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T-bao Tbook Air Review: Good Performance via Poor Hardware

T-bao, a Chinese laptop brand has started like many newbie manufacturers. It has been making cheap products with good performance, but most of those devices look identically to top brands. So, it has had a bad reputation, if we can name it so. Now the things have changed. T-bao designs impressive laptops powered with many decent features, and those notebooks also look stylish. So what happened? I guess the company has gained experience and now it knows what people want. We have already reviewed an interesting laptop carrying this brand, the T-bao Tbook X7. We can say it’s a low-end laptop priced at only $99.99. As for now, we are going to take a peek at another laptop from this series, but this one belongs to a category higher. Meet the T-bao Tbook Air. As the name suggests, this laptop should show some competitiveness to the MacBook Air. It does. But what’s amazing the Tbook Air has been designed to compete with all the MacBook Air rival instead of Apple’s product.

Read: Chuwi LapBook 12.3 vs Jumper EzBook 3 Pro vs T-bao Tbook Air: The Best Cheap Laptop

T-bao Tbook Air Specs

  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • CPU: Intel Celeron N3450
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Display: 12.5 inch IPS (1,920 x 1,080)
  • Wireless Connectivity: 802.11 b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 2MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Dimension and weight: 294 x 200 x 12.6mm / 1,027g

T-bao Tbook Air Design

Unlike many other manufacturers, T-bao pays attention to the product package. I am not saying it re-invents the wheel once again, but I like the way its marketers work. They always focus on selling points of a device and clearly show it on the box. The T-bao Tbook Air is no exception. Its packaging shows this is an Intel-powered laptop and it’s very slim. Is this enough to buy it? If no, continue reading.

T-bao Tbook Air

This laptop comes with a standard set of accessories including a charger, USB Type-C cable, a USB Type-C conversion cable into USB Type-A, user manual, a certificate, and the laptop itself. There is nothing to surprise at but agree not all laptop makers put a conversion cable into the package.

T-bao Tbook Air

The housing is made of metal. I guess it’s an aluminum alloy. However, it’s difficult to say whether the entire body is made of this material or some parts are made of plastic.

T-bao Tbook Air

What I don’t like in this brand is the logo. But it’s a matter of taste. The logo is placed on the left upper side of the front panel.

T-bao Tbook Air

The T-bao Tbook Air is a bit smaller in size. Though it’s a 12.5-inch laptop, it can’t be compared with the Chuwi LapBook 12.3.

T-bao Tbook Air

It’s not only smaller but also thinner. Personally, I like it more.

T-bao Tbook Air

Can’t say whether its thickness affected the interfaces set the T-bao Tbook Air comes with or not, but there are too fewer ports including only a USB Type-C on the left side accompanied by a LED indicator.

T-bao Tbook Air

The opposite side carries an audio jack only.

T-bao Tbook Air

The front has only a clue to open the laptop easier.

T-bao Tbook Air

There is nothing to say about the bottom side. There are only four rubber legs.

T-bao Tbook Air

The keyboard panel causes some questions. First, it’s not a full-size keyboard. In all fairness, no one has been expecting to see it. And though it’s very comfortable to type on it due to relatively large keys, I think they are placed a bit further from each other. Second, the power button is placed on the upper right side. This is the worst thing a laptop maker can do – it’s usually confused with the ‘Delete’ key. However, we have seen many Chinese laptops with such a layout. Probably, it’s a problematic only for me. Third, though the touchpad is large enough, there are no are left for palms. Therefore you should put them on the table when working with the touchpad.

T-bao Tbook Air

Four, could you imagine this laptop comes with a fingerprint sensor? It does, and the fingerprint scanner is placed on the upper left corner of the touchpad.

T-bao Tbook Air

At last, the T-bao Tbook Air comes with a 12.5-inch IPS screen. To understand whether it’s good or bad let’s get deeper. Actually, LCD panels can be separated into several categories depending on technology, construction method, or brand. So when you are looking for a laptop, you should set for you what type of a work you will do on it – watching videos and playing games or doing technical creative work like picture editing where color accuracy is paramount. Only after determining this you can understand what features a laptop you are looking for should sport.

T-bao Tbook Air

Currently, there are two commonly used LCD panels – IPS LCD (In-Plane Switching) and Non-IPS LCD panel or TN (Twisted Nematic) LCD. The latter is the way cheaper, and they provide good viewing performance. Their main advantage is the fast response time. So they are great for entertainment purposes.

As for the IPS panels such as on the T-bao Tbook Air, they are made to improve shortcomings found on TN technology such as viewing angle, contrast, and blacks. As a result, they, provide crystal-clear viewing at 178 of the 180 degrees. Moreover, they do not lighten or show tailing light when touched.

T-bao Tbook Air

T-bao Tbook Air Hardware

As the specs list shows, the T-bao Tbook Air sports an Intel Celeron N3450 SoC. This chip is very popular among mid-range laptops. We have reviewed too many laptops with this processor onboard and we know how well it performs. Among those laptops, we can mention the Chuwi Lapbook 14.1/ SurBook, Onda xiaoma 41, and a couple of Jumper notebooks such as the Jumper EzBook 3S and 3 Pro. All these devices show good performance at an affordable price tag.

Read: Jumper EzBook 3 Series Laptops Compared

It’s a quad-core chip announced in mid-2016. Basically, it runs at a frequency of 1.1GHz, but it can reach up to 2.2GHz. The Intel Celeron N3450 is based on the Apollo Lake platform. Like the Braswell chips, it is manufactured in a 14nm process technology with FinFETs. There is a separate DirectX 12-capable GPU besides four CPU cores. Plus, it supports DDR3L/LPDDR3/LPDDR4 memory (dual-channel, up to 1866/2400 MHz).

With the launch of this SoC Intel started a new era of chips differing from the Atom series. The performance has been improved by 30%. It’s faster by 15-20% in comparison to the old N3710.

Its Intel HD Graphics 500 is based on company’s Gen9 architecture. This graphics card is equipped with 12 EUs and a clock of up to 700MHz. At last, the N3450 also includes an advanced video engine supporting playback of VP9 and H.265 material (8-bit color-depth).

However, we have been surprised when tested it via Dragon Quest X Benchmark. Usually, Chinese laptops packed with similar chips do not score more than 2000 points. As for the T-bao Tbook Air, it has scored 2814.

T-bao Tbook Air

The next interesting part of this laptop is the memory. This device comes with a 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD card. Luckily, it’s not eMMC. The test results are really respectable.

T-bao Tbook Air

Probably one of the most disappointing features is the battery capacity. Agree 4000mAh is not sufficient for a 12.5-inch Full HD screen. But when we tested it, the battery showcased good results. After 1 hour of regular use (20 minutes of video watching, 30 minutes of text input, and 10 minutes of misc tasks) the power consumption was 13%. So it should last for 6-7 hours.

Pros

  • Slim Design
  • 12.5-inch Full HD IPS Screen
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • 128GB of SSD Drive
  • Good Camera for Video Calls

Cons

  • Fanless Design
  • No Speaker Holes (surprisingly, the audio output is satisfactory)

T-bao Tbook Air

Conclusion

The T-bao Tbook Air sports a few features it can boast of. The ultra-slim housing, Full HD screen, fast storage, and Windows 10 are among them. But as a regular Chinese laptop, it couldn’t avoid some shortcomings such as a 4GB of RAM, a couple of design drawbacks and a relatively small capacity battery. In this sense, this mid-range laptop can compete with all the aforementioned MacBook Air rivals. Moreover, it’s priced affordably at $374.93. So, if you can close your eyes to those gaps, this can be a good option for you.

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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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