The Chuwi LapBook 14.1 Review: Redefining Affordableby Brett Howse on March 10, 2017 8:00 AM EST
In this industry, it is all too easy to focus only on the high end of the PC market. Manufacturers want to show off their best side, and often provide samples of high-end, high-expense devices more than their other offerings. While these devices are certainly exciting, and can set the bar for how products should perform, there is definitely a gap compared to being able to review the other end of the market. A couple of years ago, HP launched the HP Stream 11, which at the time was a solid entry into a new price bracket, but it was, of course, a device with a lot more compromise than HP’s more expensive offerings. But, HP was not sampling the Stream 11 to very many people, as can be the case on devices like this, so I went ahead and purchased the Stream 11 for review.
When Chinese manufacturer Chuwi reached out with an opportunity to take a look at the Chuwi LapBook 14.1, it was a great chance to see how this market has evolved over the last several years, and to see how another manufacturer tackles the inescapable compromise of this end of the market. The Chuwi LapBook 14.1 offers a lot of computer for the money. The price has varied a bit over the last six weeks, but it has been as low as $249.99 USD, and is currently for sale for $264.99.
As its name would suggest, the Chuwi LapBook 14.1 is a 14.1-inch laptop, featuring an Intel Celeron N3450 CPU, which is the latest 14 nm Atom cores, codenamed Goldmont, and in this case, it’s a quad-core model which can hit 2.2 GHz in its 6-Watt TDP. We’ll dig into Goldmont more in a bit, but Goldmont in this configuration is known as Apollo Lake, and it features Intel HD Graphics 500 with 12 EUs up to 700 MHz. The LapBook also features 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of eMMC storage, as well as a MicroSD slot for expansion up to another 128 GB of storage.
Where the Chuwi LapBook stands out though is in the display. The LapBook features a 1920x1080 IPS panel, when most laptops in this price range feature 1366x768 TN displays. Most, but not all, with HP offering a Carrizo-L powered 14-inch notebook with IPS as well, so while Chuwi is not alone in this market, the IPS display is a huge step up over the TN competition. The LapBook also features 8 mm bezels, which is quite a bit thinner than most laptops, and especially laptops at the $250-$300 price range.
|Chuwi LapBook 14.1|
|CPU||Intel Celeron N3450
2MB L2 Cache
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 500
12 Execution Units (Gen 9)
|Memory||4 GB Dual-Channel|
|Display||14.1" 1920x1080 IPS 60 Hz|
|Storage||64 GB eMMC
Expandable up to +128GB microSD
|I/O||1 x USB 3.0 Port
1 x USB 2.0 Port
1 x micro HDMI
micro SD Card Slot
1 x Headset Jack
|Dimensions||330 x 227 x 9-20 mm
13 x 8.93 x 0.35-0.79 inches
|Weight||1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs|
|Battery||45 Wh, 24W AC Adapter|
|Wireless||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
1x1 with Bluetooth 4.2
Chuwi has also gone with an 802.11ac wireless card from Intel, which is good to see. It’s a single channel only, but assuming you have an 802.11ac router, it will offer a lot more performance than an 802.11n model.
Overall, the Chuwi LapBook packs quite a bit in for just over $250, with 64 GB of storage, 4 GB of RAM, a FHD IPS display, and all in a 9-20mm thick package weighing in at a few pounds. It’s very portable, it has decent specifications, and the price is good, but specifications don’t make a computer, so let’s dig into it a bit more to see how it stacks up.
Chuwi is offering a $24 discount code on Amazon for AnandTech readers. Please enter the code TIUGTN5W at checkout
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Mikuni - Friday, March 10, 2017 - linkPointless, probably $400 in Europe.
vladx - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - linkIt's around 300 euros here in Europe.
YoloPascual - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - linkGiven the perf/watt of zen architecture, can we expect AMD to release ryzen mobile chips at this tdp?
hojnikb - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - linkThere is a chance, but not as 4 core parts. Maybe if they do a special 2C4T part with smaller gpu just for cheap and low tdp devices. Sorta like stoney ridge.
YoloPascual - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - linkThis is what I am thinking too. AMD seems to emphasize "scalability" of zen architecture. I wonder if they can scale downwards too.
wumpus - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - linkNot directly. 4C4T 2GHz @ 6W sounds more like Bobcat/Jaguar in the AMD world (what's in PS4/XBox1). Half a raven ridge would still suck twice the power (at max, probably doing more than twice as much).
On the other end, this whole architecture is a dead end. No idea how long Intel will produce it (or even update the GPU, they aren't updating the CPU). I doubt AMD is all that interested in updating the "cat" architecture either (although obviously they will continue to produce PS4/Xbox1 SOCs). Given time, "1/2 raven ridge" will probably become pretty competive for this type of thing, assuming you don't go straight to ARM chromebook/android/Linux on ARM/Win10ARM [Microsoft keeps insisting that last bit *is* a thing, but haven't managed to convince anyone else].
DanNeely - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - linkMaybe, but their 8/16 desktop parts being at the same TDP as Intels 4/8 ones suggests that their core design power is significantly lower than Intels, and the last few generations of their architecture can scale down to 4-6W from 90 at a 50% core count so AMD being able to do the same with Ryzen wouldn't surprise me. OTOH a 2/4 core chip at that level seems a lot more likely as a potential atom challenger. OTOH with the first Ryzen laptop parts not due until the second half of this year (and probably the 4th quarter or they'd've said Q3 instead of H2) I wouldn't be surprised if the first chip in this power class isn't available for a full year.
fanofanand - Monday, March 13, 2017 - linkRyzen 8/16 being lower than Intel 4/8 isn't as big a deal as it's being made of. The intel parts being used in that comparison all have a gigantic iGPU that takes up half the die space. This is the same issue as "Ryzen's chip is smaller than Core" well yeah because there is no iGPU! If you were to compare the non-iGPU portion of the Core die, you will see that it's smaller than the Ryzen die, and likely the same would hold true with power consumption. All that said, AMD will definitely have low power cores and they will most likely be on the Ryzen architecture. Way too early to even guess at performance but all signs point to it being a competitive chip.
OnthroX - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - link$230 at GearBest with a EU Plug (vs $270 at Amazon)
I added DHL Shipping for $5 -- order came out to a total of $235.23
My first time shopping at GearBest but I hear they are okay.
Diji1 - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - linkGood to see Ars covering a Chuwi product.
The "Chinese manufacturers" phone, tablet and ultra/laptop recieves relatively little coverage in English speaking media which should change IMO.
It would be great if you looked at Cube, another Chinese brand on tablets andultrabooks.