Chuwi SurBook Mini hands-on: A compact workhorse that ticks all the boxes

chuwi-surbook-mini-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
  • Editors' rating
    7.8 Very good
  • $349.99

Pros

  • Laminated 10.8 inch screen
  • 8000mAh battery
  • Windows 10 Creators update

Cons

  • Poor definition from 2-megapixel rear camera
  • Screen-to-body ratio could be better

I have been using the Surbook Mini for several weeks now as my main work machine -- initially as a tablet PC with a stylus, but for the last week, as a PC with the additional keyboard.

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At first glance, the Chuwi SurBook Mini looks exactly like its big brother, Surbook, which I reviewed in September 2017. But there are some subtle differences in this mighty mini.

Obviously, it is a smaller device overall. The product size is 268.9mm x 183.9mm, and it is 8.7-mm thick. The SurBook's aluminium body has dimensions of 297.8mm x 203.3mm and 9.4mm thick. The Mini weighs 686g.

Inside this Windows 10 tablet PC, there is an Intel Apollo Lake N3450 quad core 64-bit CPU with a ninth-generation Intel HD 500 graphics card at 700Mhz frequency. Its 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage should be more than enough for the road warrior or commuter.

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The screen is an impressive 10.8 inches, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The side borders of the screen are quite wide at almost an inch. I do feel that Chuwi could have reduced the bezels and increased the screen real estate. Like the SurBook, the kickstand extends up to 125 degrees.

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The SurBook Mini has a simplified array of ports on the side of the housing. There are two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C for video, audio, and device charging. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack. Its 8000mAh battery is more than adequate for several hours work

I was disappointed with the camera on the SurBook Mini. It has a 2-megapixel front camera and 2-megapixel rear camera. This resolution is perfectly adequate for video calls, but it lacked on still image quality. The larger SurBook managed to squeeze a 5-megapixel rear camera into its body.

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I noticed the difference between images taken with each device. However, this was not a showstopper for me, as I take most of my pictures from my mobile phone.

Installing Windows 10 was a breeze on this Windows 10 Creators Update 15063 build. Cortana voice prompts let you do most of the install by voice. After many, many Windows 10 installs, I really enjoyed this one.

Cortana is also ready as soon as the PC has finished building. Previously, I had to manually download the speech and language modules for UK English before I could use this feature. This version just works well. I was impressed.

Performance is good for such a compact device -- faster than a lot of Android tablets I have tried -- and the smaller format keyboard (additional purchase) is well laid out and has good key travel.

The additional stylus is very responsive. Overall, this is a very nice mini Windows 10 device, and for around $250, you cannot go far wrong.

Previous and related coverage

Chuwi SurBook hands-on: A high-performing Surface clone

The Chuwi SurBook is an affordable, high-performing alternative to the Microsoft Surface and the Apple iPad Pro.

Windows 10 Surface Pro 4 lookalike: Chuwi's Surbook goes the budget route

Chuwi has unveiled a Surface Pro 4 clone, but one that features Intel's lower-end Apollo Lake processor.

Chuwi Lapbook Air hands on: A slim, beautiful PC -- but no touching

Chuwi's Lapbook Air is slim and lovely, and it looks like a laptop costing twice as much.

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Where To Buy

Chuwi SurBook Mini

Part Number: CWI540

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