Home Web graphics Chuwi CoreBook XPro review: A solid laptop with a great keyboard for $600

Chuwi CoreBook XPro review: A solid laptop with a great keyboard for $600

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Image: David Gewirtz

Here are the specs of the Chuwi CoreBook XPro I tested:

  • Model: Chuwi CoreBook X Pro
  • Display: 15.6 inch IPS FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Processor: Coffee Lake Intel i5-8259U, 2.3 GHz with turbo boost up to 3.8 Ghz
  • Chart: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 GPU
  • Memory: 8 GB DDR4
  • SE: Windows 10 Home (well upgraded to Windows 11)
  • Storage: 512 GB NVMe
  • Webcam: 1 megapixel
  • Ports: 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB-C, 2 x USB 3, 1 x SD card reader, 1 x Ethernet port, 1 x HDMI, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11a/ac/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Dimensions: 14.15 inches x 9.5 inches x 0.31 inches
  • Mass: 3.75 pounds
  • Price: $569

Chuwi is a Shenzhen-based manufacturer that started by making MP3 and MP4 player products in 2004. Today, they make laptops, small form factor PCs, and Android tablets. Recently the company contacted me to review their CoreBook XPro laptop, so I brought it in to test. A quick note: the company has a video showing its production facilities. The marketing copy is a little sketchy, but the visual tour of their facilities is fascinating.

The machine sent to me has a Coffee Lake Intel i5-8259U, running at 2.3 GHz with turbo boost up to 3.8 Ghz. It comes with a 15.6-inch IPS display with an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage on an NVMe flash module.

To like

  • Comfortable, backlit keyboard
  • Expandable RAM and storage
  • Nice screen
  • Good price
  • small electric brick

Do not like

  • unhappy webcam
  • Poor GPU performance for triple-A games
  • No touch screen
  • Non-replaceable battery

The machine comes with Windows 10 Home. Since I standardize on Windows 11 here, I immediately upgraded it to Windows 11 Home. The upgrade took a few hours but went very well.

I found the build quality to be pretty solid. The outer shell is sheathed in aluminum alloy, but there are also quite a few plastic parts and fittings. If you’re gentle and careful (like you should be with a laptop), it should hold up just fine. If you toss it around like a gorilla in an old luggage commercial, your mileage will certainly vary.

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Image: David Gewirtz

Integrated access hatches at the bottom of the machine allow you to upgrade RAM and dual-channel M.2 hard drive expansion storage. Scalability is always a win.

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Image: David Gewirtz

As for the ports, I have no complaints. On the right side, it has an SD card slot, a full-size gigabit Ethernet jack, and an old-school USB 2.0 port.

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Image: David Gewirtz

On the left side, there’s the power adapter port, an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a switch that lets you turn it on and off the webcam. You might as well leave that aside. The webcam is… unfortunate.

Let’s talk about the webcam because that’s one of the only major negatives of this review. It is a 1 megapixel camera with mediocre image quality. Yes, it will work in a Zoom meeting, but if you do Zoom meetings for work and want to use this machine, I recommend installing an external webcam. There are a ton, like the Logitech C920x, that will get the job done with much better quality.

Screen and graphics quality

The 15.6-inch IPS screen is a standout feature of the XPro. The bezel is only 6mm thick, making it a screen that fills almost all available space. In 16:9 format, the screen is ideal for playing movies and videos. The display resolution is only 1920×1080 (1080p), but the display quality is simply stunning. Combined with the two surprisingly clear and powerful speakers, movie playback is a joy.

The screen is also nice enough for traditional office work. It’s clear and easy to read, and I didn’t experience any eye strain from using it for a few hours straight.

So let’s be clear: this is a great productivity and video playback machine. It is not, however, a gaming or video production machine. The Iris Plus Graphics 655 GPU is not up to par. Games like Cyberpunk 2077, God of War, and Halo Infinite are just too intense for this GPU. That said, you can play games like Farming Simulator and Forza Horizon 5, but you should set the graphics options as low as possible. To give you an example, running the Final Fantasy XV benchmark resulted in 15 frames per second, far too slow to be comfortable for gaming.

But if you want to do casual gaming (I’m addicted to Microsoft’s Solitaire Collection), this machine is perfect. Another favorite of mine, Cities Skylines, was initially choppy, but when I reduced the effects it became quite fun to play.

