CHUWI LarkBox: A computer that fits in the palm of your hand
A computer so small that it fits in the palm of your hand: the CHUWI LarkBox with 4K support Equipped with 6GB RAM and 128GB eMMC memory, but can the built-in Intel Celeron J4115 processor provide good performance?
- CHUWI LarkBox
|Processor||Intel Celeron J4115 Quad Core 1.8 GHz – 2.5 GHz|
|Graphics card||Intel UHD Graphics 600|
|Working memory||6GB LPDDR4 RAM|
|Internal memory||128GB eMMC / free M.2 slot|
|Connections||Dual WiFi 2.4 GHz/5.0 GHz 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.1, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB3.0), 1x HDMI 2.0|
|Dimensions||61 x 61 x 43 mm|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home|
Scope of delivery & packaging
Like most of the devices from CHUWI, the LarkBox comes in a light sand-colored cardboard box. Besides the black CHUWI logo on the top side, we also find a red-blue sticker, which tells us the processor and the pre-installed operating system. If we lift the lid, we find the LarkBox wrapped in foam on one side. On the other side there are two more boxes, a bright one with the power supply and a small black one with the VESA adapter. On the bottom of the foam there is another black box containing the manual in different languages (German, English, Spanish and more).
Besides the LarkBox, the power supply and the VESA adapter are included in the delivery. Our included USB-C power supply is the old version and not the improved one thanks to the crowdfunding stretch goal. This one would be a bit smaller and then consists of only one part. Should you decide to buy the LarkBox, you will get the newer one. You can use the VESA adapter to mount the LarkBox on the back of a monitor. All you need is a compatible free VESA mount and the LarkBox disappears from your table.
Design & Processing
When we opened the box in the office, some were amazed at how small the LarkBox was. With dimensions of 61 x 61 x 43 mm it is simply really tiny. The black housing of the small cube PC is made of plastic and weighs a total of 126 g. So it is really light and can be transported without any problems. On the top and on the front side we have an open grid on which air is sucked in or blown out.
The processing of the plastic is good and nothing moves or sticks out. Also the cutouts for the connectors are fitting, only the power button made of silver plastic looks a bit cheap. But in general there is nothing to complain about.
Connectors & Connectivity
Despite its small form factor, LarkBox offers some connections, though not all that one would wish for. The LarkBox does have a USB type C connector, but this is used as a power connector, so it cannot be used for anything else. That leaves two USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) ports and one HDMI 2.0 port. Furthermore there is a Micro-SD reader and a combo headphone jack. So you are missing a free USB-C port and also an Ethernet port you are looking for in vain.
According to this, you can only access the network if you use the built-in Dual Band WiFi ac. At the same time, LarkBox also supports Bluetooth 5.1, so you can use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to save your valuable USB ports.
Hardware & Performance
In our first information about LarkBox, we were told that the Intel N4100 would be used. In the end, the newer and slightly faster Intel Celeron J4114 four core processor was chosen. The Intel UHD 600 is used as graphics processor. Furthermore, the LarkBox is equipped with 6GB RAM and 128GB eMMC memory.
In general I find the performance of the LarkBox rather mediocre. You can surf online or perform office tasks, but it does not run as smoothly as on a faster PC. Also the multitasking is not as performant as you would expect from a computer in 2020. Thanks to the Intel UHD 600 graphics card you can display a 4K picture and play 4K content, but the GPU is not good for much more. Games that don’t need much graphical performance or retro emulators will work, but even games like Rocket League won’t work on lowest settings and HD resolution above 30 FPS.
At the same time, the built-in fan often kicks in during any activity and also produces an audible background noise. Nevertheless, the LarkBox’s processor reaches temperatures of up to 82°C with three chrome tabs, one of which streams a video. At full load by a benchmark, the CPU also reaches 90 °C and clocks down.
While there is no load, the LarkBox only needs 3W and is therefore very power efficient. If it is then fully loaded, it needs 12W, which still doesn’t hit the wallet.
Also the selected eMMC memory is not the fastest and loading and starting times are noticeably slower than with an SSD. There is the possibility to retrofit a M.2 SSD with a maximum length of 42 mm, but in this case you could also have used an SSD directly.
So what can you do with LarkBox? A place of use for which CHUWI advertises you is as a mobile office computer. I can not quite understand it. You need a monitor, mouse and keyboard to use the computer. A laptop may be bigger, but it is also ready for use and usually offers more connection possibilities.
As a kind of TV-box I can see them more easily. Especially for laymen who don’t want to deal with Linux and a Raspberry Pi I can imagine it quite well. Nevertheless it competes with the usual TV-boxes, which mostly come along with old Android versions, and TV-sticks, which are available from well-known manufacturers like Amazon or Xiaomi. The advantage of LarkBox is that most streaming sites are compatible without any problems and you have a large selection of players.
You can also attach it to a monitor and use it as a normal computer which needs almost no space. It’s not as powerful, but you could use the box to connect to a faster system. So cloud gaming is slowly coming and the Larkbox could be suitable for this.
Of course these are only examples and you can certainly use it as a small web or teamspeak server. What would you do with LarkBox?
In general it is a bit impressive to see how small a regular computer actually is. Size is also the deciding factor here. Because you have to want exactly this form factor.
As soon as you get rid of the size, the main argument for the LarkBox is missing. The price is not exactly low for the purpose. Therefore, the LarkBox is recommended if you have a place of use where space is crucial and you do not need too much power. Even in continuous operation the LarkBox will not let your electricity costs skyrocket and is therefore suitable for use where it is permanently switched on. I can’t recommend it completely for the current price, but it will probably decrease with time.To the gadget