Chuwi HeroBook review: affordable laptop with high autonomy

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Chuwi HeroBook review: affordable laptop with high autonomy

Chuwi has released a budget laptop with a screen diagonal of 14.1 ", which can work up to 9 hours from the built-in battery. Chuwi HeroBook is an entry-level laptop, so you should not expect much from it in terms of performance. Its main advantages are different: thin, light, silent, very comfortable and able to do without a power outlet for a long time. It’s customary to talk about such things as a workhorse. It is ideal as a “typewriter” for working with texts and tables, specialized programs (for example, accounting, databases , programs for diagnosing a car, etc.), he will also be a good assistant to a student or student, while his regular cost is about $ 200.

Specifications Chuwi HeroBook:

  • Display: TN 14.1 "with a resolution of 1366 * 768, aspect ratio 16: 9
  • CPU: Intel Atom X5 E8000, 4 cores / 4 threads with a frequency of up to 2 Ghz
  • Graphics: HD Graphics for Intel® Celeron® Processors N3000 Series
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Built-in storage: eMMC 5.1 64 GB + slot for SSD format M2 2280 or 2242 up to 1 TB
  • Communications: Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 0.3 MP
  • Battery: 38 Wh
  • operating system: Windows 10 Home Edition
  • Dimensions: 332 x 214 x 21.3mm
  • Weight: 1,4 Kg

Video version of the review

Packaging and equipment

Traditional recycled cardboard packaging will be familiar to many Chuwi product owners. It is very simple in terms of design – a minimum of advertising inscriptions and tinsel, but very reliable and durable.

At the end you can find a sticker with the characteristics of a laptop. Judging by it, a version with a pre-installed Linux operating system may appear, but so far only the version on Windows.

The laptop is located in a special box made of foam polyethylene. An envelope with documentation was placed in a niche; the charger has individual packaging.

I have repeatedly talked about the reliability of such packaging. In Chuwi, it began to be used several years ago, when the company's tablets and laptops found popularity outside of China. The laptop is reliably protected and is guaranteed to endure any test for shipment.

In the envelope you can find various paper documents, among which are the instruction manual, warranty card, booklet with the report on the passed tests.

The 12V power supply produces a current of up to 2A, i.e. the total power is 24W and allows you to fully charge the battery in a couple of hours. The dimensions are quite compact and in the bag it will not take up much space.

Appearance and Interfaces

The laptop case is made of plastic, but the manufacturer managed to pick up the paint and texture so that visually it seems metallic, and it feels very similar to the touch. The fact that before us plastic becomes clear only when squeezing and twisting the case, when there is a characteristic crunching.

In addition to the small neat Chuwi logo in the corner, there are no inscriptions or decorative elements on the case. The laptop looks strict, modern and I’m not afraid of the word – it's expensive.

Cool appearance combined with practicality: the laptop is quite thin and light. Good balance and soft hinges allow you to open it with one hand, very few models can brag of it.

The large, comfortable keyboard is ideal for long typing. By default, only Latin letters are applied, but the seller puts stickers with Russian letters as a gift. Since I own the blind typing method, I did not even stick them. The keys are pressed gently, typing on a laptop is very nice.

For complete happiness, only the backlight is not enough, but it would be impudence to demand it from the device, costing with an inexpensive smartphone.

No less cool and touchpad. It is simply huge and working with it is convenient and simple. This is perhaps the first laptop in many years, which is convenient for me to use without a mouse. All gestures work correctly, no random triggers or false recognition. Perfect!

The following photo is very revealing, where the Chuwi HeroBook is located together with a 15.6 "Samsung laptop (left) and an 11.6" Teclast transformer (right). Our hero has much more both a keyboard and a touchpad. It is in ergonomics, ease of typing and working with the touch panel that it surpasses many, much more expensive models.

The maximum angle allows you to use the laptop both at the table and just on your knees.

The screen is securely locked in at a given angle.

The hinge takes up almost the entire length.

The elements are well adjusted among themselves, it is felt that Chuwi has already reached the level of quality devices.

Above the keyboard, on the left side you can see 3 LEDs that show: laptop status, caps lock and num lock.

A camera for video communication is located in the center above the display. The camera is very cheap with a resolution of 0.3 MP, so even on skype the image looks frankly bad.

On the left side is the power connector, mini HDMI for connecting to a monitor or TV and high-speed USB 3.0 for connecting external drives.

Right: a usb 2.0 connector for connecting peripherals, a headphone jack and a micro SD card reader.

Rubber legs provide stability and allow you to maintain the appearance of both your furniture and the laptop case. In the lower right corner you can see the cover, removing which we get to the M2 connector for installing the SSD.

By default, the connector installs the common SSD M2 size 2280.

