The Topjoy Falcon is a tiny convertible laptop with an 8 inch touchscreen display, a hinge that lets you fold the screen back for use in tablet mode, and a design that’s… actually pretty familiar.
It’s the latest in a crop of mini laptops from Chinese device makers that bring back the netbook dream. But it’s slightly larger and heavier than other devices in this category. It’s also the first model I’ve seen to feature an Intel Gemini Lake processor.
As I reported in August, Topjoy plans to start taking pre-orders for the Falcon during a Kickstarter campaign set to launch this month. Backers will be able to pre-order one for $399 and up, while the full retail price is expected to be $699.
Update: The Kickstarter campaign is live.
The company sent me a prototype to check out ahead of the crowdfunding campaign. There are some known issues that the company plans to address before shipping the Falcon to customers. But out of the box, it makes a good first impression.
I’ve only spent a little time with the Topjoy Falcon, but I can already tell that it’s going to be easier to type on than the GPD Pocket 2 or One Mix Yoga thanks to a larger keyboard. But the larger body also means that this is not a laptop you’re going to be able to fold up and slide into your pocket.
While it’s definitely small by modern laptop standards, it is larger than anything GPD or One Mix has released to date.
The laptop features a 1920 x 1200 pixel touchscreen display and under the hood, it has an Intel Pentium Silver 5000 quad-core processor and 8GB of RAM. The prototype I’m testing has a 128GB SSD. Topjoy’s website says the final version will have 128GB of storage.
The Topjoy Falcon charges via a USB Type-C port, and there are also USB Type-A, 3.5mm audio, and HDMI ports. All of them are on the right side of the laptop.
On the left side there’s a vent — the Topjoy Falcon uses a fan for active cooling. There is a button on the keyboard that allows you to disable the fan if it’s getting too loud though.
There’s a speaker on the bottom of the laptop.
Open up the laptop and you’ll be greeted by a keyboard design that was clearly inspired by the GPD Pocket and One Mix Yoga lines of devices. There’s no room for a touchpad, so Topjoy placed an optical touch sensor in the middle of the space bar and put left and right click buttons below it.
Some keys are half-height, including the Home, End, and PgDn buttons. And others are half-width, including the colon, quotation mark, comma, period, and question mark keys. But there’s more space between those keys on this keyboard than there are on GPD or One Mix devices, which could make touch typing a little easier.
That said, you will need to spend a little time with the Topjoy Falcon to get used to the keyboard — hand me most laptops and I can get up to full speed in seconds, or minutes at most. That did not happen when I started typing on this keyboard. I had to think for a second before pushing some keys, and I find it disconcerting that the Del key is beneath the backspace key.
While the design and specs for the Topjoy Falcon have been largely finalized, the company alerted me to a list of issues with the prototype that still need to be fixed.
- The screen doesn’t turn off when the lid is closed. So I need to remember to manually put the prototype to sleep.
- When switching to tablet mode, the keyboard doesn’t shut off. So I need to remember not to press any keys while using the Topjoy Falcon prototype as a tablet.
- The G-sensor doesn’t work well, so I need to rotate the screen manually. Fortunately Windows 10 makes it easy to rotate the screen 90, 180, or 270 degrees.
- The screen is a little heavy, so if you push it back too far the laptop will start to tip over.
- The right-click button below the optical touch sensor doesn’t work properly.
- The fan on/off button on the keyboard doesn’t work yet.
- The battery indicator light doesn’t work yet.
- The USB Type-C port is a little too deep, so Topjoy sent me a special cable since some others may not work. This shouldn’t be an issue for customers, who will get a standard USB-C cable and a US, EU, or UK power adapter.
These are all known issues that the company is already working to resolve. So they shouldn’t affect customers, but they’re certainly things I need to keep in mind while testing the Falcon.
One other thing I noticed is that the laptop weighs 1.5 pounds, rather than the 1.2 pounds promised on the Topjoy website. I suspect that the final version will probably weigh about 1.5 pounds, since One Mix Yoga weighs 1.1 pounds and it’s significantly smaller.
After I’ve had more time to test the Topjoy Falcon I’ll write a preview with notes on performance battery life, and general usability. For now, check out the video above for the out-of-the-box experience, or check out the images below for a closer look at the prototype.
Update: The pen I tried to use with the Falcon in the video above is the digital pen for the One Mix Yoga… which had a dead battery. Topjoy actually included a pen in the box with the Falcon, but it was covered in bubble wrap and I didn’t notice it until after I shot this video. Stay tuned for pen performance notes in our full review.