A few months after the start of sales of the Chuwi Hi 10 tablet, which has found popularity among users around the world, the company announced an update to the model to Chuwi Hi 10 AIR. The tablet was promised to be made thinner and lighter, as well as to install a more powerful processor. But the matter did not progress further than the announcement, and over time, everyone forgot about it. And after 2 years, sales suddenly started … The tablet turned out to be really thin and light. It is suitable for portable use cases where you need to carry it around. And after connecting the magnetic keyboard — the docking station, it turns into a full-fledged netbook for working with text.
Specifications Chuwi HI 10 Air:
- Screen: 10.1″, WUXGA — 1920×1200, IPS, recognizes up to 10 simultaneous touches
- CPU: Intel Atom X5 Z8350, 4 core (1.92 Ghz — max)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 (Gen8-LP10/12EU up to 500MHZ)
- RAM: 4GB
- Built-in memory: 64 Gb + extension up to 128 Gb
- Communications: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: front 2 MP + rear 2 MP
- Operating system:Windows 10
- Battery: 6500 mAh
- Dimensions: 261.8 x 167.3 x 8.8mm
- Weight: 520g
Video version of the review
Packaging and equipment
Chuwi is a brand that needs no introduction. Their tablets have been sold in official retail for a long time, but in China they are of course much cheaper and it is safest to buy them in the official CHUWI Official Store on aliexpress. The guys from the store really got confused with the packaging (apparently there were precedents), wrapping the box in an air-filled «mattress». In this design, any damage is completely excluded, even the packaging was not damaged.
Various information is indicated on the side faces: model name, tablet characteristics and serial number. There is also a brand with a protective layer, under which a unique code is hidden, confirming the originality of the device.
The outer cardboard packaging is very dense, but inside the tablet is additionally surrounded by foam plastic armor. Such protection allows the tablet to survive drops, bumps and any other loads that the mail generously rewards it with international delivery without consequences.
Above in a niche placed an envelope with various documentation and a warranty card.
The additional box contains a charger and a USB cable — type C. The cable was greedy — its length is only 80 cm.
A charger with a European plug can deliver 3A at 5V. This is enough to use the tablet and recharge its battery at the same time.
But in reality, the charger can produce much more than stated. At least my load worked at maximum and consumed 4.28A at a voltage of 5.37V or almost 23W!
Appearance and interfaces
The front part looks the most usual way — the frames are black, the aspect ratio of the screen is 16:10.
There is a Windows touch button
The front camera is placed in the upper part, which is used for video communication. You may also notice that there is a protective film on the screen.
There is a small charge indicator in the left corner. When the battery is charging, the red LED flashes, when it is charged, it is constantly on.
The body of the tablet is completely metal, processed to a matte finish. It looks very cool, not slippery, not easily soiled and practical case.
The weight of the tablet is only 0.5 kg, and the thickness is less than 9 mm. A little thinner and it will be possible to chop cabbage for borscht …
No kidding — the tablet is really light and thin. You can read an e-book for a long time and your hands do not get tired of holding it, you can carry it in a backpack and not even notice its presence, because it weighs like a small bottle of water. At the same time, a full-fledged Windows with all its features and benefits is always with you.
Let’s take a look at connectors. A modern type C is used to connect the charger. It also supports OTG, so you can connect a USB flash drive, mouse, etc. to it through an adapter. Placed next to the micro USB connector, micro HDMI and headphone jack. The set of connectors and their format are determined by the thickness of the tablet, a full-fledged USB just won’t fit here.
There is a micro SD card reader and in fact this is the only way to increase the amount of internal memory. The built-in storage is enough for the system, applications and several toys, but if you need to take a small media library (video, music, etc.) with you, then it’s better to get a good memory card.
I also want to draw attention to the fact that the tablet is equipped with stereo speakers. There are really two of them and they give out a good sound by the standards of a tablet. Due to the small diameter of the emitters, it is not necessary to hope for the presence of low frequencies, but there are medium frequencies, and along with them a certain volume is felt.
The lock button and volume rocker are located on the top edge (in horizontal mode). The placement is convenient both when using the device in tablet mode and when using it in netbook mode. They saved on seals — the buttons dangle a little in their grooves.
The connector for connecting the keyboard looks like this: a 5-pin connector in the center and holes with magnets on the sides. Everything is quite standard.
I think that this tablet must be bought with a keyboard. Without it, he is not complete. For entertainment, such as lying on the couch, of course it is more convenient to use a tablet. But if you plan to perform some activities on it other than playing games, watching media content and reading news in the browser, then the keyboard will definitely not interfere with you.
The keyboard has only Latin characters, but there is free space for engraving or, in my case, stickers with Russian letters. The seller put the stickers as a gift.
