Xiaomi Air 12 notebook review - MacBook competition?

by 18. May 2018
Xiaomi conquers the notebook market and publishes a compact 12 inch laptop with the Xiaomi Air 12.5. Based on current Intel processor architecture, the notebook is in direct competition with well-known brand notebooks. Whether the laptop in the "apple look" is good, you'll learn in this review of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12.



Xiaomi Air 12


Resolution: 1920 x 1080 - 176 PPI
Diagonal: 12,5 inches
Contrast Ratio: 600: 1
Brightness: 300cd / m²

CPU: Intel Core m3-6Y30, 2,2 GHz
GPU: Intel HD Graphics 515
Internal memory: 128GB M.2 SSD

1x USB Type-C
1x USB 3.0
1x headphone jack

Capacity: 5000mAh

WiFi: Dual Band WIFI (2,4 + 5GHz)
Bluetooth: BT 4.1

What's in the box

1x Xiaomi notebook
1x user manual
1x charger

First impression of the Xiaomi Air 12

Update (10 June 2017)

The Xiaomi Air 12 notebook is now available with the latest version Intel Core M3-7Y30 processor, This so-called model 2017 offers in contrast to its predecessor again a performance boost. The processor is still passively cooled! The memory equipment is a 4GB DDR3 memory and an optional 128GB or 256GB SSD memory. Otherwise, both the 2016 model and the Xiaomi Air 12.5 from 2017 are completely identical. The price difference is small, so you should opt for the newer model!

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What's in the box

The Xiaomi laptop is delivered in a simple cardboard box. The scope of delivery is limited to that notebook, One Chinese user manual and on one charger, The included instruction manual is illustrated and thus reasonably understandable. The charger has a type-A connection and can only be used in this country with an additional EU adapter. The cable length is 1.5 meters. The charger is connected by means of a USB-Type-C connector.

Windows 10 CN or Windows 10 EN

Windows 10 is already preinstalled. If you decide on the Chinese model, the laptop comes with an already activated, Chinese Windows 10 delivered, in which the language can not be changed! Only a new installation allows a language change. A model with English-language Windows 10 is also available, but this Windows must be activated later.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 Review - Unboxing [Deutsch / German]

Workmanship and design

With a Size of just once 292 x 202 x 12,9 mm and a Weight of 1070g the notebook is not only compact but also comparatively light. Xiaomi uses aluminum as the case material, which is why the Xiaomi Air 12 looks a lot like Apple's Macbook Air. On a back Mi logo has been omitted and the design is mostly simple. On the bottom are the two stereo speakers. The speaker system is from AKG Acoustics. Overall, 5 rubber cushions ensure a stable stand. The laptop can be opened with one hand, without the lower housing part moving with it.

On the left side of the case, the laptop has a HDMI socket and one Headphone jack, The right side of the case is with a USB 3.0 (Type-A) socket and a USB Type-C female fitted. Furthermore, there is a small one above the two sockets Note LEDthat shows the current charge status if a charger is connected to the laptop. A memory card slot is missing.

The processing is successful. The connecting piece between the display and the actual laptop is made of plastic and looks unclean at first sight. However, this is just a slide that you can safely pull off!

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air Lackfehler

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard has an English layout. Unfortunately, the Xiaomi laptop is only available with this layout. A non-dimmable keyboard illumination also allows nighttime work. The buttons themselves are adapted to the aluminum look of the laptop, but are made of plastic. Keystrokes feel comfortable and are not too loud. In direct comparison with a Macbook Unibody by 2011, I could not tell the difference. The only criticism is the non-dimmable brightness of the keyboard illumination.

The touch panel has a glass top and recognizes a variety of gestures. The lubricity could hardly be better on the large glass pad. In addition to a touch operation mouse clicks are possible, which provide a pleasant feedback. The execution of individual gestures and clicks, as well as the mouse guidance are accurate.


The display dissolves in Full HD (1920 x1080) up and owns one Display diagonal of 12.5 inches, The edge, which surrounds the 276.5 x 155.6mm large display, is comparatively small with only 5.71mm. The display share is thus at 78.6%.

