Xiaomi Air 12 Unboxing, First Impressions… (Again?)


Nope, your eyes are not deceiving you, yes, this is a second unboxing of the Xiaomi Air 12 Ultrabook. I had the opportunity to get my hands on the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 (shortened to “Xiaomi Air 12”) and I’ll be posting a full video and text review of this laptop in about a week from now (depending on when this post goes live).

EDIT: Full Xiaomi Air 12 Review is up here!

With a suggested MSRP of $500USD, this is the cheapest Core M3 Ultrabook out there in the market today, the same price as a Surface 3 which uses an Atom processor. However, the price rises to around $580 for anyone not in China (through resellers) making it less of a deal.

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I live in Canada (U.S. prices are even cheaper sometimes), which means that Core M3 Ultrabooks can be had for around $600-650USD after taxes, making this not that great a deal after all. However, researching Ultrabook pricing in Europe and Asia suggest that prices seem to be a good $200 more than what North Americans pay for the same product. This would obviously discount sale prices of course, as those are very item/location specific. I would love to hear your feedback about whether or not this is true, let me know down in the comments below.

About This Unboxing

Big thanks to Gearbest (laptop here) for providing this review unit. I used the Xiaomi Air 12 Ultrabook with an unactivated version of English Windows 10.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 Specs

Processor Intel Core M 6y30 Dual Core
Display 12.5″ 1920 x 1080 px, IPS LCD
RAM 4GB
Storage 128GB SSD
Operating System Windows 10
Cameras 720p Webcam
Battery 7.2V 5000mAh (3.6V 10,000mAh)
Physical Properties 1070g, 292 x 202 x 12.9 mm

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 Unboxing

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Xiaomi has obviously aimed this Ultrabook straight at the 12” MacBook (even though competition most likely is going to be from other devices) with a very similar MacBook like box but sparse on accessories. It comes with just a USB-C charger and wall plug.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 Hardware

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Clean, sleek, and simple laptops are my style, but the Air 12 is a little too plain… even for me. There is no logo on the cover, making it look so plain to the point of drawing attention. Take a look at every single laptop around you, there is not a single one that does not have some sort of logo smack dab in the middle of the lid. There is a reason for this though, Xiaomi wants you to customize it yourself.

During the preorder phase (a few moons ago), preorder customers could get the cover engraved with a custom design of their choice. However, that is not available anymore and customization options are limited to stickers.

Take the laptop out of the sleeve and you’re greeted with a shockingly plain laptop. There’s no logo on the lid and the entire laptop is pretty much the same colour. If any of you have been to trade shows, you’ll know that factories show off brandless and generic looking laptops that companies can buy and slap their own logo on it, and this one looks exactly like that.

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Even though its aimed at the 12” Macbook (same processor, same size and footprint) it does look and feel a bit thicker than its Apple counterpart because it doesn’t taper the same way the Macbook does.

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Open the laptop up and you find edge to edge glass with rather slim bezels on each side of the screen, and there’s a Mi logo below said screen as well. The backlit keyboard definitely looks pretty, but isn’t something that I consider a must have. You can turn the backlighting on and off but there isn’t an option to dim the backlighting. I am incredibly annoyed by one thing though, the arrow keys. The up and down arrow keys look incredibly tiny, I’ll use it more to see if its actually a huge issue.

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There is one full size USB, full size HDMI, and a USB-C port. I couldn’t find an SD or MicroSD card slot on the laptop which is a bummer. There are a couple of rubber feet and the AKG speakers on the bottom. There are a few TORX screws that can be used to remove the back cover, allowing you to install a second M2 SSD.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 Software

It comes with an non-activated English version of Windows 10, meaning you either have to purchase a key or live with an non-activated version. If you purchased the activated Chinese version of the Mi Notebook Air, you could probably extract the license key and use it to activate English Windows if you so choose. Other than that, everything else is fully functional. The trackpad is quite responsive and in the hour I got to use it, the laptop never slowed down at all. Oh and the webcam sucks, obviously.

Like I mentioned before, Xiaomi is aiming this laptop at Apple’s 12″ MacBook, but the MacBook’s target market would never be interested in this laptop even if it is almost 1/3 of the price. However, it is going to face stiff competition from other budget Core M devices like the ASUS UX305 and the Lenovo MIIX 700, both hovering around the $600 mark.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 Conclusion

All that being said, I’ve had a fairly positive first impression of the Air 12 and I look forward to testing this device more. I’ll be testing this laptop completely over the next week or so, installing games, video editing, battery tests and much more. I’ll be creating my customary video review as well, so stay tuned until then!

