Chuwi HiBook

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

£143 inc VAT • en.chuwi.com

The HiBook is one of few tablets to dual-boot Win­dows 10 and An­droid Lol­lipop, mak­ing it a great propo­si­tion if you can’t – or don’t want to – sep­a­rate work and play. This bud­get tablet comes in at a great price, too.

The HiBook re­viewed here is sold by Geek­buy­ing for £143, while the op­tional mag­netic dock­ing key­board costs £34. Geek­buy­ing didn’t sup­ply the key­board for our re­view, but we strongly rec­om­mend you con­sider it if you’ll be mak­ing much use of the Win­dows 10 OS on this tablet for pro­duc­tiv­ity tasks. As well as adding a full-size key­board and track­pad it gives you two full-size USB out­puts; with­out it the HiBook has just Mi­cro-USB, Mi­cro-HDMI, USB-C and a mi­croSD slot.

The low price looks even bet­ter when you con­sider that the Chuwi runs a full ver­sion of Win­dows 10 Home, which it dual-boots with a vanilla ver­sion of An­droid Lol­lipop, putting all the apps you could pos­si­bly want at your fin­ger­tips. The tablet has 64GB of in­ter­nal stor­age, with 50GB re­served for Win­dows and 16GB for An­droid; each OS con­sumes around 6GB. This isn’t a huge amount of stor­age for ei­ther OS, but any­thing you’re not stor­ing in the cloud can be saved on to re­mov­able me­dia such as a mem­ory card or mo­bile hard drive.

To switch be­tween op­er­at­ing sys­tem, the tablet re­quires a re­boot. For­tu­nately it per­forms this pretty quickly, but you should re­mem­ber not to leave any work un­saved. At startup you can choose to boot An­droid Lol­lipop by press­ing the vol­ume up key, or Win­dows 10 by press­ing vol­ume down; if you don’t make a choice the HiBook will boot into the last used OS by de­fault. A short­cut on the Win­dows desktop lets you switch to An­droid, or if you’re us­ing An­droid you can tap the Switch to Win­dows icon in the drop-down no­ti­fi­ca­tion bar to re­vert to Win­dows.

The HiBook runs much the same hard­ware as the larger Chuwi Hi12 we re­cently re­viewed. This 12in tablet runs Win­dows 10 only, but does so us­ing the same In­tel Cherry Trail X5-Z8300 pro­ces­sor, 4GB of DDR3L RAM and 64GB of flash stor­age as this HiBook. Key dif­fer­ences are the smaller, lower res­o­lu­tion screen on the HiBook, a lower-ca­pac­ity 6600mAh bat­tery, and the loss of two full-size USB ports af­forded by the Hi12’s larger chas­sis.

De­sign

On pa­per the Hi12’s screen sounds more im­pres­sive, with 2160x1440 pix­els across its 12in panel. How­ever, thanks to its smaller 10in dis­play, the 1920x1200 pix­els (still full-HD) on the HiBook ap­pear just as sharp – sharper in fact, since the HiBook has a 224ppi against the Hi12’s 216ppi, but you won’t be able to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween the two with such a small dif­fer­ence.

It’s a nice screen, with its IPS tech of­fer­ing re­al­is­tic colours and good view­ing an­gles at a 16:9 ra­tio. It’s not the bright­est screen we’ve seen, but it’s suf­fi­cient – and the HiBook sup­ports adap­tive bright­ness con­trols. We also find its size more prac­ti­cal for us­ing this bud­get tablet on the road. How­ever, the HiBook suf­fers the same is­sue as the Hi12: you need only point a fin­ger in its di­rec­tion and it smears.

To switch be­tween OS, the tablet re­quires a re­boot. It per­forms this quickly, but re­mem­ber not to leave any work un­saved

Ig­nor­ing the dif­fer­ence in size be­tween th­ese two tablets though, the de­sign is very sim­i­lar. As with its big­ger brother the Chuwi HiBook has a sil­ver (also avail­able in gold) metal body that’s just 8.8mm thick, which is im­pres­sive for a bud­get tablet. It feels rea­son­ably heavy at 522g, and we pre­sume it would be even heav­ier with the key­board, but it’s not a ma­jor com­plaint. More im­por­tantly, de­spite its cheap price tag the HiBook feels well made, with no rough edges or creak­ing parts, and tiny metal screws adding to its durable feel.

The screen bezels are rather chunky, es­pe­cially given that An­droid’s back, home and re­cent but­tons are found on-screen (nec­es­sary since they have no func­tion in Win­dows). How­ever, in the top bezel sits a 2Mp we­b­cam, which will be use­ful for video chat if not of­fer­ing the best qual­ity for self­ies, and to the right of the screen (or the bot­tom if held in por­trait mode) is a Win­dows but­ton that acts as a home but­ton in An­droid.

Both tablets fea­ture two cutouts on the bot­tom edge for dock­ing a mag­netic key­board that also acts as a cover, turn­ing this tablet into a hy­brid lap­top when re­quired. We’re dis­ap­pointed that Geek­buy­ing didn’t send us this key­board to try, since Chuwi told us it is greatly im­proved over that de­signed for the Hi12, which has an in­fu­ri­at­ing track­pad.