Only SATA drives are supported, NVMe will not work.

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And if you have a drive of size 2242, then it can also be installed using the bundled adapter.

It is installed in a special slot, after which you install the drive and fix it with a screw.

Screen

They saved and installed an inexpensive TN matrix with a resolution of 1366 * 768 pixels on the screen. With this resolution, the graininess of the image is noticeable, but this is quite expected.

The maximum brightness of the screen can hardly be called high, if the room has bright lighting, then for comfortable work it needs to be twisted to a level of 80% – 100%. Outside the room, even the maximum brightness is not enough and I want to add more, but on the other hand, the good anti-glare properties of the screen allow you to use a laptop on the street.

The horizontal viewing angles are excellent, even at an acute angle the picture does not lose brightness and does not distort. But vertically, the angle must be caught by the degree of opening of the lid, because even with a slight change in the image, the contrast is lost, and at a large angle it is very illuminated and becomes illegible.

The uniformity of the backlight is good.

Disassembly to evaluate the cooling system and identification of components

It is sorted out quite simply: we unscrew 10 screws along the perimeter of the cover + 2 hidden screws under the upper right leg, after which we carefully open the latches with something thin (a mediator or a credit card is quite suitable). Well, in fact, we immediately get access to all components. The motherboard with the processor and memory is closed by a metal screen, which is also a radiator.

We remove the plate and can consider the main components.

Central processor Intel Atom X5 E8000, on the right multi-controller ITE IT8528E.

2 chips DDR3L Samsung K3QF6F60AM-QGCF of 2 Gb, a total of 4Gb. The memory operates in dual channel mode. At the center of the eMMC is a Sandisk sdinadf4-64g 64 Gb drive.

Audio Codec Realtek ALC269.

WiFi + Bluettoth module Realtek rtl8723.

On the opposite side of the motherboard we placed an additional board with a card reader (Realtek RTS5170 driver), a USB 2.0 connector and an audio connector.

Two series-connected batteries form a battery with a capacity of 38 Wh or 5000 mAh (at a voltage of 7.6V).

There are already 4 audio speakers and they are placed in their own case, but I can’t say that the sound is super. The sound is the most common – it’s suitable for watching videos in YouTube, the volume is sufficient.

It is also worth mentioning that all components are mounted on a metal skeleton, which provides strength. The hinges are also attached to the metal and look reliable; according to the documentation, the laptop was checked for all kinds of wear factors, for example, it is guaranteed to withstand 30,000 openings / closures.

BIOS and Linux installation

UEFI Bios Insyde H2O is installed in the laptop; most of its settings are hidden from the user. In the BootManage section, you can manually select the drive from which you want to boot, this may be necessary when reinstalling the operating system.

Through Explorer, you can specify the location of the file from an external drive.

Secure Boot options (disabled by default), so you can try installing different OSs. The last section of the Setup Utility is the most useful, there are several tabs: main – basic information about the system and components.

The Security tab allows you to set an administrator password and manage the TPM security module. You will need the Boot tab, if you decide to install the SSD drive as a system drive, here you can choose the boot order of the drives.

As an experiment, I tried to run Ubutu 18.4 from a flash drive in Live CD mode. The system started up and functioned normally with the exception of two things: the touchpad did not work and there were problems with the WiFi connection – the laptop saw my network, but did not want to connect. Both points are related to drivers, I did not dig further because I do not plan to use Linux. Currently, only the operating system can be downloaded on the official Chuwi website Windows and drivers for her.

Work in the system and basic tests

The laptop is ready to work out of the box, a licensed operating system is preinstalled Windows 10 Home Edition with Russian language pack. After the first power-on, downloading and installing updates automatically starts and if you use it at the same time, it may seem that the laptop is very thoughtful. In fact, you just need to wait until the system is updated to the current one, after which I recommend that you clean the disk (right-click on drive C – properties – clear the disk – clear system files – select "clear updates windows"). This will free up more than 10 Gb of free space, which is worth its weight in gold.

First of all, I checked the speed indicators of the drive. As disassembly has shown, the classic Sandisk eMMC flash drive is used here: 140 MB / s for reading and 85 MB / s for writing. There is enough memory to operate the system and install various office, multimedia and application applications. If the laptop is planned to be used exclusively as a working tool, then there will be enough memory. If you plan to store various information, photos, videos, etc. – the purchase of an additional SSD becomes necessary.

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Even the cheapest SSD will work many times faster, for example, 120 Gb WD Green showed 548 MB / s for reading and 315 MB / s for writing. The increase in speed will be not only in the linear speed of writing and reading, but also when working with small files. Through Bios, you can designate the SSD drive as the main (system) drive, and the flash drive will become an additional drive.

