Chuwi LapBook 14.1

First Apollo Lake Powered Laptop
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Chuwi Lapbook 14.1 Hands-On and SSD Updgrade

Chuwi Lapbook 14.1 Hands-On and SSD Updgrade

Finally got my hands on the second Chuwi Laptop, the Lapbook 14.1 this model is more impressive over the 15.6″ model I reviewed thanks to it’s new Apollo Lake Celeron N3450, 4GB of dual channel 1600Mhz RAM and the option to even add an SSD in there to expand storage and boost boot and system speeds.

Wireless is handled by the excellent dual antenna Intel Wireless AC 3165 chipset with great range and speeds tested so far. The build is much like the 15.6″ model, quality plastics and that white on black color scheme.

The screen is very, very nice, one of the best 14.1 inch matte anti glare screens I’ve seen in a while, better than even panels used on machines twice as expensive. Bright, sharp with good blacks and color reproduction. Brightness tops out around 230 Lux, but on a matte screen like this is more than enough and even useable in sunlight. And those bezels are small.

I see no PWM flicker on the screen, More detailed info on the screen specs can be found here: http://www.panelook.com/B140HAN02.1_AUO_14.0_LCM_overview_27222.html & http://laptopmedia.com/screen/auo-b140han02-1/

The Lapbook weight is 1.46 kilos so not the lightest 14-incher, but it is a solid little laptop with a decent build quality.

The keyboard has around 2.2mm of travel, nice raised up keys with a good feel to them, I wrote this post on the Lapbook 14 and it feels great to me. And the touchpad apart from that annoying minimize gesture isn’t bad at all. Feels more responsive than most touchpads in this price range. And at $250 over at Gearbest where I got this on special, I don’t feel is bad considering the spec and M.2 SSD expansion slot.

The USB ports, one USB 3.0 and the other USB 2.0 spec work fine, powering my external 1TB drives. The 64GB eMMC is a Sandisk with 170 mb/s reads and 100 writes, quite fast. But the best surprise for me is the M.2 Sata3 SSD slot. I added my 256GB Transend SSD and it works as expect, only changing the bios to use this as the boot drive is required to have this running a faster SSD with more storage. How to add your own SSD is covered in the above video.

Overall I’m impressed but it’s not all perfect, one major but fixable issue. Testing out some games last night I was able to get the CPU to hit 95 degrees C yet no thermal throttling. Once the system got too hoty paying LoL it forced itself into sleep mode.

Now I say this is fixable, I’ve seen Chuwi has used an insulator/fire wall pad onto of the heat sink to stop heat from passing to the rear plastic housing. This is the culprit, removing this adding a thermal pad and some copper directly onto of the N3450 I’ll be able to lower temps to stop this. (More on this soon, I’m going to record a tutorial video on my copper heatsink mod for this model) But expect a good 15-20 degrees c less max CPU temp.

My Realtek MicroSD card reader is also unmounting and mounting sometimes which is slightly annoying. Might need a driver update, I’ll see if that can also be fixed.

Battery life is also looking very good, 7 hours of Edge web browsing, maybe even more with light use. I’ll have more on this model soon so keep an eye on the site.

Chinese tablet news, hands on videos and reviews of the latest Chinese tablets. I don’t review or cover just anything, only tablets I think are good enough and worth the attention.

27 Comments

  1. flashed the new bios on mine and now it wont boot? Any ideas? can i somehow take out the bois chip and reflash it?

  2. Just as a note. There is some graphics issue that allows majaro linux to boot up, but it results in a black screen for the installers of some of the other forms of linux (like Mageia). The near clone Chuwi Lapbook 14, got a bios patch that fixed that problem, but Onda doesn’t seem to have put in that patch anywhere.

  3. Ok, now I got it working. It turned out that I didn’t have the necessary option in my UEFI (OS Select) and that was because I had an earlier version (A2W6_NA14.011). And that’s why I found just a black screen with an underscore whenever I tried some live CD. Fortunately there is an update (A2W6_NA14.012) available in chuwi forums, along with a system image and drivers:
    http://forum.chuwi.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=3572&extra=page%3D1%26filter%3Dtypeid%26typeid%3D55
    The procedure is simple, put the files (uncompressed “LapBook 14.1 BIOS 20161230” folder) in a FAT32 formatted usb key and restart the laptop. You still can skip flashing during boot pressing some key, but if you don’t, “startup.nsh” will flash automatically. Now I have this option in my UEFI and finally could test that Linux runs ok. So far I have tried Xubuntu and Linux Mint, both working ok right out of the box.
    I think the option “OS Select” must be some kind of Secure Boot toggle, because in “Windows” mode I cannot run Linux, but in “Linux” mode I can run both.
    Now I just need an M.2 SSD to make this perfect, ;P.

  4. I just saw you mentioned Remix OS…I was getting ready to ask “I wonder if it would be possible to get that installed.” With the addition of the SSD to clone windows to and Remix OS on the eMMC could make for an interesting machine.

