Only a few people seem to be interested in tablets these days as even Microsoft has given up on tablets in favour of 2-in-1 form factor devices invented by the software giant in 2012. But if you’re looking for a very affordable Windows 10 tablet, the Chuwi SurBook Mini might be your best bet.
Microsoft slowly killed the tablets as the new 2-in-1 form factor has flourished lately. As only a few people seem to be interested in tablets, the big guys have stopped making Windows tablets. Chuwi’s approach in many ways is way too close to Microsoft’s, but the Chinese company is only selling affordable budget-friendly devices.
The 10 years old Chinese company Chuwi has come up with yet another Windows 10 tablet with quality. While the quality of the products manufactured in China has always been questionable, Chuwi has designed their tablets and laptops with premium build quality, unlike the other brands.
While Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo and HP have given up on the tablet market, Chuwi has recently created yet another lineup of Windows 10 ultrabook tablets called ‘SurBook’. When it comes to a device which is supposed to run Windows 10, the performance is the main selling factor. The Chuwi SurBook Mini runs Microsoft’s full desktop operating system without any noticeable glitches while using Edge browser, Groove Music and the first-party applications.
Chuwi has also unveiled the SurBook with a larger display and better specs. The company in the Indiegogo listing details the expensive sibling of the SurBook Mini:
“Meet Chuwi SurBook, the most affordable 2-in-1 tablet yet, designed with performance to rival the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface. We’ve thought of everything to make SurBook the best 2-in-1 tablet around! The portable SurBook features a powerful Intel Celeron N3450 processor and a 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 resolution 2K screen, bringing everything you see and do to life. On-the-go productivity has never been easier thanks to the convenient kickstand, detachable keyboard and intuitive magnetic pen.”
Chuwi SurBook Mini, available on GeekBuying for $250 is one of the best products you can buy. It’s very affordable, and it’s very good to use, but there are some flaws, we’ll try to detail them today in this review.
Unboxing of the Chuwi SurBook Mini
Just like any Chuwi device, the SurBook Mini comes in a brown box. First and foremost, the box the Chuwi SurBook Mini comes in isn’t really attractive and it seems that the company hasn’t spent too much time on the design of the packaging. The box comes with all necessary accessories including a USB C-Type Cable.
What’s inside the box:
- Chuwi SurBook Mini
- EU Charger
- Micro USB C-Type Cable
- Guide Books, and an Intel Inside sticker.
At glance, you will find the device wrapped in a plastic, with a free screen guard. A small box sits beside the SurBook Mini, the box has a charger and USB cable.
It’s not all about the looks these days, especially when it comes to a device supposed to run Windows 10, the SurBook Mini performance is not up to the mark, but it’s still one of the best tablets you can buy under $300.
Chuwi is one of the Chinese company delivering the performance that you typically get with a $500 product. Chuwi SurBook Mini costs less than half of that and is good enough for watching YouTube videos. While the gaming performance is not up to the mark but it’s still okay for lightweight games.
The SurBook Mini could turn into fully-featured PC when a keyboard is attached. The SurBook Mini feels like a premium device but the performance does not compliment the look and feel of the hardware. You wouldn’t expect such a build for a tablet this affordable.
The tablet features a fully laminated display. Chuwi claims that the display of the SurBook Mini is vibrant, and there’s no sign of multiple reflections. The company also adds that they have designed the tablet in such a way the touch and display overlapped without air getting in the way. This technology not only improves the look of the hardware but also makes the display look thinner.
The SurBook Mini features a small 10.8-inch display with 1920×1280 high resolution. Chuwi claims that the display offers truly impressive screen experience, and the claim is genuine to some extent. It offers decent results in room light, but it’s impossible to operate the tablet under the direct sunlight or (bright) artificial lighting. Just like any cheap device, the bezels are pretty large and it supports viewing angle of 180 degrees.
The SurBook Mini does not feature AMOLED display, as a result, the outside look of the display under any lighting condition is greyish. As I noted above, the brightness of the tablet display is good enough in indoor settings, but reflections under sunlight is one of the reasons that makes it difficult for anyone to use the SurBook Mini.
The SurBook Mini support 10 finger multi-touch support, and just like any cheap device, the touch feedback isn’t impressive as the device won’t respond to your touch inputs when a small element is clicked. The touch lags when using the legacy applications such as Windows File Explorer.
The display does its job quite well. Although the display is not very responsive to touch input, the contrast and colours are well balanced as the manufacturer claims.
The Chuwi SurBook Mini is powered by Intel Celeron N3450 Quad Core processor with a clock speed of 1.1GHz and 2.2GHz in turbo boost. The SurBook Mini is equipped with impressive hardware delivering plenty of power for multitasking and fueling casual games and movies.
The hardware has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The specs of the device are average, so it shows its limits when playing games or running more demanding tasks. I wouldn’t go too far, but in simple words, the chip can’t handle too many games. As it ships with Windows 10 operating system, the lags are noticeable, mainly due to an underpowered processor Intel Celeron N3450 running at 1.10 GHz and 2.20 GHz in turbo mode.
The full version of Windows 10 would obviously lag on a low-end hardware. The games such as Battlefield 4 and software like Adobe Photoshop could take more than 5 minutes to launch and professional video editing software takes forever to process videos.
The SurBook Mini is a great piece of hardware for browsing the web, YouTube videos and playing games such as Candy Crush. While Google Chrome is not ready for small screen size devices, Microsoft Edge does a great job. The browser runs smoothly with up to 5 tabs but anything beyond that would slow down the device. To conclude, the device is good enough for watching videos but the hardware configuration is just not enough for professional image editing software like Photoshop.
The device has all connectivity options, for example, it has a USB Type C for charging and as well as the data transferring. Chuwi has also included USB 3.0 Type-A connectors for peripherals or external hard drive.
The Chuwi SurBook Mini features a metallic finish and it feels solid, more like an iPad with a metallic finish. The SurBook Mini does not feel cheap but it is heavy and bulky regardless of the keyboard or case. Chuwi SurBook Mini also features hinge found on Microsoft’s Surface devices, it can be adjusted to 125 degrees. The hinge contributes to the thickness and unfortunately hinge flexibility is not up to the mark.
You will find the one camera on rear and one on front. On the sides, there are all connectivity options like USB 2.0, USB 3.0, UBC-C, TF Card slot, and a headphone jack. Overall the tablet feels good, and not cheap. The hinge and the keyboard do not do justice to the incredible design.
Is the SurBook Mini worth its selling price? In my opinion, yes. If you are looking for a high-end model of the SurBook Mini, your best bet is to check out the Chuwi’s SurBook 12-inch variant. The SurBook series looks decent, especially the detachable keyboard, while the keyboard keys of the Chuwi Hi10 Plus were extremely bad, but in the case of SurBook Mini, it’s pretty clear that Chuwi has redesigned the keyboard keys for a smooth typing experience.
You won’t find the Microsoft’s Alcantara material on the keyboard, although the cheap plastic finish does a great job only if the price of the device is taken into consideration. I think the Chuwi SurBook is good for YouTube videos, web browsing and Microsoft Store apps, it just can’t handle applications such as Photoshop. The SurBook Mini is worth the money, but if you are looking for a device to meet your business needs, your best bet would be the Chuwi Corebook or the Microsoft Surface devices.