Inexpensive laptops from China are no longer available exclusively as low-performance “cheap homes”. Various manufacturers have long been offering not only modern designs with high-quality workmanship, but also, thanks to older processors, more powerful configurations apart from the weak Celeron chips. The Chuwi CoreBook Pro is a representative of this category and was only recently launched. Since the CoreBook Pro immediately made us curious, we ordered a laptop for a test. We had to put around € 360 on the table and even got a free bag with us. Unfortunately, the offer with the bag has currently expired.
The datasheet is impressive for the price. In addition to 8GB DDR4 RAM, you get a 256GB SSD, a second M.2 slot that also supports NVMe SSDs, a stylish IPS display with 2k resolution and 3: 2 format, a modern design with high-quality workmanship and, last but not least, an Intel Core i3 processor Skylake generation, which is a lot faster than a Core M3, which is also popular in this price range.
However, if you want to replace or upgrade the factory-installed SSD, you have to open the Chuwi CoreBook Pro completely. To do this, you have to remove all screws on the underside. There are also additional screws hidden under the rear rubber feet. Then you can move a spatula between the base plate and the top case to carefully loosen the clips. Then the base plate can be removed and reveals the inside.
The Chuwi CoreBook Pro doesn’t have to hide here either. Everything looks well processed and the manufacturer uses the available space completely. Metal is used for reinforcement at important points, which contributes to the aforementioned torsional strength. The cooling system looks well thought out and the fan makes a higher quality impression than many competing products. The battery is screwed and can potentially be exchanged. But there will probably not be a replacement again.
If you give someone the Chuwi CoreBook Pro and ask them what the laptop will cost, you are guaranteed not to get any answers that are in the range of less than 500 €. The people with whom we dared the experiment gave prices between 700 and 1000 € as an estimate (without knowing the data sheet). In fact, Chuwi could also call such prices with correspondingly more powerful hardware, because the CoreBook Pro cuts a really good figure in terms of appearance as well as workmanship. The laptop just looks chic and modern. Slim display bezels and an astonishingly thin construction, paired with plenty of sturdy aluminum, make for an extremely high-quality impression, which one would not necessarily expect for the price of around € 360.
The display in the Chuwi CoreBook Pro is relatively small with a diagonal of 13.1 inches, but comes in a 3: 2 format. This format is very well suited for productive use, as there is more space, especially in height, than with a 16: 9 display. Especially when it comes to word processing, you have a very comfortable user experience. In addition, the Chuwi CoreBook Pro offers a resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels. In the price range of less than € 400, a 2k display is definitely a highlight and rather a rarity. If you don’t have a problem with a small display, you can bring additional space to work on the screen and also get a very high pixel density for a sharp picture. Individual pixels can only be seen from a viewing distance of approx. 20cm.
If this doesn’t bother you, the Chuwi CoreBook Pro offers an all-round excellent keyboard. Everything is just right here, from the typing feel, to the volume when typing, to reliability. The keys give a clear haptic feedback when typing. The keyboard does not spring when it is pressed firmly. So you come across noticeably solid ground. The typing noise also leaves a high-quality impression. The key travel is clearly present but not too big either. You can write here really very quickly without having to worry about skipped keystrokes or the like. The keys are also very stable and do not tilt or rattle in the slightest.
The processor in the Chuwi CoreBook Pro may seem daunting at first glance. After all, “only” a Core i3 processor is used here, and then an older model from the Skylake generation. In relation to the price, Chuwi made a very good choice here, because the Core i3-6157U is extremely competitive in this price range. On the one hand, the CPU is significantly faster than a Celeron N4100, which is often found in the range of 200 to 300 €, and also a little faster than a Core M3-7Y30, which is still often in the range of 300 to 400 € encountered. The following table gives you a rough overview of the performance ratio between the CPUs of the processors based on Geekbench 5.
Bluetooth also works perfectly and with deactivated WiFi or a 5GHz WiFi connection with a solid range over two to three rooms. With an active 2.4GHz WLAN connection, however, there are the usual interferences, so that you can no longer move far from the laptop with headphones without interrupting the sound.
A lithium polymer battery is installed in the Chuwi CoreBook Pro, which has three cells and a capacity of 46.2 watt hours. Theoretically, you can also change the battery because it is screwed on. The problem, however, will be to find a suitable replacement, which is why swapping will not be an option in practice.
The Chuwi CoreBook Pro relies exclusively on WLAN for network access. An Intel WLAN card is installed for this, more precisely the AC-7265. This is a Bluetooth and WiFi combo that supports AC WiFi in addition to Bluetooth 4.2. In the test, we measured a solid bandwidth of 436Mbit / s in addition to the router. One floor below it is still a solid 48Mbit / s. Overall, the reception is good and does not break off anywhere in the house.
In terms of battery life, the Chuwi CoreBook Pro can convince. The typical runtime in everyday life extends over 4 to 8 hours, depending on the display brightness and usage scenario. If the processor and GPU are permanently loaded, the battery can of course run out faster. In our experience, the battery lasts for 5 to 6 hours when surfing, 6 to 7 hours in office mode and 8 hours when watching Netflix with low display brightness.