But what are the speed indicators in RAM. Its volume is certainly quite modest by today's standards, but it works in dual-channel mode.

The quad-core Intel Atom X5 E8000 is installed as the central processor. This is a processor that is designed for laptops, netbooks and tablets with a passive cooling system. It is built on a modern process technology of 14 nm and emits very little heat, its TDP is only 5W. Base frequency 1.08 Ghz, Turbo frequency 2.08 Ghz. The maximum allowable core temperature is 90 degrees. As the graphics used integrated Intel HD Graphics 400/405.

Let's look at the results of synthetic tests. Geekbench 4: in single-core mode – 948 points, multi-core mode – 2562 points. The result is modest, but among all the "atomic" processors the best. The same Atom X5 Z8350 is gaining less – 870/2227.

In the Open CL test – 4011 points.

In Cinebench R15, the laptop scored 96 points in the processor test and showed 7.79 fps in the graphic.

PC Mark 10 in the Express test (for computers and entry-level laptops), the result is 1068 points.

In a more advanced test (added photo processing + rendering), the result is 838 points.

And a couple of benchmarks, a performance test from Winrar:

And the 7Zip performance test.

Next, I checked the quality and speed of the WiFi connection. Realtek rtl8723 WiFi adapter works only in the 2.4 Ghz range and supports 802.11 b / g / n standards. The sensitivity to the signal is good, the plastic case does not shield the signal and the laptop catches the network even at a great distance.

In Speedtest it gives out 44 Mbps for downloading and 40 Mbps for upload.

In everyday use, the laptop proved to be good: work in the system, browser, office applications – this is its element. In terms of speed, it is of course noticeably inferior to powerful laptops, but it also costs several times cheaper. Perhaps his main advantage is working with text. Thanks to the convenient keyboard, typing is a pleasure. One of the last reviews I typed completely on a laptop while sitting in the evening in a comfortable chair on the balcony with a cup of tea.

In Exel, too, everything is fine: voluminous tables with many hyperlinks open quickly, and thanks to the normal screen size, they are convenient to edit.

If necessary, you can work with photos, for example, carry out quick corrections in Photoshop Lightroom. But this is a last resort, because here the laptop does not show its best side – everything is very slow and thoughtful.

It is much faster and more pleasant to work in lighter editors, for example PhotoScape.

The gaming potential of the laptop is extremely low, it is definitely not for games. All you can count on is very old games, for example, Red Alert 2, Generals, Heroes 3 or Heroes 5. I tried the tricky part personally, in the HD Edition it went fine on a laptop.

Remembering my youth, I hung in the game for a good couple of hours, destroying rivals. Immortal classic! If you are by some miracle not in the know about this game – I recommend it, this is the best turn-based strategy of all time. Heroes 5 on this laptop also go superb with maximum graphics settings.

Well, if we talk about modern games, then this is something very simple (logical, arcade, etc.). You can even try something with 3D graphics, because the screen resolution is small and, accordingly, the load on the graphics accelerator is less (than with Full HD laptops). The same WOT BLITZ went to the maximum graphics settings with FPS 30 – 50. That is, you can actually entertain yourself with something and the laptop is able to pull not only Tetris.

Multimedia

The laptop is equipped with an HDMI output and this can be used for entertainment purposes, for example by connecting to a large TV to watch a movie.

The image is displayed on the screen in the appropriate resolution. That is, if your TV has FullHD resolution, then by selecting “only the second screen”, the image on the TV will be transmitted in Full HD resolution.

A list of codecs that are supported at the hardware level can be found in DXVA Checker.

There are H264 and H265 here, but no VP9. What does it mean? The VP9 codec is now used in Youtube, i.e., when viewing it, the video will be processed using the software method, which increases the load on the processor. In fact, a laptop can only play videos in 720p and 1080p / 30 fps normally.

But with movie playback from the drive, everything is fine, H264 and HEVC are supported at the hardware level in resolutions up to 4K (except for Main 10). Naturally, nobody will take this baby to watch 4K, but Full HD pulls easily and naturally with a processor load of no more than 40% and graphics – no more than 10%.

And I took this movie in good quality with a volume of more than 16 Gb with a bitrate of more than 18 Mbps, here are the full specifications:

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Moreover, you can watch movies in online cinemas, where the quality is lower.

In general, the laptop is suitable for watching video on your screen or on the Full HD screen of a TV connected via HDMI. It will not replace a full-fledged media player due to the lack of support for VP9 and HEVC Main 10 at the hardware level.

