There’s been a bumper crop of mini laptops this year and right now I have a bunch of little laptops sitting on my desk with screen sizes ranging from 7 to 8.9 inches. The heaviest weighs about 1.5 pounds, while the lightest is 1.2 pounds and is literally small enough to slide into my pants pocket.
But I’ve also got a 14 inch Acer Swift 7 on my desk that has a much bigger display and a full-sized keyboard. Yet it’s still remarkably thin and light, measuring just 0.4 inches thick and weighing just under 2 pounds.
The Acer laptop is the only model in this group of five little laptops that’s fanless, and it’s the only model of the bunch to feature Thunderbolt 3 ports.
So I figured I’d do a comparison of the Acer Swift 7, GPD P2 Max, One Mix 3 Yoga, Chuwi MiniBook, and One Mix 1S Yoga before I have to start packing up some of these review units and send them away.
Is anyone seriously having a hard time deciding between the $440 One Mix 1S Yoga and the $1700 Acer Swift 7? Probably not. But they do represent two very different approaches to mobility — they’re both compact laptops that you might be more willing to take with you wherever you go than you would be if you only had a 6 pound gaming laptop.
Here’s a run-down of some key specs for each model. Note that the prices listed for the GPD P2 Max and Chuwi MiniBook are the current prices during crowdfunding campaigns. The prices will likely go up after the campaigns end.
|Acer Swift 7||GPD P2 Max||One Mix 3 Yoga||Chuwi MiniBook||One Mix 1S Yoga|
|Starting Price (MSRP)||$1700||$529 / $704||$760||$429 / $529||$440|
|Screen size||14 inches||8.9 inches||8.4 inches||8 inches||7 inches|
|Display resolution||1920 x 1080||2560 x 1600||2560 x 1600||1920 x 1200||1920 x 1200|
|Processor||Core i7-8500Y||Celeron 3965Y/Core m3-8100Y||Core m3-8100Y / Core i7-8500Y||Celeron N4100 / Core m3-8100Y||Celeron 3965Y|
|RAM||16GB||8GB / 16GB||8GB /16GB||8GB /16GB||8GB|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe||256GB / 512GB PCie NVMe||256GB / 512GB PCIe NVMe||128GB eMMC / option for up to 512GB PCIe NVMe||128GB PCIe NVMe|
|Ports||2 x TB3/USB-C, 3.5mm||2 x USB-A, USB-C, micro HDMI, 3.5mm||USB-A, USB-C, micro HDMI, 3.mm||2 x USB-A, USB-C, mini HDMI, 3.5mm||USB-A, USB-C, micro HDMI, 3.5mm|
|Touchpad||Wide||Small||Optical touch sensor||Optical touch sensor||Optical touch sensor|
|Fingerprint sensor||In power button||In power button||Standalone||Standalone||Standalone|
|Battery||32 Wh||34.96 Wh||33.11 Wh||26.6 Wh||25 Wh|
|Bluetooth||BT 5.0||BT 4.1||BT 4.0||BT 4.2||BT 4.2|
|Dimensions||12.5″ x 7.5″ x 0.4″||8.4″ x 5.9″ x 0.6″||8″ x 5.1″ x 0.6″||7.9″ x 5″ x 0.7″||7.1″ x 4.3″ x 0.7″|
|Weight||2 pounds||1.4 pounds||1.5 pounds||1.5 pounds||1.2 pounds|I’m still working on my One Mix 1S Yoga and Chuwi MiniBook reviews, but you can read my reviews/previews/first-looks for the models listed above here:
- Acer Swift 7 review
- One Mix 3 Yoga review
- GPD P2 Max preview
- One Mix 1S Yoga first look & benchmarks
- Chuwi MiniBook Preview
- One Mix 1S Yoga Review
Note that there are multiple configurations available for some models — the One Mix 3 Yoga and Chuwi MiniBook I received are both entry-level models, while the GPD P2 Max review is for the high-end model.
As for what it’s like to actually use the laptops, for the most part the biggest difference is that the Acer’s large screen and full-sized keyboard makes it a lot easier to user, but a lot tougher to slide into your pocket.
Multitasking can be a bit trickier on the smaller models, not because they lack the horsepower, but because it’s hard to squeeze multiple apps on the display without making yourself squint. And typing on the cramped keyboards is something that can take a little getting used to — although I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed typing on the One Mix 3 Yoga’s little keyboard thanks to a series of mostly reasonable compromises the company made.
The Acer Swift 7 is the model in this group of the little laptops with a full-sized touchpad, but GPD did manage to make room for a small multi-touch trackpad beneath the keyboard. The smaller models all make do with optical touch sensors instead.
Despite having the largest display, the Acer Swift 7 is also the thinnest laptop… which might help explain why it has the least ports. Aside from its Thunderbolt 3 ports, it only has a 3.5mm audio jack. All of the smaller models have at least one USB-A port and some sort of dedicated HDMI output. Most also have microSD card readers (but not the GPD P2 Pocket).
The three smallest models are also convertible tablet-style devices with 360-degree hinges. And the One Mix 3 Yoga models feature optional support for a pressure-sensitive pen.
Only two of the five models I’ve tested lack backlit keyboards — the GPD P2 Max and One Mix 1S Yoga. All models have touchscreen displays. And three have webcams — the Acer Swift 7, Chuwi MiniBook, and GPD P2 Max.
The Chuwi MiniBook is the only model in this group that ships with eMMC storage, but higher-priced models also have a PCIe SSD. And there’s an access panel on the bottom of the laptop that lets you add your own SSD by removing a single screw.
