After dominating the smartphone industry for years now, Xiaomi sets up its eyes on the PC industry. Last year, Xiaomi introduced a new category in India with the Mi Notebook, a well-priced performance-driven laptop. However, we had no idea that even Redmi could ever come up with a laptop until now. Well, last month, Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi stepped into the game with the RedmiBook 15. Redmi’s approach here is not very different as it’s still trying to hit the sweet spot of high performance with manageable compromises. But is it enough to mark Redmi’s entry into the computing space, or it should just stay happy with manufacturing smartphones? Let’s find out in our full review of RedmiBook 15 Pro.
Build Quality – A Good First Try
Upon first look, the RedmiBook 15 Pro looks quite sturdy and robust. It comes with a very simple and minimalistic design. However, it’s not as minimalistic as the last year’s Mi Notebook as the lid has a Redmi branding followed by a tag line, minimal but not enough. The laptop is made out of plastic, which doesn’t feel cheap but could be a bummer for many, but if you want performance under a budget, you have to make some room for compromises. There’s nothing wrong with the plastic build, but we noticed significant panel flex over our course of usage, and even the hinge felt a little loose at times, which could be a problem if you are considering buying this laptop for your day to day work. There’s a Macbook inspired recess on the chassis, which helps you open the lid with just one finger. It weighs in at 1.8Kgs, which doesn’t shout ultra-portable, but it is considerably lightweight for a 15-inch laptop.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro isn’t as good as other sub-50K laptops in terms of build quality. But, kudos to Redmi; they did a considerably good job with its first laptop in India.
Display and Sound – The Compromise Here Hurts
How terrible could a laptop display be? RedmiBook’s display has to be the answer to that question. The RedmiBook 15 Pro comes with a 15-inch FHD panel with thick bezels, and it’s fine. But, it’s not okay is having a display with terrible colour reproduction and viewing angles and low brightness, especially on laptops. Well, RedmiBook 15 Pro’s display checks all the boxes of how bad a display can be.
The colour accuracy is not on point, far from expectations plus the display has this blueish tint which is not delightful to look at. Second, the brightness is just too low, making it barely usable in a room with bright lighting, and forget using it under direct sunlight. Another problem we faced while our time with RedmiBook was terrible viewing angle; you’ll atleast need to hold the lid at 90-100 degrees to be able to watch something without any glare, and it isn’t very pleasant most of the time. But, these issues might not be apparent to first-time laptop buyers or people who’ve been not spoilt by Macbooks or other high-end laptops. Overall it’s a good enough display for people browsing the internet or working on documents and students attending classes online. But, if you’re looking to buy this laptop for something not so productive, then skip it for your sake.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro comes with two 2W speakers placed at the bottom of the chassis, and we know you must be like, “meh, bottom-firing speakers are shit”. Well, that’s not the case with this one, as the sound was quite loud and clear when placed on a flat surface. The sound was fairly audible even when fans were whirring in full swing. Well, you also get the 3.5mm audio jack to plug in the earphones when you get bored of the speakers.
Performance – Makes Up for The Terrible Display
Just like its smartphones, Redmi is trying to capitalize the market with raw performance over every other factor, and it’s evident. While the mainstream PC manufacturers are still shipping sub-50K laptops with either an i3 or Ryzen-U series APUs, the RedmiBook 15 comes with the 11th Gen Intel Core i5 11300H processor with a 4.4GHz of max turbo frequency. Meanwhile, Intel Iris XE integrated graphics processor handles the graphic-intensive tasks. The powerful processor inside is paired with a 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD. This combination is a killer on paper.
In terms of performance, we had no issues whatsoever. From opening 10 tabs on chrome and listening to music on Spotify to doing pretty much anything, the day-to-day tasks were no slouch for this laptop. For those obsessed with numbers, the RedmiBook 15 Pro managed to score a single-core score of 1239 and a multi-core score of 2732 on GeekBench, while it scored 1253 and 3319 in single-core and multi-core performance tests on CineBench R23.
Coming to gaming performance, the RedmiBook 15 Pro is is not intended for gaming. However, you can play some old titles back from the 2010s at low or medium graphics settings without any hiccups, but it won’t suffice the requirements needed by current-gen AAA titles. Moreover, the keyboard deck gets quite hot after a while as the laptop has a scarcity of air vents.
Battery Life and Charging – Good To Go
The RedmiBook 15 Pro boasts a 46WHr battery, and you’d get a 65W charger to refill the battery. As per Redmi, the laptop should last you somewhere around 10 hours. But that wasn’t the case with us. During an average usage consisting of some text editing, internet browsing, and zoom meetings, we got about 7-8 hours of usage, which is quite solid for someone using it for work or study purposes. The 65W charger also works like a charm and juices up the battery from 0-100% in about one and half hours.
Keyboard and Trackpad – Saves The Day
After having a bad time adjusting to the display, the keyboard was one of my second major concerns, but it exceeded my expectations, maybe because it’s quite similar to what I’ve been using on my MacBook. Redmi went against the num pad to get us a considerably big trackpad and a lot of palm space, making typing a lot more comfortable. The keys have a good amount of key travel with tactile feedback, making things easy for me. The only concern here is the absence of backlighting which could be a major turn-off for many people, and Xiaomi has done the same mistake once with the Mi Notebook Horizon Edition.
The trackpad here is big enough compared to almost every 15-inch laptop. But it’s made of plastic, and the sensitivity is not that great, so there were times when it didn’t register a click. Also, you might end up resting your palm on the trackpad instead of the palm rest, and it happens quite often.
Everything Else – The Titbits
- Webcam: The 720p camera on the top bezel is as good as every other laptop webcam out there. It should be more than enough for your zoom meetings and some random photoshoots in case you get bored of your phone’s front camera.
- Connectivity: To cover the wireless front, the RedmiBook 15 Pro supports dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0. Even if you are a cable guy, you won’t be disappointed as it offers many I/O ports for plugging in whatever you want, including a LAN connector and a full-sized SD card reader. However, it does miss out on the USB C port, which is quite a bummer considering it comes at the Rs 50K mark.
RedmiBook 15 Pro Verdict: One Hit But Many Misses
In its first attempt, Redmi fails to recreate the magic it did with its first smartphone. The specifications fail to make up for the caveats, mainly for that terrible display. However, it is a great offering if one can overlook the predicaments. Xiaomi and Redmi products have been pioneers in the industry, providing the best value for money, but that isn’t the case with RedmiBook 15 Pro.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro feels more like an attempt to make consumers want to buy Xiaomi’s other high-end offerings. Want an honest opinion? Don’t buy this one; wait for something better. Until then, it might be better to avoid RedmiBook 15 Pro and find a better laptop for your money, something like Mi Notebook Pro.