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Alldocube KBook review: a well-made laptop with some major compromises

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By Jupit3r, Senior Member on 5th September 2019, 06:23 PM
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Pros:
Sharp, colorful display
Decent performance
Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
Affordable price

Cons:
Relatively old CPU
Subpar battery life
The CPU gets hot easily.
No fingerprint reader

Main Specs of the Alldocube KBook
OS: Licensed Windows 10 Home
CPU: Intel Core M-6Y30 dual-core CPU(0.9GHz – 2.2GHZ)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515
RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
Screen: 13.5-inch LCD (3000*2000px)
Storage: 512GB M2. SSD
Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 Type A, 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1*3.5mm audio jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Camera: 2MP front-facing webcam
Weight: 1.6kg
Size: 312.3 x 238 x 15.4mm (W x D x H)
Battery: 7.6V-5000mAh


Variants, price and availability

If you are constantly bothered by the many variants of a certain model, good news here: the Alldocube KBook comes with only one configuration. The model features a 13.5-inch IPS display at the resolution of 3000*2000px, an Intel Core M-6Y30 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

The laptop is priced at $399.00 and you can buy it on Geekbuying, Gearbest and Aliexpress.


Retail Package



The retail package of the KBook doesn’t stray too far from that of other Ultrabooks.





Inside the box you get a KBook laptop, a power adaptor, and a user manual.



The 36W power adaptor is a relatively old one, and it is branded “Thinker”, which is a model released by Alldocube two years ago. I guess they still have some stock left and don’t even bother to rebrand these adaptors.


Design and build



Just like many other non-branded Ultrabooks on the market, the Alldocube KBook looks so much like a MacBook Air-- with its restrained, minimalist design -- that it could be easily mistaken for one. However, you won’t get that shinny Apple logo on the back of the screen cover, instead you will find a small, low-profile Alldocube logo in the corner.



The KBook’s design is actually identical to that of the Alldocube Thinker i35 laptop, which was released more than two years ago. The chassis is made of high-quality magnesium alloy. Open the laptop up and you will come face to face with a 13.5-inch LCD panel, the same as the more celebrated Microsoft Book. Just like the 2017 Macbook Air, the KBook’s screen-to-bezel ratio isn’t impressive at all, especially when compared to the Huawei MateBook 13 and the Microsoft Surface laptop, both of which have super thin bezels.



Above the display there’s a 2 mega-pixel webcam. In terms of image quality, the webcam is pretty basic – I looked like a grainy shadow indoors, and shockingly blanched outside.



Opening the device is quite easy and can be done with one hand. The screen can be opened to about 180 degrees, which is ideal when I am using it on my lap. Despite the smooth hinges, the display hardly wobbles when typing.



At 15,4mm thick, and weighing 1.6kg, the KBook isn't the thinnest or lightest laptop around. The award for the absolute thinnest and lightest Ultrabook goes to the Acer Swift 7, which measures only 8.9mm thick and weighs less than 1KG.



But the KBook is still much thinner than average business laptops such as the HP EliteBook 745. And that added bulk is room for traditional USB-A ports, which are beginning to disappear from ultra-thin laptops.



The Alldocube KBook has two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB3.0 Type-C port, a DC-in input and a 3.5mm audio jack on board. It is nice to see these traditional USB 3.0 ports here, as the two type-C ports on the Huawei Mateook 13 constantly frustrate me when I don’t have any dongle within reach.



Not only can the Type-C port play host to storage and input devices, it can also be used as an additional DC input, as long as you have a PD charger. I tried using my Huawei MateBook 13 charger and the Mate 20 Pro charger with the KBook, both were working like a charm.



There are 4 relatively big rubber feet on the bottom of the device, preventing it from scratches and ensuring that enough space is under the bottom side for heat dissipation.



In summary, the KBook is classy from the outside, and is very well-built, too. Despite the slim design, the device feels quite sturdy and robust in the hands and looks like it will survive some serious turbulence and even occasional falls. The texture of the surface feels nice and comfortable, and ugly mold lines are nowhere to be found.


Keyboard and touchpad



Unlike other laptops, the power button of the KBook is in its keyboard.



Sadly, there is no fingerprint reader on board, if you want some privacy for your KBook, the most convenient option is to enter the 4-digit PIN code every time you unlock the device.



One good thing about those sizeable dimensions of the laptop is the amount of space afforded to the keyboard. This stretches close to the left and right edges, so those isolated keys have plenty of room to breathe. While not being the industry best, the keys offer decent travel and nice tactile feedback, there’s no sponginess at all. I reached my top typing speed almost immediately, and found that I could type on the board for hours without feeling fatigue in my fingers.



The touchpad on the KBook is not as smooth as the one on the HP EliteBook 745 G5, but the added friction only makes the entire experience a little better. Fortunately, there are also a left and a right click buttons hiding in the touchpad, making the mousing experience much better than those without one.


