Best Value Ultrabooks and Notebooks this January

A compilation of the best value Ultrabooks and Notebooks currently available. From the premium priced to the Ultra budget, take your pick.

Cube Mix Plus – The successor to the Cube i7 Book and currently one of the most affordable Kaby Lake Powered Tablet available. It is more of a rehash or reboot of the Cube i7 Book, basically only the chipset has changed. Wacom support is still available as well as 100% pure Raw performance at your disposal.

More info here: Cube Mix Plus

Where you can buy: $379 – price as of January 30, 2017

  • New Intel Core M3-7Y30 Kaby Chipset is an improvement over Skylake (faster basing on Benchmarks)
  • Dual Channel 4 GB RAM at 1866MHz
  • Uses the same Foresee 128 GB M.2 SSD (516Mbps Read and 205Mbps Write speeds)
  • Double the Storage space of the old Cube i7 Book (from 64 gb to 128 GB)
  • Very responsive Wacom Stylus (Hover mode support and Palm Rejection)
  • 10.6 inch IPS Electromagnetic Display, 1080p Similar to the Surface Pro
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 3165 (Same with the old Cube i7 Book) – very good speeds and range
  • Good Quality Keyboard Build (Magnetic Pogo Pin Attachment)
  • Supports the old Cube i7 Book Keyboard (which is much cheaper)
  • 4300mAh battery (gives you around 5 hours of casual use)
  • Still gets hot, 83-86° on Gaming

In addition, the older Cube i7 Book ($269) is still a great Tablet, even much cheaper than the Cube Mix Plus with a Slightly slower Intel Core M3-6Y30 Skylake Chip. Other features available on the Cube Mix Plus is the same with the Cube i7 Book.

 

Xiaomi Mi Air 12 – The closes thing you can get to a Mac Book Pro. It is Xiaomi’s first entry into the Ultrabook Market and for sure it is one of the best as of 2016. Probably the best part of this notebook is the great keyboard, touch pad and 1080p IPS Screen, which is simply gorgeous and gives you certified bragging rights. Perhaps my only problem is the lack of Licensed English Windows 10.

More info here: Xiaomi Mi Air 12 (Full Review)

Where you can buy: $607 (Gold version) – price as of January 30, 2017

  • Stunning Looks and Premium Grade Materials (100% All Aluminum)
  • Good Thermals (idle 31-39C), Gaming/Heavy load (60C)
  • Fast SSD Storage (Samsung MZNTV128HDHP SSD )
  • Awesome 1080p IPS Display (Vibrant, Deep Contrast and Wide Viewing Angle)
  • End to End Glass Screen protected by Sapphire Glass
  • Decent AKG Loudspeakers (high volume, doesn’t distort and crisp sound)
  • Dolby Surround Sound Technology
  • Fast and Stable Dual Band WiFi 2.4/5GHz (Intel Dual Band Wireless AC-8260)
  • One of the best Keyboard and Touch pad I have ever tested
  • Quick Charging support (Fast Charger can quickly charge 40% to 90% in less than 1 hour)
  • Supports both USB 3.1 and USB Type C (supports external devices)
  • SSD can be upgraded to M.2 SSD
  • Can be used on Video Editing (1080p or lower), Photoshop etc…
  • 6-7 hours average battery life (not the 11 hours claimed by Xiaomi)
  • Unfortunately, it does underclock to 1.5GHz on Full Load, to maintain ideal temps of 50-52°C when I was doing Video Encoding using  Adobe Premier Pro CC
  • You also have to shelve a few more bucks to have a licensed Windows 10 system (non activated at stock)

 

Xiaomi Mi Air 13 – A little bigger than the Mi Air 12 but a lot more powerful. It comes with an Intel Core i5 Mobile Chipset and a Discreet Nvidia GT940MX GPU, those specs already speaks out the gaming potential of this notebook. Although it is not necessarily a Gaming Notebook, you can play a lot more games and at respectable frame rates on this one.

More info here: Xiaomi Mi Air 13

Where you can buy: $893 – price as of January 30, 2017

  • The build quality is premium light and portable, it also has one of the better keyboards and touch pads available
  • Powered by Intel Core i5 6200U Dual Core chip
  • 8 GB RAM and 256 Samsung SSD Storage (Doubles the memory and storage of the Mi Air 12)
  • Slightly bigger 13.3 inch IPS 1080p Screen
  • The Ultrabook beefed up performance and can be used on heavier tasks such as Video Editing
  • Supports Expandable Storage via M.2 SATA Slot
  • The AKG loudspeakers offers decent output and volume
  • The Nvidia GT940MX can game at a respectable 720p HD with good fps
  • Same other features you find on the Mi Air 12

 

Chuwi Lapbook Apollo – Currently, the only Ultra budget Notebook I can highly recommend. It comes with the new Apollo Lake N3450 Quad Core Chipset which is even faster than any Intel Atom Cherry Trail Chip. Although it still trails behind Core M powered Tablets, what makes the Lapbook Apollo great is the 1080p Matte screen, good enough keyboard and touch pad. But it is plastic.

