The laptop launch cycle this year has been greatly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while brands rushed to release products in the second half of the year, there have been product categories that saw far fewer releases than normal. The mainstream laptop category is one of those, where despite the spike in sales of laptops during lockdowns, there haven’t been too many model refreshes. What we did see was the entry of Xiaomi into the Indian laptop market. While a new player for our country, the company has been selling laptops in many international markets for years. With Xiaomi now coming into play, there was an expected shake-up of the mainstream segment in terms of both specs and pricing. Market situations aside, let’s see who won our coveted award.
The Acer Swift 3x gains a notable advantage over its competitors by being one of the first laptops available in India with Intel’s 11th generation processors. Our test unit comes with the Intel Core i7-1165G7 with 16GB DDR4 memory and a 512GB NVMe drive. While the processor itself doesn’t lend to much of a performance jump in comparison to the 10th generation counterpart, we see a massive boost in GPU performance. The Acer Swift 3x ends up topping all GPU-based benchmarks in comparison to other competitors, even the NVIDIA GeForce MX350-powered Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition. When it comes to day-to-day tasks or even multi-tasking between Office applications, the Swift 3x manages to do it all with ease. Intel’s 11th generation chips are definitely something worth waiting for, especially if the Acer Swift 3x’s performance metrics are anything do go by. Sheer performance scores are what win Zero1 Awards, and the title of highest performing Mainstream Laptop in 2020 goes to the Acer Swift 3x.
When Xiaomi announced the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition, it was the only laptop at the time to sport an NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU. We also showcased that with the combination of the Intel Core i7-10710U and 8GB RAM, the MX350 was decent enough to deliver playable framerates on most popular titles. The laptop at the time exhibited very impressive performance, and had it not been for Intel’s 11th generation powered Acer Swift 3x, the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition would have taken the crown. While it only slightly comes behind the Swift 3x with respect to CPU performance, it’s the battery life where the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition really shines. In our testing, it consistently delivered about 6 hours of use, with numbers going sometimes higher in day-to-day usage. The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition was a laptop we definitely enjoyed testing and would definitely recommend to buyers.
The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition as tested comes very close to matching the performance of much more expensive Acer Swift 3x. In testing, we were able to game on the machine at very satisfactory frame-rates and even do very light photo-editing when needed. The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition manages to deliver all this reliable, highly ranked performance at a fraction of the price of the Acer Swift 3x, and has also achieved one of the highest value for money scores in our assessment. Based on this, the Best Buy award for mainstream laptop has to go to the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition.
About Digit Zero 1 Awards:
With a legacy of 20 years, the Digit Zero 1 Awards is recognized as the Industry’s only performance-based awards. Digit rewards brands for putting in years of research in developing and introducing performance-driven products for their audience. All products are made to pass through a rigorous and scientific test process and compete with competitor brands in the same category. The Winner in each category is announced on the basis of their total score post complete performance analysis done across an average of 56 tests conducted for every category, across key performance parameters. The test process for the Zero1 Awards does not consider scores for features, price or design. The aim is to identify the very best products that money can buy, celebrate the innovations that push the industry forward, and reward the products that dare to disrupt the market.
Digit's resident camera nerd, (un)official product photographer and the Reviews Editor