    • Trouble is I can’t get Remix to boot on it. Just getting a stuck cursor on boot.

  5. Hi, everyone. Wander if anyone here could find a way to fit m.2 2280 inside this chuwi lapbook 14.1 and then post a youtube video or at least tutorial with photos…. Ideally, would be nice to find super talented people who good at DIY on micro level and good understanding of tablet/laptop hardware in order to do mods and hacks on them. And then share with the rest. If all of you would think better, we could organize in community of lets say 100,000 people, put money together and talk to Chinese companies of what tablets/laptops/phones we want from them, make them compete together and lower the price and increase the quality, so that we -USERS-win eventually. Otherwise, big companies like Samsung, LG, DELL, etc are outsmarting the users like us by charging for they tech much more than they should and ever producing imperfect tech so we would be inclined to buy their next model….in short, we need more intelligent leaders and there are none of them at all worldwide, from what I can see☹️

  6. The “annoying minimise gesture” down swipe can be solved using the file posted by Luis Alejandro (raton.rar), add exe to windows startup folder

    https://techtablets.com/forum/topic/soft-solution-to-disableoverride-touchpad-windows-gestures/page/4/#post-58873

    Works a treat for my HiBook pro, so happy to fix that one, was driving me nuts.

  7. HI and thanks for that great review!
    The Lapbook is currently on the way to me.
    One question, do you think that a M.2 2280 could also fit? Thanks for info in advance!

    • 2242 and 2260 yes, 2280 might need some plastic cut from the top part to fit or remove part of the counter weight.

  8. How strong is this CPU in comparison to the Z8300 and Z8350 processors? Can it occupy a place BETWEEN the CoreMs and the Atom chips?

    • It seems that is the double of performance in benchmarks and it’s quite close to coreMs. Great value for money

    • Yes, it’s positioned about there, well above an Atom X7 Z8750, but below a Core M 5Y30. It feels almost as quick as a Core M, but not as fast as weaker GPU. But this is a very nice step up over an Atom.

  9. Thanks for this review and the video 🙂
    Good surprise about the additionnal SSD slot ! I dont know and i prefered the Onda Xiaoma 41 for this but now this capacity change my choice.

    I have just a question, do you confirm this slot is for M.2 NGFF SSD?
    Thanks for reply

  10. Hi Chris,
    I’ve got an idea on a future video you could do- a comparison of all the cpus in the tablets/laptops/mini pcs that you review.

    For example you could do comparisons of the old z8300 vs the new z8350 (or even the older bay trails – if you still have those tablets around). Maybe the z8700 vs the new celeron n3450 (or n4200) or the 5y10 vs 6y30 vs 7y30 for the core M cpus.
    I feel like this would provide people with a better understanding of the performance differences between each class of cpu and the specific variants within each class.

    Keep up the great content!!

    • I would love to do something like that, but time is always an issue. I have work, the site, the youtube, countless emails, PM’s daily and a 3-year-old. So it’s very hard to get around to doing anything extra. But every review I do run for Geekbench, if you see An Atom X7 Z8750 I reviewed got 978 points single core, then a Celeron N3450 gets 1397, a Pentium N4200 1500 and a Core M3 7Y30 2100 you can see the difference in performance.

      My Idea was to build a data base, with performance scores (It was started) but as I explained, time this issue.

      • Ah ok, I totally understand mate. I can imagine that it must be so hard keeping track of all these different chinese devices and doing multiple videos on each one. Keep up the good work!!

  11. Great Review.
    It will be good for using ubuntu ? it will have no problems with drivers?
    Thank you!

    • Hi, Not sure about Ubuntu, but I tried Linux Mint 18. Can’t get it to boot it will start reading from the USB, but then just stuck with a _ (underscore) and boot. I must be doing something wrong with Linux boot install drive.

      • Yes, because if you install in ssd, even in other pc, I think you just need the drivers to work correctly. There is anyway to know if can I get the drivers? Do you will test it later? It seems a perfect computer to work!

        • Well I just need to boot the install CD first, then see what drivers are needed. But I can’t get it to boot Linux Mint or Remix OS for PC.

          • So, to install it doesn’t work with usb, you just have to do it with cd?
            What’s the reason that you cannot do it like a “normal” computer?
            Thanks for the help!

        • I’m not sure what the issue is, maybe secure boot? I see no secure boot options in the bios.

      • Hi, I’ve seen Ubuntu working on this laptop in this link: http://www.cnx-software.com/2017/02/07/installing-ubuntu-17-04-on-chuwi-lapbook-14-1-apollo-lake-laptop/. It seems that everything is working ok right out of the box.
        You have to change the OS settings in the UEFI, although I haven’t tested myself (I recently got mine) and don’t even remember having seen this option! I must have skipped it. Maybe it handles secure boot this way? You can choose between Windows/Linux. I’ll test it in the next days.
        BTW, great job Chris, just a new follower… Your reviews talked me into buying this Chuwi.

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