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Is Xiaomi's Mi Notebook Air a Macbook Air clone – or a real rival?

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Mi Notebook Air

Apple has long-been a source of design inspiration for rival companies around the world, and now we've been introduced what might be the most shameless borrowing of Tim Cook and co.'s ideas yet.

Chinese phone maker Xiaomi, best known for its line of Mi Phones, has launched its first ever laptop in the form of the Mi Notebook Air. The ultra-thin notebook comes it two sizes: 13.3-inch and 12.5-inch and comes with some respectable hardware packed inside.

Both models run on Windows 10 but will feature Xiaomi's proprietary software that allows for easy cloud storage options. The two notebooks also come with an HDMI port, and feature a 1080p display, backlit keyboard, USB Type-C charging port, and will be available in a logo-less design in either gold or silver.

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Mi Notebook Air

And if it weren't for the keyboard matching the colour of the case, and the lack of a logo on the top, the laptops would look almost identical to the MacBook Air – which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is striking how closely Xiaomi has aped Apple's design for its latest release. Still, there's no arguing with the spec sheet, which looks particularly impressive for the larger model.

With 8GB DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an Intel Core i5 processor, the largest variant appears to be no slouch in the hardware department. But it's the dedicated graphics card that really sets this device apart from the competition. Alongside the aforementioned specs, Xiaomi has provided an Nvidia GeForce 940MX, which should ensure some decent gaming power.

What's more, the 13.3-inch model weighs 1.28kg and comes in at just 14.8mm thick, which makes it lighter and thinner than Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air. Xiaomi also claims the 40Wh battery will last 9.5 hours from a single charge, and the laptop is capable of charging to 50% in 30 minutes using the USB-C charger provided.

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Mi Notebook Air

The 12.5-inch variant comes in at 1.07kg, and measures just 12.9mm, making it even slimmer and lighter than its more robust counterpart. In terms of hardware, things aren't quite as impressive, however. There's an Intel Core M3 powering the whole affair, while RAM is halved to 4GB, and the SSD is also significantly less capacious at 128GB.

There's also no dedicated GPU on the 12.5-inch model, and instead of the two USB 3.0 ports on the larger variant, you only get one in this case. On the plus side, the battery on this version should last a good two hours extra.

In terms of price, the 13.3-inch notebook will launch for 4,999 yuan (about £572/$750) – a great price considering the specs included – while the 12.5-inch will cost 3,499 yuan (about £400/$520). Unfortunately, there's no word on a global launch just yet, as Xiaomi has only provided an August 2 launch date for China at this point. We'll update you on any further developments as and when they happen.

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What do you think of Xiaomi's latest offering? Let us know in the comments.

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