When talking about Chuwi, people usually think of a tablet PC with a great hardware and low price tag. Its Hi line models are popular in every corner of the planet. But this manufacturer has already entered the laptop market with its LapBook series notebooks. We have already managed to take our hands on three models coming with 12.3-, 14.1-, and 15.6-inch displays. But the one we are going to talk about now seems to be packed with more attractive hardware and sport more stylish look. The Chuwi LapBook Air has been designed as a MacBook Air alternative. Of course, there are too many laptops made with this purpose in mind, but this one is closer to the title than others. This means the LapBook Air not only copies the overall design of the Cupertino-based company’s product but also provides the way better performance than its main competitors in face of the YEPO 737A, T-bao Tbook Air, Jumper EZBook Air, and others. This should be proven. So let’s take a closer look.
The first thing came to my mind when I saw this notebook was ‘Has Chuwi begun making Xiaomi-like laptops?’ Though we’ll try to answer this question at the end of this review, we tend to think Chuai has been in the tablet PC market for a while and it is taking care of business.
First, the Chuwi LapBook Air is the best product this company has ever made. It outruns even the Chuwi SurBook, which has been made as the best Microsoft Surface Pro alternative. It comes with dimensions of 32.92 x 22.05 x 2.05 cm, which is the same of the Chuwi LapBook 14.1. But thanks to the appearance and improved design, it looks thinner. They even are at the same weight of 1.74kg. The slimmest part on the front is 0.6cm.
However, the Chuwi LapBook Air differs from its sibling by the overall look, color, and front panel. The latter carries a 14.1-inch IPS screen with a Full HD resolution. But the same screen can be found on the LapBook 14.1 as well. So what’s the trick? It turns out the company has used a bezel-less glass and narrow bezels for its new product. As a result, when the laptop is turned off, we have a feeling of a borderless display. Two microphones and a 2MP camera are placed on the upper side of the screen.
The whole body is made of aluminum alloy. The manufacturer also uses CNC crafting to make the edges look more attractive and comfortable in terms of ergonomics. Generally, Chuwi uses various processes for this model to make it an actual premium laptop. Say, it used a 0.2mm compact lamination as well as 7H Moh’s hardening. The dim light logo of the company is on the front. If it was another brand, I would like not to see it there.
As for the keyboard, it comes with a high-quality material (I guess plastic). So it doesn’t cause any inconvenience when typing. The keys are placed at a comfortable distance. The keystrokes are soft. Actually, this is one of the best keyboards we have ever seen on a Chinese laptop, but there is one thing we don’t like in all of them. Why they put the Power button on the upper right corner? Agree there should be the Delete key. However, Chuwi has placed an additional column on the very right side. Personally, I don’t use those buttons frequently. It is backlit.
The trackpad is very responsive. But we like the gestures it supports. Say, tap with two fingers to use it as a right click of a mouse, or slide with two fingers to scroll it in the direction you want, or double-finger knead to zoom in/out, or tap with three fingers to activate Windows Cortana Intelligent Voice assistant, or tap with four fingers to open the Task manager. Thus it can almost fully substitute a mouse.
The Chuwi LapBook Air has no problems in terms of connectivity, as it comes with two USB 3.0 ports, micro HDMI slot, DC jack, TF card slot, WLAN card, and 3.5mm audio jack. But what’s more interesting, it supports dual-band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac as well as Bluetooth 4.0.
In terms of hardware, the LapBook Air can’t be compared with the toppest models such as the Xiaomi Notebook Pro. But it still sports an Intel chip, which means it is capable of providing a nippy performance. This model is packed with an Intel Celeron N3450 SoC, which can be found on many devices from this niche. It’s even can be found on the Jumper EZBook 3S and 3 Pro. I mean this is very popular and tested chip for laptops at this price tag.
If talking briefly about this chip, it is a quad-core SoC primarily for inexpensive notebooks. The maximum frequency it can reach is 2.2GHz, though it’s clocked at 1.1GHz regularly. This SoC is based on the Apollo Lake platform and runs on a 14 nm process node (P1273) with FinFETs.
Besides four CPU cores, the chip also includes a DirectX 12 capable Gen9 GPU, which is capable of providing 4K video. The HD Graphics 500 graphics is also used for the Kaby Lake / Skylake graphics adapters (like HD Graphics 520). This card is equipped with 12 EUs and clocks up to 700MHz. So the performance should be roughly on par with the older HD Graphics. Plus, this chip comes with an advanced video engine, which supports VP9 playback as well as H.265 material (8-bit color-depth).
Well, the chip is more or less familiar to us from the Chuwi LapBook 14.1, but what about the memory? This is one of the most attractive selling points of this notebook, as it comes with an 8GB DDR3 RAM. Thus no app or game should run out of memory. However, if you are a heavy gamer, the processor should not meet your requirements. There is also a 128GB eMMC 5.1 flash storage. But if you think it’s slow or small, there is a special place on the bottom to install an M.2 SSD card up to 256GB.
At last, the Chuwi LapBook Air is packed with a large capacity battery of 10.000mAh, which is capable of providing up to 7-8 hours of life when using normally.
I guess, Chuwi bets on the appearance first. In this sense, the LapBook Air is a great laptop ready to beat all of its rivals even if they from the same LapBook family. But this doesn’t mean the company has sacrificed the performance to come in with an affordable offer. On the one hand, the Chuwi LapBook Air doesn’t sport the latest 7th or 8th generation Intel chips. But on the other hand, the Intel Celeron N3450 has been appeared on many laptops at this pricing and justified itself. So you should focus on the memory more rather than on the chip generation. Agree, 8 gigs are more than enough for daily tasks.
Well, let’s answer the question asked at the beginning of the article whether Chuwi has begun making Xiaomi-liked laptops. Absolutely, no! But it’s not done because this manufacturer can’t do that. It just targets another niche. In this sense, the Chuwi LapBook Air is one of the best-looking alternative coming our way from a popular Chinese manufacturer. Well done, Chuwi!
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