Today we are testing the Chuwi HeroBook Pro laptop, which expanded the range of affordable entry-level devices and is an advanced version of last year’s Heroobook. The main feature of the previous version is the low price — only $199. In fact, this is a very affordable device for working on the Internet — a netbook. Demand for the model was high, but there was also a lot of criticism. Basically, the device was scolded for the terrible TN screen with low HD resolution and the Atom series processor, which does not even have hardware support for the VP9 codec, which is critical for Youtube. And now, a year later, meet — an advanced version of the Chuwi HeroBook Pro laptop, in which the manufacturer has eliminated most of the shortcomings. The new product has a higher quality IPS screen with FullHD resolution, a more powerful processor of the Celeron line, as well as added RAM and installed an SSD drive as the main drive. At the same time, the fundamental advantages, such as a long-lasting battery and an affordable price, have been preserved.
Chuwi herobook pro in chuwi russian store
chuwi herobook pro in chuwi official store on aliexpress
Literally the day after tomorrow, the Spring Reboot sale starts and the laptop will be sold for $230. Add to cart and don’t forget to additionally use the seller’s coupon (available on the product page).
Specifications Chuwi HeroBook Pro:
- Display: IPS 14.1″ 1920*1080 resolution 16:9 aspect ratio
- CPU: Intel Celeron N4000, 2 cores/2 threads up to 2.6 GHz
- Graphics: Intel UHD 600
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR4
- Built-in storage: SSD 256 GB (slot for M2 2280 or 2242 format SSD up to 1 TB)
- Communications: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: 0.3MP
- Battery: 38Wh
- Operating system: Windows 10 Home Edition
- Dimensions: 332 x 214 x 21.3mm
- The weight: 1.39 kg
Video version of the review
Packaging and equipment
Consistently austere yet durable packaging guaranteed to withstand international shipping. Tested on personal experience more than once.
The laptop is located inside the foam box. Additionally, the box is protected by air sectional packaging (like an air mattress), but it was not preserved after unpacking.
Included: laptop, power supply, power cord with Euro plug, documentation and mount for SSD drives size 2242.
The 12V/2A power supply provides 24W of power, which is more than enough to run the laptop and charge it at the same time.
Appearance and interfaces
The laconic design is in line with modern trends: a smooth silver lid, rounded edges and a small logo in the corner. Minimalism is good. Since this is a very cheap laptop, the case is completely plastic, but there is no feeling of cheapness, and when you open the lid there is no annoying crunch of plastic.
Compared to its predecessor, the device hasn’t changed a bit. This approach allowed us to save on development and make the final cost of the product as attractive as possible.
The hinge is set up very well: the laptop opens with one hand and securely holds the desired angle.
The full-sized keyboard makes typing comfortable. Typing on a laptop is easy and only the backlight is missing for complete happiness.
Low-profile large buttons and minimal bezels on all sides of the keyboard used every millimeter of free space to good use here.
The touchpad is gigantic and a pleasure to work with.
The touchpad measures 5.75″ and supports multi-touch gestures.
In the left corner there are laptop status indicators, caps lock and num lock.
The keyboard comes only with Latin letters, but the seller completes the laptop with special stickers. I work with text a lot and remember the location of the Cyrillic alphabet by heart, so I didn’t even begin to glue the stickers. But for most users, they will certainly be useful. Although I don’t like these stickers, they are really small and without a transparent backing. In our stores they sell larger ones, with a transparent base and adding only Cyrillic letters (Latin will be visible anyway).
The maximum opening angle is about 135°, which allows you to use the laptop both on the table and just on your knees.
Now let’s look at the connectors. On the left, we placed the power connector, high-speed USB 3.0 and mini HDMI for connecting to a TV or monitor.
Since the processor supports H264/H265/VP9 hardware decoding up to 4K, the laptop can be connected to a TV via HDMI to watch movies on the big screen. During the day, while you work, you download a movie from a torrent, and watch it in the evening.
But back to connectors. On the right side we have another USB 2.0 connector, a micro SD card reader with a supported capacity of up to 512 GB and a headphone audio output, which can also be used to connect stereo speakers.
In terms of sound in headphones and when connected to acoustics, everything is quite simple, because here we have a budget audio codec Realtek ALC269. And the sound of the laptop itself is not amazing. It uses a system consisting of 4 small speakers that are hidden in the case. Through special holes behind the hinge, the sound comes out, reflects off the screen and reaches the listener. The volume is decent, but due to the small diameter of the drivers, there are practically no low frequencies, and the sound lacks volume. To watch videos and system alerts, this solution is enough, but if you want to listen to music, you should connect external speakers.
