Top five best Chinese laptops on AliExpress in 2021

Read my AliExpress shopping guide if you’re new to shopping on AliExpress

Introduction

I know it’s a little cliché to go the ‘rocket science’ comparison route but permit me this one time – buying a laptop this day and age is approaching rocket science levels of complexity.

I mean, with so many options from so many brands, it’s easy to get caught up in a web of laptop-choice-confusion.

If you’re here, I’ll assume you already know two things about your next laptop; you want something affordable, and you want something you can buy on AliExpress.

That’s enough information to work with. In this guide, I list out the best laptops available on sale on AliExpress right after I talk about what you need to know when shopping for a laptop.

Stick with me, but If you’d rather skip the rubble and dive straight into the best laptops available on AliExpress, now click here.

What you need to know before buying a laptop on AliExpress

One of the reasons why there are so many laptop options in the market today is because there are so many variables in the typical laptop build. A manufacturer can tweak this or that, add one feature or the other to produce a diverse lineup of laptops, each with different names. Now imagine well over fifty laptop manufacturers doing this, and you know why there are a lot of laptops on sale today on even AliExpress.

I could list out all these features on a modern laptop, but that would be wasting your time and mine. So instead, let’s focus on the most important ones – the features that might influence your decision to buy a laptop depending on your use case.

The operating system (OS)

The OS is the software system that runs a laptop. Think of it as the digital government of any laptop you buy. It determines how the laptop works, what works with the laptop, and how you use the laptop. There are three major consumer-grade operating systems on the market today.

  •  Apple OS
  •  Windows OS
  •  Chrome OS

Each is platform-specific, so Apple OS will only run on Apple machines, Windows on Windows-enabled machines, and the same case for Chrome OS.

Apple OS is kind of the uncrowned king of everything premium. So you get a more refined operating system where everything works smoothly out of the box. Apple laptops also have a better build quality than the average Windows laptop. The major noticeable drawback is that Apple operates a closed ecosystem, so certain features available on Windows machines by default might be a paid or inaccessible feature on a Macbook.

Windows OS is the crowned jack of all trades. Most people love them for the flexibility and open-sourced nature of the entire ecosystem. Open source, however, means Windows machines are prone to instability issues, at least when compared to Apple laptops.

The Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system that works great for routine lightweight tasks. Writing, editing, web browsing, and the likes.

The RAM and CPU

Together these two components form the Engine room of your laptop. If you think of your laptop as a car, the CPU is what determines how fast it can go, and the RAM is what determines how much weight it can carry while going that fast. CPU power is measured in gigahertz, while RAM, short for Random Access Memory, is measured in gigabytes. Obviously, the larger the number for any which one of them, the better. A 2.5 GHz CPU will, for instance, outperform another 2.0 GHz PC of the same architecture, likewise for RAM.

Notice how I say architecture? Well, asides from the raw speed of a CPU, there are several architecture-dependent factors that affect a CPU’s (or RAM’s) performance. Intel, for one, makes different classes of processors that may each have similar speed numbers but very different throughput performance. The obvious differentiating factor is the number of cores a CPU has. Again, the more, the better, but any latest-generation CPU with four cores is good enough. You might’ve also seen intel processor names with U, Q, or H affixed to the processor number.

  • U means the processor is ultra-low power. So ideally, if you’re not doing any heavy lifting, this should be your preferred processor type. I’ve got a 7th gen Intel U processor that did 16 hours on a full charge when I first got it.
  • Q means the processor has at least four cores. This processor subcategory is excellent for graphics design, programming, and other performance-intensive tasks.
  • H means the processor has a high performance integrated GPU on board

There are other suffixes, but if you’re shopping on a budget on AliExpress, it’s unlikely that you’d come across processors with those.

The screen quality

Your laptop’s screen is very important, but many people tend to gloss over this when buying a laptop. Don’t be one of those people.

The best metrics to gauge a budget laptop’s screen would be the resolution and display size. Resolution is just a measure of how clear, in terms of sharpness and details, you see things on the laptop. And as far as resolutions go, a laptop could be either HD, HD+, full HD or QHD, QHD+, or 4K Ultra HD.

Of course, everyone wants a 4K laptop, but those come with hefty price tags. With budget laptops on AliExpress, you’re going to be seeing more of the HD, HD+, and full HD laptops.

