Review: Chuwi Hi10Pro

The Chuwi Hi10Pro is a dual boot Windows 10 / Android tablet that has a metallic keyboard dock to convert it to a standard clamshell laptop.

I bought the Chuwi Hi10Pro last year when it was on sale at Gearbest. It was selling for US$169 for the tablet plus keyboard dock. I also used Swagbucks for an additional 4250 SB which should be valued at around US$50 via Amazon gift cards. The issue is that I can’t seem to pass the US only verification as it requires a US number (non-voip). Bummer. I managed to get around it recently through the use of a US SIM. So how did this US$120 tablet / laptop fare?

The Specs

Screen Size 10.1 inches
Screen Resolution 1920×1200
Hard Drive 64 GB
Average Battery Life (in hours) 6 hours
Operating System Windows 10, Android 5.1
Item Weight 2.2 pounds
Product Dimensions 10.3 x 6.6 x 0.3 inches
Item Dimensions L x W x H 10.31 x 6.59 x 0.33 inches
Rear Webcam Resolution 2 MP
Processor Intel X8350
4GB DDR3 RAM

The Design

The tablet looks quite good, encased in aluminum and front glass. It feels really solid and I think Chuwi made a couple similar tablets in plastic so this full aluminum build is a nice improvement. The bezels are big but manageable. I am not a fan of a 16:9 ratio tablet as it just doesn’t feel that good to hold in comparison to a 3:2 or 4:3 screen. Also, it’s not a full laminated screen and the bit of gap between the glass and display is perceptible for those with keen eyes. The edges are chamfered for a good all around feel.

The display is good. It is a 10.1” 1920 x 1200 IPS screen with nice bright colours and great viewing angles. I installed Kodi on it and after pairing with a pair of Bluetooth earphones, its been a perfect companion to catch up on movies and tv shows. I mentioned the earphones because the speakers aren’t up to par. Although there’s a pair of stereo speakers, they are mounted really low and gets covered up if you hold the tablet in your hands. The speakers are also rather weak sounding, and on the shrill end. OK for casual listening but nothing more.

Front of the tablet sees the Windows logo which doubles up as a hardware Start button (Windows) or Home button (Android). There’s a front facing camera and a charging LED indicator.

Power button and volume controls are listed on the top and all ports are on the left of the tablet. There’s a 3.5mm audio jack, followed by micro HDMI out, what looks to be a reset pin, micro USB OTG, a USB-C 3.1 port and a microSD slot. There’s no full size USB slots on the tablet itself. If you have the keyboard dock, it offers two additional USB 2.0 ports towards the back of the keyboard.

Front and back cameras are included but the rear camera gives the tablet an obtrusive bump. Should have just not included it. Quality is really quite poor on both cameras.

The Performance

Intel Atom Z8350, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB eMMC are it’s key system specifications. The Performance is OK. I had to moderate my expectations a little, due to some tardiness when switching programs but for overall web surfing, typing, and programming, it all works pretty well. The Android OS (although still only on Lollipop 5.0) feels snappier and more responsive compared to Windows 10.

Portability is the strong feature of the Chuwi Hi10Pro. It’s not all day battery and a full charge should net you about 6+ hours of usage. The real star is that topping up is really easy. I just need to have a USB-C cable handy and I can top up from any standard phone charger. The quality of the battery might be suspect. Chuwi promises a 6500mAh battery but Windows own test reports that the battery was designed for 4000mAH only. Actual use often translates to about 5 hours. It’s not great by any means, but acceptable for the price. In Android mode, when put to sleep, battery drain is about 5-10% per day.

The tablet alone is relatively lightweight at about 500+ gram only, but the keyboard dock is equally heavy at about 500+ gram, making a combined weight of over 1 kg. After seeing what LG has achieved with the LG Gram, nothing comes close. But then, I remember that this tablet / laptop is also a fraction of the price.

On that note, the keyboard is really quite small – since the screen is only 10.1 inch and the keys are clearly smaller. It isn’t hard to type, and the keys are quite responsive, just that the size means you need some time to get used to. The touchpad on the other hand, sucks! It quite frequently pick up ghost touches and you are better off disabling it and relying on the touch screen.

Software

You get both Windows 10 and Android 5.1. Updates from Microsoft are pushed automatically but the Android version would likely not see much updates. It’s been six months and I am still stuck on the same version. As it is, its already two generations behind Android Nougat; and Android O is already on its way. I tend to use Windows more but there are certain apps that are unique to the Android platform. Switching between the two is via clicking a button or making your selection when the tablet restarts. Files are isolated between the two operating systems – although can be overcome by using the right partition types.

Verdict

Its been a really convenient machine to bring about. It’s generally light and portable. The price means I am quite happy to throw it around and don’t really bother about dings and scratches. Only requiring a single USB-C cable (and powerbank or USB wall point) to top up is really a plus. Performance can be a little slow though, and typing on the small keyboard needs a bit of time to get used to.

If you were looking at one of the themed – laptops like the Avengers one here, the Chuwi blows them way out of the park.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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