Chuwi LapBook 12.3 review

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In use

The magnesium aluminium alloy of the chassis gives a premium air to this laptop and yes, it does feel like a MacBook; at least to the touch. The display is gorgeous, and it’s probably one of the best we’ve ever seen on an entry-level laptop.

There’s hardly any flex on the keyboard and touch typing is an enjoyable experience with great feedback and a 1.5mm key travel. Ditto for the touchpad; it’s more than decent in terms of size, sensitivity and precision.

Opting for a 3:2 aspect ratio for the display ensures that the palm rests are bigger than average, which is great news for those who spend hours typing on a laptop keyboard.

Don’t expect miracles when it comes to performance though. Most of the LapBook’s benchmark numbers were noticeably lower than the competition (Teclast X3 Plus, Chuwi Hi13 or Onda Xiaoma 31) despite using the same CPU and an equal amount of memory.

Two potential explanations for this are that the much higher screen resolution is taxing the on-board GPU far more, and that the CPU was being throttled during the benchmarks as it was overheating. The LapBook 12.3 did feel quite warm during our tests.

Another disappointment was the battery life which stood at just under 210 minutes (3.5 hours) due partly to a low capacity battery (36.33Whr). Our test involves playing a YouTube video of a count-up timer with brightness set to 100% and all other settings left untouched except for power saving (we selected ‘never shut down’, ‘screen never go dark’). As ever, your mileage may vary when it comes to battery longevity.

Final verdict

So, we’ve ended on talking about the downsides of the Chuwi LapBook 12.3 here, but let’s be clear – the battery life and the performance are two sore points in an otherwise near-perfect picture. If you can live with these bugbears then this notebook is a bargain, especially with its storming 2,736 x 1,824 resolution display.

Its finish comes close to far more expensive top-end laptops and its component list, although not perfect, exceeds what you would get from a similar priced device in the UK. But clearly, the screen is the showstopper and the main reason why you’d want to buy this machine.

The Chuwi LapBook 12.3 is a definite upgrade from the LapBook 14.1, and should Chuwi solve the two outstanding problems we’ve highlighted, it will have a sure-fire winner on its hands. The Jumper EZBook 3 Pro or the Yepo N737A, both of which we’ve yet to review, are the closest rivals in terms of specifications, but still can’t offer the same 5-megapixel display.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.