After making an appearance at trade show in Hong Kong last month, the Chuwi Minibook is almost ready to go.
The folks at Chuwi tell me their 8 inch mini-laptop with a convertible tablet-style design will go up for pre-order through an Indiegogo campaign soon. And the company has posted a promotional website where you can sign up for a “Super Early Bird Discount” of 25 percent off the sale price… whatever that may be.
While the demo unit Notebook Italia checked out in Hong Kong was powered by an Intel Celeron N4100 Gemini Lake processor, Chuwi says it also plans to offer a model with a higher-performance Intel Core m3-8100Y Amber Lake processor. In fact, that’s the only version listed on the promotion page… but I’m hopeful that the company will offer both models, since I suspect some folks would be willing to sacrifice some CPU power for a lower price tag.
The Chuwi Minibook looks a lot like other mini-laptops released in the past few years, including the GPD Pocket, One Mix Yoga, and Topjoy Falcon.
But this model has a slightly different keyboard layout than some other devices in this category and a few other unusual features such as support for multiple storage devices and an overclocked processor — the Core m3-8100Y is normally a 5 watt chip, but Intel allows it to be configured to run as low as 4.5 watts or as high as 8 watts, and Chuwi seems to be going with the latter option.
Here’s a run-down of the tiny computer’s specs… at least for the Core m3 model:
- 8 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel IPS touchscreen display with 360-degree hinge
- 8GB LPDDR4 memory
- 128GB eMMC storage + M.2 slot for PCIe NVMe storage and microSD card reader
- 26.6 Wh battery
- USB Type-C port (PD 2.0 fast charging support)
- Two USB Type-A ports
- Headset jack
- Mini HDMI port
- Fingerprint sensor in the power button
Like most devices in this category, the laptop is too small to accommodate a traditional keyboard layout. So while the QWERTY keys are pretty much where you’d expect them to be, some punctuation and function keys are in a row above the number keys. Like the upcoming One Mix 3 Yoga, the Chuwi Minibook has a Tab key is above the 2, for example.
And since there’s no room for a full-sized touchpad, there’s a small optical touch sensor instead. It’s placed between the B and N keys and in the middle of a split space bar.
Update: Here are some real-world pictures, courtesy of Chuwi:
This would have replaced my Surface Go LTE. Too bad they’re no longer advertising a built-in LTE option.
no altgr https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AltGr_key
sorry but not buy this
Interesting that they have both eMMC storage and an empty M.2 slot. Since it doesn’t seem to have a SIM slot nor pre-installed antennas, I doubt that’s for an LTE modem.
I like that it has 2 USB Type-A ports despite its size.
These render look noticeably thinner than the one showed at the trade show. The actual device is chunkier.
I hope that they managed to slim it down a bit for the production version. Nevertheless, I am waiting curiously for the official dimensions..
No more mention of LTE, eh? Too bad it looks like they dropped it. Would have been a pretty big differentiator for me.
Yeah, I was excited that this would have an LTE option. Looks like Chuwi decided to not provide it in the end. At least this device may have a more common M.2 form factor though. Would be easier to find high quality SSDs for it than some of the other devices.
Glad to see more modern netbooks. I hope they enter the handheld thumb typing non-gaming PC market too. That’s where I plan on spending my money.
There’s the MicroPC and Win 2 but the Ethernet and RS-232 ports make it bigger than I’d like and I don’t like the gaming stuff. Although if I had to choise, I’d get the MicroPC.
Now that none of these things seem to have LTE despite the earlier advertising, I’m leaning more towards the handhelds. Mostly the MicroPC since I’m not a gamer and don’t want gaming controls on there (the hinge seems to break easily too).
My only concern with this machine is size. The mix yoga 3 or whatever is about the same size as an ipad mini, little fatter, but I can put an ipad mini in my back pocket. This machine looks quite a bit wider. What are the dimensions?
If you cant fit it in your pocket and you have to shove it in a bag, might as well just get a larger machine.
What if you carry around a small bag and/or it’s already packed? Maybe a purse for the women.
Its an interesting alternative to the One Mix 3. I like that Chuwi’s keyboard has a more attractive layout. I like that they didn’t bother to put a Caps Lock key next to the “A” key.
I’m curious to hear more about the M.2 slot, I’m guessing that its a 2280 slot, because theyre calling it NVMe compatible, and I believe all NVMe drives are 2280-size.
I’d be okay with my OS running on a 128gb eMMC, but I’d like to see benchmarks first.
If you look at the pictures carefully, I think there’s actually a Caps Lock key in the same place as in the onemix yoga 2s. I also think it’s a good thing to have at least that button in order to be able to remap it to Alt Gr, since otherwise I see big issues with using this for keyboard layouts other than the boring US/UK ones.
Actually, if you look closely, it doesn’t look like the caps lock is separate from the A key, and the Caps Lock text is in the same colour as the function keys. I don’t know if it will be usable in the way you’re suggesting.
Making the caps lock key a function key is a great idea. At least for me, I rarely use it and don’t mind it not being a dedicated key.
Also, if it does have a 2280 M.2 slot, it’d make this more attractive than the other netbooks that use a less common (accessory-wise) size.
Good point about the M.2 size. Hopefully, they’re using one of the more common ones.
Looks pretty good. I wonder how well it’d work if the optical touchpad was higher so you don’t need to move your hands down and away from the home row keys.
I’m curious at what actual DPI/PPI/points resolution is a sweet spot for a mini notebook like this. Such as the 9.7 iPad’s resolution is 2048×1536 pixels at 264 PPI and 2×2 pixels equal 1 point. So it’s effectively an 1024×768 points display at 132 PPI. I hope you can follow me.
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