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Xiaomi gets into the laptop business with $750 MacBook competitor

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Also selling smaller $525 Mi Notebook Air variant

Rapidly rising smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is entering the laptop market. The Chinese company announced the Mi Notebook Air today, a thin and light Windows laptop that comes in gold or silver, and looks set to compete with Apple's MacBook.

The Mi Notebook Air comes in two varieties: a 13.3-inch version, and a lighter 12.5-inch model. The 13.3-inch version is the more powerful of the two, with an Intel Core i5 processor, a 256GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce 940MX mobile graphics card that Xiaomi says makes it capable of playing video games like Dota 2 at high frame rates. It's also more fully featured than its smaller sibling, sporting a Type-C USB socket. But while the 12.5-inch Mi Notebook Air only has an Intel Core M3 processor, integrated graphics, and a 128GB SSD, it has the 13.3-inch model beat on battery life — Xiaomi says it lasts 11-and-a-half hours on a single charge, in comparison with the nine-and-a-half the bigger model is capable of.


CNET reports that the laptops are actually made by a partner called Tian Mi, but will be sold under Xiaomi's branding. Images of the devices show that branding is subtle — the clean-looking aluminum laptops have no logo visible on the outside.

At 1.07kg (2.36 pounds), the 12.5-inch model is also lighter than the 13.3-inch variant, but there's not much in it — the bigger Mi Notebook Air is only a little heavier, weighing in at 1.28kg (2.82 pounds). The bigger Mi Notebook Air will be more expensive, priced at 4,999 Chinese yuan (around $750), while the 12.5-inch version will be sold at 3,499 yuan (around $525). The laptops will be available in China from August 2nd, but Xiaomi is yet to reveal when — and if — they'll arrive elsewhere in the world.