See the original posting on Anandtech
It’s time for another look at the notebook market. The rollout of the 8th gen quad-core U series has been slowly happening, with more products available, and we’ve also had the announcement and release of the latest AMD 15-Watt U series processors as well. There’s only a single laptop available with the AMD chip at the moment, but we expect more over the coming months. The excitement there will be improved GPU performance in a low TDP processor, where Intel has owned the market for the last several years, so hopefully we can see some more products shipping with AMD soon, so we can check them out in a high quality chassis.
As always, we’ll break the guide down into several segments to serve various markets, from low-cost, to mid-range, to high end.
First up is the entry-level devices, and although they may cost less than the rest, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be short of features.
Chuwi LapBook 14.1
If you’re after a mid-size notebook at an affordable price, it’s hard to go wrong with the Chuwi LapBook 14.1. It offers a 1920×1080 IPS display, which is somewhat of a rare find in this segment of 1366×768 TN laptops. It’s based on Intel’s Apollo Lake Celeron N3450, which is four Atom Goldmont cores that can go up to 2.2 GHz. 4 GB of Dual-Channel RAM coupled with 64 GB of eMMC storage make this a surprisingly capable notebook for the price, and although it’s plastic, the material has a great texture to it. This is one of my favorite notebooks of 2017 so far, and it sells for $270 USD.
Chuwi LapBook 12.3
Another Chuwi may seem like favoritism, but this company has been releasing some very interesting PCs for price-sensitive buyers, and the LapBook 12.3 continues the trend of the 14.1 by offering a lot of bang for the buck. Obviously, the name gives away the hint that this is a smaller notebook, but the 12.3-inch display is actually the same 3:2 2736×1824 panel found in the Microsoft Surface Pro, so it offers an impressive 267 pixels-per-inch in this laptop chassis. Like the LapBook 14.1, it’s also powered by a quad-core Celeron N3450 with Intel Atom Goldmont CPU cores, but the LapBook 12.3 bumps the memory from 4 GB to 6GB, while keeping the same 64 GB of eMMC storage. It’s relatively light at 1.45 kg / 3.18 lbs, but heavier than a more expensive Ultrabook would be. We just had a chance to review this device, and it was seriously impressive for the cost. Plus, you can add a M.2 2242 SATA SSD if you want to bump the storage. It’s a price bump over the 14.1, but the move to an all-aluminum body makes it feel a lot more premium than the $330 price would suggest.
It’s been a long time since we could recommend an AMD laptop. Prior to Ryzen Mobile, the AMD APUs were generally found in ultra-budget chassis from only a handful of OEMs. Ryzen has been a great launch for AMD though, and the Ryzen Mobile APUs now come with Vega graphics, which should be a solid combo.
HP ENVY x360 15
For a 2-in-1, a 15.6" model is a bit large, but if you’re after the Ryzen Mobile APU, this is your pick for right now. However this isn’t the ultra-budget AMD based laptop of yesterday. It features the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU, which has Vega 8 graphics, and up to 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM. Although the base models come outfitted with HDD configurations, the laptop can be configured with SSD storage as well. The 15.6-inch display is a 1920×1080 IPS panel, with touch, of course, and pen support. The ENVY line isn’t quite as premium as HP’s Spectre family, but it’s still a nice notebook, and the prices start well below the Spectre. In this case, the price starts at $7