The JOI Book SK3000 is a laptop that is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, rather than your usual Intel Core or AMD Ryzen chips. Earlier this month, Qualcomm announced that they will be partnering with local ICT company, SNS Network, to launch their new Windows on Snapdragon laptop in Malaysia. You might have heard of the brand JOI before, as they have been manufacturing laptops in Malaysia for a while now.
The JOI Book SK3000 is the first Qualcomm-powered laptop that is released under SNS Network’s own in-house brand, JOI. The laptop runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor, which is built on the 10nm process, and has an accompanying Kryo 385 octa-core CPU with a clock speed that can go up to 2.96GHz. It is also paired with an Adreno 630 GPU, and a Hexagon 685 DSP. The main kicker here is that it also supports 4G LTE with the addition of the Snapdragon X20 modem.
Let’s dive further into the specs, shall we?
JOI Book SK3000 – Specifications
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 850|
|GPU||Integrated Qualcomm Adreno 630|
|Display||12.5-inch FHD IPS|
|Connectivity||1 x USB Type-C|
1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack
1 x nanoSIM slot
1 x microSD card slot
Dual-Band Wi-Fi 5
|OS||Windows 10 Pro|
|Warranty||1 Year Warranty|
The JOI Book SK3000 features a thin and light design, with a very nice and elegant aluminum chassis. Being only 1.4cm thin and having a weight of 1.05KG, the SK3000 is extremely portable, and can easily be carried in a backpack, or even a handbag. It has a fanless design, and there seems to be no ventilation holes on the laptop at all.
On the top of the lid, you’ll find the JOI logo and the front of the lid has a huge recess for you to stick your finger in to open the lid. On the left, there’s the single USB Type-C port, whereas the 3.5mm audio jack can be found on the right side of the laptop. On the bottom, there are four rubber feet to prevent the laptop from sliding on surfaces, along with the microSD card and nanoSIM slot for storage expansion and LTE connectivity respectively.
The JOI Book SK3000 comes with a 12.5-inch full HD IPS display, meaning it can output 1920 x 1080 resolution without compromising on viewing angles. The display does have a glossy finish, that means you will be seeing some reflections when working under direct sunlight. The side bezels on the display are fairly thick, but it’s quite impressive that JOI could fit a 12.5-inch display in such a small device.
Picture quality wise, the 12.5-inch display projects some very bright and vivid colours. Watching movies on the laptop is an absolute treat as the colour reproduction is vibrant and spot on. There is very little colour distortion when viewing the display from the side, so the IPS display works really well.
Touted as an Always Connected PC, this feature is one I enjoyed most out of the JOI Book SK3000. Regardless of how long the laptop is closed or turned off. As soon as you press that power button, startup is instant and you’re logged into the desktop very quickly. Even in sleep mode, everytime I open the lid before I can even see the display, it’s already up and running just waiting for me to login. This gets me to what I wanted to do faster, and not forgetting why I opened the laptop in the first place.
Speaking of opening up the laptop, unfortunately, the JOI Book SK3000 fails the single finger opening test. Because the laptop is heavier in the display portion, it’s impossible to open up the laptop with just one hand.
On top of that, if you were to open the lid all the way to its maximum flex angle, the keyboard portion of the laptop actually gets lifted up. Considering the display is made of glass for better protection, it only makes sense that it’s heavier than the bottom half of the laptop. To remedy this, just make sure you don’t flex the laptop display all the way, as the best opening angle for the laptop is at a comfortable 110-degrees which doesn’t affect the viewing or typing angle.
As for the webcam, personally, I don’t mind that it’s positioned right below the display within the bezel. But for some people, they do mind that it might show their double chin. The webcam quality is fair, more than sufficient for those daily video conference calls. There’s also a convenient “Turn off Webcam” button on the F6 key when it’s not in use.
Typing and Navigation
The typing experience on the JOI Book SK3000 is great, as the keys are well isolated and there’s more than enough space for my fingers to travel across the board without feeling everything is cramped together. Both the function row keys and arrow cluster are only half the regular sized keys instead of being only a quarter of their size. This makes them easier to tap, yet still retain a perfectly linear rectangle layout.
As for the trackpad, its surface area is designed to be wide instead of being taller. This is to make more space for the keyboard,and honestly, it didn’t take much away from the navigation experience. The vertical height of the trackpad is just right, navigation is responsive and smooth, so no complaints there. It also supports 3 and 4 finger gestures on Windows, so that’s a bonus.
