Chuwi Announces The LapBook Air: For Preorder Nowby Brett Howse on September 25, 2017 8:00 AM EST
Although they are a relatively small company, Chuwi has been impressing me with low cost-notebooks, that don’t have all of the normal drawbacks of low-cost notebooks. That isn’t the case across their entire lineup, but the LapBook 14.1, and the LapBook 12.3, are both great devices in their class, and are easy to recommend. Chuwi is now trying climb the price ladder a bit with their latest LapBook Air, which is available for preorder now for $430 USD.
The latest LapBook is both thinner, and lighter, than previous models. The new 14-inch notebook is a thin design that Chuwi has stated to me to be 6mm. That’s likely the thinnest point though. The laptop weighs 1.3 kg, or 2.87 lbs, which is pretty light for a 14-inch laptop. It’s also completely made out of aluminum, so it should feel pretty nice to use.
Chuwi has stuck with the same platform they are using in most of their recent LapBook models, which is the Intel Celeron N3450. This is an Atom based CPU, with four cores, and up to 2.2 GHz frequency. It’s based on the latest Atom, which is Goldmont (not Glodmont as Chuwi has in their images) and our reviews of it show that it can make for a laptop that can easily handle day to day tasks.
Chuwi has increased the RAM in the LapBook Air, compared to their other models, to 8 GB, and they’ve also doubled the storage from the 64 GB in other LapBook models, to 128 GB, which they are calling an SSD. I hope that’s the case, because everything else they ship is eMMC. Regardless, 128 GB is a reasonable amount for a low-end system, and should be adequate for most people. If you do need more space, there’s a M.2 2242 slot on the bottom which can handle a SATA SSD, and there’s a micro SD slot as well.
Chuwi is touting the display calibre on the LapBook Air. The IPS display is 1920x1080, and is rated for 320 nits of brightness, which isn’t amazing but should be ok for most use cases. It’s a matte texture, which will please some people and annoy others. The display also features thin bezels, much like the LapBook 14.1.
Chuwi has finally added keyboard backlighting as well, which has always been missing in their less expensive models. Hopefully they’ve fixed their terrible trackpad as well, but we’ll have to see when we get our hands on this device.
As a news pipeline, it’s likely not the time or place to discuss Chuwi as a brand, but here are two thoughts. First, they need to stop trying to steal other brands names if they ever want to be taken seriously. Second, if they are going to keep creeping up the price of their LapBook models, the Atom platform isn’t going to cut it for much longer. At $430, it’s already getting to the point where it’s hard to find an Atom powered Celeron acceptable.
No, the CPU isn't behind the display
Still, it’s nice to see them improving their products. The LapBook Air looks like a nice device, and I’m excited to check it out. Where they’ve made their mark though is the low end of the market, and it was ripe for someone to come along and offer a good device for the money. Once they get up into higher price brackets, the competition gets a lot tougher.
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marvdmartian - Friday, October 6, 2017 - linkAlmost instantly, an image of Mike Myers, as "Doctor Evil", came to mind....holding up this fingers for quotes, and stating, "Thin Bezels"! LOL
The name of this makes me wonder if Apple trademarked the word "air", for their Macbooks??
BrokenCrayons - Monday, September 25, 2017 - linkI'll be interested in reading up on the reviews of Chuwi's latest model. It superficially appears to be a good combination of specs and manufacturing materials, but it deserves a deeper analysis. Based on their previous models, it's probably a safe bet that the execution is good with few flaws.
cfenton - Monday, September 25, 2017 - linkI bought the LapBook 14.1 as a "I'll bring this places I worry my 15" Macbook Pro will get stolen or damaged" laptop. For $270 (taxes inc) Canadian it was a hell of a deal. They picked a good mix of components for a great price. Just having an IPS 1080p screen made it stand out. The Atom 3450N is pathetic, but it can edit Word documents and send emails, which covers 99% of the work I do away from my desktop.
This new one seems far less appealing. Aluminum is nice, but I'd rather have a better processor, or a bigger SSD, or almost anything else. $430 is too expensive for a N3450 based system.
Samus - Monday, September 25, 2017 - linkFor $430, you’d be better off with a new old stock HP Elitebook 1040 G1 on flea bay. Core i5, real SSD, better overall build (even without a review in tow this is obviously going to be true comparing HP to Chuwi) and a really good keyboard.
My real dissatisfaction eith Chuwi has been the keyboard, particularly what they do (along with Asus) with the power button...putting it where the backspace key is. That has got to be the dumbest trend out of the netbook phase that still hasn’t completely died.
webdoctors - Monday, September 25, 2017 - linkI guess Intel charges an arm n leg for any real CPU like an i5. Shame AMD can't compete here, could corner the market.
Rektide - Monday, September 25, 2017 - linkReally hoping mobile Zen pans out OK. The new batch of AMD Excavator laptops look alright, lots of $350 offerings that are probably pretty OK for use, but they sure are bulky & you have to be OK with HD (1366x768)- I'm not OK with that, at all.
Hopefully Zen scales down OK, & hopefully companies like Chuwi make the business case clear that putting a decent resolution screen on a laptop is good. The Lapbook 12.3 I use frequently is 5MPixel and cost me $300. Surely these AMD laptops can do better than 1MPixel displays!
HStewart - Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - linkI have a Chuwi Pro 8 ( $99 ) just to play with Atom and it nothing compare higher level Intel CPU's like even the Core m3 my Samsung TabPro S. which is pretty much the same as my Original Surface Pro - but fanless and flat as iPad Pro.
To me this computer looks like cheap rip off - looking like a Microsoft Surface Laptop, but with low end processor
Slaveguy - Monday, September 25, 2017 - linkLooks like a nice, light notebook to use while breastfeeding my rat
Samus - Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - linkAdorably random.
Rektide - Monday, September 25, 2017 - linkI've been using a Lapbook 12.3 for a couple months now & have been really enjoying it as a on-the-go development station, primarily because it has that amazing 2736x1834 resolution screen. That it's also >$100 cheaper than this 14" unit makes it still pretty standout.
Neither the additional 2GB RAM or 64GB storage on this 14" Lapbook seem they'd convince me to take the huge drop in screen resolution vs the 12.3 (2MPixel vs 5MP!). There's also a free M.2 slot begging for a SATA SSD on the Lapbook 12.3, and you've got a gratis $100 price difference to fill it with. I do like that this 14" has what looks perhaps like a significantly thinner bezel.