Every once in a while, we get surprised. It seems to be a rare thing in this industry these days, but it does still happen from time to time. The Chuwi Lapbook 14.1 was one such surprise when we reviewed it earlier this year. Chuwi hasn’t been around for a long time, but in one fell swoop, they forever changed the expectations on a budget laptop. Reasonable components, coupled with a good IPS display, instantly changed the expectations on any budget offering from the big PC makers. So far, they’ve not really responded, and the LapBook 14.1 is easily the top pick for anyone wanting a 14-inch laptop for not a lot of money.

So, imagine the shock when this still relatively unknown PC maker surprised us again. Earlier this year, they announced the LapBook 12.3, which is now available. It takes the same basic internals from the LapBook 14.1, couples it to the same display found in the Surface Pro, and packs it all into an all-aluminum chassis. The budget bar has been raised again.

The underlying platform is almost unchanged from the LapBook 14.1 that we reviewed in March. At the heart is an Intel Celeron N3450 CPU, which is a quad-core processor based on the Intel Atom lineup, but the latest Goldmont architecture. This isn’t going to be a blisteringly fast laptop, but the N3450 holds its own in light tasks. In addition, Chuwi has bumped the RAM from 4 GB in the LapBook 14.1, to 6 GB in the LapBook 12.3. That’s a very respectable amount for this PC. Storage remains the same 64 GB of eMMC, which isn’t a lot, but is much better than the 32 GB seen in most PCs in this price range. The LapBook 14.1 also had an M.2 slot inside where you could add a SSD if desired, and the LapBook 12.3 makes that even easier with a removable panel on the bottom to access the M.2 slot.

Chuwi LapBook 12.3
CPU Intel Celeron N3450
1.1-2.2 GHz
2MB L2 Cache
GPU Intel HD Graphics 500
12 Execution Units (Gen 9)
200-700 MHz
Memory 6 GB Dual-Channel
Display 12.3" 2736x1824 3:2 IPS
Storage 64 GB eMMC
Expandable up to +128GB microSD plus M.2 slot (2242 SATA)
I/O 1 x USB 3.0 Port
1 x USB 2.0 Port
1 x micro HDMI
micro SD Card Slot
1 x Headset Jack
Dimensions 300 x 223 x 16.7 mm
11.8 x 8.78 x 0.66 inches
Weight 1.45 kg / 3.18 lbs
Battery 37 Wh, 24W AC Adapter
Wireless Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
1x1 with Bluetooth 4.2
Price $310-$330 USD

The star of the show though is the display, with its 267 pixels-per-inch. The 2736x1824 resolution means that it’s also a 3:2 display, giving a bit more display height than a standard 16:9 laptop, and for productivity tasks, that’s been a winning aspect ratio on Microsoft’s Surface lineup. There’s no touch though, but you can’t have everything for this price.

Speaking of the price, this all-aluminum laptop, with a higher resolution display, and more RAM than the LapBook 14.1, can still be had for around the $300 USD mark. At the time of this writing, it’s going for $330 on Amazon, compared to $270 for the larger, plastic, LapBook 14.1, and it can be found for less on other sites. That’s a remarkable price for a device with these kinds of features, and you’d be hard pressed to find a computer that offers more, for less. Let’s dig into the Chuwi LapBook 12.3.

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  • ianmills - Thursday, September 7, 2017 - link

    I guess the bigger one has a copper heatsink. Techtablets has a bunch about this. Adding a copper heatsink can improve performance quite a bit
  • vanilla_gorilla - Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - link

    This doesn't seem that shocking of a price. For $270 you can get an all aluminum Acer Chromebook 14 with a 1080p IPS display, 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC. And the acer has been available for several months.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - link

    I have it. I hope they updated it to Apollo Lake soon, the Braswell CPU is pretty slow.
  • kefkiroth - Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - link

    I think it's at least a little surprising. The LapBook 12.3 has 2 more GB of RAM, a slightly better processor, a much higher resolution display, and double the storage for just ~$60 more.
  • systemBuilder - Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - link

    RAM is $10/GB = $20.
    Flash is $0.50/GB = $16
    Better screen, I guess, is about $18 more, markup is assumed 10%.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - link

    I don't think Windows is free in this screen size
  • notashill - Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - link

    What BIOS version was used for testing? I've seen some people on the Chuwi forums say that the most recent BIOS update significantly raised maximum brightness, seems to be dated 2017/06/12.

    See: http://forum.chuwi.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&am...

  • jabber - Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - link

    If you can put Neverware on this and you have a great Chromebook!
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, September 7, 2017 - link

    I's prefer a Linux disto if looking into an alternative OS. Chromebooks are distressingly limited in capability. The end user is probably better off leaving Windows in place since it can do anything Chrome OS can do and a lot more.
  • jabber - Sunday, September 10, 2017 - link

    Well as this is essentially a Chromebook re-purposed for Windows I'd say ChromeOS would work better. I use a mix of Windows and ChromeOS machines and it is so nice to use a Machine that doesnt take ages to update and boot etc. ChromeOS just works and for a lot of people that's all they want. If not why did MS bother with the farce that is Windows S?

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