The keyboard is comfortable and does not actually differ from those used in regular laptops.
There is a power indicator and a Caps Lock indicator.
The small touchpad recognizes standard gestures (three-finger swipe, pinch, etc.) and has two physical buttons. Working with the touch panel is not very comfortable for me, because sometimes gestures work that you do not expect. In general, for navigation and simple actions it will do, but for working with documents, tables, etc., it is more convenient to use the mouse.
A high-quality hinge with a tight move, on its base there are silicone legs for resting on the table in the most open state.
It is worth bringing the tablet to the keyboard connector, as it magnetizes itself in the desired position. The magnets are strong and you can freely lift the tablet, which has already become a netbook, by the screen. To detach the keyboard, you need to make some effort. I would even say — a tangible effort. In this form, the tablet turns into a typical compact netbook.
Two additional full-fledged USB connectors appear on the sides, which can be used to connect a mouse, flash drive, etc.
In the form factor of a netbook, it becomes 2 times thicker. The keyboard is the same thickness as the tablet. Even a little more. Still, this is a very compact solution that will fit in a small shoulder bag or urban backpack.
The hinge securely fixes the screen in a predetermined position.
The maximum opening angle is 130 degrees, which is enough for both working at the table and in the “kneeling” mode.
The tablet supports a stylus, but I did not buy it. The screen is bright and high-quality, 50% of the maximum brightness is enough for indoor use.
In the dark, you can set the brightness to 25% or less. If you need to work on the street, then at 100% brightness the contents of the screen are well read even during the day.
The detail is excellent. With a diagonal of 10.1 ″ and a resolution of 1920×1200, the PPI level is 224. Well, since we have a classic IPS matrix in front of us, the picture is not inverted at an angle and the colors are not distorted. Both vertically and horizontally.
Bios and work with Linux
The familiar UEFI Aptio from American Megatrends runs in portrait orientation. At the same time, the font looks a little elongated, but this does not create any special problems. Surprisingly, bios was open and all settings were unlocked.
You need to be very careful with the settings, because there are cases when such tablets were corrupted when trying to change the memory frequency or overclock the processor.
Of the interesting, I note the possibility of setting temperature conditions and passive protection. The Android section is of interest, which, as it were, hints at its ability to be installed. Such tablets can often be found with a Dual Boot system, so it is possible that this option will soon be on sale. Yes, and the same Hi 10 has been with dual boot for a long time, you can even try to roll it onto this tablet, because the hardware is very similar.
I tried to start Ubuntu from a flash drive and it started up, but there were no drivers for some equipment. To be precise, WiFi, sound and touch screen do not work. This is what I noticed during a short test, maybe something else will pop up. Auto-rotate works, the keyboard works, the touch panel too. Everything that I connected via USB works fine, for example, the WiFi adapter in the form of a whistle from TPLink started up normally and I connected to the Internet. You need to install the drivers manually, but I don’t know how to do this on Linux and where to get them, because I have never used this system.
Work in the system and basic tests
We already have licensed Windows 10 Home Edition installed on board. But as usual, the latest updates are not included in the assembly, so it will take several hours for the system to download and install them. After that, you can use the tablet in the usual rhythm. In tablet mode on the desktop, applications are displayed as tiles, and there are additional navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen.
When you connect a keyboard, the classic desktop automatically turns on. Naturally, you can change the classic mode to tablet mode at any time and vice versa.
Summary of ingredients from Aida 64
The following is a set of standard tests that will help give an idea of the performance and capabilities of the tablet. First of all, of course, I checked the drive, here it is a regular eMMC flash memory. Read speed 156 MB/s, write 72 Mb/s. With small files, everything is much more modest.
On average, this is 131 Mb / s for linear reading. The speed throughout the test was constant, without sharp dips and jumps.
RAM test results.
As a network adapter, Realtek RTL8723BS is used here, which supports b / g / n standards at a frequency of 2.4 Ghz. The average download speed is about 40 mbps. The sensitivity of the antenna is average, the metal case affects. In rooms far from the router, the speed drops to 20 mbps.
The processor here is an old Atom X5 Z8350. This is a tablet processor with completely passive cooling for simple tasks and you should not expect much from it. It allows you to comfortably use the browser, watch online / offline videos, youtube, run simple games, work with text and tables, etc. In tests, it shows the following results:
speed test in winrar
Performance testing in 7zip
If we talk about games, then these are arcades and casual games, for something cool in 3D it is no longer enough. I thought to play WOT Blitz, but it was not there. At first, the game seemed to go on high, but after 10 minutes it started to slow down, the FPS dropped below 20 fps. I had to turn off the effects and reduce the quality of the graphics. But even at low graphics settings, fps was no more than 30 fps. The fact is that due to the very thin case, it was physically impossible to install a normal heatsink here and the processor quickly reduces the frequency in order to avoid overheating. If you take something simpler, then everything is fine. For example, in the popular arcade about minions, the tablet did not warm up and did not slow down even after an hour of continuous play.
