The pandemic has opened a can of worms for some industries that answered the question of digital adoption with a lazy sigh. Education being the foremost. Now that everyone’s pushed to the digital side of doing business and studies. Affordable laptops and smartphones are selling like hot bhajyas in Lonavala. Exactly one year after the Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition launched in India, its sub-brand Redmi has entered the market too. Just like the parent brand, this one too is affordable and performance-centric in the right amounts barring one glaring problem which we’ll discuss in the full review.
Firstly, there’s nothing ‘Pro’ about the RedmiBook 15. It’s as basic as any budget laptop. Albeit, it’s bloody fast. Rapid enough to boot in a jiffy and have you answering questions in Zoom class at the drop of a hat. The 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD on this thing demands credit and it always helps to drop the extra cash and not be stuck with a non-NVMe SSD laptop. So far we haven’t faced any issue with the 11th Gen Intel Core i5-11300H. It’s cut out for everything related to college assignment work and mediocre gaming. The Intel Iris Xe graphics on this thing is not much but it’s enough to run Photoshop and Lightroom without any hiccups. However, even if you run this software, the display is simply not cut out for such work. It’s the only downside to having this budget laptop. Washed out colours and potato viewing angles force you to shut your college work and start a career on Instagram Reels.
The 15.6in FullHD display is quite the eyesore if I am being honest and literal. There’s just too much shift in colour, brightness and contrast with the slightest movement to the screen. Even if you were to somehow compromise and spend your waking hours sitting bang centre of this laptop without adjusting the display even once, we still wouldn’t recommend it. Eye fatigue is real and with this laptop, the experience is rather bad. The hinge needs a bit more grip as well. We feel it might loosen after a few months or even a year of use. Thankfully, everything else is a bit more acceptable.
The keyboard is graciously spaced out and there’s a proper set of arrow keys. You don’t get the whole deal with a number pad but this works fine. The keys are basic without any backlighting so temper your expectations here. It’s not wrong to say that Redmi has spent most of the budget in getting the right processor and SSD for the job. The insides are better than the outsides. The plastic body is a testament to that and we’re not disappointed by the choice. At least the performance might last you a good few years without slowing down. The keyboard and trackpad are quite generic as expected from this budget. They work as intended, there’s nothing more to it. Albeit, I was typing as fast as I would on my gaming desktop because the keys were not cramped up. We recommend using a mouse with this laptop.
The clean design is a bit boring but that’s hardly an issue with a laptop that’s meant for work and studies. It’s not designed to take a beating and neither is the body strong enough for physical torture. Keep it away from water and best put it in a sleeve to avoid getting it nicked when you throw your bag in the luggage compartment.
The laptop is eligible for a Windows 11 upgrade and is pre-loaded with an MS Office Home and Student Edition 2019. I am kind of surprised that the laptop doesn’t have a USB Type-C port but that goes to show that the laptop is aimed strictly at the budget buyers and Redmi is cutting out the features which are not absolutely necessary.
Thankfully, there's a camera but the quality is that of a 2008 smartphone camera. Xiaomi sells external webcams (quite inexpensive too) which offer better and sharper quality so you can easily use those if the webcam is important for you.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro is not cut for Photoshop and Lightroom work even if the insides are great at handling such software. The display is quite a letdown. Don’t expect it to help you colour correct anything. When it comes to PPT and spreadsheets, the RedmiBook 15 Pro is passing with flying colours. It’s the cheapest way to bag a fast Windows laptop.
The battery life is here to match too. It’ll last you a good 5-6 hours before asking to be plugged in for a charge. Xiaomi’s not disrupted the laptop segment with this laptop for sure but it has definitely made a tempting offer for buyers by giving them the rapid blessings of NVMe SSD and 11th Gen Intel processors.
(If you’re going to ask us how the audio quality is, we request you to stop. Use headphones or connect this to a good Bluetooth speaker using its Bluetooth 5.0)