Affordable laptops are a necessity in the ecosystem if we need more people to use technology to be more productive. Of course, smartphones are doing more than its bit to plug the technology gap, but they are limited in their effectiveness because of their size and form fact. Some functions will need a larger screen and a keyboard.
Almost half a decade ago we had a flurry of netbooks which were supposed to be the next big thing because they were small convenient and affordable. However, they were also underpowered and hence had a limited run. Now, however, this form factor seems to be making a return as good Windows devices become more costlier. This is where a device like the Chuwi Lapbook can help first time computer users to exploit the best of Windows and the Internet.
Chuwi LapBook is a 14.1-inch notebook powered by Intel’s 7th gen Apollo Lake Celeron processors. But the LapBook is a very compact device and feels more like an 11-incher; it is that compact. At its thickest point, the LapBook is just 20mm and the weight is also just 1.7kg. This isn’t an Ultrabook, but is very close to what that thought process was all about. There are 2 USB ports, one HDMI port and a card reader despite the thin frame.
Specs: 14.1-inch IPS Full HD display | Quad-Core Intel Apollo Lake N3450 (2.2 GHz) with Intel graphics | 4G RAM | 64 GB ROM | 2MP camera | 9000 mAh LiPo battery | Windows 10 | 1.74kg
Price: $279.99 ($22 for India shipping)
What is good?
Well, the best thing about the Chuwi Lapbook is the entire package. Given all you are getting for $279, this comes across as great value for more. For instance, this is a 14-inch notebook, it has a Full HD screen, a full size keyboard and is pretty compact. Also, the overall processing power is great if you are not a power user.
Though a thin device, the LapBook has a full-sized keyboard which means you don’t end up typing wrong keys all the time. The keys are a bit different and stand taller than most laptops you would see these days. This means there is a good amount of travel when you hit a key and this makes typing an enjoyable experience. The trackpad is also large and responsive, though it does keep moving the cursor to different parts of the screen as you are typing.
The overall performance is quite good, as long as you don’t harbour ambitions of using this for photo or video editing. This is essentially for those who would write a lot, browse the web and maybe watch videos. Let us keep it at that and you will have no issues. Yes, it will do some basic photo editing, but it might be too much asking the LapBook to be your Photoshop companion.
The battery life on the LapBook is impressive and you will be able to get through a regular workday without reaching for the charger. In fact, I did not even bother packing the charger to office for a few days. However, it is recommended you do as you will not be able to charge this one with any other adapter.
What is not great?
I don’t like the white body of the LapBook which got soiled in the first week itself. So look for a better colour if you decide to choose one. Or get a good set of decal stickers to cover up the patches.
While the device is thin, the display side of the clamshell is unusually thick and you need to be careful while shutting device. I did hear some creaks once in a while.
Chuwi has not yet launched in India and you will have issues with authorised service centres. If something goes wrong you will need to depend on a local technician.
Should you buy?
At this price range, yes even with the shipping, the Chuwi LapBook looks like a good value for money device. For now you need to buy it from an international e-commerce player, but Chuwi is in talks Indian e-tailers to bring the device here directly. If you are looking for a good notebook that helps you consume and create content, then the LapBook seems like a good buy, though with an element of risk attached to it.