One of the smallest Intel mini PC we’ve seen so far was ECS LIVA Q2 Micro PC which Ian reviewed last year with an Intel Celeron N4000 Gemini Lake processor, 4GB RAM, and 32GB eMMC flash housed into a 70 x 70 x 33.4 mm (163.66 cm3) enclosure.
CHUWI LarkBox is a similar mini PC with an Intel Celeron N4100 SoC, 6GB RAM, 128GB, and various ports into a 61 x 61 x 43 mm enclosure, that’s a bit taller but marginally smaller with a volume of 160 cm3.
CHUWI LarkBox (preliminary) specifications:
- SoC – Intel Celeron N4100 quad-core Gemini Lake processor @ 1.1 / 2.4 GHz with Intel UHD Graphics 600; 6W TDP
- System Memory – 6GB LPDDR4
- Storage – 128GB eMMC storage, MicroSD card slot
- Video Output – HDMI up to 4K resolutions
- Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, digital audio via HDMI
- Connectivity – Bluetooth 5.0, and I suppose 802.11ac WiFi 5
- USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB Type-C port
- Misc – Power button
- Power Supply – TBD via USB-C port
- Dimensions – 61 x 61 x 43 mm
At this size, passive cooling is challenging, and just like ECS LIVA Q2, CHUWI LarkBox mini PC includes “an ultra-silence [sic] cooling fan”.
There’s no word about the operating system, but I’m pretty sure CHUWI will ship the computer with Windows 10 Home 64-bit. But if you’d been reading Linuxium reviews about Gemini Lake mini PCs you’ll know those can also run Ubuntu 18.04 and other Linux distributions fairly well. 4K video playback in Kodi and YouTube does work, but usually a bit better in Windows where results also vary depending on your web browser and video codec.
The company is just teasing people right now, so the mini PC has not been released nor its price, but the company has started a global giveaway where it plans to send a LarkBox to four randomly selected winners.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
32 Replies to “Palm-Sized Chuwi LarkBox Mini PC Packs a Celeron N4100 Processor, 6GB RAM, and 128GB Storage”
Best example yet of a PC that is too small to provide a reasonable complement of interface ports. Sure you can add a hub but that increases the overall size.
If size is that important and you can live with only Wi-Fi and 2 USB, why not just go with a stick PC which is even smaller?
I also found it uninteresting due to the impressive lack of connectivity. I think the size is not an excuse, others manage to do better. The two USB ports should have been placed on the front where the power button is, not the back, so that it’s possible to connect two USB sticks and other random consumer devices, including the ability to use them as a charging plug for any device. The back should have permanent cables such as power, screen, USB and network.
That one requires too many external devices to become usable.
I agree, who is going to use this and for what. What the point of using an N4100 while not leveraging the 6 HSIO lanes?
Oh I get it, use a bracelet and it becomes a watch. Add a 12v battery in a light backpack or armband, hack the board to add 4G and voilà. You can watch YouTube on head front mounted LCD while doing your jogging. Great! I’ll buy two, one for each wrist for AI enhanced stereoscopic 3D viewing.
You guys do not seem to like it. So what alternative device can you recommend if I want the wireless connectivity (I suppose 802.11ac WiFi 5; most Chinese boxes lack this) but I don’t require 6GB LPDDR4 and 128GB SSD storage? I’m content with something like 4GB RAM, and 32GB eMMC flash. I prefer fanless. I’m not sure what’s a reasonable price point for this, though. Where can you even buy the ECS Liva box mentioned in the article?
Try contacting these guys, they offer them on a “white box” basis https://www.actpower.com.tw/
Take a look at Chuwi HeroBox or Kodlix GN41, both of which are bigger but much better interface wise.
There are a number of miniPCs based on N4100
@Dan said: “Where can you even buy the ECS Liva box mentioned in the article?”
This one is similar but better (N4100 vs. N4000):
* LIVA Z2 N4100 032BB ECS Z2 Mini PC with N4100 (No RAM) 32GB eMMC $179 & FREE Shipping:
The problem with the ECS Liva PCs is the non-upgradeable eMMC storage, 32GB is too small. In comparison, the Chuwi LarkBox being discussed here has 128GB.
“Try contacting these guys, they offer them on a “white box” basis…”
Is Act Power really the maker of ECS mini PCs? From their home page they do not seem to be a consumer facing business, even less so than ECS. And many people complain they can’t find many or any ECS resellers wherever.
Do you suggest Act Power will ship me a single “white box” mini from Taiwan more competitively to Europe/North America than any ECS regional reseller, even at their MSRP prices? Interesting.
“Take a look at Chuwi HeroBox or Kodlix GN41, both of which are bigger but much better interface wise.”
Indeed. They are bigger but much better interface wise. And just like any other Chinese mini PCs I’ve been able to find, they lack AC Wi-Fi. My requirement.
“This one is similar but better (N4100 vs. N4000):
* LIVA Z2 N4100 032BB ECS Z2 Mini PC with N4100 (No RAM) 32GB eMMC $179 & FREE Shipping…”
Thanks for the tip. According to this leaked roadmap, https://www.minipc.de/support_db/support_files/Roadmaps/ECS_product_guide.pdf, both the Liva Z and Q series should be available with various CPU options. But did I mention everybody complains they can’t really find many ECS resellers, so the wide selection is mostly theoretical?