When it comes to video editing in something like Adobe Premiere Pro, you can get by with 1080p single-cam editing, but multicam editing, even with proxies, is too heavy an application for this machine – at least in its basic setup. The machine comes with only one RAM slot populated. If you added a second RAM stick to bring the system up to 16GB, you’ll enable dual-channel performance as well as more RAM for editing. This can allow for 1080p multicam editing or a single 4K camera (as long as you don’t layer the effects too heavily).

Battery life and keyboard

Battery life is decent. With the screen brightness reduced a bit, I was able to watch a two-hour movie, but barely. Honestly, if you want to watch movies, it’s best to plug the device in. The charger on this machine is nice and small, so it’s not too difficult to take the power pack with you when traveling. The battery is neither removable nor replaceable.

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Image: David Gewirtz

Doing normal productive work, like writing this article, I found I got about four hours on battery alone. My work pattern was such that I tended to mix some videos with web and writing, so the video probably ate some of the battery life it would have had if it didn’t. had only used office-type applications.

Speaking of writing, the keyboard is quite pleasant to use. It is backlit, which is very useful when working in a darker environment. The keys have a pleasant and comfortable journey. The keyboard isn’t angled or particularly ergonomic, yet I found the keyboard pleasant to use.

Benchmarks and fan noise

Here is a somewhat interesting result. Upgrading to Windows 11 can improve your single-core performance, at least in Geekbench. In Windows 10, single-core processor performance scored 956, while multi-core performance scored 3601. In Windows 11, single-core performance scored 973, while multi-core performed of 3510. Similarly, in Windows 10 the compute benchmark produced an OpenCL score of 3570, while in Windows 11 the same benchmark produced a score of 3848.

Now let me inject some reality into these statistics. First, 973 is only 1.78% faster than 956. OpenCL’s results were a bit more impressive, a difference of 7.79%. Both could be flukes. To be completely sure, the tests should be run over and over again, probably at least ten times. But we are not doing a scientific article here, just a normal review.

The bottom line is that the XPro sports an i5. It’s his level of performance. It’s the middle of the road, by design. To be fair, though, Windows 11 may have a few tweaks that will give you a bit more performance. I’m pretty happy with the performance of all my Windows 11 machines.

Oh, and the fan noise. Fan really kicked in when running Windows 10 benchmarks. Noise went from 38 to around 52db. It’s okay for a few minutes every once in a while, but if you’re using something that generates a lot of heat, it could be extremely noisy. In contrast, running the same benchmarks on Windows 11 only raised the fan to 43dB, which is not noticeable at all.

Overall usability

At 1.7 kg (about 3.75 pounds), the XPro packs some weight. It’s thin enough not to get submerged, yet thick enough to provide a full Ethernet outlet. Overall, I found the machine eminently usable, as long as you know its limitations.

All of Microsoft’s full Office applications worked without issue. If you are an Office user, you will be delighted. Photoshop and Illustrator were fine with smaller photos and designs, but the programs start to bog down once resolutions increase and layers increase.

I found a similar model with Fusion 360. Smaller models and modeling smaller objects was smooth and responsive. But when I fired up one of my bigger models, Fusion just hissed and stopped responding. Adding more memory would no doubt help, but the i5 has a high-end performance limit that the really big models were pushing.

Coding with Visual Studio Code was also smooth and responsive. I had multiple projects open, each with a bunch of files. I also had a running XAMPP install for debugging and testing, and everything went without any hesitation.

I tried running some virtual machines in VMware Workstation, and although I was able to get Ubuntu to work, I couldn’t allocate much RAM to the virtual machine and everything slowed down. It’s not a machine for using virtual machines, at least without much more RAM – and even then the i5 is the i5.

The price of the XPro varies. From the company direct, it’s listed at $569 (plus shipping). Sold by AliExpress, it’s $619 (also, plus shipping). Amazon has the unit for $679, but if you have Prime, shipping is free. For what is, essentially, a sub-$700 laptop, there’s a lot to like.

At this point, I can’t speak to long-term reliability and sturdiness, and warranty repairs must be returned to the factory in Shenzhen. Still, if you’re looking for a mid-level machine capable of doing office work with all the ports and a comfortable backlit keyboard, you should definitely check out the Chuwi CoreBook XPro. It’s a nice little machine.

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