The base has large rubber feet for stability.
And a hatch for an SSD drive (size 2242 and 2280 are supported).
The Chuwi HeroBook Pro laptop is already equipped with a Netac 256 GB 2280 SSD drive. For a netbook, this amount of memory will be enough, but if desired, the drive can be replaced with a more capacious one.
The drive model is Netac S535N256G. Under the sticker, you can find the Silicon Motion SM2258XT controller.
And 2 TLC memory chips from Intel PF29F01T2ANCTH2, 128 GB each.
Here, compared to the basic version, it’s just a giant step forward. The manufacturer installed, albeit inexpensive, but an IPS screen. Well, you can’t already use TN screens in 2020! And it’s not even about the viewing angles (although they, of course, too), but about the general fading of the screen, the inexpressiveness of colors and the low brightness of TN matrices. It was these claims that were made against last year’s Chuwi Herobook, and in the PRO version, the manufacturer first of all improved the screen. In addition to the type of matrix, the resolution has also become better here, it has been increased from HD to Full HD. The color reproduction is natural, the brightness is sufficient for use in bright ambient light, the detail is good. The screen is matte, with an anti-reflective coating. The bezels are quite large, but let’s not forget that this is a very cheap laptop.
Visually, the image on the screen looks no worse than on more expensive models, such as Chuwi Lapbook Pro. According to the HW info utility, a BOE082C matrix (NV140FHM-N4K) is installed here. According to the datasheet, the screen has WLED backlighting, a maximum brightness of 250 cd/m² and a contrast ratio of 800:1.
At an angle, the image does not change in any way: the brightness drops slightly, the contrast remains high, and there is no inversion.
The uniformity of filling the white field is good. There are no anomalies, such as yellow spots or brighter areas.
Backlight uniformity is quite good, with a maximum deviation of 12.67% at maximum brightness.
But with the black field, not everything is so rosy. In my copy, there are quite strong highlights in the corners at the top and at the bottom closer to the center.
At maximum backlight brightness, the screen does not flicker, the ripple coefficient is 1.3%.
The screen brightness is adjusted using PWM, so at any brightness below 100% modulation appears with a frequency of 200, 400 and 600 Hz. With a decrease in brightness, the ripple coefficient increases, for example, at 80% brightness, the CP is 74%, and at the minimum brightness, the CP is 131%. This means that people with hypersensitivity to flicker may experience rapid visual fatigue.
If you are a flicker-sensitive person, it is best to use a laptop with a high screen backlight. If you still need to reduce the brightness, then there is a life hack that helps to do this without increasing the ripple. To do this, go to the application for managing the video card, in our case it is the Intel HD graphics control panel, go to the «color settings» tab and reduce the brightness with the slider to the desired value. It really works and at the minimum brightness the ripple factor is a little more than 2%.
Disassembly for cooling system evaluation and component identification
We unscrew 10 screws around the perimeter of the case and 2 more behind the upper legs, remove the cover. On the inside, it is glued with aluminum foil for better heat distribution over the entire surface. In the area of u200bu200bthe legs, the plastic has a reinforcement with a lattice.
Internal layout. Motherboard with main components on the right, additional board with connectors on the left. At the top of the speaker in its own housing, in the center of the battery.
The battery consists of 2 batteries connected in series, capacity 38 Wh.
An additional board with a card reader, USB and audio output is connected to the main board with a cable.
Although the case itself is plastic, a metal “skeleton” is installed inside, to which all components and hinges are attached. The hinges are also metal and look reliable. As I mentioned earlier, the hinges and hinge are soft and easy to open even with one hand.
The processor, memory and other components are covered with a metal shield that is used for cooling. The cooling here is very formal, but since the heat dissipation of the processor is scanty, then it is enough.
Consider the main components. Intel Celeron N4000 processor, 2 x 4GB SK hynix LPDDR4 RAM chips, ITE8987E multicontroller, Realtek ALC269 audio codec and Realtek RTL8723BU WiFi module. There is no flash memory, so the SSD drive is the only drive.
The input is standard, when you turn it on, click the del button and get into UEFI from American Megatrends.
The settings are unlocked and very extensive.
Among other things, there are Power Limit settings. The default is 9W and automatic time to get maximum performance (depends on temperature). You can try to change, depending on what you want to get — more performance or less heat.