“The problem with the ECS Liva PCs is the non-upgradeable eMMC storage, 32GB is too small. In comparison, the Chuwi LarkBox being discussed here has 128GB.”
That’s not a deal-breaker for me to put a Linux on it and use a large spinning drive for media via USB.
The bottom line. ECS Liva Z2 or Zotac ZBOX edge CI341 (both are fanless N4100 machines with all the necessary ports; I don’t need excess) or the current competing Gigabyte BRIX model? ECS is a Taiwan company and Zotac is a Hong Kong company. Both are part of “Greater China” but I thought the site’s name, CNX Software refers to Mainland China and I thought I might get some deals here. Yeah. Honestly, I’m more for the deals than the cutting edge, latest and greatest stuff with this.
A curious question. Who makes this one?
You seem to know everything. This pretty much covers my needs regarding processing power, design, size and weight, fanlessness, port selection, and internal storage. They even include a useless Windows license (for my purposes). They question is, should I be satisfied with the 200 euro asking price or do you know anything better? European prices include sales tax.
Herobox has AC wifi
Thanks for pointing it out. I’ve probably found the specs sheet of an older revision. But the other one, the Kodlix GN41 sure doesn’t state it has AC Wi-Fi on its home page. Do you know it Chuwi makes OEM PC’s for other brands, perhaps with a more refined design? I prefer sleeker boxes to Chuwi’s gamer aesthetics. B)
Something else. Who makes the MiniPC under the German Trekstor brand name?
This is interesting. A slightly older, 5th generation Intel i5 processor, so no AC Wi-Fi here, but it has a bunch of ports and the page says it weights only 335 grams (which I’m hesitant to believe). While a similar Intel NUC weights… I don’t know. It’s not displayed on Intel’s home page.
The Trekstor MiniPC is listed for 230 euros in Germany, including sales tax. I don’t know if it’s a steal or meh.
My Odroid-N2 with 4Gb Ram and 256Gb SSD does the job as a replacement PC connected to my Samsung 75″ QLED TV, with a dual boot Linux Ubuntu 64bit and Kodi(Coreelec) working as a DLNA media server.
1. Type-C port version?
2. HDMI version? 2.0?
3. Power supply voltage and current?
The ECS Liva Q2 has details clearly laid out. Or have you missed mentioning?
CHUWI likes to releases information step by step… Last week they just showed LarkBox and said look we have a new tiny mini PC coming based on Celeron N4100 with just one photo and nothing much else.
Then they send another email with promotion for the giveaway and with some more specs, so I wrote about it because there aren’t many mini PCs in this form factor.
I expect them to release the full specs in a new announcement, then release the price in another “coming soon” announcement, then finally launch the damn product…
I think they do like that to get more press coverage, but I find it really annoying. Sadly it works, as I’ve seen some websites write twice about LarkBox already.
It says “128GB”. Is that non-upgradeable (soldered-down) eMMC, or is it a real user upgradeable SSD (M.2?)
He mentioned 128GB SSD. Am assuming that should be a drive!
The product page shows SSD, but there’s no photo, and some marketing people like to use eMMC and SSD interchangeably. So that’s why I wrote the specs are preliminary.
At 61x61x43mm the dimensions are too small to accept an SSD, see link for Intel SSD form factor sizes
This is a stick PC in a different form?
Intel is not the only company doing SSD, there are also some M.2 2240 SSDs. (22x40mm)
Thanks for the correction, M.2 SATA would be great
Not as tiny but available and diy upgradable. Available direct and on Amazon.
HDMI 2.0 (4K/60Hz), Mini DP (4K/60Hz), USB-C port 1 (4K/60Hz)
Notice the downvotes ppl are getting. Very obvious where those come from!
Do share !
Noticed as well.
At least it shows the vendor is listening to the criticism and is getting aware of competing designs. Sometimes some are smart enough to improve their own design based on such a feedback even if it’s never pleasant to see your product not well received after having worked months on it, of course!
With this said I found the critics pretty constructive, nobody criticized the aspect or quality, just the lack of connectivity. This is understandably a concern for many potential buyers.
> it shows the vendor is listening
Huh? This comment mentioning another Chuwi thingy also got downvotes. I guess it’s just the usual downvoting crap that happens here all the time…
Ah yes you’re right! Thus probably someone who fears this could compete against an RPi 🙂
Well… it looks like it is a badge of honor to be down voted for this particular article discussion 🙂
If I were the community manager/owner of this blog I would disable downvoting. I mean why have it enabled at all? It’s so negative.
My comment is awaiting for moderation. For something like almost two days? It’s a normal comment for this blog. I suppose.
I never had this happen however from time to time I experience an error (once a month or so). You might simply have faced a technical error and should repost it, even though I admit it’s never pleasant. I tend to Ctrl-A/Ctrl-C my long posts before clicking, just in case.
Success! Now it’s published, but as it’s already a 2-days old post. I hope someone notices it (https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/18/palm-sized-chuwi-larkbox-mini-pc-packs-a-celeron-n4100-processor-6gb-ram-and-128gb-ssd/#comment-572034). I bet what triggered the moderation were the links.
Just received another email: