Xiaomi launched the Mi Gaming Laptop earlier this year in March, much to the surprise of Xiaomi fans worldwide who weren’t expecting a gaming laptop from the company. At first glance, the Mi Gaming Laptop doesn’t even look like a gaming laptop at all, due to its clean MacBook-esque looks and lack of any “gaming” branding. However, as soon as you power on the device, you’re greeted by a four-zone RGB keyboard and ambient RGB light strips on the sides which give the laptop its gaming aesthetic. Honestly, the moment I laid my eyes on the laptop, I fell in love with the overall design and build quality.
In its signature style, Xiaomi has designed this laptop with a premium look and feel, while keeping it as affordable as possible. Before we even delve into the review, I’d like to make it very clear that this is, by far, the best budget gaming laptop you can get your hands on today. However, you’d have to rely on a Chinese eCommerce platform like Gearbest ($1,099) to get it. In case you disagree, read on to find out what exactly makes the Mi Gaming Laptop the budget gaming king
The laptop’s screen and chassis feel very rigid and premium, with no flexing or wobble at all. The hinges connecting the display to the bottom half of the laptop look amazing and it’s fairly easy to lift the display with just a finger. The laptop has very thin top and side bezels, which has allowed Xiaomi to include a 15.6-inch display in such a small form factor. Another thing I really liked about the laptop is that the matte finish on the metal and plastic parts barely ever smudges and even if it does, it’s very easy to clean it with a microfiber cloth. When it comes to the design and build quality, the Mi Gaming Laptop far surpasses any other gaming laptop in this price range and it’s one of the most premium feeling laptop I’ve used to date.
The I/O ports have been neatly distributed around the left, right and rear edges of the laptop and they’re well spaced out so you’ll never run out of space, even if some your peripherals have a weirdly large USB connector.
I’m also quite impressed by the inclusion of a dedicated 3.5mm mic-in jack, as most laptops in this price segment include a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack.
Since the notebook is meant for gamers, it also includes an RJ 45 gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity and 802.11ac dual band WiFi for wireless connectivity. The Mi Gaming Laptop also comes with Bluetooth v4.1, which is a slight disappointment, since most laptops these days come with Bluetooth v5.0 support. All in all, the Mi Gaming Laptop has plenty of ports and a decent connectivity suite, so you wouldn’t have to worry about living the dongle life at all.
Even though the display doesn’t boast of high refresh rates or exceptional pixel response times, it’s brilliant for the price and it’s perfectly suited for both gamers and casual users. I couldn’t help but notice that the display panel has a slight blue tint when it’s powered on for the first time, but that’s something which can be easily fixed by some post-purchase calibration. While you’ll easily find other laptops with better displays in the market, if you factor in the price, there’s no other budget gaming notebook that can compete with the display on the Mi Gaming Laptop.
Up until now, I believed that my Dell Inspiron 7567 had the best speaker system in the budget segment, but the Mi Gaming Laptop has once again proven me wrong. Audio quality via the headphone jack is also top notch and you’ll have no problems discerning your enemy’s footsteps even in the loudest of environments. In my opinion, the Mi Gaming Notebook offers the best audio quality on a notebook by far.
However, Xiaomi has made a couple of sacrifices with the keyboard in order to go with the compact design. The keyboard on the Mi Gaming Laptop lacks a numpad, which isn’t too much of a big deal for me, but might be an issue for some people out there.
Another problem that I had with the keyboard is the placement of the macro keys. Instead of placing the macro keys at the top or on the right side of the keyboard, like most other manufacturers, Xiaomi has positioned the macro keys in a column on the left side of the keyboard.
This took a fair bit of getting used to, as I kept on pressing the wrong keys while typing. It would’ve been better had Xiaomi had included a discernable marker to separate the main keyboard and the macro keys, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. The macro key placement is only annoying when you first start typing on the Mi Gaming Laptop and it just took me a couple of hours to get used to the design.