So which of these little laptops is best? It really depends on what you’re looking for. They each have strengths and weaknesses.
The One Mix 1S Yoga is the smallest and one of the cheapest, but it’s also one of the last powerful. The One Mix 3 Yoga has the best keyboard I’ve tested on a 9 inch or smaller notebook, but it’s not quite as fast as some other models. The GPD P2 Max offers a pretty good mix of specs, but it’s not at all pocket-sized. And the Acer Swift 7 is remarkably compact for a laptop with such a large screen, but it’s also very expensive and gets mediocre battery life.
Oh, and there’s one more important thing to keep in mind — Acer is a major PC maker with a long history of delivering computers and offering customer support to customers around the globe. Chuwi, GPD, and One Netbook are all smaller Chinese companies with less experience selling products on the global market — and I’ve heard some customer service horror stories from folks who’ve bought these products and run into trouble trying to get repairs or returns processed. So there’s a little more risk involved with buying these mini-laptops, but until a top PC maker like Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer, or Asus decide to produce a 7-9 inch laptop, these companies pretty much have the market to themselves.
Check out my reviews for more details.
If you’re interested in purchasing or-pre-ordering any of these little laptops, here’s where you can do that:
- Acer Swift 7 for $1700 at the Microsoft Store
- GPD P2 Max for $529 and up at Indiegogo
- One Mix 3 Yoga for $760 and up at GeekBuying (Save $10 with coupon: BELWFNVY)
- Chuwi MiniBook for $429 and up at Indiegogo
- One Mix 1S Yoga for $440 and up at GeekBuying (Save $10 with coupon: 3ZQUXJGU )
you forgot a device has 8 inches………its Sony vaio vgn p………hat laptop is awesome and its cheap go check for it
Brad, I’ve just watched your video review after 2 months of you posted it. In case you are still reading this, and interested in my feedback, I’d share it with you briefly.
But does that Acer feel like it’s $1300 more of a computer?
And this week Ask Jack question talks about minis in depth
with lots of controversy in the answers and several hundred comments
Here are three mini-laptops to consider. First, there’s the Asus VivoBook E203MA (search for E203MA-FD017TS),
Second, there’s the robust Acer TravelMate B118 (search for NX.VHSEK.004)
The third is Microsoft’s Surface Go, reviewed here in October
problem with those 11.6in laptops is that they are all underpowered celerons with little RAM… The surface go is the only one I would consider. These mini are more powerful (core m with up to 16GB RAM). Their main problem is not power but battery life…. (and for me lack of LTE)
By the way, do you use prescription glasses?
I sometimes use “reading glasses” 2 diopters when using my netbook.
Brad, the links for the GPD and Chuwi both go to the GPD Indiego page.
Whoops, the links should be correct now. Thanks for the heads up!
Waiting for a 10″-12″ ThinkPad Yoga model wiht active stylus
along the lines of the L390, which would come in under $1000.
No it won’t fit in a pants pocket, but in a jacket or purse/murse.
Active stylus, decent keyboard, large enough display for tired older
Brad, by chance do you have the model number of that Acer Swift 7?
Shouldn’t You include the Psion 5 mx follow-ups? They seem to have the best mini keyboard ever.
(Cosmo Communicator, Gemini PDA by Planet Computers)
This isn’t a comprehensive list. It’s a list of models I had sitting on my desk as of July 7/15/2019.
I’m more interested in handheld PCs with built-in LTE. No table, no lap and just handheld thumb typing action. Hoping to see a handheld PC with LTE at some point.
For now, I’m rocking a GPD MicroPC with a duct taped USB LTE modem + short cable. Too bad it arrived with a broken USB port, a loud whining fan and GPD has horrible customer support (nearly non-existent and they pretty much refused to fix it).
Got a MicroPC as well. Its SSD died after a day though. Emailing GPD for support is a pretty bad experience. After several back and forth, they want me to buy an SSD myself and also replace it myself. Not exactly what I expected in terms of warranty.
Ugh, that stinks. I forgot to mention that’s one of the other big differences when ordering products from Chinese companies like Chuwi, GPD, and One Netbook. They don’t offer the same kind of customer support as companies with bigger presences in the West.
I’ll update the article with a line or two about the risks.
One Mix (One Netbook) is looking for US distributors. I hope they fond some and fix that situation
The MicroPC is a nice device when it’s working though.
I got a MicroPC that doesn’t stay on without being plugged in even when the battery is charged according to Windows. Emailing GPD’s kendyz email from the IGG page has resulted in 0 responses from GPD. I didn’t even get horrible support but got ZERO support.
The little computers are unusable: tiny and cramped keyboards, terrible mouse control, tiny screens, low performance, short battery life — and they run hot. I don’t understand the use case. All those compromises so that one can fit them into (huge) pockets? That made sense, maybe, in the pre-smartphone era.
Your comment would make sense, maybe, if smartphones were running full Windows or Linux.
Smartphone OSes are pure retardness!
an 8in device allow me to do things that are not possible or are much slower on a smartphone, but simple people don’t have a clue about this and do everything on their smartphone….
I haven’t tried these keyboards other than the crappy gpd pocket, but with my ipad mini keyboard I can write as fast an on a full keyboard, like just as fast, not slightly slower.
You can have full programs and if you have an ipad run remote desktop, which is unusable under 8in in proper aspect ratio (even an 8in smartphone would still be unusable)
full OS also means local real time sync with cloud services
Low performance comment just means you don’t have a clue.
As for short battery life, it’s a real issue, other that on ipad mini, but power banks do exist
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