Display



The 13.5-inch IPS screen on the Alldocube KBook is simply breath-taking. It is the same panel used for the Microsoft Surface Book and offers solid color reproduction, amazing contrast and excellent brightness.



3000x2000 pixels on a 13.5-inch screen translates into a pixel density of 268PPI, which gives the KBook the top spot in the list of laptops I have tested (Please don’t mind the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 in the list).



268PPI means that the display offers a ton of detail, enough that I could see the strains and bloodshot of the eye in the picture, and read small names on a faraway chalkboard in some of the movie trailers I played. Browsing webpages on the KBook was also the best experience I have had with a laptop, as text rendering on the screen is fantastic, and it would be pretty difficult to discern individual pixels at any sort of normal distance.





Side by side, the KBook’s display is much sharper, much brighter, much more vibrant, and offers much better viewing angles than the 14-inch 1080P display on the HP Elite 745 G5. Also, the KBook’s 3:2 screen aspect ratio works better than the 16:9 display on the HP EliteBook in browsing web pages, and editing Office documents.



The Huawei MateBook 13’s 2K screen is also very sharp (200PPI), and it even matches the KBook’s panel in terms of brightness and viewing angles. However, colors on the MateBook tend to have a warmer tone to them, while the KBook’s screen offers more natural and realistic color reproduction.


Audio



The Alldocube KBook packs in dual stereo speakers. Sound is fired out of the slender, almost invisible grille on the front side of the hinge. In terms of volume it’s okay. Although no match for the Bang & Olufsen branded speaker in the HP EliteBook 745 G5, these speakers can still make enough sound to fill up a small room easily. However, I would never listen to music or watch action movies on the KBook without a headset or an external speaker. The sound coming from the internal speakers has almost no bass and soundstage, the midrange and treble also sound tinny and thin, and can be easily distorted at the highest volume.

Fortunately, I had no issues with the built-in mic when chatting online. It picked up my voice clearly and cleanly, even in fairly noisy environments.


System & Apps



The laptop runs on licensed Windows 10 Home out of the box, so it is able to run all applications like any other regular Windows PC. Fortunately, there’s no bloatware of any kind, you can easily install apps from Microsoft Store or other third-party sources.


Performance



The Alldocube KBook isn’t an expensive device, and it doesn’t perform like one either. The laptop features 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 512GB M2. SSD and mostly importantly, an Intel Core M3-6Y30 processor.

This 6th-generation Intel Core M CPU isn’t comparable with the 8th, 9th or even 10th generation Intel Core i-series processors found in latest mainstream laptops and desktop PCs. As you’ll see in the benchmarks, this computer is no powerhouse. Combining such an old Core M CPU with average-speed SSD storage is more of a recipe for lowering the cost rather than the answer for epic performance. It is ironic that the Thinker i35, which was released by Alldocube 2 years ago, came with a newer and more powerful Core M3-7Y30 CPU. With that said, a Core M CPU is still one of the most powerful solutions that don’t require a fan and the KBook should still be more capable than those Atom and Celeron powered systems.


Benchmarks





In the Cinebench R10 CPU test, the Alldocube KBook scored 4174CB in single-core, 8171CB in multi-core. In the more GPU-focused OpenGL test, it was returned 4583CB.





In the recently released Cinebench R20, the system got a score of 450cb in its CPU test.





The Fritz Chess Benchmark test returned the KBook a score of 3671, which is not impressive at all. Even my Pentium J4205 powered Beelink Gemini J45 scored more points (4131), but the mini PC was set in 1080P.







The PCMark 8 Home and Work Accelerated tests are designed to measure the performance of a system by simulating basic everyday computing tasks. Core-M powered systems normally get around 2200 in the Home Accelerated test, but the KBook only scored 1977, most likely because the 3000*2000px screen resolution was too much of a burden on the processor. In the Work Accelerated test, the KBook scored an admirable 3037, easily beating the Celeron N4100 powered Teclast X4.





Alldocube used a 512GB SSD drive in this machine. It is not as fast as the latest NVMe SSD used for high-end laptops, but still handily beats HHD or eMMc storage found in entry-level computers. In the CrystalDiskMark test, the sequential read and write speeds are respectively 528.2mb/s and 487mb/s. These numbers were not impressive, especially when compared to scores of the lightning fast SSD in the Huawei MateBook 13, but did better the speeds of the SSD in the Teclast X4 and the eMMc in the Chuwi Herobook.


Real Life performance





As can be expected, any task involving intense 3D graphics is undermined by the mediocre performance of the Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU. The KBook struggled to deliver acceptable frame rates in big gaming titles such as the “Assassin's Creed Syndicate” and “Crysis 3”. However, you won’t have problems running even the most demanding games installed from Microsoft Store. I found myself playing the Asphalt 9 Legend for hours at once, the visuals were so nice that I forgot it’s a lightweight version of the game.