The temperature limits are hardcoded in the system and cannot be changed, however, judging by the data, the processor starts throttling at 95 degrees (Active Thermal Trip Point), and turns off at 110 degrees (Critical Thermal Trip Point). In fact, this is all with a large margin, because even in stress tests I was not able to warm it up more than 80 degrees, because it regulates the thermal package by lowering the frequency, but more on that later. By and large, despite the huge number of settings, the user may need only the penultimate section, which allows you to choose the boot order of the drives or run the installation flash drive to reinstall Windows (for example, if you want to install a more capacious drive). And playing with other parameters is fraught with the most unexpected consequences, because often the bios in such laptops is “pulled” by the Chinese comrades by the ears, and I still remember the hype for a couple of years when, when trying to overclock the memory, the user received a brick and it was already impossible to restore the device without a programmer.
Work in the system and basic tests
The laptop comes preloaded with Windows 10 Home Edition. Be prepared for the fact that after the first turn on, the laptop will start downloading and installing the latest updates, which are quite voluminous by the way. And since the processor is rather weak, then at this time it will work quite slow, because at some points the processor load is under 100%. But after installing all the updates and rebooting a couple of times, you can finally get to work.
Working in the system is quite comfortable, applications and folders open instantly, everything is decided by the SSD drive. By default, scaling up to 150% is enabled, so fonts and system elements are read well, folders and shortcuts are large. I installed the apps I use for work and everyday life, as well as a couple of elementary toys. But let’s start with benchmarks.
While the system was clean and the hard drive was not full of programs, I checked the speed of the Netac SSD. The disk is connected via the SATA 600 interface, there is no temperature sensor, so the value of 40 degrees is always shown.
The CrystalDiskMark speed test showed 538 MB/s read and 462 MB/s write. Testing was carried out twice: with a data volume of 1GB and a data volume of 8GB.
Even when testing with a data volume of 64 GB, the read speed dropped slightly.
Reading test with Aida 64
RAM and cache speed:
The next thing I checked was the internet. Here, as in last year’s version of the laptop, WiFi only works in the 2.4 Ghz range. This is sad. The laptop catches the signal confidently even through 2 walls from the router, but the speed is not encouraging: in an apartment building, I could not get above 30 Mbps.
There is a way out, you just need to use another WiFi adapter. The disassembly showed that here the WiFi adapter is soldered on the board and there is no PCI-E slot for connecting another module. So we will use an external adapter with AC support operating in the 5 GHz band. For example, this one costs less than $5.
Windows 10 didn’t even need drivers, just plugged it into a USB port and connected to my router.
In the 5 GHz band, my router was the only one in sight.
Download and upload speed increased to 184 Mbps.
Now about performance. The Intel Celeron N4000 CPU is an entry-level solution with low consumption and heat dissipation. 2 cores 2 threads and a maximum clock frequency of 2.6 GHz allow you to use the device in everyday life for common user tasks: Internet, multimedia, office applications, editors, etc. Cooling is completely passive, i.e. the laptop makes no more noise than your smartphone and this is captivating. The integrated UHD 600 is used as a graphics solution.
In Geekbench 5, the laptop scores 423 points in single-core mode and 762 points in multi-core mode, Open CL — 1062 points.
In Geekbench 4: single-core mode — 1844, multi-core mode — 3189. For comparison, the regular version of Chuwi Herobook on the Intel Atom X5 E8000 processor scores 948 points in single-core mode and 2562 points in multi-core mode. That is, the performance gain of Chuwi Herobook PRO in single-core mode is almost double, and in multi-core mode it is 25%.
Open CL — 11505 points. The predecessor had 4011 points. Those almost 300% performance gain!
Another popular benchmark is Cinebench R15. In the processor test — 105 points, in the graphics test — 12.45 fps. Again, let’s compare with the previous version of the laptop on Atom: in the processor test — 96 points, in the graphics — 7.79 fps. There is also an increase, although not as significant as in Geekbench.
Now for more real tests that mimic real activity. PC Mark 10 Express is designed for laptops and entry-level computers, during the test light load is carried out, such as: web browsing, editing documents and spreadsheets, running applications and video conferencing. The result is 1936 points, which is almost 2 times more than its predecessor (1068 points).
The processor temperature varies from 50 to 70 degrees depending on the load.
In the advanced test of PCMarrk 10 Essentials, where photo processing + rendering is added, the result is 1469 points (the previous version had 838 points). As you can see, the laptop received the PRO prefix for a reason, because in real conditions of use it has become almost twice as powerful and works much faster.
Notebook in real working conditions
With tests, I think enough and now I will try to describe my impressions of using it. It is clear that the main purpose of such a machine is to use the Internet. In the evening, surf on the couch in the browser, read the latest news and chat with friends on social networks and instant messengers. Of course, you can do all this on a smartphone, but on a laptop it is much more pleasant. There are no problems with this at all: in chrome, you can safely open more than 10 tabs, RAM allows and not like that. Heavy pages open normally and do not slow down even if they are stuffed with gif animation.