Cooling and stress tests

The cooling system of the laptop is completely passive and it is completely silent. This is a separate thrill – to work in complete silence without periodically howling fans … During prolonged use, the laptop heats up a little in the lower part on the right side, but this is if the processor is loaded with complex actions. When working with documents and in the browser, it remains cold. Let's see how it will behave under maximum load and for this I use the stress test from Aida 64. The first part of the test is without graphics, only 100% processor load. The first 15 minutes, the temperature rises smoothly, the processor runs at a maximum Turbo frequency of 2 Ghz. Upon reaching a temperature of 75 degrees, he briefly lowers the frequency to the base, which allows you to quickly drop a few degrees and then turns on the Turbo frequency again. This is clearly visible on the graph, where the last 2/3 of the test appeared “dips” in temperature.

The frequency changes accordingly. Interestingly, the processor does not use any intermediate frequencies, but immediately resets from maximum to minimum, and then again raises to maximum.

A consolidated graph showing the interaction of frequency and temperature. It is also seen that the thermal package of the processor does not exceed 2.64W.

The maximum temperature is 77 degrees (out of 90 permissible).

When the load is removed, the temperature drops rapidly.

Next, add the graphics. It is already more difficult for a laptop to remove heat, the temperature “hedgehog” has become more frequent. The processor began to more often reset the frequency to the base, but the temperature remained within 75 – 76 degrees. There is no throttling.

В принципе на этом можно было бы и закончить, но дополнительно я решил проверить ноутбук при помощи Linx, который разжаривает даже самые холодные процессоры. Тест длился почти 2 с половиной часа и смог разогреть процессор до 81 градуса, тем не менее еще остается запас в 9 градусов и я считаю что стресс тест пройден успешно, перегрев ноутбуку не грозит.

Автономность

Производитель заявляет автономность до 9 часов и это соответствует реальности. К сожалению я не могу использовать привычный мне тест батареи из PC Mark 08, т.к приложение больше не поддерживается и найти рабочую версию с кряком мне не удалось. А в PC Mark 10 тест батареи только анонсировали и он должен появится в ближайшее время. Получилась ситуация, когда в 8 тест уже не работает, а в 10 еще не работает. Будем обходиться тем, что есть. Я воспользовался утилитой BatteryMon. Она определила что емкость батареи 43 Wh (8,424V и 5204 mAh). Это больше заявленных 38 Wh, где считали по напряжению 7,6V и емкости 5000 mAh.

Далее я начал активно пользоваться ноутбуком: смотреть ролики, читать интернет страницы с браузера, запускать различные бенчмарки, играть в игры. На все это потратил весь день и в итоге до отключения ноутбук проработал 7 часов 30 минут. Яркость экрана была максимальная, т.е фактически если ее снизить до 50%, то мы и получим заявленные 9 часов. Слитая емкость составила 42,5 Wh, остаточная емкость в 3% заряда — 1,3 Wh. Все сходится.

Далее несколько примеров использования. Youtube в качестве Full HD на максимальной яркости проработал 5 часов 27 минут. Я сначала подумал, что как-то мало, но потом вспомнил, что декодирование VP9 осуществляется силами процессора и фактически все это время он работал с 90% — 100% загрузкой.

А вот при воспроизведении видео в AVC формате (кодек h264) с внутреннего накопителя время увеличилось до 7 часов 29 минут. Яркость экрана — максимальная.

Разряд равномерный, без скачков в начале и простоев в конце. Ноутбук отключается при остаточном заряде 5%.

Итоги

Chuwi HeroBook отличное решение для тех, кому нужен недорогой ноутбук для учебы или работы. Благодаря крупной и удобной клавиатуре, а также гигантскому тачпаду это просто идеальная «печатная машинка». Небольшая толщина и вес позволяют носить его с собой, а благодаря емкой батарее и экономичному процессору заряда хватает на весь рабочий день. При этом выглядит он стильно и современно, а стоит как недорогой смартфон. Конечно стоит учитывать, что это ноутбук начального уровня, поэтому резвости и высокой производительности от него ждать не стоит, да и геймерам здесь делать нечего. Не забываем и про очень простой экран с разрешением «из прошлого». Но опять же — все обусловлено ценой. Зато после покупки он сразу готов к работе, ведь имеет на борту предустановленную лицензионную Windows 10. А еще вы можете установить SSD накопитель и существенно ускорить систему, да и памяти станет куда больше.

Внимание! ☝ Для снижения цены используйте купоны доступные в магазине. Если после применения купонов итоговая цена вас не устроит, то можно поступить так: начните оформление заказа, но не оплачивайте его, а закройте на этапе подтверждения покупки. Потом зайдите в мои заказы, там он будет висеть как неоплаченный и напишите продавцу сообщение "$204", после чего дождитесь когда он изменит цену и оплатите любым удобным для вас способом.

Chuwi HeroBook review: affordable laptop with high autonomy
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