The Chinese manufacturer Chuwi is known to be inspired by PC models that have worked to offer the same formula at a more attractive price. This time, Chuwi tackles Huawei’s MateBook 13 with its attractive design for its Aerobook.
While the MateBook 13 teases 1000 € for purchase, Chuwi is very aggressive on the price by offering a computer less than 400 €. To reach this price, the manufacturer obviously had to make sacrifices. But is the Aerobook still interesting for use?
The Chuwi Aerobook is moving towards premium design with its brushed aluminum chassis. The hood (which easily takes fingerprints) is a sober sobriety, with a simple discreet logo in a corner.
DSC01516.JPGThe Aerobook relies on sobriety.
Once opened, the computer reveals its true inspiration. It is indeed a copy of Matebook 13. It adopts the visual codes as well as for the keyboard as the screen.
For an entry-level computer, the Aerobook therefore offers a successful visual appearance, very successful even. It is forgiven his inspirations more than visible, rare being the PCs so cheap and so well cared for in terms of design. On the other hand, the engineering is not at the level of the model, as one notes it with the keyboard. Thus, the PC bends under the fingers and cracks with each use, which is not reassuring.
The keys on the Aerobook’s keypad lack resistance, which produces a very uncomfortable softness under the fingers. But this is only one of the many defects of the keyboard, the first being the positioning a little curious keys, especially on the right side. Thus, the key “entry”, of small size, is not located at the end of the keyboard. The user therefore tends to press the “PgUp” button instead – which becomes painful in the long run. The same applies to the “backspace” key. It should also be noted that the product only offers a qwerty physical keyboard (which can virtually turn into azerty) and could therefore disconcert some users. Another big flaw is the chassis that bends at every keystroke. 13-inch format requires, the Aerobook does not offer keypad, and the backlight (white) consists of three levels. Thetrackpad responds well to the user’s requests and two-fingered use, but has a very uncomfortable mechanical click requiring strong support to operate.
The connection of Chuwi Aerobook is relatively complete. It has a USB Type-C port, but also two USB 3.0 ports. In addition, you need to rely on a microSD card reader and the traditional combo jack. Curiously, the Aerobook also offers a mini-HDMI port, little used format and therefore not very useful. Too bad, however it is quite possible to get an adapter to the standard HDMI format for less than 10 €. The charge is through a proprietary port. Note that USB 3.0 ports hang a lot for each use. This does not prevent their proper functioning, but still shows a poorly built.
The presence of a mini-HDMI port is curious.
The Aerobook can not open fully despite the visible presence of screws. It is impossible to completely remove the hood without tearing everything away – glue preventing the operation. However, Chuwi has thought of those who wish to change their PC a bit by offering them easy access to SSD M.2 through a small hatch. The change of storage is therefore easy – a very good thing.
It is possible to easily change the SSD.
Big disappointment regarding the heat management for this Aerobook. During our usual test protocol, that is to say the Unigine Heaven benchmark for one hour, the PC is mounted at 46 ° C in its lower part. A high heat for a notebook, but not alarming either. However, it is the diffusion of heat that is problematic, since it spreads to the place where the user places his left wrist in the writing position. It will feel a heat of 37 ° C unpleasant under the hands. However rare are the situations where the user will have to place his wrists during such a heating, the PC is more used for office automation requiring little power, but this shows the little care taken by the manufacturer to release heat. In office use, the PC does not heat up. In any case, it never emits a sound greater than 37 dB, an imperceptible sound under normal working conditions.
The Chuwi Aerobook features a 13.3-inch IPS display with 1920x1080px resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. Its screen / facade ratio is 77%; it is in the current average of ultraportables which is between 75% and 80%. Note that his model, the Matebook 13, has a ratio screen / facade of 90%.
The results obtained after the passage in the lab of the PC are correct, but still reveal some defects. The contrast has been measured by us at 1085: 1, which is very good for a laptop. Blacks are also very deep, which is a good thing. The color temperature is also honest, since it is measured at 7,180 K, which is not too far from the 6,500 K video standard. The screen thus pulls very slightly towards the blue, but it remains little inconvenient for the user who will not see it unless comparing it with a screen with a perfect temperature of 6500 K. The delta E is on the other hand a little disappointing, with an average of 5.3. Looking closer,
Without title.pngFrom left to right, gamma curve, color temperature and delta E.
At 17 ms, the persistence is slightly higher than average on PCs not dedicated to games (15 ms). The brightness is also disappointing (309 cd / m²). Coupled with a brilliant screen attracting all the reflections, it does not allow to work quietly outside.
The Chuwi Aerobook is equipped with an Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor (2 cores, 4 threads, 900 MHz base frequency and 2.2 GHz turbo frequency) supported by 8 GB of RAM. This is a very modest processor providing little power and consuming very little. It is used on inexpensive products designed only for simple office automation, such as Chuwi. It should be noted that the model of the Aerobook, the Matebook 13, is equipped with a much more powerful Intel Core i7 processor. The PC is equipped with a 128 GB M2 SSD that can be changed.
With such a processor, no miracles to expect from the Aerobook. During our usual test protocol (photo editing, video editing, file compression and 3D calculation), the PC has reached the score of 40 on our scale of values, which is objectively very low. Nevertheless, this is logical with the proposed use of simple office automation and Internet browsing, tasks that it performs correctly. Compared to other equivalent PCs, such as Acer’s Swift 1 or Microsoft’s Surface Go , the Chuwi remains in the nails, at the cost of a poorly controlled heat when it is put to the test. But compared to the MateBook 13, it is no surprise far behind.
MOBILITY / AUTONOMY
With a weight of 1.3 kg, the Chuwi Aerobook is in the standard for a 13-inch PC. Its dimensions are 310 x 218 x 22 mm. It slips easily into a bag and can be carried everywhere without any difficulty. The charger remains in this logic, since it is discreet and lightweight, thinking only 180 g.
1_DSC01536.JPGThe Chuwi charger is small and light.
In terms of battery life, Chuwi promised a battery with 7 hours of video playback. Well done, because during our usual test protocol (Netflix under Chrome, backlight off, earphones connected and brightness set to 200 cd / m²), the PC turned off after 7 h 12 min. For a classic office work, it will take a little more, and it will be possible to leave a whole day with his Chuwi without bothering the charger. Chuwi does not offer fast loading.
The audio part of the Aerobook is catastrophic and testifies to the lack of care of Chuwi in the construction of his product. The speakers are placed in the chassis, with no dedicated port for sound output. The latter must escape as he can, in this case by the ventilation grids. From this deplorable acoustics arises a narrow and unpleasant sound as possible, focusing only on highs. Even for simple voice communications, intelligibility is extremely bad as voice stamps are not respected. Finally, the restitution is certainly stereophonic, but the two loudspeakers are so close that there is almost no spatialization.
The headphone jack is the same, producing a high distortion and ridiculous power, not even worthy of a smartphone poor. Stereophonic separation is also very average. Without being unusable, this headphone output is frankly bad.
The promise was to offer a MateBook 13 for less than 400 €. The sacrifices made by Chuwi are however too big on this Aerobook. Despite a chassis certainly successful visually, this PC does not convince us, especially at the level of the heater, the keyboard, and its sound management simply catastrophic. The Aerobook still has some qualities, like a correct screen and an honest autonomy. But this is not enough, its defects are unacceptable, especially as other PCs in the same price range, such as Surface Go or Acer Swift 1 , are much better.