CAN YOU REALLY? get an Ultrabook clone worth buying for under £240? The so-called ‘grey-market’ of Chinese manufacturers, many of whom provide white labelled goods for more familiar brands, is fast becoming a potentially rich vein for those seeking a bargain.
Chuwi is a brand that we’ve worked with before, but this is the first time they’ve given us a laptop to try, the Chuwi LapBook 14.1. The results are fascinating.
The design, with its bold minimalism and bright white, screams of Apple. Although the shell is plastic it’s extremely rugged with gloss lid contrasted by a slightly rippled underside and palm rests. But what is most striking is how ridiculously thin the Lapbook is – just 9mm at its thinnest point, 20mm at the thickest, and weighing in at just 1.4kg, it can easily be held with a thumb and forefinger.
When you open the lid, you’re greeted by a black bezelled screen, with just 8mm around the edges, and black low profile keyboard to complete the monochrome effect. Furthermore, while the shiny white surface marks easily it can be easily wiped clean so it should stay beautiful.
There’s a surprising number of ports and features in the space. As you’d expect, there’s no room for an ethernet port, but that’s made up for by the dual band WiFi (N rather than AC, though).
Rather frustratingly, there’s no USB-C, but there is a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0. A headphone socket on one side and a mini HDMI on the other are augmented with the power supply port and a Micro SD port capable of supporting SDXC cards complete the picture.
A full version of Windows 10 is provided and along with the dual-band WiFi there’s Bluetooth 4.0, stereo microphones and a 2.0MP camera.
The screen resolution is excellent, the colours sharp and the contrast good, certainly belying the price. The screen has a plasticky feel, but we don’t mind that, it means it’s not going to break.
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