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Chuwi SurBook Review: Not a Surface Pro Clone, But a Cheap Alternative

There are too many marketing methods to make customers pay attention to a new product you have designed. Chuwi has used one of the most acceptable approaches and seems it has succeeded. A few months back the company has launched a 2-in-1 tablet PC on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Many who are not aware of this brand may think the manufacturer has no money and this is the best way to involve investors. But the truth is that Chuwi is very popular in the tablets, tablet PCs, and laptops markets due to many crazy products. So why it has acted in this way? As I said above this is a nimble move to attract customers. This product has a goal of $30.000. Within 24 hours, the campaign had hit 440% of its target. At this moment there is over $800.000 of total funds raised. The Chuwi SurBook will be shipped this month that simply means this company doesn’t need the money gathered. But we have to state it was a great idea to promote the Chuwi SurBook on Indiegogo. It worked. Another proof – foreign media wrote about this amazing product as well.

Chuwi SurBook

The Inquirer was thinking this is a great alternative to the expensive 2-in-1 tablets including the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Chuwi Surbook the inquirer

As for Slashgear, it reveals all the pros and cons of the Chuwi SurBook. According to the source, this tablet PC has two drawbacks in face of the latest gen Apollo Lake Celeron N3450 CPU and eMMC build-in storage. Though the former feature is the way better than the previous Cherry and Bay Trail Atoms, it’s no Core, definitely, not even a Core m3. But there is a list of advantages in comparison with the original Microsoft Surface Book. They refer to the full-power Windows 10, 2k resolution display, USB-C and USB 3.0 ports, Surface Pro-like design, and a stylus with a keyboard included into the package.

Chuwi Surbook slashgear

BGR talked about its advantages as well, and this source was thinking the Chuwi SurBook is one of the best Microsoft Surface Pro- clones available in the market.

Chuwi Surbook BGR

PocketNow focused on the Chuwi’s ability to pull off products to scale in a snap. As for the product itself, this source thinks it’s a big move forward for this company to use one of the latest Intel Celeron chips based on the 14nm Goldmont architecture.

Finally, Forbes was thinking Chuwi pumps out powerful devices that almost match the performance of the top brands for half the price like Xiaomi, Meizu and OnePlus. And it’s difficult not to agree with this statement when looking at the Chuwi SurBook.

Chuwi Surbook Forbes

Well, I guess we have already been convinced in the popularity of this awesome product. But there are too many things we should sort out. Especially they concern the appearance, performance, and pricing. So let’s start looking at the Chuwi SurBook more attentively and find out whether it’s a simple clone of the Microsoft Surface Book/Pro or it is the logical continuation of Chuwi’s products.

Chuwi SurBook Specs

  • OS: Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Celeron N3450
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64GB / 128GB
  • Display: 12.3 inches (2,736 x 1,824)
  • Camera: 2MP / 5MP
  • Network: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.0 / USB Type-C, USB 3.0 x 2
  • Battery: 10,000mAh (up to 8 hours)
  • Dimensions and weight: 297.8 x 203.3 x 9.4mm / 967g

The Chuwi SurBook features list looks quite amazing. A quick look at it explores we are dealing with a great device. Though it’s not a high-end tablet PC, the SurBook is still capable of making a respectable competition to the Microsoft Surface Pro. At least, it has a similar display with a resolution of 2,736 x 1,824 pixels and aspect ratio of 3:2 like its found father. Furthermore, when using a dedicated stylus pen, it will support for 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

As you see, the Chuwi SurBook can’t be called a Surface clone, because there are many features better than the latter comes with and of course, there are some drawbacks.

Chuwi SurBook Appearance

The look of this device is the most common thing with the Microsoft’s product. Like the Surface Pro it comes with a metal housing made of magnesium alloy. But it is the way heavier than the Surface. The Chuwi SurBook weighs 967g, while its rival comes at 768-784g.

Another similarity to the Surface is the multi-position kickstand adjustable up to 125-degree-angle. The company claims the stand has a life of over 20,000 flips. Of course, there are many Windows-running devices with a kickstand, but if my memory serves me well, we have seen the first kickstand on the Surface line devices. So it’s associated with it, generally. By the way, the Surface Pro can open up to 165 degrees. But have you opened it ever at such an angle?