Display size is basically how big your laptop screen is. The conventional standard from smallest to biggest are 11″, 14″ 15.6″, and 17.3″. Bigger screens cost more obviously, but you might not need the biggest screen on a laptop, depending on your needs.

The graphics processor

Now, this is stepping out of budget laptop territory, but it’s something you should know about anyways. Graphics processors are what handle graphic rendering on your laptop. If you’ve got a great one, then images from games, photo editing software, and practically everything else will look better on your laptop.

A graphics processor can be integrated directly into the CPU, in which case it’s an integrated graphics card or exist as a standalone component of your laptop, in which case it’s a dedicated graphics card. Dedicated graphics cards are better, but they cost more, sometimes taking the price of a laptop up more than $300. Integrated graphics cards, on the other hand, are cheaper but very well less capable.

That said, except you’re planning on doing some laptop heavy-lifting, and by heavy-lifting, I mean everything from photo/video editing to gaming, you don’t need to worry about whether your laptop comes with a dedicated graphics card or not.

Well, that’s pretty much the basics of what you need to know as you attempt to buy a laptop off AliExpress. Let’s get to the best laptops available on the platform right now.

The best Chinese laptops on AliExpress

Overall best laptop on AliExpress – the BMAX Y11

Image of the BMAX Y11
The best all round budget laptop on AliExpress


Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Celeron N4120
  • RAM: 8GB          
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Graphics: Intel UHD 600
  • Screen size: 11.6″
  • Screen resolution: Full HD touch screen support
  • Size: 274.5mm x 187mm x 13 mm

My overall winner for the best laptop available on AliExpress is the BMAX Y11. Because, of all laptops I reviewed, this was arguably the most balanced in terms of the features included and the price you get to pay.

Out of the box, the Y11 comes with 8GB of RAM, an Intel Quad-core processor, and 256GB of internal storage. 256GB might seem small, but the drive in the Y11 is an SSD which are better, faster, more durable and power-efficient.

The whole setup combines to deliver what I’d describe as mid-approaching-top-quality performance. This laptop will bumble through routine laptop processing without any issues.

So everything from using Microsoft word to watching YouTube should feel smooth and seamless. Take it up a notch, and the Y11 still has the grit to handle some performance-intensive computing. With an integrated graphics card on board, it can run mid to high-level windows applications like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.

It will struggle with power-hungry apps like Adobe After Effects, but that’s not saying it cannot run them. It will, but the experience goes from smooth and effortless, what you’d get with less power-intensive apps, to laggy and cumbersome.

Build quality and design on the BMAX Y11 are absolutely exquisite. This is an X360 laptop meaning its screen can swivel back and front, allowing you to use it in the way you’ll use a portable iPad.

The build material is metal, so not only is it better looking than most other laptops at this price it’s also more durable. The fact that the BMAX Y11 goes hard on design and build quality while getting it right in the performance department as well is why it tops this list of the best laptops on AliExpress.

Oh, and this is a touch screen laptop, and touch screen support is something you’d struggle to find in a sub $450 laptop anywhere. The screen itself is a full HD screen with very decent viewing angles, and it comes integrated into the sleek, almost bezel-less frame of the Y11.

Pros

All-rounder with plenty added extras

Portable build with X360 foldable screen

Touch screen support

Great battery life

Cons

Limited ports

1st runner up – the CHUWI GemiBook Pro

Image of the Chuwi gemibook Pro
The Gemibook pro is a performance intensive budget Chinese laptop without the pomp and flair of the BMAX Y11

Specifications

  • CPU Intel Celeron J4125
  • RAM  8GB
  • Storage 256 M.2 SSD
  • Graphics Intel UHD 600
  • Screen size 14″
  • Screen resolution IPS 2K
  • Size 310mm x 229.5mm x 20.6mm

For just under $400, you get a 2K display, a 2.7GHz quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB of internal storage. That storage is an M.2 SSD card, so you know the manufacturer is not cheaping out on tech components.

Again, all that and this PC costs under $400. An absolute steal of a deal if you ask me, and it’s why the CHUWI GemiBook Pro tops this list of the best laptops on AliExpress.

Sure the processor is only an Intel Celeron, not a Core i9 (and before you go checking out what systems float core i9 processors remember to have at least $1500 in your wallet), but paired to the 8GB of LPDDRX RAM on the GemiBook; you get a really fast laptop that’s more than capable of handling everyday laptop business.

