Chuwi Lapbook Air Review


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I’ve never been a fanboy of any smartphone or laptop company as I review so many devices on a regular basis, but my relationship with Chuwi devices is as close as it gets. Ever since my first Chuwi device, the Chuwi Vi10, their products have been consistently good, and many of them great also.

Chuwi Lapbook Air Review

This is without a doubt the finest laptop Chuwi has ever made, and they have created a perfectly balanced laptop that is sure to satisfy everybody looking at an Apollo Lake device. A metal chassis, abundance of ports, and a great screen is just half of what the Lapbook Air offers. However, it has a massive flaw, and that would be the price. The Lapbook Air commands a huge premium over the similarly performing Chuwi Lapbook 14.1 which admittedly doesn’t have as many accoutrements as this Air, but is good where it counts. Let’s see what Chuwi has done.

Chuwi’s Best

Chuwi Lapbook Air Specifications

Processor Intel Apollo Lake N3450
Display 14.1″ 1920×1080 Glossy LCD Display
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB SSD
Operating System Windows 10
Cameras 5MP Camera
Battery 10,000mAh
Physical Dimensions 32.92 x 22.05 x 2.05 cm, 1.74 kg

Big thanks to Gearbest for providing this review unit.

Chuwi Lapbook Air Hardware

This Chuwi laptop is worthy of the “Air” moniker. With a body made of handsome, aircraft grade aluminum, the Air cuts a very nice figure. The chromed, chamfered edges shimmer prettily with the matte body providing a striking contrast (you can tell I’m gushing at this point).We are given an excellent array of ports, two full size USB ports, a headphone jack (rarer and rarer nowadays), microSD card slot, and a full size HDMI port. Full size HDMI ports on these ultraportable laptops have been life savers on many occasions (on my Xiaomi Air 12) and I salute Chuwi for including one here. If I were to complain about port selection, it would be the lack of a USB-C port (or a microUSB port). I wish companies like Chuwi would not only include these ports but use USB-C for charging instead of regular DC ports.Opening up the laptop, I’m greeted by black bezels around the screen. These black bezels are not exactly large or unsightly, but they aren’t tiny either. The Chuwi Lapbook 14.1 had very thin side bezels, why couldn’t the Chuwi Lapbook Air? Nevertheless, the bezels while not huge are not as small as they could be either.The keyboard here provides adequate travel and adequate feedback when depressed, I was able to type very easily on this laptop. Its backlit as well, but the backlighting is somewhat uneven, making it look slightly cheap. However, the backlighting does come in very useful in dark situations. I do have one complaint, and that would be the pressure required to depress the power button. It’s the exact same as the other keys, meaning that you will definitely press it by mistake, putting the computer to sleep. I would have much preferred a power key that required significantly more pressure to press than this did.The trackpad here is excellent, very accurate, multi-finger gestures are nice and smooth, it looks like Chinese manufacturers are quickly catching up to their bigger competitors in terms of multi-finger gesture software. Left and right clicks require quite a bit of effort to press, thus I usually rely on a light tap to activate the capacitive click instead of a physical one.
The trackpad surface is also unnaturally sticky, to the point of interfering with an otherwise normal finger slide. Wiping it down with a cloth does wear down the surface coating somewhat.

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Exquisite

Chuwi Lapbook Air Display

The 14.1” IPS LCD is glossy, which makes it a pleasure to look at. Colours popped out of the screen and colour saturation was more than satisfactory also. Text looked crisp from regular laptop viewing distances and viewing angles are similarly good. Maximum brightness isn’t great though, maxing out at 250 nits, not bright enough even in shade outdoors.

Chuwi Lapbook Air Audio

The speakers are decidedly the weakest part of the laptop. Audio volume is adequate but not loud, and audio quality involves fairly average treble, below average bass, and less than crystal clear differentiation. Its definitely useable in every day life to watch movies or Youtube, but your phone most likely has better speakers than this for listening to music.

Chuwi Lapbook Air Battery

Battery life on the laptop is fairly characteristic for Apollo Lake laptops, the typical 10,000mAh battery can power the laptop for about 6 hours of web browsing if using Chrome and about 8 hours using Microsoft Edge. Understandably, this is at lower brightness levels, turn the brightness up or play a game and battery life will take a nosedive. While this isn’t ideal battery life, its not out of the ordinary for laptops utilizing the Apollo Lake chipset.

Average battery life

Chuwi Lapbook Air Software & Performance

We have activated Windows 10 on the laptop and this is installed on a 128GB eMMC. eMMC drives aren’t the fastest, and this Sandisk eMMC is not the fastest eMMC drive on the market today. I did see slight lag here and there that I didn’t otherwise see on a faster eMMC, but you can still do many  basic things with ease, web browsing in Chrome, email, word etc. I was able to do some photo editing and basic video editing on this laptop but its not recommended as video editing is slow. Gaming performance is also typical of Apollo Lake devices, it struggled with 720p DOTA2, outputting 25-30FPS. Civilization 6 at 1080p was reduced to 10-15FPS, basically a slideshow at this point. This is definitely not a gaming laptop but you can run some older and lighter games on this laptop, Stardew Valley runs beautifully. The laptop does get quite warm during gaming and benchmarks, but the internal temperatures never got high enough to throttle the processor.

Chuwi Lapbook Air Connectivity

Chuwi has installed a dual band WiFi chip inside the laptop which was able to provide some very fast internet speeds, I experienced no issues with speed or range during my testing at all, standing with the best laptops in terms of connectivity. Bluetooth works well with all my devices also.

Chuwi Lapbook Air Verdict

Unfortunately, I still have to give this Lapbook Air a solid “don’t buy”. Even though Chuwi has slam dunked this Lapbook Air, making this pretty much the best Apollo Lake laptop available on the market today, the price is still too high. Selling for a rather exorbitant $379.99 USD, this laptop is not worth the money when a no sale Chuwi Lapbook 14.1” costs $250 and a Jumper EZBook 3 Pro costs $240. Sure, these two latter laptops are worse than the Chuwi Lapbook Air, but not $100 worse. However, bring that price down to $300 or even $330 and the Lapbook Air turns into a solid buy.

Amazing laptop, too expensive

Chuwi Lapbook Air Gallery

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