The Chuwi AeroBook Review: One Small Step For Chuwiby Brett Howse on June 21, 2019 8:00 AM EST
For the last several years, Chuwi has been shaking up the bottom end of the PC market with low-cost alternatives to the big manufacturers that offer significantly more PC for the money than you’d typically see. But, until this year, Chuwi has focused only on the lowest cost notebooks. Their signature over the last couple of years has been more RAM, more storage, and a better display than most other notebooks in their price range, making them an easy recommendation in the value end of the spectrum. Today we are taking a look at the latest notebook from Chuwi, the AeroBook, and here Chuwi has deviated from their norms. Luckily these risks all result in a better user experience, but of course it comes with tradeoffs.
The 13.3-inch Chuwi AeroBook is the first notebook from the company to not use an Atom based processor, with the AeroBook making the leap to an Intel Core based CPU in the Core m3-6Y30. This is a Skylake-Y series CPU, meaning this isn’t the latest generation Amber Lake-Y we just took a look at in the HP Spectre Folio – or even the previous generation Kaby Lake-Y – but a generation farther back still. So even though it’s a step up to Core, it’s not a giant leap. The Core m3-6Y30 offers two Skylake CPUs cores with Hyperthreading, and a base frequency of 900 MHz with a maximum turbo frequency of 2.2 GHz. Compared to the latest Core m3-8100Y, it’s well behind the 1.1-3.4 GHz range that CPU can achieve, but regardless, it’s still a nice step over the previous Atom based Chuwi LapBooks we’ve reviewed.
As a budget device, you’d likely expect budget specifications, but Chuwi, as usual, offers quite a bit of value in the AeroBook. The version sold in North America comes with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, meaning it’s well-equipped for an Ultrabook with a price of just $499.00 USD. For comparison, that’s twice the storage as the same priced Surface Go, and you don’t need to purchase a keyboard for this laptop either. As a budget device though, there’s always going to be compromise, and that happens here with the RAM being single-channel only, and the SSD being a M.2 SATA version. But it does pair nicely with the Core m3, offering enough RAM and storage to make the system usable for many tasks.
Chuwi also continues to offer an IPS display, and while that is a standout feature on their lower cost devices, once they bump into higher price brackets, it’s no longer the rarity that it is at the $250 range.
|CPU||Intel Core m3-6Y30
2C / 4T 900 MHz - 2.2 GHz
4.5 W TDP
|GPU||Intel HD 515
24 EU 300-850 MHz
|Display||13.3-inch 1920x1080 IPS
|Storage||256 GB SSD
Netec SATA M.2
|Wireless||Intel Dual Band Wireless AC-3165
1x1 802.11ac with Bluetooth
|I/O||2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB Type-C w/PD
1 x Micro HDMI
3.5mm headset jack
|Battery||38 Wh Li-Ion
24 W AC Adapter
|Dimensions||308 x 209 x 15.2 mm
12.1 x 8.2 x 0.6 inches
|Weight||1.26 Kg / 2.77 lbs|
To hit the lower price ranges while still offering reasonable baseline specifications, other portions of the laptop do take a hit, as you’d expect. Chuwi offers only 1x1 Wi-Fi, but it is the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 NIC, so despite being a 1x1 NIC, it’s still a quality one. Chuwi also only offers a 38 Wh battery, which is certainly on the small side for a 13.3-inch notebook.
With a new notebook lineup, and the jump to Core, Chuwi has bumped their price bracket up slightly, but they are still offering the value you’d expect. Let’s dig into how the rest of the notebook fares, starting with the design.
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HStewart - Friday, June 21, 2019 - linkI have purchase a Chuwi tablet and would say it was very cheap and I would never purchase one for $500. This uses 2 generations old bottom of line Intel Y processor and very soon to 3 generations old. My guess is that they are trying to monopolize on old hardware.
My 3 year old Samsung TabPro S has similar cpu and in better form factor than this - are we sure this was a new computer - but than again Chuwi always used outdated components which to be honest gives a bad name out there.
pjcamp - Friday, June 21, 2019 - link"Chuwi has often never done well on battery life..."
PixyMisa - Sunday, June 23, 2019 - linkIn this case, yes.
Hog54 - Friday, June 21, 2019 - linkIm on a Asus laptop that has a AMD RYZEN 2500u, Nvidia 1050 graphics,8 gig of ram,and a 256 ssd that I paid the same price for 3 months ago.:)
Xpl1c1t - Saturday, June 22, 2019 - linkBought a Huawei Ryzen 2500U Matebook D, $450. Im mainly a desktop user, but this laptop is probably the most functional laptop I've used. Running Plasma Wayland desktop for most taks (still need windows for MATLAB and SPICE). Havent been this convinced that I own a great mobile product since purchasing the Samsung NC20 (Via Nano powered) netbook ages ago and reworking the keyboard to DVORAK to evaluate the claimed benefits (it is better, wish i could rework this keyboard).
The level of competition in the low/midrange mobile segment makes me wonder why anyone would mess with premium segment mobile products given the minimal performance gap. Egotism I guess.
HP, Razer, Dell, Apple - I see most college students around me using these products, but cant help shaking my head when considering their markup over price-competitive brands. My experience with HP laptops is that they have fragile glass coverings on their touchscreens, Razer is basically adopting the premium Apple tax mentality which caters to their market segments, Dell products are probably the most durable - though XPS machines are way overpriced. I strongly suspect that, despite the fact that all these machines are not manufactured domestically, that the markup over identically specc'd machines from non-domestic brands is simply buffering the inevitable collapse of their niche domestic markets. The proposition that the domestic engineering of a laptop is significantly superior to non-domestic engineering is no longer legitimate. Guess this is why people want to make america great again?
bji - Saturday, June 22, 2019 - linkI guess no one else is as smart as you huh?
Perhaps you should read and understand the selection mechanisms that go into consumer choices. Not everyone wants what you want, and other people value aspects of products that you may not care about. It's kind of obvious if you think about it. Have you actually thought about it? Or are you more comfortable making ego-stroking assumptions?
Sorry I just cannot read another smug Anandtech post about how much smarter the poster is than everyone else with regards to product choices. It is soooo old and increasingly annoying every time it happens.
Xpl1c1t - Sunday, June 23, 2019 - linkI'm not proposing that I am smart, but thank you for educating me about your opinion.
"The proposition that the domestic engineering of a laptop is significantly superior to non-domestic engineering is no longer legitimate."
That is my proposal. Eat it. What, do you work for HP? Raking in the screen repair bucks? Yeah... guess I cant get my Huawei repaired domestically, but im not concerned about the glass shattering any time soon.
oRAirwolf - Sunday, June 23, 2019 - linkI got one of these off of the IndieGoGo campaign for $429. It's a nice laptop for the money. I agree that the battery is too small.
The screen has a very yellow tint to it. I have tried adjusting the color temp in the Intel control panel, but it's just not great. I ordered a SpyderX Pro and am going to play with it more.
The backlight on the keyboard does not turn on with the laptop. You have to turn it on every time you power on the laptop. It would be really nice if it remembered it's setting.
The backlight on the keyboard does not turn off when you turn off the laptop.
The BIOS is completely unlocked and has options for many features that do not exist. It makes it pretty difficult to make any changes.
Lord of the Bored - Monday, June 24, 2019 - link"The backlight on the keyboard does not turn off when you turn off the laptop."
All I can say to that is: Haha what.
How do you mess that up?
Spunjji - Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - linkAgreed, that's pretty damn special!