The display is crisp. At a Dot density of 176 PPI Individual pixels are barely visible to the naked eye. The viewing angle stability is also convincing. Even with a lateral view of the display, the presentation remains. Colors appear strong and the black value convinced by a rich black. The contrast ratio is given by the manufacturer with 600: 1, the luminance is 300cd / m². Working under sunlight is possible with maximum display brightness. The protective glass surface reflects only slightly. However, what has been negative in the test, is a low backlight bleeding at the bottom of the screen.

User interface and performance

Windows 10

By default, Windows 10 is preinstalled. If you decide for the Chinese variant, a German Windows 10 Home can be transferred later. Activation is retained. All drivers are installed fully automatically. To be able to use the multitouch gestures of the trackpad, the "Synaptics" driver can optionally be installed. Also optional is the Mi on-screen display, which adds a nice feature to the laptop. All drivers can be found in the official MIUI forum under this article. Windows 7 or 8 is also running on the Xiaomi Air 12, but you may experience problems with the drivers. All drivers can be found however also for older versions on the official homepages of the parts manufacturers. For the touchpad it is recommended to download the driver directly from the homepage of the manufacturer "Synaptics"!

The user interface is no different from a traditional desktop Windows 10. The boot process takes about 8 seconds. Multitasking is not a problem and overall the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 convinces with a powerful Windows feeling.

processor performance

Equipped with a fast Intel Skylake Core M3-6Y30 processor and 4GB Memory (4GB LPDDR3 1.866 MHz), the notebook is ideal for everyday office work. Of course, the laptop can also be used for 4K streaming, as well as computationally intensive applications, such as editing software or software for photo editing are certainly compatible with the device.

graphics performance

However, if you want to use the Xiaomi laptop for gaming, you should prefer to use the slightly larger 13.3 inch version. The Intel HD515 processor graphics Although the smaller model allows for smooth playing of not too demanding games, such as Half-Life 2 or Dota 2, if you want more, you need a laptop with a dedicated graphics card.

SSD memory

The internal memory measures 128GB. Installed is a M.2 SSD. The memory can be extended by another M.2 SSD. An extension of the main memory is not possible. The read and write speeds of the SSD convince.

CrystalDiskMark test

CrystalDiskMark SSD


The passive cooling performance of the notebook is good. An extremely high heat development on the outside of the housing has not been noticed during the practical test. Also the Core temperature reached a maximum of 75 ° C under full load, Disturbing fan noise is of course excluded by the passive cooling.


Above the display is a 1 megapixel front camera accommodated. There is a microphone to the left and right. By means of a small notice LED one recognizes, whether the camera is active. Videos takes the camera maximum 720p (interpolated) on. The sound is recorded cleanly with the two microphones. Disturbing background noise is filtered as far as possible. A spontaneous voice or video telephony is nothing in the way with this equipment.

Speaker and headphone jack

Despite the small size of the Xiaomi Air 12, the sound of the AKG speaker system (2x1W), The sound chip is one Realtek ALC233, The reproduction is clear and clear. The maximum volume is pleasant and even at the highest volume the playback quality does not decrease. What the sound lacks, however, is volume.

The playback quality over the 3.5mm headphone jack is fine. Playback material is played cleanly and also the span between quiet and loud can be meticulously adjusted. Negatively noticeable has a low background noise of the sound chip. Especially when no music is playing and you still have the headphones / in-ears on, the background noise can quickly become a nuisance.

As a nice gimmick, the notebook is too Dolby Audio compatible. A customized Dolby Audio version can be downloaded separately on the net (article). The Dolby user interface offers not only an equalizer but also pre-defined sound profiles, which are optimized for the respective playback material. All settings can also be made individually.


For the WLAN is the Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8260D2W chipset responsible. This allows fast transfers in the 2.4G and 5G network, In the test convinced the laptop by maximum transfer rates and average signal quality and range. The same applies to the connection via Bluetooth. Is used the Bluetooth 4.1 standard, The signal quality and the signal range are convincing.

