Chuwi Larkbox – Windows + Celeron Mini PC

This is one of those devices you just have to SEE – I’ll do my best. Check out my hand which is not unusually large. Operation of the Chuwi Larkbox Mini PC with Windows will come soon – at this point I’m still getting over the size of it. The Chuwi comes with Windows or Linux and has an Intel Celeron J4115 running at 2.5Ghz (according to the box – read on)

Here are MORE photos – it came in a box that was small enough to start with – but that included a base plate, power supply and instructions, the Chuwi itself is, as you can see, TINY but comes with USB-C-type power (12v @ 2A) and a pair of USB 3 connectors as well as audio (3.5mm), HDMI (full size) and a MicroSD connector. Other than that, there’s a power button and that’s IT.

Chuwi
Larkbox Windows version

I REALLY hope this device pans out after such a good start. It looks quality made – I just love holding it. The very large foldout instructions actually come down to 2 short sides in English – we’ll soon see how useful they are.

AND NOW – Windows: I plugged a screen, keyboard and mouse into the new Chuwi – and turned the device on. Everything started up as expected. It asked for my language (English – Britain but it only gave ne the option of English -United States at first. Then it asked about the keyboard, that sorted out Britain. Next thing I realised was that the unit has no RJ45 connector so I told it to pick one of my WiFis – it did that.

Windows setup and upgrade on the Chuwi Larkbox

The time was out by several hours so I went looking to force (actually Spanish) time – confused? I’m British and use a UK layout but I’m located in Spain – 1 hour time difference. I’m guessing it hung onto USA time until the last minute – 9am when it is 18.00 (17:00 in the UK).

At this point I connected to 5Gbps Wifi and that sorted the time.

Next: I went looking in SETTINGS – SYSTEM…

Interesting information in no particular order: Windows 10 Home, 6GB RAM installed. Disk capacity 115GB (used 30GB) – generic UY7CS0. Despite what I saw on the box, the SYSTEM info says this is an Intel Celeron J4115 running at 1.8Ghz, 4 cores.

That’s a good start – but those two USB C connectors are used up with the mouse and keyboard, I see a need for a HUB as I really do like the option to have another 256GB disk and an external SD is a tad (lot) slow. Thank heavens the Larkbox is USB3, not USB2. All I need now is a USB C (female) to USB C (male) adaptor – someone has already written in to ask about running a second monitor – how quickly I can answer that depends on how quickly I can get an adaptor from China. Alternatively of course, the Larkbox can handle an extra internal M.2 2242 SSD (say 512GB) as against it’s default internal 128GB eMMC. That’s an option I’m progressing.

Initially, I twigged that I could simply use Bluetooth earbuds, mouse and keyboard, leaving one USB for my Blitzwolf USB 3.2 drive and another for spare.

Importantly when comparing with othe PCs, the Intel-powered Chuwi Larkbox is a tiny 60mm * 60mm * 40mm. Stunning.

YouTube and other streaming and local videos – smooth – ie very usable – on my 1920*1080 monitor (I’ll soon try the Larkbox on my 4K monitor). Comparing this to any desktop experience on my otherwise favourite small machine – the Raspberry Pi 4, this is GREAT. Now, though it would be missing the point of such a small unit, one COULD gripe about the Larkbox not having twin HDMI outputs – but of course, mini USB3 to HDMI adaptors are available. Right now I’m about to add a third monitor to my PC with one of these after years of using a slow USB2 equivalent for the third monitor.

Let me put it this way, for some years I’ve had a spare Dell (now Windows 10) laptop sitting on my bench as a general backup/testing machine. I’m looking at the little Chuwi and thinking “and I’m keeping that old Dell monster for WHAT reason?).

Windows updates took the usual unreasonable amount of time during which I left the Larkbox to get on with it. Once downloaded, I realised that although I had the latest security updates, I did not have the new 20H2 upgrade so went off to get the upgrade tool to force the issue.

The 20H2 upgrade worked perfectly – my new Chuwi Larkbox (despite an early morning power cut – thanks, Endesa) is now fully up to date and working a treat. Just used Windows Cleanup to get rid of the install files. Out of that 115GB internal solid state

Temperature testing the Chuwi Larkbox

Does the Larkbox get hot when playing video? While streaming an HD movie from the UK to Spain on the Larkbox, the hottest point I could find with my handy infra-red thermometer was 45c max, more typically around the box the temperature would be no more than 38c – most if not all of you will know you can readily bathe in water at that temperature. The Larkbox uses a Celeron processor but a good one.

Chuwi with USB external storage

So, not at all shabby. I would have preferred Windows Pro to Home, as Remote Desktop Connection doesn’t come on Windows Home but thanks to this link and Mr Shark, I installed RDC (Remote Desktop Connection – as administrator) and can run the Larkbox now without keyboard, mouse or screen. I’ll grant you there is one issue here – wake up on LAN assumes a LAN, not WiFi so I’ve ordered a USB3-LAN adaptor.

And here it is on the right complete with only it’s USB-C power and my Blitzwolf 256GB USB3 stotage. There is of course, 128GB internally.

Wheeeee.

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