Chuwi SurBook

One of the advantages of the Chuwi SurBook is the interfaces set. There are two USB 3.0 (Type-A) ports as well as a USB Type-C. The microphone hole, 3.5mm audio jack, and a speaker are on the right-hand side like the aforementioned ports.

Chuwi SurBook

The left side carries only the second speaker.

Chuwi SurBook

The volume rocker and the power button are on the right top side.

Chuwi SurBook

The Samsung IGZO 8-bit screen is at 12.3 inches supporting 2k resolution and 267ppi pixel density. Many can doubt this feature, but we have already reviewed a Chuwi product with such a screen, and we know it corresponds what’s written on the paper. If you are not aware, I am talking about the Chuwi LapBook 12.3, which comes with identical features to the SurBook, BTW. The only difference is the category they are in – the LapBook is a laptop, while the SurBook is a 2-in-1 tablet PC.

As I said at the beginning of the article, the Chuwi SurBook comes with a stylus and keyboard. The latter is offered in two options – purple and black. But you have to know the tablet itself is available in silver and black color options only.

Chuwi SurBook Chuwi SurBook

The keyboard feels good. The keys are backlit that can be turned on using the key combination of FN+DEL. You may doubt its quality, but I have heard the keyboard is from the same supplier as the Surface series. So, no issues should appear.

Chuwi SurBook

Chuwi SurBook Hardware

Chuwi products have been always good when it comes to hardware. The brightest example of this statement is the Chuwi laptops and tablets. Though they are not packed with the latest creations of manufacturers, they always come with an acceptable performance. This is where the company saves. But this also where Chuwi does its best to provide the best performance based on mid-range hardware. The Chuwi SurBook is no exception.

Chuwi SurBook

This tablet is powered by an Intel Apollo Lake N3450 processor (4-core 4-thread, up to 2.2GHz) found on the same Chuwi LapBook 14.1 and Jumper EZBook 3 Pro. It’s Intel’s 7th gen processor accompanied with Intel’s 9th gen graphics. This is not the best SoC of the manufacturer, but it’s capable of providing good performance on mid-range devices.

Other than that, the N3450 chip is paired with a 6GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB eMMC 5.0 storages. But if you want more, the tablet also comes with a microSDXC (TF) card slot that can be used to double the storage space.

Chuwi SurBook

At last, the Chuwi SurBook is packed with a 10.000mAh battery. The company promises up to 8 hours of average use on a single charge. As there is a USB-C, the charging process shouldn’t take long. Plus, it’s compatible with PD2.0 protocol that supports up to 20V charging efficiency. So you can acquire a PD2.0 charger, and do everything faster.

Chuwi SurBook Price

Currently, the device can be purchased via Indiegogo only. But I am sure it will come available for larger masses at retailers in the nearest future.

The 128GB variant, which also comes with a stylus and keyboard is priced at $429. The same set with a 64GB of storage is available at $369. And finally, the latter without any accessories is available for pre-order at $309.

Today is the last day for investment. So 3000% of an overdone target should be a good hint at the popularity of the Chuwi SurBook. The estimated ship date is set to be July.

Pros

  • Surface-like design
  • All-metal body
  • Kickstand adjustable at 125 degrees
  • USB-C and version 3.0 interfaces
  • 2K Samsung screen
  • Big memory
  • Large capacity battery
  • Stylus and detachable keyboard included into the box
  • Low pricing

Cons

  • Intel Apollo Lake N3450 processor
  • eMMC storage

Conclusion

The Chuwi SurBook is not a high-end model. So, it’s senseless to compare it with the Surface Pro and think of it as a rival. Some think this is a Surface clone. In some sense, this is true. But the coin has two sides. Many companies like Chuwi can’t afford themselves to spend millions on a new design like Microsoft or Apple. So, if they want to make competition to them, they should design devices with identical appearance. Shortly, the Chuwi SurBook is not a rival to the Microsoft Surface Pro, but it’s one of the best alternatives.

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Argam Artashyan

Back in 2010, he was dismissed from his position as a lecturer at the university. This made him get another job at his friend’s digital marketing company as a blog writer. After a few years, when he was thinking the article writing is his mission, Google pushed the Panda update and affected the company and websites he was working at. (Un)fortunately and surprisingly, he got an offer to head a large knitting factory. In 2016, he got his Ph.D. and resumed teaching at the University … and writing tech-related articles following his passion.

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