The first mini laptop from Chuwi is up for pre-order through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
The Chuwi MiniBook features an 8 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel touchscreen display, a 360 degree hinge that lets you hold the computer as a tablet, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of eMMC storage.
Early bird prices start at $429 for a model with an Intel Celeron N4100 processor, and $529 for a version with an Intel Core m3-8100Y processor.
Chuwi says the mini laptops should ship to backers in September.
Note that Chuwi will only be offering limited quantities at those prices. If and when those slots are filled, the prices will climb. So depending on when you place your order, you could end up spending $449/$549 depending on when you place your order.
That still makes the MiniBook one of the more affordable mini-laptops on the market, at least during the crowfunding campaign.
Like most other devices in this category, the MiniBook doesn’t have room for a full-sized keyboard, so the keys are rather small and close together. And instead of a touchpad below the keyboard, there’s an optical touch sensor in the middle of a split space bar.
One thing that sets it apart from some existing models like the GPD Pocket 2 and One Mix 2 Yoga is that the MiniBook has a 2MP webcam and microphone.
Another nice feature is support for expandable storage — there’s an M.2 slot under the hood that you can use to add a PCIe NVMe SSD if you opt for the Core m3-8100Y model, or a SATA SSD if you get the Celeron version.
Chuwi also notes that the Core m3 version features LPDDR3-1600 RAM while the Celeron model features LPDDR4 memory.
Other features include a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, a 26.6 Wh battery, a USB Type-C port for charging and data, a mini HDMI port, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader.
The Chuwi MiniBook features 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5 support. Despite some earlier indications that there might also be support for an optional 4G LTE modem, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The little laptop measures about 7.9″ x 5.1″ x 0.8″ and weighs less than 1.5 pounds.
I should be getting my hands on a Chuwi MiniBook prototype this week, and will share some impressions of the little laptop soon.
One thing to keep in mind is that while there’s always risk involved in backing a crowdfunding campaign, Chuwi has a habit of using these campaigns for pre-orders/publicity rather than for generating enough money to complete the production of its hardware. While Chuwi products aren’t always built to the same standards as computers from better-known companies, the Chinese device maker does have a track record of delivering tablets, laptops, and mini-desktop computers.