The trackpad on the Mi Gaming Laptop comes with Windows Precision Drivers, which further improve its performance and I have absolutely no qualms when it comes to tracking. However, the placement of the trackpad could be a bit of an inconvenience for someone with large hands. Since the trackpad is quite large and it isn’t placed directly in the center of the palm rest, I often found my cursor moving around while typing as my left hand touched it when I reached for the spacebar. But since this is a gaming laptop, more often than not you’d be using it with a mouse and you can easily disable the trackpad while doing so.
The scores are at par with, and in some cases better than, what you’d expect from a gaming laptop with the same configuration. The scores highlight that the laptop doesn’t make any sacrifices when it comes to performance and the included thermal solution successfully prevents overheating and thermal throttling.
I played a couple of games on the Mi Gaming Laptop, ranging from lighter eSports titles like Counter Strike: Global Offensive to more demanding titles like the popular PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds and I was pleasantly surprised by the laptop’s performance. In PUBG, I was easily able to get an average of 58 fps at the highest settings with V-Sync and Motion Blur turned off. The framerate counter rarely dropped below 50 fps and I didn’t experience any frame drops, even during intense gunfights.
When I first ran Far Cry 5, I was disappointed to see that the game had automatically selected the lowest possible graphical settings for this system. But when I ran the benchmark on the low settings, I was pleased to see the laptop posting an average framerate of over 80 fps. So I went ahead and cranked the graphics settings to ultra and I was easily able to get an average frame rate of over 60 fps, which occasionally dropped down to 55 fps. In my opinion, the numbers posted by the Mi Gaming Laptop are quite impressive and I wouldn’t think twice before recommending it to anyone looking for a gaming laptop on a tight budget.
The laptop powered through less demanding eSports titles like League of Legends and CS: GO, easily breaking the 100 fps barrier on both titles. The Mi Gaming Laptop posted an average of 120 fps in League of Legends at high settings and an average of 140 fps in CS: GO at high settings. In my opinion, if you’re in the market for a gaming laptop to play eSports titles, then there’s no better option than the Mi Gaming Laptop. Since the laptop only has 8GB of RAM, you’d face some issues while multitasking, but since it comes with an empty RAM slot you’ll be able to add another 8GB stick if you face any issues.
I do have concerns about dust accumulation, since the laptop is pretty much open on the back, but that can be easily fixed by using a can of compressed air. The hot air is exhausted from the vents on the sides and back of the device, so you wouldn’t feel any heat build up on the palm rest.
The laptop has a dedicated fan boost button in the top left of the keyboard, which significantly boosts the cooling performance and prevents any thermal throttling. It’s worth noting that the fans can get quite loud under heavy load, so if that’s something which bothers you, the Mi Gaming Laptop isn’t meant for you.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Mi Gaming Laptop has exceptional battery life. Much like other gaming laptops, you’d be required to carry your charger with you wherever you go and if you want to play games, you’d best connect to the wall outlet. So if you’re looking for a laptop which you can carry around, without worrying about running out of battery, you’d be better off with an ultrabook or perhaps even a MacBook.
Budget Gaming Can’t Get Better Than This
Premium build quality
Amazing trackpad with Windows Precision Drivers
Well optimized thermals
Average battery life
See Also: Alienware 15 R3 (2017) Review: Hits the G-Spot for Gaming
Mi Gaming Laptop Review: Definitely Worth the Money
Priced starting at 5,999 Yuan (approximately Rs. 62,570), the Mi Gaming Laptop is undoubtedly the best budget gaming laptop in the market right now. It has a great minimal design, the best trackpad on any Windows device out there, decent performance and a brilliant display. However, since it isn’t available anywhere outside China, you’ll probably have to pay a premium in shipping and import duties, while also forgoing the warranty, in order to get your hands on the Mi Gaming Laptop. If you can live with that, then all variants of the Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop are already available on Gearbest, with the base model priced at $1,099.