chuwi lapbook 123 laptop sideview
The Chuwi Lapbook 12.3 laptop

Chinese computer company Chuwi plan to release an Ubuntu powered laptop.

The Chuwi LapBook 12.3 is a thin, all-metal clamshell notebook with a 12.3-inch 2K display.

Never heard of Chuwi? Me either.

Though the company is far from a household name it carving out a name for its self making a slate of well-received Windows 10 tablets, and 2-in-1’s — one of which even dual-boots with Android.

And now they’re apparently turning their attention to Ubuntu.

Cheap Ubuntu Laptops Suck (But These Probably Won’t)

Based on past experience you’ve ever right to be cautious; cheap Ubuntu laptops tend to be terrible, offering a mid-00s aesthetic with (what feels like) mid-90s performance!

But you should relax a little. Although Chuwi — I’m not the only one hearing Harrison Ford as Han Solo when reading their name, right?  — caters towards the lower end of the laptop market they do, at least based on a stack of reviews out there, manage to deliver both decent performance and build quality for the price.

Riding the recent announcement of the clamshell Microsoft Surface Laptop Chuwi is also joining the traditional laptop fray with Chuwi LapBook 12.3.

Chuwi LapBook 12.3 Specs

chuwi lapbook 12.3 laptop

Now, remember when I said this was a laptop targeting the low-end? It won’t feel like it in hand thanks to the unibody case cast in magnesium alloy with aluminium. Although sturdy enough magnesium alloy is less hardy than aluminium.

In side the Chuwi LapBook 12.3 is built around the  Intel N3450 (Apollo Lake) processor @ 1.10GHz (quad-core) with 2.2GHz burst. This is pair with integrated Intel HD Graphics 500.

The standout feature is the 12.3-inch IPS display which has a 2K resolution (2736×1824) and 3:2 aspect ratio. I’ve never used Ubuntu (or any OS, for that matter) on HiDPI so I’m blissfully unaware to the current state of things!

Upgradeable SSD

There’s a healthy 6GB DDR3 RAM which may be upgradeable, as on the Chuwi’s 14-inch LapBook which this is a smaller version of.

For storage there’s a 64GB eMMC ROM (soldered).

If you have a large music collection you don’t need to panic as the Lapbook has a micro SD card slot (for cards up to 128GB) and lets you expand the storage internally with an M2 SSD. 

You won’t even need to dissemble your LapBook to add one as there’s a rear panel that slides off!

Where criticism of Chuwi’s laptops and 2-in-1 devices is generally levelled is at battery life, The Chuwi Lapbook 12.3 has a li-polymer battery rated at 36.48Wh — which I guesstimate 4 hours usage — this isn’t fantastic all things said, but keep in mind the price here; there has to be compromise somewhere.

Intel 3165 dual band Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.2 LE; a 0.3MP (!) front facing camera, USB 3.0 and 2.0 and Mini-HDMI out.

Size wise the LapBook 12.3 is 300x223x16.7mm and weighs roughly 1.4kg.

Chuwi LapBook 12.3 Price

US pricing for the Chuwi Lapbook 12.3 with Windows 10 currently sits at $329 (~£250) a price competitive with mid-range Chromebooks and other cheap and cheerful Windows laptops.

But you can expect to pay less than this. The Chuwi LapBook 14 has a similar RRP but currently sells for $258 (~£211).

Like many of Chuwi’s existing products it will be possible to buy the device from tech import stores like Gearbest (who already have an inventory page up for the Windows model).

Details on the Ubuntu model are a little more scarce. According to reports as well a thread on the official Chuwi forum, the Chuwi Lapbook 12.3 will be available with a choice of Windows 10 or Ubuntu, though the exact flavour of the latter is yet to be decided.

Chuwi is not the only Chinese computer company offering a Linux option. Both the Pine64 Pinebook and the GPD Pocket both offer open-source operating systems onboard.

Chuwi Lapbook 12.3 Specs
Display 12.3″ IPS (2736×1824) 3:2 aspect ratio
CPU Intel N3450 @ 1.10GHz (Quad-core)
GPU Intel HD Graphics 500
Storage 64GB eMMC
Ports & Connectivity 1x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
Mini-HDMI out
0.3MP Webcam
MicroSD Card
Price $329
Hardware Chuwi laptops