The video playback capabilities of the tablet are quite extensive. There is support for hardware decoding of all modern codecs up to 4K resolution. Only 4K HEVC Main10 is not supported. But on a Full HD 4K screen, we don’t need anything, but with Full HD everything is perfect: H264 / H265 / VP9 — everything is played smoothly without heavily loading the processor.
I ran the entire library of test videos that I usually use to test media players and set-top boxes on android. 99% of all videos, even in 4K (except for HEVC Main10) played normally, without friezes and lags. Even videos with a bitrate of 50 mbps, the tablet pulled fine.
Moreover, there were no problems with user-generated content. The tablet reproduces absolutely any rips easily and without compulsion. In fact, this means that you can download any movies from the network. And you can also connect the tablet to a large TV via an HDMI cable and use it as a media player. Just like on a regular computer/laptop, you can clone the screen, expand it, or simply display the image on the TV by turning off the screen in the tablet.
On Youtube you can watch videos up to 1080p, 30fps. When playing 1080p 60k / s, the processor is 100% loaded and brakes appear, that is, the processor no longer pulls.
Cooling system testing and stress tests
During normal daily activities, the tablet remains cold. But this is not surprising, because the SDP (Scenario Design Power) indicator of the processor is only 2W. In the stress test of the processor using Aida 64, the temperature after 30 minutes was only 65 degrees, and the maximum recorded temperature was 68 degrees. The maximum allowable temperature for this processor is 90 degrees, so we can say that it is not in danger of overheating.
Throughout the test, the processor worked at a maximum frequency of 1.68 Ghz, and the TDP was at 2W. The motherboard warmed up to 51 degrees.
But when you turn on the load on the graphics, the temperature begins to rise rapidly. In 10 minutes it reached 82 degrees and the processor began to reduce the multiplier, and the frequency also dropped accordingly. This is the reason why the tablet does not handle powerful 3D games. Passive cooling simply does not have time to dissipate the generated heat and the processor reduces power, that is, throttling actually begins. After that, the temperature drops to 65 — 66 degrees.
First, I tested the battery. A fully discharged battery almost immediately begins to charge with a current of 2.27A and almost to the very end, the current does not drop.
This is if you charge the tablet in the off state or simply do not use it while charging. If you charge and use at the same time, the current increases to 3A. The declared capacity is 6500 mAh, in the off state, 6000 mAh was poured into the battery through the tester. Considering that the tablet turns off when there are still a few percent left on it, the capacity corresponds to the declared one. From 0% to 100% the battery is charged in 3.5 hours.
In the PC Mark 08 battery test, which simulates a mixed mode of operation (casual games, photo editing, texting, browsing, and video calling), the tablet worked for 5 hours and 25 minutes with a screen brightness of 50% (enough for comfortable indoor use).
In a live test, this time was confirmed. I launched BatteryMon in the background and did various things: running benchmarks, working in the browser, watching videos on Youtube, etc. When 5% of the charge remained, the tablet worked for 5 hours and 12 minutes. The estimated battery capacity is 6284 mWh, during the test the battery gave 5907 mWh. The remaining 314 mWh is 5% of the remaining charge.
Well, a few examples of battery discharge by different actions. Youtube playback at 50% brightness — 6 hours 6 minutes.
Video playback from a micro SD card at 50% brightness, with WiFi turned off — 8 hours 20 minutes.
The same video but at maximum screen brightness — 6 hours 18 minutes.
The graph shows that up to about 15% the discharge is uniform, the last 15% are discharged somewhat faster.
The tablet is interesting primarily for its compact size and the ability to transform into a full-fledged netbook. It is suitable for ordinary everyday tasks, such as reading news in a browser, working with text and tables, watching video content and simple games. If it had come out a couple of years ago, it would definitely have been a hit, but Chuwi did what she did. The main advantages that I have identified for myself:
- The tablet is thin and light with an all-metal body.
- The ability to connect a keyboard — a docking station that actually turns the tablet into a netbook.
- Bright high quality display.
- Long battery life on a full charge.
- Licensed Windows 10 on board.
The disadvantages look like this:
- Weak processor by today’s standards.
- WiFi only works in the 2.4 Ghz band.
The cost varies from configuration and starts at $170. You can buy only a tablet, you can buy a tablet with a keyboard, or you can take a complete set: tablet + keyboard + stylus.
Find out the current cost of the tablet in the CHUWI Official Store on aliexpress