killer with LTE connectivity similar to a smartphone. Dubbed the Mi Notebook Air 4G, the Windows 10 laptop boasts great specs, and is capable of speeds of up to 150Mbps over a mobile data network. This is Xiaomi’s second foray into the PC industry, following the unveiling of the Mi Notebook Air, which launched in July this year.
To sweeten the deal, Xiaomi said users would receive 4GB of free data per month for 12 months from China Mobile, which has been tapped as its carrier partner. The state-owned operator boasts the most users in the world with about 835 million subscribers as of May 2016.
The Mi Notebook Air 4G retains the same full-metal design of the previous model (again, in silver or gold). Like the original, it also comes in two sizes: there’s a 12.5-inch variant powered by an Intel Core M3 processor and 4GB of RAM, the same processing package you’d find on many entry-level ultrabooks; the bigger 13.3-incher gets bumped up to a sixth-generation Core i7 CPU, alongside an Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics chip and 8GB of RAM for improved gaming performance.
Storage options go as high as 256GB for the 13.3-inch model, while the resolution maxes out at 1080p on all screens. Connectivity options include up to two USB 3.0 ports, a Type-C port, an HDMI port, and a standard headphone jack. Battery life is rated between 9.5 and 11.5 hours, depending on the screen size. Both laptops run Windows 10 (presumably of the Single Language variety).
Besides the free monthly data, there’s really no upside to upgrading to either notebook if you already own the previous Notebook Air. Worse still, the inclusion of the data plan appears to have bloated the price considerably. Earlier this year, the smaller Mi Notebook Air sold for 3,499 yuan, or around $500, at launch. By contrast, the new Mi Notebook Air 4G starts at 4,699 yuan (about $680), whereas the bigger version is priced at 6,999 yuan ($1,000).