Those who want to use this for gaming might find some joy with the integrated UHD 600 GPU, but I’ll tell you upfront that this won’t run Call of Duty at 4K 30fps.

It will, however, handle common photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and even go as far as running more demanding video editing suites like Adobe After effects when it’s on full throttle. Overall performance on the Chuwi GemiBook is super decent.

Build quality is excellent as well, the GemiBook is a metal build laptop, and its sleek portable design really lends to that premium feel you’ll get from pricier HP and Lenovo laptops.

The styling tries to mimic what you’ll find on Apple laptops, and while it doesn’t quite capture the thousand-dollar allure of a MacBook, I do love the large trackpad and fluidly laid out keyboard, which is backlit, by the way. Backlit keyboard on a sub $400 laptop, HP will tell you that that’s an impossibility.

As far as ports and accessories go, this comes with both USB C and USB 3.0 ports – so you can say it’s fully ‘ported’ out. The laptop has a 38Wh battery that supports PD2.0 fast charge. Meaning this will go 0 – 60% in under an hour. On a full charge, that 38Wh battery can keep GemiBook on for at least 12 hours, again, an excellent number for a sub $400 laptop.

Pros

Excellent all-rounder

Great, if not the best screen in a sub $400 laptop

Excellent all-metal build quality

Fast charge technology

Cons

Not so great audio performance

Limited ports

2nd runner up – the KUU K2S

Image of the KUU K2S
The KUU K2S is a solidly built laptop with decent specifications

Specifications

  • CPU Intel Celeron J4115
  • RAM 8GB          
  • Storage 512GB SSD
  • Graphics Intel UHD 600
  • Screen size 14″
  • Screen resolution Full HD
  • Size 320mm x 220mm x 16mm

The KUU K2S is an incredibly lightweight laptop that punches far above its weight when you consider its sub $350 sticker price. Like most other laptops on this list, it is powered by an Intel quad-core processor mated to 8GB of DDR4 RAM.

Onboard storage is delivered by an M.2 SSD card with a capacity of 512GB. However, unlike the former two laptops, this comes with a fingerprint sensor and a really nice trackpad that doubles as a numeric keyboard.

Performance, as you would expect, given the spec sheet, is great. The Intel Celeron 4115 processor on this portable laptop registers a 2.5GHz clock speed. It’s a quad-core setup, and paired to the 8GB RAM chip, this will handle practically everything you throw at it.

Photo editing, light to moderate video editing, light to moderate gaming, and all the routine day-to-day PC tasks will run without any hassle. The more performance-intensive apps rely on the onboard Intel UHD 600 GPU, and while it’s not the best-integrated graphics chip on the market, it’s certainly one of the best you can get at this price range.

The KUU K2S features an all-metal build. It looks great on first impression, and as far as durability goes, metal builds outlast laptops that come with a plastic shell. This is a 14-inch laptop, so smaller than most other laptops on this list, but that shouldn’t be a problem because even 14 inches is, for most purposes, large enough.

The screen is a full HD screen with 72% color gamut for high-quality image and video viewing. Asides from the practical fingerprint sensor, which is mated to the power button, KUU has also included the backlit keyboard extra. That’s two very practical options you’ll hard-pressed to find on any other sub $350 laptop

Pros

Great design and build quality

Better storage capacity for a budget laptop

Great screen viewing angles

Nice extras included

Cons

Limited ports

3rd runner up – BMAX X15

Image of the BMAX X15
An alternative to the BMAX Y11 without the premium build but with the top-tier performance at a budget price

Specifications

  • CPU Intel Celeron N4120
  • RAM 8GB          
  • Storage up to 1TB
  • Graphics Intel UHD 600
  • Screen size 15.6″
  • Screen resolution Full HD
  • Size 375mm x 243mm x 20mm

If you took away the touch screen functionality, the X360 form factor, and the overall premium finish of the BMAX Y11, you’d have yourself a BMAX X15. The BMAX X16 and the BMAX Y11 are both produced by the same company, in case you haven’t noticed, and what the X16 is, is basically a less flashy cousin of the Y11.

Specification-wise, both are exactly one and the same laptop. So this comes with the same Intel N4120 quad-core CPU, the same 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, a HD screen, and while SSD capacity drops to 128GB, you can still get the X15 in the 256GB config of the Y11. Matter of fact, you can get this with a 512GB or 1TB SSD.