When it comes to connectivity, the JOI Book SK3000 may not be the most generous with its ports. However, if you do want to expand the connectivity port to have more choices, you can use a USB Type-C hub like the one we have from Grenoplus here. It expands the single USB Type-C port on the laptop to have an additional:
- HDMI port (supports 4K 60Hz)
- 3.5mm audio jack
- USB 3.0 Type-A port (supports charging and sync)
- USB Type-C port (support PowerDelivery 3.0).
Just like the laptop, the USB-C hub is also lightweight and portable, making it an essential gadget for you to bring around with your JOI Book SK3000.
The nanoSIM slot on the bottom is for you to insert your SIM card for 4G connectivity when you’re on the go, while the microSD card slot lets you expand the laptop’s storage when the internal storage isn’t enough for you anymore.
You must be wondering, since the JOI Book SK3000 is running on an ARM based processor, how does it perform? Day to day operations work fine, casual things like email checking, web browsing, editing light photos, and watching videos, they all work great.
But when it comes to software and app choices, you’re limited to just 32-bit versions of the software. Basically, you can download and use almost all the apps and software found in the Microsoft Store. Most commonly used software like Spotify, Netflix, Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, Photoscape X, WhatsApp Desktop and etc. all work just fine on the laptop.
That being said, Microsoft has just released its x64 emulation in preview for Windows 10 on ARM PCs to the Windows Insider Program. Though this is only a preview version, it’s already a good sign that Microsoft is working on making 64-bit apps and software working on Windows on Snapdragon. When it does become available, rest assured the JOI Book SK3000 will be a full-fledged laptop capable of supporting all 64-bit based software.
For the time being, if most of your tasks are on the browser and requires the Internet, then the SK3000 works just fine. That being said, it’s best to take a look at the current software you’re using and check if they have a 32-bit version of it. Otherwise, you’d just have to wait till the developers release a 32-bit version for ARM-based Windows.
Not being able to run 64-bit versions of software, makes it hard for us to run any type of benchmarking software on the laptop to truly gauge its performance. We’ll also need to wait for other Qualcomm powered laptops to be able to really tell how well the laptop fares against its competitors. The same goes for games as well. You’re limited to the games that are readily available on the Microsoft Store, like Asphalt Legends, Candy Crush Saga, and etc. Though Steam does install perfectly fine on the laptop, not all games can run.
When it comes to the storage, JOI used a Toshiba UFS 2.1-based flash storage that has a capacity of 128GB. If you’re a casual user, 128GB is more than enough and it has fast read speeds. However, writing data onto the storage is evidently slower, but in real life usage, it’s hardly noticeable. If you ever want to expand your storage, we tested a 128GB microSD card on the additional microSD slot on the bottom of the laptop, and it worked fine. We didn’t have a 256/512GB to test with, but they may work too.
On that note, do take caution when you unscrew the bottom panel to access the memory card slot. As the screw is tiny, it’s easy to chip off the grooves, so be sure to get the right size Philips screwdriver for the job.
In the audio department, the JOI Book SK3000’s speaker bar can be found in between the display and the keyboard. It does have a stereo effect and can reach loud volumes, but that’s about it, it does its job as a speaker.
The highs are very bright, so the audio tends to sound too sharp, but the mids are decent. So, if you’re using the laptop for voice/video calls, then it’d do a fair job. If you want to hear that thump from your EDM track, there isn’t much bass, considering the laptop’s thin design. Alternatively, you can just plug in a 3.5mm headphones, or connect a pair of TWS earbuds via Bluetooth.
Another feature I love about the JOI Book SK3000 is its battery life. The laptop’s battery was really hard for me to kill. After an entire day’s of use, browsing the web, writing articles, and watching some YouTube, I could still end the day with about 30% battery left, which could still last me till noon the next day.
The laptop does come with a 65W USB-C to C power adapter, which isn’t as slim and light as the laptop, but it gets the job done. Charging the JOI Book SK3000 from zero to full takes about two hours.
The JOI Book SK3000 is a thin and light laptop that is made with productivity in mind. If you’re a casual user whose laptop is used for emails, movies, web browsing, then the SK3000 should definitely be a laptop to consider. It’s thin and light, starts and wakes instantly, has a great display, with an amazing battery life to boot.
But if you’re a power user who needs more raw processing and graphics power for content creation, gaming, 3D rendering, or anything of the sort, then turn away because the SK3000 isn’t made for that.