The Chuwi AeroBook Review: One Small Step For Chuwiby Brett Howse on June 21, 2019 8:00 AM EST
Looking at the Chuwi AeroBook, it becomes clear very quickly that Chuwi has been inspired by the MacBook, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For originality it’s not the best design, but there’s little doubt that it’s a design that works, and looks great.
The AeroBook is thin and light, coming in at just 1.26 kg / 2.77 lbs, making it easy to travel with. The exterior is all-metal offering a great in-hand feel, and also helping with the fanless cooling. The laptop isn’t entirely metal though, with the keyboard deck being made out of plastic, but they’ve nicely matched the coloring to the rest of the unit.
Chuwi also offers a modern looking then-bezel design, with 5 mm bezels on the side and the top and bottom being slightly wider to allow for the webcam. The display is a 16:9 unit, meaning the bottom bezel is quite tall, but it still looks great framed in the black surround.
Chuwi has done a great job on the keyboard, with a very wide keyboard layout pushing the keys all the way to the edges, and the keys themselves offer reasonable good travel and are quite easy to type on. Generally a power button integrated in the keyboard is a negative, but Chuwi has put it off to the side far enough that it’s less likely to be accidentally hit, and the button is bright red so you can’t miss it. Chuwi also offers two levels of white LED backlighting on the AeroBook, which isn’t something they always offer on their LapBooks, but is certainly an expectation as they creep into higher price brackets.
The trackpad is quite good. The size is just right and it seems very responsive. This is one area where Chuwi has traditionally done quite poorly on, so it’s great to see them focus some attention here. It’s not a glass trackpad though, and the plastic coating is a bit rough, but it registers taps and multi-touch well and this is likely the first Chuwi where the money saved on the notebook didn’t have to be spent on an external mouse.
For expansion, there’s a USB 3.0 port on the right side, along with the headset jack and a micro SD card slot. The left side offers a somewhat strange assortment, with a USB 3.0 port, a micro HDMI port, and a USB Type-C port. There’s no Thunderbolt 3, It does provide power delivery, but despite this Chuwi has a dedicated barrel connector, also on the left side, for charging. It's a strange decision to integrate a separate charging connector when they could just use the USB-C they've already installed.
Overall though, the design of the AreoBook is easily Chuwi’s best effort yet. The metal exterior feels great in the hand, and the laptop offers very little flex. It’s still thin and light as well, and the thin-bezel design keeps the AeroBook looking modern, while at the same time reducing its overall size. No one is going to confuse the AeroBook for the laptop it so clearly is themed after, but for the price, it exceeds expectations.