You can buy the laptop from Gearbest here. However, I do recommend you wait for the full review in order to make a fully informed purchase.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air Gallery

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60 Comments

  1. November 2, 2016

    Great stuff, Zi!

  2. MSi_ GS70_6QE
    November 2, 2016

    Ewww looks so thick and screen too small best size screen is 14”

  3. Bility
    November 2, 2016

    I live in the UK and I was eagerly awaiting the release of this laptop especially the 13″ but when it came out it so expensive if you wish to import to the UK, that I am now looking at purchasing YEPO 737S which I asked ZI to please review.

    • November 2, 2016

      I would highly recommend the Jumper EZBook 2 instead, as the 737s will have to be really special and knock it completely out of the park to even have a slim chance to be better than the EZBook.

      • Bility
        November 2, 2016

        So is the Jumper EZBook 2 the same as EZBook Air?

        • November 2, 2016

          Specswise yes, but the EZBook air is more expensive but is way more portable. My sister likes the Air more than the 2 because its small and light

          • Bility
            November 2, 2016

            How about everyday use? I mean in terms of functionality and practicality? By the way I don’t use my laptop for any kind of gaming, editing or things like that. My daily use involves interneting and using some Microsoft programme, Words especially. So, which one of the two would you recommend EZBook 2 or Air? Bearing in mind mine kind of usage.

            • November 2, 2016

              In terms of every day use they are the exact same, but the EZBook Air is easier to carry around. The biggest downside for the EZBook Air is the lack of a full size USB port and you can’t use two finger scrolling because Jumper didn’t implement the software. I’m not sure if they fixed it in the latest version of the EZBook Air though.

  4. Linus
    November 2, 2016

    Great stuff, Zi!

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 2, 2016

      Thanks Linus!

  5. Guest
    November 2, 2016

    This comment was deleted.

  6. Wolvie
    November 2, 2016

    So the pre-installed windows 10 cannot activate and need to buy separate license ?

    Win10 Home license easily cost $100 – $120 and even more expensive if Pro version.
    Like this the price of this Xiaomi Air is not cheap at all.

    • November 2, 2016

      If you bought the Chinese version you can extract the windows key for reinstall. Even if not, the Chinese version is still useable because not everything is in Chinese.

      • Wolvie
        November 4, 2016

        Ah i thought for international buyer Xiaomi purposely don’t put the windows 10 serial number inside.

        So just to clarify, for international buyer if we order online, XIaomi will send us with Win10 Chinese version (with embed serial number & activated) or win10 English version (without any serial number, unactivated) ?

        • November 4, 2016

          Actually scratch that, I’m reading conflicting reports on whether you can use the chinese key in an english windows

        • November 6, 2016

          Yes. I recommend the chinese version just because its not completely in Chinese, only some areas

  7. Bility
    November 2, 2016

    I live in the UK and I was eagerly awaiting the release of this laptop especially the 13″ but when it came out it so expensive if you wish to import to the UK, that I am now looking at purchasing YEPO 737S which I asked ZI to please review.

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 2, 2016

      I would highly recommend the Jumper EZBook 2 instead, as the 737s will have to be really special and knock it completely out of the park to even have a slim chance to be better than the EZBook.

    • Bility
      November 2, 2016

      So is the Jumper EZBook 2 the same as EZBook Air?

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 2, 2016

      Specswise yes, but the EZBook air is more expensive but is way more portable. My sister likes the Air more than the 2 because its small and light

    • Bility
      November 2, 2016

      How about everyday use? I mean in terms of functionality and practicality? By the way I don’t use my laptop for any kind of gaming, editing or things like that. My daily use involves interneting and using some Microsoft programme, Words especially. So, which one of the two would you recommend EZBook 2 or Air? Bearing in mind mine kind of usage.

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 2, 2016

      In terms of every day use they are the exact same, but the EZBook Air is easier to carry around. The biggest downside for the EZBook Air is the lack of a full size USB port and you can’t use two finger scrolling because Jumper didn’t implement the software. I’m not sure if they fixed it in the latest version of the EZBook Air though.

  8. Jay in BK
    November 2, 2016

    “Oh and the webcam sucks, obviously”? Zi, overall a great writeup and I definitely appreciate it – but I would like to know more about how the webcam sucks. It’s not obvious to me, because I don’t have the unit in front of me. Thanks!

    • November 2, 2016

      It’s a potato. A lot of noise in the shot.

  9. Guest
    November 2, 2016

    So the pre-installed windows 10 cannot activate and need to buy separate license ?

    Win10 Home license easily cost $100 – $120 and even more expensive if Pro version.
    Like this the price of this Xiaomi Air is not cheap at all.

