The Chuwi AeroBook is a thin and light laptop with a 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display, an Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor, 8GB of RAM, and at least 128GB of storage.
It’s the latest in a line of low-cost laptops from Chinese device maker Chuwi and it’s expected to retail for about $499 when it becomes widely available later this year.
But Chuwi launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign today that lets backers pick one up for as little as $399 (or a bit less if you sign up through Chuwi’s promotion page). You just have to wait until April for it to ship.
There’s usually some level of risk involved in “buying” something from a crowdfunding site, since companies often use these campaigns to raise the money needed to actually finish producing the device they hope to sell. But Chuwi is a well-established company that’s basically using Indiegogo to build buzz and collect pre-orders.
That said, you don’t get the same level of support and customer service when ordering a Chuwi product in the US as you would from a better-known brand like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, or Lenovo.
What you do get is a relatively inexpensive laptop that bears a more than passing resemblance to Huawei’s MateBook laptops (but with less powerful hardware and with a 16:9 display rather than a 3:2 screen).
While the Chuwi AeroBook has a 6th-gen Intel Core m3 “Skylake” processor that was released in 2015, that chip is still more powerful than the current-gen Intel Celeron and Pentium “Gemini Lake” processors that are more commonly found in cheap Chinese laptops these days.
One thing to keep in mind is that the entry-level model comes with 128GB of eMMC flash storage, which isn’t particularly speedy. But there’s also an M.2 2280 slot that you can use to add an SSD.
Chuwi is also offering higher-priced 256GB and 1TB models, although it’s unclear if those will ship with eMMC or SSD storage, or a combination of both.
Other features include a backlit keyboard, a 38 Wh battery, two full-sized USB 3.0 ports, a micro HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader.
The AeroBook has relatively slim bezels around the display, a large touchpad, and a compact design: Chuwi says the notebook is 8mm (0.3 inches) thick and weighs less than 2.8 pounds.
Update 3/14/2019: Chuwi has added a USB Type-C port and support for USB-C charging.