I also checked the programs that I personally use. For example photoshop. Doing something serious on a 14″ screen is a joke for chickens, for this I have a 27″ monitor. But of course you can do some simple things. Everything works fine, but of course with a certain thoughtfulness.
The same goes for Lightroom. Do not expect an instant reaction to your actions, but it is quite possible to work. Although there is more convenience due to the fact that such a laptop can be easily taken on a business trip or on vacation and do photo processing right on the road or any other place in your free time. It is not even necessary to have an outlet, because the battery allows you to do without it for a long time.
The next moment is video editing using Vegas 15. A very real task for a laptop, because the processor supports Intel Quick Sync Video hardware-accelerated video encoding technology. I often work with the program, because I create videos for my youtube channel.
A test project with a video length of 10 minutes was processed in 19 minutes 54 seconds. For comparison, my main computer with a 6th generation core i7 copes with the same video in 3 minutes 49 seconds. Yes, it will take longer. But he can do it! Now, in connection with the quarantine, many have been transferred to a remote location, the children study remotely, and all devices have simply been occupied in my house! My wife works with accounting, so she took an old laptop, the child is studying and he spends most of the day on the computer. Well, I am located on the couch with Herobook Pro. The text is a real pleasure to type, I am writing this review directly from it. Yes, and the video can be edited: a 30-minute review will be rendered for more than an hour.
For accounting also a laptop of norms. I installed 1C and threw a working base (quite impressive) into it, after which I asked my wife to evaluate the performance. She said that it is somewhat slower than when working from the server (they recently improved the equipment there), but it’s quite good and you can work.
With laptops of this class, you should understand only one thing — it is not suitable for gaming. If games are very important to you, then I don’t know what else you are doing here. Neither DotA, nor cs go, nor fortnite will work here. No way. Integrated graphics are not for that. I explain this in video reviews all the time, but anyway, in the comments to the videos, some continue to persistently ask: Will GTA 5 work? Will PUBG go? Yeah, it will… It will fly Red Dead Redemption 2 at maximum speed Well, now that the gamers are gone, I’ll tell you what you can still run on such a laptop. Well, at least all sorts of toys from Alawar, like quests with the search for hidden objects. For those who are over 30, it will certainly be interesting to play turn-based strategies, like 3/5 heroes of might and magic, which work fine even on atoms, but they just fly on Celeron. It turns out that Chuwi made a laptop for heroes and even named it accordingly In general, you can play old strategies. What is modern? For example Wot Blitz. There are 2 options here: either medium graphics settings with vegetation and shadows, or high without vegetation and shadows.
The average FPS in the game floats from 40 to 60, the temperature of the processor has risen to 78 degrees in 30 minutes of the game.
Another game I checked out as I play it regularly myself is Hearthstone. Despite its apparent simplicity in terms of graphics, it loads the processor very heavily and does not go smoothly everywhere.
The game has a maximum limit of 30 fps, but the laptop cannot even maintain this value at a constant level, on average fps is at the level of 25 — 30, but sometimes there are drawdowns up to 20 frames per second, which becomes already noticeable and cannot be played. too comfortable. You can set the graphics settings to low, this slightly improves the situation and adds 2 — 3 frames per second.
Here, the changes compared to the previous version are positive. In addition to the bad screen, the first version of the Herobook was criticized for its poor hardware codec support. Well, Atom didn’t pull even FullHD at 60 frames per second, because it didn’t support VP9 hardware decoding. Here, the graphics core is newer and there is hardware support for decoding both VP9 and HEVC, and in resolutions up to 4K. Well, actually in youtube video in FullHD at a speed of 60 fps goes fine: after buffer loading (the first couple of seconds), the video goes without missed frames and very smoothly.
You can even watch 4K / 30 fps, but there is no sense in this on the Full HD screen of the laptop, because you will not see the difference.
But the laptop does not pull 4K / 60fps anymore, there are frame drops and the video does not play smoothly.
You can also download and watch movies in Full HD and 4K. In the first option, directly on the laptop, and in the second option, by connecting it to the TV via HDMI. Even heavy films in good quality, the laptop turns without straining. Take Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw as an example. 4K resolution, HEVC codec, 65 GB movie size, 63.7 Mbps bit rate.
It spins without any difficulties, and the processor is loaded by less than 30%, and the graphics by about 50%.
Important point! If you download and play a movie in HDR quality, it will automatically be converted and shown in SDR quality, even if you have an HDR TV. But I think no one in their right mind expects that a simple laptop can replace a home theater or an advanced media player. Expecting HDR support or multi-channel audio from it is at least stupid.