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 2, 2016

      If you bought the Chinese version you can extract the windows key for reinstall. Even if not, the Chinese version is still useable because not everything is in Chinese.

    • Guest
      November 4, 2016

      Ah i thought for international buyer Xiaomi purposely don’t put the windows 10 serial number inside.

      So just to clarify, for international buyer if we order online, XIaomi will send us with Win10 Chinese version (with embed serial number & activated) or win10 English version (without any serial number, unactivated) ?

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 4, 2016

      Actually scratch that, I’m reading conflicting reports on whether you can use the chinese key in an english windows

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 6, 2016

      Yes. I recommend the chinese version just because its not completely in Chinese, only some areas

  10. Guest
    November 2, 2016

    “Oh and the webcam sucks, obviously”? Zi, overall a great writeup and I definitely appreciate it – but I would like to know more about how the webcam sucks. It’s not obvious to me, because I don’t have the unit in front of me. Thanks!

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 2, 2016

      It’s a potato. A lot of noise in the shot.

  11. Raky_b
    November 3, 2016

    Well, 580$ +25%VAT, it comes to cca 750$. And no customer support, service centers or international warranty…
    Lenovo yoga 700 costs less (with i5- 650$), yoga 710 (also based on i5 7200U) costs 720$, ipad air 950$, Pavilion 14 also 650(i5,256GB SSD and 8GB RAM) and there are many other options that comes with 2 years of warranty, service centres and good support.
    I guess this price is really good for China, there they are big brand, they can offer support… And i can understand for asian people to be thrilled with this one, but it’s not competitive on EU and US markets.

    • Wolvie
      November 4, 2016

      Yes problem is for buyer outside china the price is no longer cheap.

      1) We cannot buy at original Xiaomi retail price because Xiaomi only sell this price in china.

      2) Since we have to buy from china online shop, they already jack off the price and sometime also charge the shipping fee.

      3) For some countries they impose tax of items bought oversea, This unit is not cheap so it is getting even more expensive after tax

      4) For some unlucky buyers they got, once they receive the items it is Death On Arrival (DOA) or got some defect then they need to spend money sending back to china. Please note that XIAOMI NEVER HAVE INTERNATIONAL WARRANTY and IT SUCKS BIG TIME.

      Note : for some buyers even worse that they lost the item on delivery.

      Problem is i do think that Xiaomi never care about international buyers, this is why they always lose to those big international brands like Huawei, Samsung, Apple, etc because they care about international buyers and they can sell much more than what xiaomi can sell.

      I know china market is very big but compare to the whole world ?????

      If xiaomi don’t want to change, soon or later they will regret. They thought China market is safe for them, i do think they thought very wrong.

    • November 4, 2016

      Didn’t know VAT was guaranteed, as I thought resellers usually mark the item as a gift so I thought there would be a small chance for it to go through without any fees

      • Raky_b
        November 4, 2016

        It was possible 10 years ago, when there was just a few orders, but then everyone started to order and there is so many “gifts” that no one wouldn’t believe it’s true.
        Now, 99% of orders are going to be the customs, at least orders that costs more than 20$.
        That’s why many of resellers is opening their storages here in Europe, in countries with lower taxes, and then selling it in EU without new inport tax (as all that countries are one market), but with their costs included.
        I am in Norway, and it is not part of EU, so i would have to pay 25% tax even if package comes from one of EU countries … That why it is better for me to order directly from China.
        However, this laptop is not something that is profitable to buy… There are many other solutions that offers more for similar amount of money.

        Flagship phones often are interesting, but also weith one year subscription we can buy Samsung S7, HTC 10,iPhone7 or similar for 500-700$. Sometimes even less, lot less after half year from they have enter market. So if Chinese flagship costs 400$ + 25%tax,it should be better from those available on our market, offering guarantee, service and help desk…
        But, phones such is redmi 3,don’t have competition here.
        Lenovo k5 f.e. costs 200$.
        In China, it’s priced ~100$, so with tax it is cheaper to order it online…

        • November 6, 2016

          I believe Gearbest has a European warehouse now, so the Xiaomi Air 12 could be available there.

          • Raky_b
            November 6, 2016

            It still wouldn’t come with international guarantee (as other Xiaomi products do not), and on price in China, Gearbest (and any other retailer) will have to pay tax in one of EU countries, plus take their own share. That is at least 20% more then original price.

            I am living in Norway, which is not part of EU, so i have to pay 25% on whatever i order, and it is same where that item comes from (so, basically it is cheaper for me to order directly from China).