You get enough power for average computer tasks like Word processing, spreadsheets and email, and it won't get bogged down if you have a dozen tabs open in Chrome with some other small applications running in the background.









Streaming video and music are no problem either, since I could play all the 4K videos in my mobile drive and even stream 4K YouTube videos in Chrome smoothly.



Heavier apps such as the Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw also work nicely, but I wouldn't recommend anything more than casual photo and video editing, adding too many layers and filters and you will experience some stutters and delays.

Overall, the KBook offers decent performance and definitely betters those Celeron and Atom-based entry-level 2-in-1s. The Core-M does generate plenty of power here for basic computing tasks. But the laptop is not designed for power users who constantly push their PC to its very limits.


Emissions

System Noise

The KBook’s cooling solution is entirely passive. Accordingly, there are no cooling components that would be able to make any noise. That said, the computer did exhibit minor electrical buzz when accessing the internal storage. These were, however, unnoticeable during everyday use and could only be heard when I intentionally try to pick up the sound with my ears.

Temperature

Since this is a passively cooled device the entire case is used for heat dissipation. CPU temperature was comparatively high when the laptop was running, and even the surface could become quite warm when the KBook was under load, but never to the point that I want to get my hands off it immediately. Fortunately, when idle, the device remained fairly cool.


Battery life



The battery life of an Ultrabook is always an important factor. Having a go-anywhere system is of little value if it only works for a short time away from a power outlet.

Featuring a power-efficient CPU like the Core M-6Y30 may seem to be the right answer for a long battery life, but keeping 8GB memory, 512GB SSD alive and feeding that many pixels on a bright, power-hungry 3K display is still a tall order.

The factory installed battery in the KBook is rated for 7.6V-5000mAh. To figure out how long the KBook’s battery will last, I tested it out with my usual video loop test (1080P, 50% brightness, 50% sound with headphones, and balanced power setting). The result is a disappointing 5 and a half hour. In real life practice, I normally got around 4-4.5 hours of mixed use, that’s less than a full working day for most users. And if you have computing intensive tasks at hand, you probably won’t feel safe without a power outlet by your side.

Another disappointing factor is that if you want to save battery by lowering the screen resolution, you will have to learn to make peace with some black areas on the screen, since there’s no other 3:2 resolution for you to choose besides the defaulted 3000*2000px. Optional resolutions are all in 4:3, 16:10 or 16:9 aspect ratios.


Final Verdict

My overall impression is that the KBook is a visually stunning and generally well-made laptop. The aluminum case is light and sturdy, and its surface textures feel comfortable to hold. I am particularly impressed by the extremely high-resolution display, which is a rarity even in high-end offerings, and adds a lot of value to this low-cost device. Intel’s Core M3-6Y30 CPU is relatively old, but offers enough horsepower for basic everyday computing tasks, and the internal GPU is capable of playing 4K videos smoothly.

But instead of being an all-arounder, the KBook has a couple of major unsatisfying aspects. My top 3 gripes are the lack of a fingerprint reader, the passive cooling solution and the battery life. The need to type in a password to unlock a modern laptop seems way too excessive by today’s standards. Also, the CPU constantly gets hot under load, and hardly lasts through a day without being plugged into a power outlet.

Priced at $399, the KBook is clearly not designed to be the primary machine for graphical/video creativity work or demanding tasks—Alldocube acknowledges this is not really its place—it's still a fine, inexpensive choice for a lean travel companion. Power seekers, though, looking for a primary PC system should continue to look at mainstream Ultrabooks with more powerful CPUs and better battery life.
6th September 2019, 09:43 AM |#2  
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very well written review, but I don't have any nice feelings about Alldocube since that X slate.
9th September 2019, 01:28 AM |#3  
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nice design, but I hate the bezels.
9th September 2019, 02:40 AM |#4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leelavie

nice design, but I hate the bezels.

It is a little on the thick side, but not really too bad.
11th September 2019, 09:41 AM |#5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jupiter2012

It is a little on the thick side, but not really too bad.

come on! You call that a "little" thick?
11th September 2019, 05:12 PM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twitch007

come on! You call that a "little" thick?

Well, that really depends on what u compare it to.
13th September 2019, 10:38 AM |#7  
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Thanks for the review, Alldocube does produce better quality products compared to Teclast and Chuwi.
The Following User Says Thank You to GadgetSino For This Useful Post: [ View ] Gift GadgetSino Ad-Free
13th September 2019, 12:55 PM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetSino

Thanks for the review, Alldocube does produce better quality products compared to Teclast and Chuwi.

Can't say anything about Chuwi, but I don't even care to test Teclast products.
16th September 2019, 03:17 PM |#9  
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this should be at the top
17th September 2019, 04:28 AM |#10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jupiter2012

this should be at the top

yes, it should. well done with the review, but I am afraid not many people would buy this.
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