By the way, there is an interesting point with the HEVC codec. Initially, it is not installed on the Windows 10 system and when you try to start the movie, it asks you to download and install the codec from the official store. Well, OK. I drive in the search for the store «HEVC» and see that the codec is paid and costs $0.99. Seems inexpensive, but WTF? Why should I pay for something that is now free in any deshman console?
In fact, there is another link with a free codec (here it is), but naturally it does not appear in the search and I found it by accident on one of the sites.
Also, a laptop can be used by analogy with TV set-top boxes to play movies online, for this there is an FS client application. Everything is standard here: choose a movie and watch it without downloading it to disk. Works great.
Testing the cooling system with stress tests
When working in a browser, with text or when watching a video, the laptop does not heat up at all. On the one hand, this is due to a small heat dissipation, on the other hand, thanks to the adaptive operation of the processor. The maximum frequency on it lasts for a very short time and is rather designed for «explosive» performance when working with the system (navigating through sections, opening folders, launching applications, etc.). But if the cores are loaded at 100% for more than a few seconds, then the frequency is automatically reduced to 2.2 GHz — 2.3 GHz. This is not much, but it allows you to keep the temperature under control.
After 30 minutes of the stress test, the picture does not change.
According to the passport, the maximum allowable temperature on the crystal is 105 degrees. The temperature rises very slowly and stops at 77 degrees.
In addition to slow heating, we have rapid cooling. After removing the load, the temperature instantly drops by 10 degrees and within 30 seconds by another 10 degrees, quickly returning to normal values. This all suggests that the laptop has sufficient cooling and overheating does not threaten it.
In my work, the laptop lasts for a very long time, in fact, for a whole working day with the maximum brightness of the screen. In the morning I turn on my laptop, read the news, actively use the browser, after which I get down to work: editing photos or writing an article. I am periodically distracted by e-mail, watching social networks and YouTube videos. At lunch I take a break from work, sending the laptop to sleep and after lunch again into battle. Usually by 5 pm he already asks for charging. That is, it can withstand 6 hours at maximum brightness under such a load. And if the brightness is reduced, then it is quite possible to get the declared 9 hours from a single charge, because the screen is probably one of the main consumers here.
Also ran some user tests. In the evening at 20:08, on a charged laptop, I launched a movie in Full HD quality with maximum screen brightness. The movie played in a loop until the laptop turned off (03:55 am). In total, he worked for almost7 o’clock. And this is repeated at the maximum brightness of the screen.
A couple of days later, the test was repeated, but using Youtube 1080p, i.e. the Internet was actively working via WiFi. The screen brightness is at maximum again. This time it was less — 5.5 hours.
I also used the battery test in PC Mark 10: At 50% brightness in Modern Office mode (constantly simulating office work), the laptop worked for 7 hours and 33 minutes.
And in idle mode (brightness 50%, white fill of the screen) — 9 hours 56 minutes. In real use, the result will be somewhere in the middle, because a person usually alternates active work with periods of downtime. In general, 8 — 9 hours of operation at a brightness of 50% can be expected.
When I test expensive devices, the demand for them is appropriate. After all, having paid a round sum, a person expects that everything will be at the highest level. Therefore, each shortcoming is felt critically sharply and causes bewilderment. Another thing is such low-cost devices. When buying them, you don’t really expect anything, but sometimes they pleasantly surprise you. For example, having paid $230 for the Heroobook Pro, I am surprised to understand that in many ways it is not inferior to expensive fancy laptops, the potential of which is not used by everyone. The screen is nice, there is enough RAM, thanks to the SSD drive it works quickly. Of course, if you need a powerful laptop for gaming or specific work, then this model will not suit you. But most people just want to get an inexpensive laptop for the Internet and simple household tasks. So why overpay? And yet, what are the disadvantages of this model? I note strong light on the screen (visible on a black background) and WiFi only at 2.4 GHz. And if the second is easily fixed by buying a penny WiFi module with AC support, then the first will remain forever. Although for the money I’m willing to suffer. As a result, in my opinion, we have: a great, cheap laptop for the Internet with a nice unobtrusive design, light weight and compact size. Chuwi has worked on the bugs and eliminated the most relevant comments compared to the previous version. Chuwi Herobook Pro is good!
Chuwi herobook pro in chuwi russian store
chuwi herobook pro in chuwi official store on aliexpress
On April 27, the Spring Reboot sale starts and the laptop will be sold at a reduced price of $230. Add to cart and don’t forget to additionally use promotional codes, which will be valid from April 27 (activations are available in limited quantities, so you need to act quickly):