Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Review: Best Core i5 laptop of 2022 yet
The Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G gets almost everything right with regards to the user experience. Is this the best Core i5 laptop to buy in 2022?
Xiaomi changed the game in the midrange laptop segment back in 2020 with its Mi Notebook models. Good build quality, a great display, powerful specs, and reasonable prices were the reason all of us took Xiaomi laptops seriously. So did its rivals, who all have eventually upped the game in the sub-Rs. 90,000 space. This year, Xiaomi is back with the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G and there are some clever changes, all of which make this laptop the best Core i5 Windows PC to buy today!
No, I am not basing my opinion on its lucrative spec sheet only. It is seldom that we see a midrange laptop being pleasant to use and this Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G is one of those rare ones. Starting at Rs. 69,999, this is a solid deal for someone looking for a Core i5 work laptop. However, the version with the NVIDIA MX550 GPU costing Rs. 74,999 is what makes it win our hearts. For someone seeking a solid all-rounder Windows laptop under Rs. 80,000, I cannot think of a better alternative.
Xiaomi loves to copy Apple and this time, we see the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G being a faithful re-creation of the MacBook Pro. Place an Apple sticker on the lid and people will be fooled easily! That's not bad in my opinion, considering the build quality as well as fit and finish is superb for a laptop costing Rs. 75,000. The matte metal body is lightweight and the silver colour only adds to the classy appeal. I also like the large trackpad and spacious QWERTY keyboard.
For those concerned with the ports, the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G gets a USB-Type A 3.1 Gen 1 port, a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, a Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI 2.0b port, and a 3.5mm jack. The webcam sits in its conventional position, i.e., on the top bezel. Thankfully, the MacBook Air M2's notch is yet to be copied.
With the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G, you get a 14-inch 2.5K IPS LCD display with a refresh rate of 120Hz, 100 percent SRGB colours, and dE<1.5 for colour accuracy. The most obvious thing to notice is the 120Hz refresh rate, which makes going around Windows 11 a smooth experience. Scrolling is smooth and the animations are, well, smooth. The panel itself is good with colours – content looks bright, colours are good, and viewing angles are fairly wide. It doesn't look as good as the OLED display on Asus' similarly priced VivoBook S15 OLED but most people won't have issues with the panel. Additionally, I also liked the presence of an ambient light sensor, thereby bringing the auto-brightness feature on this laptop.
Xiaomi laptops have always been fast and the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G is no exception. Under the hood lies an Intel Core i5-12450H processor paired to 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD storage. Being the 120G variant, you get the NVIDIA GeForce MX550 GPU along with the Intel HD Graphics. Xiaomi pre-loads Windows 11 as standard.
This combination of specs makes for a fairly capable daily work machine. If you, like me, deal with 10-12 Google Chrome tabs, MS Word, Spotify streaming, and WhatsApp running simultaneously all day, the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G will keep chewing through the workloads with ease. I did not see stutters or lags, or random app shutdowns during my usage.
The NVIDIA MX550 GPU comes in handy when editing photos on Photoshop and doing light video editing. I did some casual gaming on the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G and the results were as per expectations. I was able to F1 22 on low graphics at 720p resolution and managed to touch 50-60 fps, while 1080p settings dropped it to 30-40 fps. Forza Horizon 5 defaulted to Low-Medium settings to maintain 45-60 fps settings, which is fairly impressive. Note that this isn't a gaming laptop and hence, gamers should keep their expectations under check.
Despite the gaming though, the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G managed to keep the temperatures under control through a 1-hour session. Another thing that helped with the experience is speaker setup – it is a standard stereo speaker setup but the audio is tuned nicely; ample low-end grunt and strong mids, decent highs for a laptop of this class. I wish the volume could have gone louder.
Then there's the keyboard – it is among the segment bests. The keys have a comfortable amount of travel and I like the lower resistance, which allows for quicker typing speeds. The spacious layout also helps to reduce key ghosting and mistyping. The backlighting is a boon too. The macro key is now a Xiaomi signature – you can map any application to this key as its dedicated shortcut button.
I also liked the responsive trackpad, which works nicely with the Windows gestures. The large surface area helps with the workflow but I would have liked better click-ability on the trackpad.
The webcam performance is decent as long as your surroundings are well-lit. Xiaomi has kept its own pre-loaded apps to a minimum, and with my Xiaomi 12 Pro, none of them worked as advertised, sadly.
The Achilles heel of almost every Windows laptop, and more so for the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G. A 56Whr battery with a nicely optimised Core i5 processor can at most deliver up to 6-7 hours of battery life. With the 120Hz display factored in, I could only extract up to 5.5 hours at most on a busy office day with the aforementioned usage. Reducing the refresh rate to 60Hz adds another two hours to the stamina but even then, I would have liked Xiaomi to offer a larger battery.
Thankfully, the 100W charger in the box fills it to 50 percent in just half an hour. Additionally, you can use USB-PD power banks to charge it up as well, which is another boon.
For less than Rs. 80,000, the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G ends up being a solid midrange Windows laptop to consider, if your primary usage is work-related. It is built nicely, has a good display that only enhances its appeal with the 120Hz refresh rate, solid and flawless performance, as well as a good choice of I/O ports. The standard model at Rs. 69,999 should be a good pick for most users, while the NVIDIA MX550 GPU equipped version at Rs. 74,999 is great for casual gamers and budding creative users.
That said, it is not all good. Battery life is an issue on the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G and you need to tow that charger in the backpack. The webcam could have been better and the speakers louder.
But then you look at the competition and the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G ends up being a solid laptop in comparison. The Asus VivoBook S15 for the same price only offers a larger 15.6-inch OLED display but misses out on a discrete GPU – not a package for everyone. That makes the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G the best Core i5 midrange laptop we have seen in 2022.
- Good 120Hz Display
- Well optimised performance
- Great build quality
- Discrete GPU for casual gaming
- Battery Life
- Webcam could be better
Display14-inch 2.5K 120Hz IPS LCD
ProcessorIntel Core i5-12450H
Storage512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
Charging100W USB-C charger, PD