The RedmiBook 15 is Xiaomi’s entry-level notebook. It comes in two variants, the Pro model that we have for review here today and an e-Learning edition, that has a slower processor.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro is primarily designed for office work. It features a 15-inch 1080p display, an 11th gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB NVMe SSD storage.
In India, the RedmiBook 15 Pro is priced at INR 49,999, which is about $685 at the time of writing. This means it sits between the truly basic laptops on the market and the more desirable models around the $1000 mark. Let’s see how well it performs.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro comes with basic packaging that includes the notebook, a 65W power brick with a standard barrel plug, power cord, and user manual.
Design and build
The RedmiBook 15 Pro has a simple and minimal design. The lid has a Redmi logo, which is a departure from the previous Mi series notebooks that had no logos or markings on the lid.
The body is made entirely out of plastic with a matte finish. This makes it very easy to cover with smudges and fingerprints. A lighter color may have made them harder to see but the RedmiBook 15 Pro comes in only one color, a dark shade of metallic blue.
The bottom side is also relatively clean, with a single large vent for air intake and two smaller grilles at the bottom for the speakers. The air pulled in from the bottom is exhausted through a concealed grille near the hinge.
The back cover takes some effort to take off. Once you remove the nine screws the cover needs to be pried open as it’s held in place with multiple latches. This requires a spudger and may dent the plastic if not done carefully.
Despite having a 15-inch display, the RedmiBook 15 Pro is not particularly large. At 1.8kg, it’s also not particularly heavy and reasonably light for lugging around all day.
The build quality is decent and there’s no excessive flex in the chassis or the lid. The lid can be opened with one hand most of the way but it does tend to pull up the base towards the end of its arc.
Overall, the design and build quality are quite decent for the price.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro has a 15-inch, 1920×1080 resolution, 60Hz TN LCD panel.
The display has poor color accuracy out of the box, with a very noticeable blue tint due to the low color temperature. However, performing a hardware calibration reveals another, even larger issue. The display is only capable of covering 52% of the sRGB color space and 37% of DCI-P3. The contrast also drops further after calibration.
Being a TN panel, the display has poor viewing angles. There’s no angle that you can set the display to where the entire panel looks fine. This results in you constantly adjusting the display every few seconds as you focus on the upper or lower part of the screen.
The display brightness is also quite dim; the maximum brightness is around 170 nits, which makes it hard to see in bright daylight.
The overall display performance on the RedmiBook 15 Pro is abysmal. The poor coverage of the sRGB color space means every single image, video, or web page that you see on the display lacks color definition. The only thing that isn’t affected is monochromatic documents but even there the poor viewing angles make the viewing experience miserable.
Keyboard and trackpad
The RedmiBook 15 Pro has a spacious chiclet-style keyboard with a large plastic trackpad.
The keyboard has a standard layout with the addition of page up/down, home/end keys on the right. A lot of 15-inch laptops do try to cram in a number pad but that usually comes at the cost of comfort. The RedmiBook 15 Pro keyboard is well laid out and all the keys are well-sized and have good spacing between them.
The keys also have good travel and feedback. It doesn’t take long to get used to typing on this and the overall experience is quite comfortable and enjoyable. The only problem with the keyboard is the lack of backlighting, which makes it hard to use in the dark.
The trackpad is also quite large and easy to use. The surface doesn’t have the smooth texture of a glass trackpad, which means the additional friction makes it less pleasant to drag your fingers around it. However, it does work reliably and you can execute all the supported gestures in Windows 10 without any issues.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro has a pair of bottom-firing speakers. The speakers can get quite loud but the sound is quite tinny. It’s fine for just voices but doesn’t sound good for music or movie content.
Hardware and connectivity
The RedmiBook 15 Pro features the Intel Core i5-11300H processor with four cores, eight threads, and 4.4GHz max turbo frequency. The graphics are handled by the integrated Intel Iris Xe processor.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro comes in a single memory and storage configuration. You get 8GB of 3200MHz DDR4 memory in single-channel configuration and 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD.
Unfortunately, while you can just open the back panel and swap the M.2 drive with a different, higher capacity model, the RAM seems soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded by the user. This means you can’t just add another stick to increase the capacity or to enable dual-channel mode for additional performance.
You also get a 720p webcam above the display. The image quality from the camera isn’t very good and while it may be fine for school work you may want to invest in a dedicate webcam for professional use.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro features two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports on the left side along and a single USB-A 2.0 port on the right. There aren’t any USB-C ports on this machine, which is a glaring omission in 2021, even on budget models.
There’s also an HDMI 1.4 port that is good for 8-bit 1080p144, 1440p75, or 2160p30 output without chroma subsampling.
Other ports include a barrel plug for charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack, an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet jack, and a full-size SD slot. The machine also has 2×2 dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro ships with Windows 10 Home 64-bit pre-installed.
For those who haven’t experienced Xiaomi’s notebooks, the software experience is the antithesis of their smartphones. Basically, the machine ships with an almost default Windows installation state, with only a handful of Xiaomi apps pre-installed.
The list of pre-installed apps includes Microsoft Office, Mi Drop, Mi Service, Mi Support, Xiaomi Cloud, and DTS audio app. You can install all of them if you want and you’d have a perfectly clean installation of Windows 10.
With that being the case, there’s not much to say about the software. It pretty much feels like installing a fresh copy of Windows on a custom-built PC. Even if you don’t remove the pre-installed Xiaomi apps, they don’t really ever get in your way or bother you. In fact, most of the annoyance comes from the bloatware inherent to Windows 10 in the form of Microsoft’s pre-installed services.
As such, the RedmiBook 15 Pro gets high praise for its software experience. Well, as high as it can get on a Windows 10 PC, anyway.
The RedmiBook 15 Pro offers good performance for home, office, or school use. The quad-core Intel processor is powerful enough to handle web browsing, office documents, and even 4K video playback with consummate ease.
The 8GB memory is usually adequate for casual web browsing, office or school work, or for watching media content. Just using Microsoft Edge, the machine was able to juggle a handful of tabs and a few open applications reasonably well. However, if you need to do anything more than that then know that there is no way to upgrade your memory on this machine.
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