Battery and running time

The capacity of the battery is 5.000mAh (7.4V / 37Wh), With conventional usage with brightness of 25% one reaches Terms of average 7 hours, With intensive use, the runtime is reduced to an average 4 hours. The promised durations from 7.5 to 9 hours are only achievable under optimal conditions. The run times achieved in the test are not exactly surprising due to the low capacity of the battery and are therefore rather mediocre. Here a larger battery would have been quite desirable. What makes up for the comparatively short running time is the Quick charge function of the Xiaomi notebook.

Already after one half hour charging time is the battery with a corresponding quick charger to 50% charged, A complete recharge of the battery takes just 1 1 / 2 hours. On Fast charger with USB Type-C connection (max.20V - 2.25A) is included, but an additional EU adapter is required.


Xiaomi Air 12 as Hackintosh

There is a lot going on in the Hackintosh scene. Meanwhile, some users of the Hackintosh forum install an executable MacOS Sierra on the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12. In general, most of the components are already correctly integrated into the OS and work well. But what does not always work is the integrated WLAN module. Here one should not make too high hopes, because there are no drivers for the integrated module! Alternatively, however, a WiFi dongle can be used, which will then occupy one of the USB slots.

Linux distributions

Distributions such as Ubuntu or Debian can also be installed. Drivers for the individual components are available.

Price Comparison

Price history

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Prices last updated on: April 5st, 2020 14:01

Final Words


Compact design
aluminum housing
High resolution display
Good battery life
Quick Charge


English keyboard layout
Keyboard lighting not dimmable
Chinese Windows 10
Slight background noise in the headphone jack

First impression
Battery life

Xiaomi has launched a compelling first notebook series. The small 12.5 Inch Bolide has a powerful hardware that is not only suitable for office work. The design convinces and the aluminum housing also leaves a good impression.

The razor-sharp display was also convincing in the test. The black value is full and colors are displayed strongly. The front camera is still just so suitable for video telephony. Both the keyboard, as well as the touchpad impress with a great design, as well as good writing and sliding skills. The battery life is average. However, the quick charge function, which completely charges the 5.000mAh battery after only 1 ½ hours, has a positive effect. The AKG speaker system is good. Desirable, however, would be a tick more tonal volume.

Overall, the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 convinced. If you are not worried about a China import and you are looking for a Windows alternative to the compact Macbook Air, you can confidently access it!

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Very cool part, I will buy the Air 12 for the university. Would you rather recommend that with Chinese Windows or with English Windows?


The with chin. Windows is already activated. If you already own Windows 10 Home, you can create an installation CD / USB stick and install Windows 10 Home German over it. Activation remains after installation.

The with English. Windows is not activated yet. That means you need a valid license key for Windows 10 Home.


Have the Xiaomi Air 12 now about a month for the university in operation and am more than satisfied with the notebook. I ordered the one with Chinese Windows and just installed my Windows 10 over the preinstalled Windows. Has worked great and Windows was still activated afterwards.

Otherwise, my previous experience with the Xiaomi notebook are great. Writing is no problem with the English keyboard. The performance of the processor is completely perfect. Clear purchase recommendation from me!


This is not a bad finish, but a plastic sheeting that you should take off.


This is also noticeable to me after I posted the video and this review, but I had forgotten that I had mentioned the "paint flaw" in the review.

At first glance, it actually looks as if the film should be heard, especially since the film is properly applied. For all those who are unsure, you can safely pull off the foil.


In the ct I read that if I import a notebook without CE mark the home insurance in case of fire does not have to pay anymore. Is that true and are there other risks?


Hello, I am also interested in the notebook, but still have questions about the purchase and alternative operating systems.
1. If I buy the Xiaomi Air 12, can I install Linux on it?
2. Does one have access to the BIOS?
3. Where did you buy the notebook and what about the warranty?


Hello here are the answers to your questions.
1. Yes, different Linux distributions (Debian, Ubuntu ...) can be installed / booted on the Xiaomi Air 12.
2. Yes, on the notebook is an EFI. You can call the interface before the Windows start with "F2".
3. Gearbest with Priority Line / Germany Express shipping is currently the best choice. The warranty on products from China is always a bit problematic, because you have to send the product back to China yourself (you pay the shipping costs!). Especially with such an expensive device, the risk is quite high. For most online shops in China, the repair warranty is one year.