Chuwi GemiBook XPro $249 14-inch laptop (designer review)

Review unit provided by Chuwi

This is the Chuwi GemiBook XPro, a 14-inch budget laptop priced at USD 249 to 299 (depending on promotion), and is available from Chuwi online store and AliExpress. This is laptop that is cheaper than many big tablets.

When I first saw the price point, I was skeptical at the quality and performance you can get. Chuwi asked if I’m interested to review this and thank goodness it’s actually a decent laptop because otherwise it would be extremely awkward to get a free product from the company to tell people not to buy the laptop.

Bottom line

The design looks good, build quality is plasticky but solid. Display looks alright. Non-gaming performance even with lots of multi-tasking is smooth. I am very impressed because I have tested more expensive laptops that feel sluggish. The limitations or downside? This is not a gaming laptop, display could be better and the battery life is just 4 hours at maximum display brightness. But when you consider the price point, it’s difficult to complain about the downsides which are mostly limitations given the price point.

Specs

  • Display: 14-inch IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080, 16:9
  • Processor: Intel 12th gen Alder Lake Celeron N100 (4 x 800Mhz to 3.4Ghz Turbo)
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR5
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
  • Speaker: 2x 1.5W
  • Ports: USB 3 type A, USB 3 type C, HDMI, 3.5mm, power
  • Bluetooth: v 5.2
  • Wifi: 2.4G/5G, WiFi 6.802.11a/ac/b/g/n
  • Battery: 38Wh, 7.6V/5000mAH
  • OS: Windows 11 Home

There is mention of a TF card slot on the product page but it’s nowhere to be found.

Things included

Included in the box are the laptop, power adapter, user manual, warranty card.

Chuwi had sent me the wrong power adapter with a 3.5mm barrel connector instead of the 4mm connector that the laptop needs. Anyway, I bought a 12V 2A adapter with the 4mm adapter myself. Hopefully, Chuwi has sorted out the adapter issue at their factory by the time this review is up.

Design


Design of the laptop is clean and simple with matte textured surfaces. The cover has a Chuwi logo that’s also matte textured and doesn’t draw attention.

The laptop is relatively compact and weighs 1.46kg which is considered lightweight for a 14-inch laptop.

Built quality is solid with minimal flex. The plastic surface however is on the softer side and can get dents easily.


The back can be removed easily with a cross-hair screwdriver. The internal 256GB SSD can be upgraded to a NVMe gen 3 SSD but the RAM is not user-upgradeable.

Speakers are downward facing. Audio quality sounds slightly hollow. Volume is loud enough for me as I don’t listen to audio that loud. Speakers are not great but they are not bad.


Ports on the left are for power, full-sized HDMI, USB 3 type A, USB 3 type C and a 3.5mm audio jack. Transfer speeds for the two USB ports are around 450MB/s for read and write. USB-C charging is not supported unfortunately. If Chuwi can remove the barrel power port and include another USB-C with charging capability, that would be awesome. Or maybe add a microSD card slot for extra storage upgrade.


The right side has the kensington lock. The tapered bottom allows the laptop to be picked up easily. Oh, the cover needs two hands to open.


Keyboard layout looks alright. Power button is located at the top right. Fingerprint unlock and no face are not available.

The keys and the touchpad are where you can feel the plasticky build quality. The keys are extra textured. The keys and touchpad aren’t as firm as high quality ones but they are not bad. Overall typing experience is still good with enough travel and feedback. There’s little flex with the top plate of the keyboard.

The touchpad is sensitive and accurate enough and supports Windows finger gestures. Touchpad has left and right click areas with a dead clicking zone in between. The touchpad is off to the right side of the spacebar so occasionally my palm near the thumb would activate the touchpad. A better design would be to have the touchpad centred below the space bar.


The right Shift key is less wide as the arrow keys are full size. There are Home, End, PageUp and PageDown keys on the extreme right.

Function keys are F1 to F12. There’s no function lock so you need the Fn key combo for function key shortcuts


The 14-inch IPS LCD display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixel. There is slight pixelation but overall visuals still look sharp enough with this display size and resolution. The display has a matte surface and the anti-glare may affect image quality.

The display colour shift and drop in brightness when display is viewed from the side at angles. The colour shift reminds me of TN panels but not as bad.


With a Spyder5Pro colour calibrator, I measured colour support for 67% sRGB, 50% AdobeRGB, 50% P3 and a maximum brightness of 226 nits. Interestingly, TechTablets Youtube channel reported a maximum brightness of 325 nits. 226 nits for me is still alright for use in a bright room environment as long as there’s no sunlight streaming in.

The display isn’t meant for graphic design or visual content work but it is possible to connect an external display with better colours using HDMI. Graphic design apps work quite smoothly.


The display can go completely flat. Hinge is stiff and display does not wobble when moving the laptop around.


By default, Intel Graphics Command Center app has “Display Power Settings” turned on which adjusts the brightness according to the brightness of the screen content. I highly recommend turning that off because the auto-brightness effect is distracting.

Performance

This laptop uses the 12th gen Alder Lake N100 processor released in early 2023, and this is a 4-core processor at 800Mhz with Turbo Boost up to 3.4Ghz. The Thermal Design Power (TDP) is 6W. This may be an underpowered laptop but that does not mean it’s a slow laptop. The laptop is quick to start up and shut down, apps launch fast, there’s no lag when switching between apps and 8GB RAM is enough for basic multi-tasking. Overall performance with non-gaming work is smooth. The fan is quiet and blend with the ambient noise.

There will be lag with other tasks if you have photos exporting in the background. I did not even bother to test video editing because this laptop isn’t targeted at people who might want to edit videos.

This laptop runs Windows 11 Home. I’ve used the laptop to write reviews, edit photos for the reviews, and don’t have any negative experience. I’ve reviewed more expensive laptops that lag so this budget laptop performance is impressive.


Transfer speed for the two USB type A and type C ports are quite similar, around 450MB/s read and write.

This laptop isn’t really made for gaming so you will have manage your expectations with gaming.

I was only able to get 19 FPS and 38 FPS with Cult of the Lamb at 1080P and 720P. And that’s not a really graphics intensive game.

Main downside with gaming is the laptop cannot maintain consistent frame rates and the gaming experience is unpleasant due to that.

Conclusion

This is a good laptop for basic computing work you can’t do with tablet OS.

Just looking at the specs along may lead you to conclude this as an average laptop. It is an average laptop but it does not lag which is the most important criteria I look out for. And when you consider the affordable price, this laptop becomes a deal for the performance you get.

There are limitations such as the display quality, sound quality and 4 hours battery life. Those are hardware limitations due to the price point. I don’t even know how Chuwi can even make money selling this laptop at this price.

This is a laptop I can recommend easily to students, or anyone who can’t do their work on tablets with tablet OS.

Availability

https://store.chuwi.com/products/gemibook-xpro

226 nits brightness

Short Shift key on the right

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