REVIEW: Ctroniq N14B
As they had promised, Ctroniq once again wants to make its message clear: they're here to cater to those who need a machine that gets things done while not burning a hole in your pocket. So this time around, they're offering the N14B, their latest entry-level notebook.
It has a simple layout - only one colour is available, and it's deep black - and the keyboard is well-done, though it has a bit of a clunky, hollow sound. At least it doesn't have that weird layout that I pointed out in the N14S. The trackpad, meanwhile, is responsive to Windows 10 gestures; if it's too sensitive for you, you can always adjust this in settings.
Its 14-inch screen is bright enough, though its resolution is a bit on the lower end, 1366 x 768 compared to the N14S' full-HD 1920 x 1080. There are glares when you view the screen from the sides, but otherwise it'll work out just fine; the idea here is that you can still enjoy watching videos at this rate, if you're really not that of a purist when it comes to resolution.
Meanwhile, don't freak out if you don't find the front camera at its usual spot on laptops. You won't find it on top of the screen; rather, it's located on the bottom-left of the screen - which can obviously pose as a problem: using it on a typical sitting-in-front-of-a-desk situation won't be able to show your entire head, and tilting it further backwards will obviously put more distance between you and the display, forcing you to look closer at the content. Pull it towards you and see your head chopped off the screen. This is a definitely weird position.
Performance-wise, well, let's face it: this isn't your top-end notebook, so you should expect some speed bumps along the way. Fire up an app and you'll experience some stutters before it fully loads. However - save for some occasional lags within apps - everything went well fine. I am particularly impressed - and pleasantly surprised - that loading several apps at the same time didn't really hold back the notebook's performance. Sure, there will be some lags switching from one to another, but it wasn't really a big deal. It's, again, running on the over three-year-old, Intel Cherry Trail processor; maybe it's time to raise it up a notch, Ctroniq?
Battery life has also been improved... a bit. Our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test knocked out 22 per cent of juice, far, far better than the N14S' 35 per cent. However, as with the N14S, it still provided practically only five hours, but this time going beyond that just a little bit.
Well, I always say that there will always be a need for lower-end devices, but that doesn't mean performance will be compromised. The Ctroniq N14B isn't perfect, but it's a good companion to have to get all those basic things done - work stuff included - and be entertained at the same time. And yes, expect it to be, once again, easy on your pocket. And don't forget: White Friday and Yellow Friday is here as well.
|CPU||Intel Cherry Trail T3-Z8350, quad-core 1.44GHz|
|Display||14", HD 1366 x 768|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; USB, mini-HDMI, card reader, 3.5mm audio|
GOODIES - Very affordable, good trackpad, better keyboard layout
BADDIES - Stutters and lags, battery life, very weird camera placement
EDITOR RATING - 3.5/5