Just like my recommended tablet list, these are laptops I have owned, tested and reviewed that come recommended by me. Since it’s late 2018 I don’t recommend anyone buy laptops powered by the older Atom x5 or x7 Cherry Trail tech. The latest generation of laptops are not only better built (Some with full metal designs) But with options such as M.2 SSD slots, they have the faster Gemini Lake series of chips powering with better GPU’s, faster turbo clock speeds, native VP9 and HEVC decoding (like the Apollo Lake).
The Gemini Lake & Apollo Lake chips are good for light tasks, such as editing docs, multi-tabs in Chrome, and Edge with many tabs open. Some light multitasking and older or light games such as Counter Strike and League of Legends on low resolutions and visual settings. They are not good for video editing, heavy gaming, and any demanding 3D work. One of the best features of the Gemini Lake & Apollo Lake laptops is the great battery life of up to 8 hours and in some cases even more and of course their price.
These are ideal for first notebooks, light school work and secondary travel notebooks where someone already has a powerful PC for heavy tasks like gaming and video editing.
Recommended Gemini Lake Powered Laptops:
#1 Chuwi Lapbook SE:
By far the best seen in 2018, the Lapbook SE has a great backlit keyboard, bettering even laptops that cost twice as much. It has decent 1080p IPS that’s fully laminated and with very good colors considering the price. The battery can last up to 8-9 hours and it has a 22mm x 80 mm SATA3 SSD. The old real weakness of the Lapbook SE is it has just 4GB of DDR4 RAM. Which is fine for light work & general tasks, like spreadsheets and docs. It will handle 10 tabs of Chrome fine, but for more demanding needs 8GB is really required. Make sure you check the Chuwi Lapbook SE Review to see what this laptop can handle.
Coupon: GBNBCWSE249 lowers the price to $249 + postage, you also get a free mini HDMI to HDMI cable. The deal can be found here.
#2: Teclast F5
The Teclast F5 is another great Gemini Lake powered laptop that has 8GB of RAM. The F5 is a 2-in-1 it has a great 1080p fully laminated touchscreen that can flip around 360 degrees. And the laptop is super light just over 1 kilos and very thin. It’s portable and it also supports a stylus. The main weakness of this machine is the battery life, you’ll struggle to get 5 hours out of it.
Recommended Apollo Lake powered notebooks for light tasks:
#1 Teclast F7:
The Teclast F7 is very similar to the EZBook 3L Pro, 14.1″ 1080p IPS that is either glossy or matte, a with full metal design, M.2 2242 SATA3 SSD support, 6GB of RAM, Intel wireless AC, Sandisk64GB eMMC 5.1 and battery life good for 7-8 hours of web browsing depending on the power limit set. Its bios is fully unlocked and over all the speakers, webcam and mics are better than the EZBook 3 Pro’s.
#2 Jumper EZBook 3L Pro:
Almost identical to the Tecalst F7 as they come from the same ODM in south korea, the EZbook 3L Pro has a power limit of 6W and no setting in the bios. It has either a matte TN panel or matte IPS it’s down to luck, and the same exact full metal design, M.2 2242 SATA3 SSD support, 6GB of RAM, Intel wireless AC, Sandisk64GB eMMC 5.1 and battery life good for 7-8 hours of web browsing. See the EZBook 3L Pro Vs Tecalst F7 comparison for more info.
3# Jumper EZbook 3 Pro:
After the release of the Teclast F7, the EZBook 3 Pro is the second best and still one of the cheapest and best allrounder. The Jumper EZbook 3 Pro has full metal design, M.2 2242 SATA3 SSD support, 6GB of RAM, Intel wireless AC, 64GB eMMC 5a matte 1080p display and battery life good for 7-8 hours of web browsing.
- Currently $219 at Gearbest here with coupon BOOKPRO on checkout.
- Jumper EZbook 3 Review
- Jumper EZbook 3 hub
#4 Chuwi Lapbook Air:
Chuwi is the first to have a backlit keyboard, 8GB of RAM and 128GB eMMC 5.1 spec drive Apollo Lake laptop. The build is similar to other models. Full metal. Mini HDMI out, 2 x USB 3.0 ports and MicroSD reader and it also has the usual offerings, 37Wh battery good for up to 8 hours. Intel Wireless AC 3165 chipset with BT 4.1. The screen is the second best I’ve reviewed. A bright glossy glass-covered fully laminated display with a maximum of 560 lux. Due to the fully laminated process, blacks are deep and colors vibrant. Overall a Celeron N3450 great laptop, but the most expensive by far!
#5 Chuwi Lapbook 12.3
The best screen in a budget notebook and best keyboard. Chuwi’s lapbook 12.3 has the same panel used in the 2017 Surface Pro and Surface Pro 4. As a result, the screen has 99% RGB coverage & 267 PPI. The keyboard is also the best I’ve used in an Apollo Lake to date. It’s powered by a Celeron N3450, 6GB LPDDR3 RAM, 64GB eMMC 5, Wireless AC and easy access M.2 2242 SSD slot.
Recommended Core i5/i7 powered notebooks:
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro:
The largest of the Mi Notebook’s from Xiaomi. The 15.6″ Pro model has either 8th gen Intel Core i5 8250U or i7 8550U CPU’s which are quad-core. 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 2400Mhz RAM, super quick NVMe Samsung PM961 SSD’s and fast Intel Wireless AC 8265. Like the 13.3″ and 12″ models it also has a spare SSD slot inside for adding another SSD.
- Price check: Gearbest | Geekbuying & Banggood
- Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro Review
- Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro Hub
Recommended Core M3 powered notebooks:
The Core M3’s pack a lot more power than the Apollo Lakes laptops and normally offer a more premium build and more RAM options. The only downside is the more powerful chip consumes more power so battery life isn’t as good as the Apollo Lakes.
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12:
Now updated with the latest Core M3 the Kaby Lake 7Y30, Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook Air 12, comes with 4GB 128GB SATA3, 256GB NVMe and 8GB 256GB NVMe options. The build quality, backlit keyboard, and touchpad are excellent. The 1080p screen is bright and vivid covered with Gorilla Glass for notebooks. Depending on what model you buy there is either a spare SATA3 or NVMe bay for adding your own 2280 drive. It has Wireless AC, USB 3.1 Type-C port and quick charging.
- Currently $489 USD at Gearbest with coupon MIAIRNEW12 on checkout
- Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 Review
- Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 Hub
Cube Thinker i35:
The Cube Thinker i35, is a premium laptop from Cube. Powered by a Core M3-7Y30, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SATA3 SSD. Its standout feature is a brilliant fully laminated Surface Book screen. It also supports an N-Trig stylus, the same as the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. It has Wireless AC, a large touchpad and its screen folder back almost completely flat.