Chinese knockoff makers gets into the super-thin notebook game in a big way with the $499 AirBook. We’ve played around with it for a while now and can say that it looks very similar to Apple’s MacBook Air, and it’s very cheap. Unfortunately being cheap comes at a price.
We went to Huaqiangbei, the best place to shop for electronics, digital products and knockoffs in Shenzhen, to purchase the AirBook for review. When planning our review of the AirBook, we knew we would need two things: Apple’s MacBook Air for side-by-side comparison, and a lot of time to test out the performance in our daily usage. After getting ready these two things, we start to review the AirBook.
Make no mistake about it — the AirBook is a proper knockoff product, with many (though not all) of the capabilities of something like Apple’s MacBook Air. But the focus on this product is most certainly… how similar are the AirBook and Apple’s MacBook Air? Can a $500 knockoff take on Apple’s ultra-thin notebook? Does the release of this product lead to a C&D letter from Apple? We will attempt to answers those questions — and more — in our review below, so read on!
Performance / Battery life
Now, as we all know benchmarks only tell a part of the story, but we’re happy to report that the numbers really do fall in line with our impressions here. PCMark Vantage clocked in at 1,399, 6-7 times lower than Apple’s MacBook Air 13-inch’s 9,484, and the AirBook’s 3DMark 06 score was considerably lower thanks to the limited graphics prowess here, just 178. So, it’s totally no gaming rig, but it is the sort of machine you wouldn’t think twice about trying to do some web-surfing on.
Speaking of battery life, we had a bad time with the AirBook. On our standard rundown test, where we’ll loop a video until the machine calls it quits, the AirBook clocked in at just 2 hours. What’s more, it offers a disappointing 1 hour and 26 minutes for web-surfing (Wi-Fi on).
Speaking of boot time, the AirBook booted in 53 seconds, and we think that’s pretty slow for a SSD-powered laptop. It also resumes from sleep in about three seconds. However, the AirBook does not remain quiet.
For no reasons, the AirBook grew noisy when you are using it, and sometimes it will remain quiet. We asked the Huaqiangbei vendor about this issue, and we were told that the manufacturer is working on a fix. No explanations were made, and we were speechless. The fan sound is really irritating.
Both of these laptops are amazing-looking, but Apple is still a cut above of the knockoff. When the two machines are put side to side, we can see that the Chinese knockoff makers are facing difficulties replicating Apple’s unibody enclosure. Just look at this pic below,
The verdict? THE DESIGN IS JUST INCREDIBLY UNORIGINAL, and we recommend that you DO NOT BUY this knockoff since it violates Apple’s design and ILLEGALLY uses the Apple logo. You can still buy one for yourself, all we can say is only a person who has no culture will buy this thing.