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
4C/4T
1.1-2.2 GHz
2MB L2 Cache
6W TDP
GPU Intel HD Graphics 500
12 Execution Units (Gen 9)
200-700 MHz
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
Price $250-270 USD

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 

Design
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  • lakedude - Sunday, March 12, 2017 - link

    "Good to see Ars covering a Chuwi product."
    Um, Anandtech?
    Reply
  • pSupaNova - Sunday, March 12, 2017 - link

    https://techtablets.com/ he covers them all with videos too Reply
  • PWM_IS_THE_NEW_IPS - Sunday, March 12, 2017 - link

    PLEASE TEST FOR PWM!!!

    This review is completely useless. Thanks for pushing the manufacturers to offer IPS laptop screens. Now that everybody has IPS models, the new frontier are the no-PWM displays.
    Reply
  • osamabinrobot - Sunday, March 12, 2017 - link

    anyone check to see if its phoning home yet? thats my biggest fear from some of these brands Reply
  • Tralalak - Monday, March 13, 2017 - link

    Compared to Atom (22nm Silvermont and die shrink 14nm Airmont), Goldmont is a bit of a beast. Both Atom and AMD’s Bobat/Jaguar/Puma core can fetch and issue up to two instructions. Goldmont can do three. Like AMD’s (or VIA’s) Goldmont has a full out of order execution engine.
    „Much of the changes with Goldmont were about improving the out-of-order execution compared to Silvermont, with a wider decoder, better branch prediction, and a larger out-of-order execution window. Goldmont can perform one load and one store per cycle, and it can execute up to three simple integer ALU operations per cycle. There’s new instruction support for hashing with SHA1 and SHA256, and there’s new support for the RDSEED instruction.“

    My Asus Aspire ES13 (ES1-332-P2VZ) with Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 1.1GHz - 2.5GHz (Goldmont - Apollo Lake):
    source: https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/intel-pentium...
    Reply
  • jimjamjamie - Monday, March 13, 2017 - link

    "This is one of the worst sounding speakers I’ve ever seen in a notebook"

    That's a special set of eyes you have there, Brett
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Monday, March 13, 2017 - link

    There's really nothing wrong with that statement. One might hear the sound the speakers make, but can also physically see them inside the notebook. Reply
  • LED Lights Undg - Monday, March 13, 2017 - link

    Is the RAM soldered?
    Last year I bought a couple of very cheap Acer ES1-331s where I could easily upgrade ram (up to 8GB) and add a bootable SATA SSD. Too bad they have a Braswell Celeron N3050 and a 768p (matte) TN display.
    Reply
  • 0ldman79 - Monday, March 13, 2017 - link

    Single chain, not channel.

    Just makes those of us that deal with it regularly twitchy. :)
    Reply
  • Visual - Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - link

    Adding something with x5 Z8300/Z8350 in the benchmarks would have been nice. There are a lot cheap-ish tablets and laptops and convertibles using that. Reply

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