  12. bojan radovanovic
    November 3, 2016

    Well, 580$ +25%VAT, it comes to cca 750$. And no customer support, service centers or international warranty…
    Lenovo yoga 700 costs less (with i5- 650$), yoga 710 (also based on i5 7200U) costs 720$, ipad air 950$, Pavilion 14 also 650(i5,256GB SSD and 8GB RAM) and there are many other options that comes with 2 years of warranty, service centres and good support.
    I guess this price is really good for China, there they are big brand, they can offer support… And i can understand for asian people to be thrilled with this one, but it’s not competitive on EU and US markets.

    • Guest
      November 4, 2016

      Yes problem is for buyer outside china the price is no longer cheap.

      1) We cannot buy at original Xiaomi retail price because Xiaomi only sell this price in china.

      2) Since we have to buy from china online shop, they already jack off the price and sometime also charge the shipping fee.

      3) For some countries they impose tax of items bought oversea, This unit is not cheap so it is getting even more expensive after tax

      4) For some unlucky buyers they got, once they receive the items it is Death On Arrival (DOA) or got some defect then they need to spend money sending back to china. Please note that XIAOMI NEVER HAVE INTERNATIONAL WARRANTY and IT SUCKS BIG TIME.

      Note : for some buyers even worse that they lost the item on delivery.

      Problem is i do think that Xiaomi never care about international buyers, this is why they always lose to those big international brands like Huawei, Samsung, Apple, etc because they care about international buyers and they can sell much more than what xiaomi can sell.

      I know china market is very big but compare to the whole world ?????

      If xiaomi don’t want to change, soon or later they will regret. They thought China market is safe for them, i do think they thought very wrong.

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 4, 2016

      Didn’t know VAT was guaranteed, as I thought resellers usually mark the item as a gift so I thought there would be a small chance for it to go through without any fees

    • bojan radovanovic
      November 4, 2016

      It was possible 10 years ago, when there was just a few orders, but then everyone started to order and there is so many “gifts” that no one wouldn’t believe it’s true.
      Now, 99% of orders are going to be the customs, at least orders that costs more than 20$.
      That’s why many of resellers is opening their storages here in Europe, in countries with lower taxes, and then selling it in EU without new inport tax (as all that countries are one market), but with their costs included.
      I am in Norway, and it is not part of EU, so i would have to pay 25% tax even if package comes from one of EU countries … That why it is better for me to order directly from China.
      However, this laptop is not something that is profitable to buy… There are many other solutions that offers more for similar amount of money.

      Flagship phones often are interesting, but also weith one year subscription we can buy Samsung S7, HTC 10,iPhone7 or similar for 500-700$. Sometimes even less, lot less after half year from they have enter market. So if Chinese flagship costs 400$ + 25%tax,it should be better from those available on our market, offering guarantee, service and help desk…
      But, phones such is redmi 3,don’t have competition here.
      Lenovo k5 f.e. costs 200$.
      In China, it’s priced ~100$, so with tax it is cheaper to order it online…

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 6, 2016

      I believe Gearbest has a European warehouse now, so the Xiaomi Air 12 could be available there.

    • bojan radovanovic
      November 6, 2016

      It still wouldn’t come with international guarantee (as other Xiaomi products do not), and on price in China, Gearbest (and any other retailer) will have to pay tax in one of EU countries, plus take their own share. That is at least 20% more then original price.

      I am living in Norway, which is not part of EU, so i have to pay 25% on whatever i order, and it is same where that item comes from (so, basically it is cheaper for me to order directly from China).

  13. Poole
    November 4, 2016

    How is that an ultra book? It looks pretty meaty in that profile.

    How is it possible in an era of razor thing tablets to make a fat beast like that and call it an “Air”?

    • November 6, 2016

      Its thinner than the newest 12″ Macbook at its thickest point.

  14. Tom
    November 5, 2016

    Video out over USB C?

    • November 6, 2016

      Didn’t try that yet but I don’t see why not, the USB C is fully funtional

  15. Guest
    November 5, 2016

    How is that an ultra book? It looks pretty meaty in that profile.

    How is it possible in an era of razor thing tablets to make a fat beast like that and call it an “Air”?

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 6, 2016

      Its thinner than the newest 12″ Macbook at its thickest point.

  16. Guest
    November 5, 2016

    Video out over USB C?

    • Zi Jin Cheng
      November 6, 2016

      Didn’t try that yet but I don’t see why not, the USB C is fully funtional

  17. Nazario
    November 21, 2016

    Hi, a question on the version with windows not activated. Packaging is sealed? Or it is open from Gearbest to install windows in the English version?

  18. Nazario
    November 21, 2016

    Hi, a question on the version with windows not activated. Packaging is sealed? Or it is open from Gearbest to install windows in the English version?