Chinese company Chuwi has risen to prominence in recent years by focusing on lightweight, affordable portable PCs. The likes of the GemiBook, LarkBook and UBook X aren't household names, but premium specs and competitive pricing make them a valuable alternatives to devices from established manufacturers such as Microsoft, Dell and Lenovo.

Performance is rarely a standout feature on Chuwi devices, although the new CoreBook Xe suggests that might be about to change. That's because it comes with an Iris Xe Max GPU, making it the most affordable device running Intel's new discrete graphics in the process. Existing devices like the Acer Swift 3x, Asus VivoBook Flip 14 and Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 are all significantly more expensive. 

While Iris Xe Max is unlikely to turn thin and light laptops into gaming powerhouses, there are reasons to be excited that it's coming to the CoreBook Xe. Intel still claims it can provide an 'upgrade' for gaming, although this is likely to be for more casual games than graphically-demanding AAA titles. It's also expected to provide a boost for content creation tasks like live streaming and photo/video editing. As Intel's first discrete graphics card that's designed for laptops, it should also help break up the duopoly of Nvidia and AMD in the GPU space. 

However, despite being designed for use with Intel's 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors, Chuwi has decided to pair it with the company's 10th-gen i5-10210U chipset. Everyday performance should be fine on the CoreBook X, but it feels like a strange move. 

Other key specs sound encouraging, though. The device comes with a 15.6in Full HD+ (1920x1080) LCD display, alongside 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD. The latter is also expandable up to 1TB - that's something you don't see on many laptops in 2021. 

Official imagery suggests the CoreBook Xe will come with a full-size keyboard (including number pad) as well as a healthy selection of ports, although it's not clear exactly what the latter will include. We also don't know about the webcam, battery capacity or charging speeds.

The CoreBook Xe will go on sale globally in April via the Chuwi website, costing US$699. That translates to around £500, although UK pricing is unlikely to be a direct conversion. Still, the encouraging specs suggest it could make an impression on our extremely competitive round-up of the best laptops you can buy.