Xiaomi has long won the favour of many users, opposing almost all equipment manufacturers. The Chinese manage to make gadgets of high-quality at first glance with top-end characteristics, but at the same time, the cost of such devices is significantly lower than that of premium competitors. And if there are indeed many bestsellers with smartphones with an excellent price-performance-quality ratio, then there are still specific nuances with laptops. Last year, Xiaomi launched a new line of notebooks under the Redmi brand, which should be a slightly more affordable alternative to Mi Notebook devices. The top version of RedmiBook 16 with a new generation Ryzen processor has arrived at us, and let’s see what the manufacturer is asking for $ 900.
Let’s start with the pleasant things – the appearance and quality of materials. The laptop case is entirely made of aluminium. It is highly resistant to twisting and bending. The look of the RedmiBook 16 is borrowed from the Mi Notebook line, whose designers were inspired by the Apple MacBook. But we can’t say that this is bad – Apple laptops are loved for such an appearance, so RedmiBook only plays into the hands. The bezels around the screen are skinny, the laptop weighs 1.8 kg, which is a good result for a 16-inch device.
Looking at the laptop, after a while, you discover that it does not have a webcam. It surprised me, I tried to find it on the keyboard, like the Huawei MateBook X Pro, but it is not there either. It turned out that Xiaomi engineers decided not to install a webcam. I think, given the ups and downs of 2020 and the increased need for video services, this was not the most thoughtful decision. Or at least they could put an external webcam in the box.
USB-A 2.0 and 3.5mm audio jack are available from the connection interfaces on the right side. There are two USB-Cs on the left side, one used to charge and display images, and the other only for connecting devices and transferring data. There is also USB-A 3.0 and HDMI 2.0. I have only one complaint – given the size of the case, it was quite possible to fit at least a microSD reader, but alas, memory cards will have to be connected only through an adapter. The Wi-Fi 5 (Realtek 8822CE) and Bluetooth 5.0 modules are responsible for wireless communication.
The keyboard in RedmiBook 16 is the same as that of Mi Notebook Pro. This is a regular island-style keyboard with a bit stiff essential travel, so the response is not very clear. There is no side numeric keypad. In general, I’ve worked with not the most comfortable keyboard I’ve, but the main thing that disappointed me was the lack of backlighting. And okay, I would also forgive the basic version of the RedmiBook 16 for $ 620; competitors also do not find the backlight everywhere in this segment. But in the $ 900 configuration, this can be attributed to cons. The touchpad is relatively large, has a glass surface on which a finger can easily slide, and multi-touch gestures are supported. However, there is a slight backlash when pressed.
As I already mentioned, this RedmiBook is equipped with a 16.1″ display. The IPS-matrix is not of the highest quality here. Full HD screen resolution, 60 Hz refresh rate, matte finish. The colour rendition is not bad, but the brightness level of the display would be higher. It is officially indicated that the maximum brightness level is 300 cd / m2, but in many tests that I have met, the indicators are even lower – about 250 cd / m2. Accordingly, you are unlikely to have problems indoors, but it can be a little uncomfortable in bright light. Plus, there are some questions about the uniformity of the screen backlight.
We have on review the top modification of the RedmiBook 16, which is equipped with a Ryzen 7 4700U processor with integrated Vega 7 graphics. 16 GB of RAM is available. It is soldered on the motherboard and operates in dual-channel mode. The SSD from Samsung has a 512GB storage capacity. Unfortunately, it’s connected via a SATA-III interface rather than NVMe PCIe, making the bandwidth more limited. The benchmark results are 550 MB / s read, and 490 MB / s write.
As for the processor, the AIDA stress test shows that after working a little under maximum load, the system quickly began to drop the frequency to 1400 MHz, trying to resist the strong overheating of the processor. After a while, the frequency levels off to an average level of about 2.6-2.7 GHz, the processor’s power consumption drops to about 20 W, and its temperature reaches about 65-70 degrees.
In benchmarks such as PCMark, 3DMark, and GeekBench, the RedmiBook 16 with Ryzen 7 performs quite well. But this model is not the most suitable for games. The Vega 7 graphics are allocated only 0.5 GB of RAM. In the not newest F1 2018 at maximum settings, the game averaged 18 fps, but at medium 30 fps, it is quite possible to race. But in the more demanding Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at maximum speeds, it gives out only 9 fps; it will be challenging to play, so you will have to lower the settings to medium. Simultaneously, one cannot say that the processor heats up a lot – most likely, as in the stress test case, the system seeks a compromise and drops the frequency. Due to this, you will only feel slight heating of the case on the left side.
Therefore, if I were considering RedmiBook 16 for purchase, it would be more like an office device. It does not make much noise; the temperature is about 50 degrees, but if you process the image in Photoshop, in parallel, have a dozen tabs running in Chrome, the laptop heats up to somewhere around 70-80 degrees becomes a little warm.
The laptop has a 48 W * h battery. Far from a record figure, but in the PCMark battery test at 100% brightness, the device lasted almost 6 hours. So if you lower the brightness a little, I think you can count on a full day. Moreover, the laptop can be recharged from a USB-C power supply. It comes with a compact 65W adapter that won’t take up much space in your backpack.
Well, a few right words. And to be honest, it is not impressive here, at the level of budget laptops. The bass is absent as a class, which is why it is impossible to enjoy your favourite music. Watching videos on YouTube is probably their maximum.
Ultimately, RedmiBook 16 with Ryzen 4000 series processors is, at first glance, an exciting and affordable solution, but with several nuances. On the one hand, you get a premium metal case and compact dimensions, a promising processor, and good battery life. On the other hand, there are no such things as keyboard backlighting; there is no webcam, the display is not very bright, the drive is connected via SATA III.
The RedmiBook 16 is also available with a Ryzen 5 4500U processor with 8 or 16 GB of RAM. The starting price in Ukraine is 17.5 thousand UAH, which is approximately $ 620. A modification like ours can be purchased for about 26 thousand UAH, which is already 900 dollars. You can find Lenovo ThinkPad, ASUS VivoBook, Acer Aspire, Honor MagicBook, and HP ProBook for the same money with similar specifications. There are not so many options, but each of them has its characteristics and advantages. And RedmiBook doesn’t look like an obvious choice. Because competitors can also find the same metal case, or vice versa, bright colours, like the VivoBook, and the missing options that I mentioned, I have more confidence in the same ASUS and Acer engineers.
Let us know in the comments what you think of RedmiBook with new Ryzen processors? Which laptop in this price range would you choose? And who do you prefer – Ryzen 4000 series or Intel 11th generation?