More info here: Chuwi Lapbook Apollo

Where you can buy: $280 – price as of January 22, 2017

  • Powered by 7th Generation Intel Apollo Celeron N3450 Quad Core Goldmount Architecture
  • Intel HD Graphics 500 GPU
  • Dual Channel 4 GB RAM clocked at 1600MHzble to 8 GB
  • Sandisk eMMC 64 GB (supports Expansion)
  • Supports M.2 Sata3 SSD (can be used as boot for much faster performance)
  • Matte Anti-Glare 14.1 inch 1080p IPS Screen (non reflective), great for using outdoors
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless 3165 (similar to the Cube Mix Plus)
  • Runs a licensed Windows 10 Home Edition 64 bit
  • Good Quality keyboard and Touchpad, much better quality compared to other cheapo laptops
  • USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 (supports Peripheral devices like External HDD) – works perfectly
  • 12V 9000mAh battery
  • Plastic Build
  • Can get hot on gaming/heavy load close to 88° (because of the plastic housing)

Ultra Budget Choices

Cube iWork1x. Cube’s latest budget entry, a change to the new Cherry Trail X5-Z8350 is surprisingly good. Even with a plastic build, it still one of my best choices. It offers slightly improved performance over the older Z8300, the keyboard accessory is also well constructed. The 1080p screen is also quite good.

More info here: Cube iWork1x

Where you can buy: $195 (Win10) – price as of January 30, 2017

  • 2 in 1 Convertible Ultrabook (Mostly Plastic build)
  • Good quality keyboard despite the price
  • Powered by Intel Atom Cherry Trail X5-Z8350 Chip  and Intel HD Graphics 400
  • Good Quality 1080p IPS Display, very responsive and accurate touch feedback
  • 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM (1600MHz)
  • Good speed Sandisk Drive (64 GB)
  • Stable WiFi Performance (Realtek Wireless N)
  • Runs 64 bit Windows 10 out of the box (Dual OS version already available)
  • USB 3.0 Support (supports external HDD’s)
  • Runs hot, but no dip on CPU performance or No Thermal Throttling
  • 5 hours average use

Chuwi Hi12 Z8350 is an updated version, new chipset and promises slightly improved performance compared to the Z8300 version. It has a whopping 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution with Active Stylus support.

More info here: Chuwi Hi12 Z8350

Where you can buy: $239 (price updated January 30, 2017)

  • Atom Cherry X5-Z8350, Intel HD Graphics 400
  • 4 GB RAM and 64 GB eMMc
  • Dual OS (Android 5.1 Lollipop + Windows 10)
  • 2 in 1 Convertible Tablet (Magnetic Docking Keyboard)
  • First to offer a 12 inch screen size (Surface Pro 3 Screen)
  • iPad Pro Aesthetics
  • 3:2 Display Ratio, 2160 x 1440 pixels
  • Active Stylus Support (256 pressure sensitivity with Palm Rejection)
  • Supports Expandable Storage
  • Dual OS Support
  • Supports Magnetic Dock (Keyboard – optional)
  • USB Host OTG Support
  • USB 3.0 (standard Port) available
  • Giant 11,000mAh battery

 

Chuwi Hi10 Pro (Z8350). Also a reboot of the Z8300, it’s one of the most popular tablet of 2016. On 2017, it is now slightly faster and much better. It also has a good 1200p Display and has USB Type C connectivity. A 2 in 1 Convertible Tablet, so it has an optional keyboard. It is also one of the cheapest Refreshed tablets to offer Dual OS support.

More info here: Chuwi Hi10 Pro (Z8350)

Where you can buy: $221 (with Keyboard) – price as of January 30, 2017

  • Good Quality Magnetic Pogo Pin Keyboard
  • Handwriting Stylus (same with Chuwi Vi10 Plus, Chuwi Hi10)
  • Dual OS Support
  • USB Type C Port
  • 6500mAh Battery

Cube iWork10 Flagship Z8350. One of the best budget Tablets of 2016, this new reboot also offers the X5-Z8350 and continues the good overall build quality, battery life and Dual OS functions. It is a 2 in Ultrabook with USB 3.0 Support and USB Type C connectivity.

More info here: Cube iWork10 Flagship Z8350

Where you can buy: $172 – price as of January 30, 2017

  • Same design and keyboard attachment (Magnetic Pogo)
  • Supports Active Stylus
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Dual OS Support
  • USB Type C Support
  • 7000mAh battery and typical usage time up to 5 hours

 

Cube iWork8 Air (Z8350 version). If you want Ultrabudget, then look no further to the Cube iWork8 Air, it is a reboot but a definitely good one I think. At less than $100, you get the improved performance of the new Cherry Trail Chipset, plus it supports Dual OS.

More info here: Cube iWork8 Air (Z8350 version)

Where you can buy: $98 – price as of January 30, 2017

  • 2 GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC
  • Dual OS
  • 8.0 inch IPS 1920 x 1200 pixels
  • MicroUSB 2.0 (OTG)
  • 3500mAh battery

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