It’s quite pos­si­ble to use Win­dows 10 with the touch­screen, al­though rel­a­tively small icons and op­tions mean it’s bet­ter to switch to tablet mode. And with­out a key­board and mouse, An­droid is more user-friendly in our ex­pe­ri­ence. Un­for­tu­nately, with­out the key­board the HiBook has no full-size USB ports for adding th­ese pe­riph­er­als, al­though you could con­nect de­vices wire­lessly via Blue­tooth 4.0.

For ports and con­nec­tions you get re­versible USB-C for charg­ing, Mi­cro-USB for con­nect­ing de­vices such as a mo­bile hard drive, Mi­cro-HDMI for hook­ing up the Chuwi to a large screen, and a mi­croSD slot for up to 64GB of ad­di­tional stor­age. There’s also a mic and 3.5mm head­phone jack. As with the Hi12, stereo speak­ers sit at the bot­tom left- and right edges of the tablet, which means they can be muf­fled with your palms when held in land­scape mode.

On the rear of the tablet is a 5Mp cam­era, which is best de­scribed as func­tional. We can’t imag­ine many peo­ple hold­ing up a 10in, 522g tablet and ex­pect­ing print-wor­thy pho­tos in re­turn. Also here are leg­ends for the var­i­ous ports, plus a Chuwi logo and some ba­sic specs. It de­tracts a lit­tle from the tablet’s over­all de­sign, but the HiBook isn’t in­tended as a pre­mium de­vice and it looks bet­ter than many of its bud­get ri­vals.

Per­for­mance

At this price and this size, the Chuwi HiBook has few ri­vals in the 10in An­droid tablet world, let alone the Win­dows world. It au­to­mat­i­cally one-ups the com­pa­ra­ble Acer Ico­nia Tab 10, Ama­zon Fire HD 10 and Voda­fone Tab Prime 6 with its metal build and dual-OS func­tion­al­ity, and it’s faster than those tablets, too.

That’s in An­droid, of course, and what we found re­ally in­ter­est­ing about the Chuwi is that its quad-core 1.44GHz In­tel Cherry Trail X5-Z8300 chip, In­tel HD graph­ics and 4GB of DDR3L RAM per­formed slightly faster in Win­dows 10 in our bench­marks. In real world use you prob­a­bly wouldn’t no­tice any dif­fer­ence, and in most cases the HiBook feels ca­pa­ble enough for most tasks, un­til you start launching sev­eral apps at once.

The HiBook is mostly on par with the Chuwi Hi12 for per­for­mance, which isn’t a sur­prise given that it runs the same core hard­ware.

In An­droid 5.1 Lol­lipop we recorded 2,162 points in Geek­bench 3.0 and 57,593 in AnTuTu. By com­par­i­son, in Win­dows 10 those scores were slightly higher at 2,245 and 71,261 re­spec­tively.

We use GFXBench to test graph­ics, al­though this failed to run in Win­dows 10. In Lol­lipop the Chuwi turned in 23fps in T-Rex and 11fps in Man­hat­tan. This isn’t an out­stand­ing per­for­mance, but we’ve seen a lot worse, and the Chuwi is more than up to the job for ca­sual gam­ing and watch­ing video. We also run JetStream in Chrome to test JavaScript per­for­mance, and here the Chuwi HiBook recorded 32.507 in Lol­lipop and 37.423 in Win­dows 10. Higher is bet­ter in this test.

PCMark8 Home is a gen­eral per­for­mance bench­mark for Win­dows 10. It clocked the HiBook at 1058, which is slightly higher than the Hi12’s 1010. It’s about half the score of a proper bud­get lap­top, such as the £300 Asus X55LA, which recorded 2028 points, but tablets don’t tend to score as high as Win­dows lap­tops. The £279 Asus Trans­former T100HA, for ex­am­ple, recorded 1338 points.

The Chuwi HiBook has a 6600mAh bat­tery, which is a de­cent ca­pac­ity for a bud­get tablet (the Tab Prime 6 has just 4600mAh by com­par­i­son), and pleas­ingly it’s fast to charge when paired with a 5V/3A (15W) adap­tor – you’ll get from zero to full in as lit­tle as six hours. In the Geek­bench 3 bat­tery test, the HiBook scored 4016 points and a time of six hours 41 min­utes, which is on a par with the iPad mini 4.

The abil­ity to insert a re­mov­able mem­ory card is great news given the lim­ited amount of stor­age in­side. To be fair, 64GB is very gen­er­ous, but it’s not a huge amount for use with Win­dows 10. Con­nec­tiv­ity-wise the Chuwi HiBook is ba­sic. You get 802.11n Wi-Fi, Blue­tooth 4.0 and OTG. There’s no GPS, nor a cel­lu­lar con­nec­tion.

Verdict

At £143, it’s hard to find fault in a 10in tablet that can han­dle most tasks and of­fers both An­droid and Win­dows op­er­at­ing sys­tems. We rec­om­mend you pur­chase the op­tional key­board for the ex­tra func­tion­al­ity it af­fords, in­clud­ing two full-size USB ports, but even with­out it the Chuwi HiBook is a very de­cent bud­get tablet, with ac­cept­able per­for­mance and a de­cent screen.

The Chuwi HiBook has a sil­ver (also avail­able in gold) metal body that’s just 8.8mm thick, which is im­pres­sive for a bud­get tablet

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