Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ Review : Xiaomi’s First Convertible Is A Direct Attack On Microsoft Surface | Tech Reviews
Xiaomi’s return to laptops is a Surface-style convertible . The Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ has been a long time coming but we have finally been able to test it with peace of mind. A laptop with an ARM processor, Windows 11 and a generous touch screen of more than twelve inches with high resolution.
Xiaomi has high-end models like the Book Pro , but this time they offer us a more humble convertible, with the challenge of trying to become that economic alternative to the Surface. In our analysis of the Xiaomi Book S 12.4 “we explain if they have succeeded . It is not an easy task.
Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ technical sheet
|XIAOMI BOOK S 12,4″|
|SCREEN||LCD 12.4″ 16:10, 2.560 x 1.600 px (WQHD+)
60 Hz, 500 nits, Touch (10 points multi-touch)
DCI-P3 100%, Gorilla Glass 3
|PROCESSOR||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2
CPU: Qualcomm Kryo 495 (octa-core, hasta 3 GHz)
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 685
|RAM MEMORY||8 GB LPDDR4X|
|BATTERY||38.08 Wh / 4,920 mAh
Fast charge at 65 W
|CAMERAS||Rear: 13 MP
Front: 5 MP
Minijack 3.5 mm
SD card reader
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Windows 11 for ARM|
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||294 x 197 x 8,95 mm
Xiaomi Smart Pen (optional)
Design: a nice compromise between weight and solidity
The first feeling one has with the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ is that it is a standard device. It is not a laptop, it is a tablet with an optional case that has a keyboard and trackpad. A Surface-style convertible. Still, when using it we have a very similar experience to that of a traditional laptop. There are several reasons. On the one hand, there is its weight. It is somewhat lighter than many ultrabooks, but when we add the keyboard cover, which weighs 317 g alone, we have a total of It weighs slightly more than 1 kg It is still very light, but clearly far from what is offered in the world of tablets.
There is also the size. As its name suggests, the Xiaomi Book S comes with a 12.4-inch screen. To get an idea, the Surface Go 3 stays at 10.5 inches. We are facing a generous diagonal serves to generate a feeling more similar to traditional laptops . As we will discuss later, this size is accompanied by a good battery and a panel that looks good, although it suggests that the device in front of us is going to be more powerful and capable.
Finally we have the thickness and the finishes. With about 9 millimeters thickness, the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ is comfortable to hold and easy to store in a backpack or any folder. This is one of the advantages of the format and in this sense the result is good. Although, We cannot say that it is a light or stylish device, rather it is solid and sober, Xiaomi bets more on the pragmatic than on the flashy.
At the level of connections, all are located on the right side. We have a USB-C port that we will use to charge the device and to pass data. Just below the headphone jack, the power button and the volume buttons are added. We also have an SD (TransFlash) card reader. All very common, as we could find in any other tablet . Simplicity prevails again ahead of complexity. Personally, I am in favor of some additional port and avoiding the use of adapters, such as perhaps an HDMI or a second USB-C port, but I understand that Xiaomi chooses that we wirelessly link any accessory.
The edges are smooth and made of an aluminum and magnesium alloy. In the case of the keyboard cover, we have a synthetic leather finish that provides a soft touch, without being especially remarkable. Again, we have a device that when you have it in front of you, you enjoy it, but it does not have a finish or an element that makes it stand out and that differentiates it especially from the competition.
About the cover, I must say that the result is quite good. The trackpad is large enough and quite accurate, while the keyboard gets used to it quickly . The keys, with a travel of 1.3 millimeters, are pleasant and it is not difficult to spend hours typing from it.
The case connects via magnetic pins and can be propped up at any angle. On some occasion, depending on how we put it, the cover detaches from the tablet. You have to get used to placing it well. When the case is folded, the device is fixed and does not wobble at all . Something important when we are using it to write quickly.
A touch screen that stands out for its brightness
In a convertible, the screen is a differential element. Fortunately, the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ is at a high level. I would even say above the average of what the rest of the sections offer. Its good LCD screen is what makes the daily experience when using the device quite Satisfactory After using the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ for several weeks and spending 8 hours writing on it, I can say that it has exceeded my expectations.
We are facing a 12.4-inch multi-touch panel, with a WQHD + resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels in 16:10 format. While other convertibles bet on 3:2, the Xiaomi maintains this more panoramic style. More appropriate for viewing content. The technical characteristics tell us that the panel covers 100% of the DCI-P3 standard, has a viewing angle of 178º and offers 500 nits of brightness. In our opinion, it translates into a panel with quite intense colors despite being an LCD panel and excellent brightness.
Seeing the result, we believe that not betting on an AMOLED panel has been good news. The level of image quality is high, taking into account the range of the device, and as an advantage is that level of brightness that allows us to use the tablet outdoors without problems . In our case we have chosen to work most of the time with a medium brightness of 50%, more than enough for interiors and with a very appropriate level of detail and lighting. Without being in front of a state-of-the-art screen, we believe that the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ screen will convince buyers.
Power: this Qualcomm processor knows little
It is probably the choice that determines the entire product . Xiaomi opts for a Qualcomm ARM chip for its convertible; the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 manufactured in 7 nanometers. Logically, this is not a gaming laptop or a high-end device that adds the latest Intel processors, but within the processors oriented towards productivity and autonomy, there are several options. And here we believe that Xiaomi could have risked more.
We are facing a processor that is already two years old, although it opts for slightly higher clock speeds than the base model . An eight-core processor up to 3 GHz with an Adreno 685 GPU, which is insufficient for most desktop games. They come with 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM.