So why would you consider the X15 when the Y11 is a better-built laptop that’s still available for sale. Two words – the price. Right now, you can snatch a BMAX Y11 from AliExpress for just under $350 compared to the almost $450 asking price of the Y11.

That’s a significant $100 in savings. If you’re not too keen on looks (unlike me), then that’s a well worth $100 savings. You still get top draw mid laptop performance from the BMAX X15. Conventional everyday computing will go on smoothly without any lags. Even if you decide to run some high-performance stuff on this, it will take on the load, albeit with a few lags here and there. 

Pros

Very affordable sticker price

Decent performance

Bigger screen

Cons

Not the best design and build quality

Limited ports

4th runner up – QMDZ 

Image of QDMZ laptop
This unbranded laptop is our money no object selection. With a sticker price of over $500, this is the only laptop on this list that comes with a dedicated graphics card

Specifications

  • CPU AMD Athlon Gold 3150U
  • RAM up to 64GB           
  • Storage up to 3TB
  • Graphics AMD Vega 10
  • Screen size 11.6″
  • Screen resolution Full HD
  • Size 360mm x 270mm x 10mm

Some laptops on AliExpress come without any names or branding whatsoever. Some of these unbranded laptops are sometimes an absolute steal of a deal, and that’s exactly the case with this one I happened on a few months ago.

It’s a 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD laptop powered by a powerful AMD Athlon Gold processor with a max clock speed of 3.7GHz. If that doesn’t sound impressive, then consider that this also ships with a complementary AMD Radeon Vega 10 graphics chip, and it costs about $583 for the 16GB 1TB version. Make no mistake; those are insane numbers for the price.

This laptop will easily handle all the HIGH-performance tasks you throw at it. High-end gaming, high-end video editing, high-end programming, you name it, everything’s covered.

That’s because, unlike the other laptops on this list, it ships with an AMD APU (that’s a processor with an integrated dedicated graphics card) that has the Vega 10 graphics chip on board.

Build quality, like the performance of this laptop, is excellent. It’s all metal with a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint sensor on the trackpad, nice touch! The screen here is a full-sized 15.6 inch which is what you’d want if you were getting this for graphics designing or gaming. It’s a full HD screen with decent viewing angles and color gamut.

The only reason this comes last on this list of the best laptops on AliExpress is because it is unbranded. There’s a quality risk with purchasing unbranded laptops, but given what I’ve seen with this and the reviews from other customers who’ve bought the laptop, it’s more than legit.

Pros

Best performance of any laptop on this list

High-end gaming capable laptop

Onboard dedicated graphics chip

Great screen

Extras included

Cons

A bit expensive for a budget laptop

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to buy a Laptop on AliExpress?

Buying a laptop on AliExpress is no different from buying a laptop on, say, Amazon or eBay.
Provided you do your research (or use the guide I provide above), you should be fine.

And if anything ever goes wrong with your order seller side, AliExpress has a rather reputable buyers protection program that covers you. You’ll get a full refund.

What kind of Laptops can I buy on AliExpress?

All the kinds you can think of. From Apple laptops to HP laptops, Dell laptops, and for my personal favorite, the affordable Chinese laptops you most likely have never heard about.

The latter, though not quite popular, are great in the sense that they cost a fraction of what you’d normally pay for a laptop while packing same or better performance spec sheets.

How do I buy a laptop on AliExpress?

It’s easy, just log on to the AliExpress platform, search for the laptop you like, make sure it’s from a reputable seller (see my guide on how to identify a reputable seller), select the item, and then pay using your debit card or PayPal.

Granted, you’ll need to sign-up on AliExpress first, so do that using this AliExpress sign-up link.

How long will it take to ship my laptop out to me?

That depends on the shipping option you choose. There are three shipping options on AliExpress:

*DHL/FedEx, which is the fastest (under two weeks) but most expensive
*AliExpress Standard Shipping which is also fast (1-2 months) and affordable
*Free shipping with Cainiao, Singaporepost, which is the slowest (up to 4 months) but cheapest method

Will I need to pay customs fees?

Sometimes yes, other times no. the best way to confirm if you’ll need to pay a customs fee for a laptop bought on AliExpress is to confirm with your local customs authorities.

However, I’ve seen from experience that items shipped with the AliExpress Shipping method don’t usually accrue any additional customs fees. This is just my personal experience.

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