After running some benchmarks, we see that the results are similar to those offered by an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y. In benchmarks like Cinebench R23 we have obtained 1,296 points in multicore and 417 points in a single core, being slightly below the Intel alternative.
However, after passing Geekbench 5 we have obtained about 3,065 points in multicore , slightly surpassing Intel. Up or down, but the two processors would be close rivals.
In the case of TimeSpy, one of the 3DMark benchmarks, we have obtained 1,761 points in CPU and 471 points in GPU. Numbers that coincide with what was promised by Qualcomm, where it explains that it is 18% more powerful than a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor , despite consuming half. Of course, Intel is already going for the 12th generation .
How do these numbers translate when playing? First of all, comment that not all games work natively with ARM , being mainly those titles that also work on tablets and mobiles.
At the reading and writing level, we see that the result of the SSD is correct. According to our test with CrystalDiskMark 8.0, we have obtained a read speed of the 256 GB SSD of 3097 MB/s and a write speed of 1,230 MB/s .
The consumption of the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 is low, with a TDP of 7 watts . At the temperature level it has also remained stable and has stood out for its high silence. In that sense, the experience is closer to that of a tablet, which in the end is what it is, not a laptop like what it tries to be.
User experience: great for productivity, rare when required
Windows 11, even if it is the version for ARM, is far ahead of other operating systems. iPadOS 16 is excellent and Android is always there, but the possibilities and facilities of Windows are a plus that all users will appreciate.
The use that I have given the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ has been mainly for browsing and writing. The use that any student or casual user could give it . And for this type of task, the device performs very well. Browse the Internet , write in Office, post on social networks, have dozens of tabs open, listen to Spotify or watch videos. In all these tasks we will have an ideal result. Although, when we move away from the most typical use is when we notice some lag .
When editing large images with Photoshop, when we have four or five applications running at the same time and also a lot of tabs in the browser… that’s when the Qualcomm ARM processor falls short. For everything else, the interface of Windows 11 is very practical and perfectly matches the touch screen .
Windows 11 for ARM is designed so that all the applications that we want to use can be downloaded through the Microsoft Store. The store has a large assortment, but if we want to install games or other programs we will have to do it the traditional way. To do this we must exit S mode . Once this option is activated, the use of this convertible is practically no different from using it with Windows 11 for x86 thanks to emulation.
Xiaomi also offers a Canvas Mode, to be able to use the Xiaomi Pen . However, we have not been able to test it, so we cannot tell you our feelings. Also comment that it is an additional accessory with a cost of 99 euros.
The storage of the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ is 256 GB, of which 237 GB are free . At the connectivity level, it has WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1. We have not had any connection problems, but if we look at the numbers misses the presence of WiFi 6. Once again Xiaomi offers us technical specifications that seem from previous years.
The stereo sound from the two 2W speakers placed on each side is quite convincing. We have tested it in several video calls and mainly listening to music from Spotify and the sound is achieved. It does not excel in any particular frequency range, but we have not noticed great distortions either. Where a good result is also achieved is in video calls. The two noise-cancelling microphones are noticeable and the audio is received well.
Finally, there is the photographic section. We have a 13 megapixel rear camera, useful for some occasional photography. Its quality would be equivalent to what the entry-level Xiaomi offer today. The front camera is 5 megapixels and allows you to record FullHD video. Again the result is more than worthy, although nothing remarkable considering the rest of the components.
Battery: withstands several full days of use
If there is one aspect where the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ should stand out, it is autonomy. The Qualcomm processor is precisely designed to offer several days of use and the truth is that it performs well. With a 38.08 Wh battery, Xiaomi’s convertible promises about 13 theoretical hours of autonomy, a result that we have managed to achieve most of the time with medium use and brightness at 50%.
We have 4,920 mAh, which may seem few compared to current mobiles. However, this figure must be understood. The mAh are not equivalent, since they act at different voltages.
Despite having a 12.4-inch panel, the autonomy of the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ does not suffer excessively. Working with it, we have always endured more than a day of use. Although it never reaches the end of the second day , has given us enough peace of mind to take it out to the cafeteria the day and not worry about it running out.
If you are thinking of this convertible to work at the university or away from home, at the level of autonomy you should not have problems. Of course, it should be noted that when we play or use heavy applications, the battery level drops significantly. Here it is noted that it is a device very prepared to use quietly for a long time, but not for a harder workload. The Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ supports fast charging up to 65W . However, Xiaomi sells the GaN charger separately.
Xiaomi Book S 12.4 ” : Conclusion
Xiaomi’s first convertible stays halfway. It is presented to us as the cheap alternative to the Microsoft Surface, but the truth is that with its price of 699 euros, plus the keyboard that is worth another 150 euros, it remains in a range that cannot be considered economic . Not even with its introductory offer of 599 euros.
We are facing a solid and competent product. The Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ offers a design and a good-level keyboard cover, high autonomy and a more than adequate screen . At the level of performance it cannot rival traditional laptops, but for productivity tasks it performs well .
Xiaomi offers us a convertible with laptop DNA , but falls short of presenting itself as a valid alternative. Both the autonomy and the weight of the ultrabooks have improved a lot and here the advantage of the Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ is shortened. The touch screen is still a good advantage, but we do not believe that it alone justifies this high price.
For those who need a portable device with a generous enough size, this Xiaomi Book S 12.4″ is an interesting option… which can be purchased for a more attractive price. We do not doubt that Xiaomi has a lot of room to lower its price It will be then that we see it as a convertible to take into account Right now, the Xiaomi Book S 12.4 “is only a first preview of everything that the manufacturer can offer. A timid first convertible that, if offered at a lower price as a base, could attract many more eyes.