If you're looking for a tablet/laptop hybrid that can dual-boot Android and Windows, Chuwi thinks they have a tablet for you. The HiBook comes with both Android 5.1 Lollipop and Windows 10, and you can buy an optional keyboard for getting real work done in either operating system.
With this cheap little device, you can get yourself an Android tablet and a Windows laptop for under $250. Obviously, though, it's not a perfect device at that price. Let's take a look at everything it has to offer – and enter below for your chance to win one!
Chuwi HiBook Giveaway
- Price: $200 tablet and $40 keyboard from GearBest
- Dimensions: 10.31in x 6.59in x 0.35in (262mm x 168mm x 8.8mm)
- Weight: 1.15lbs (522g)
- Screen: 10.1″ (1920×1200)
- Processor: Intel Cherry Trail Z8300
- RAM: 4GB
- Memory: 64GB
- Battery: 6,600mAh
- Camera: 5mp rear-facing, 2MP front-facing
- Operating Systems: Android 5.1 Lollipop and Microsoft Windows 10
- Extras: Optional keyboard, TF card slot, USB Type-C, Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI, two full-size USB ports on the keyboard
For the price that it is, the all-metal unibody on the Chuwi HiBook is actually pretty impressive. The chamfered metal edges speak to a high-build quality, and the tablet itself is sturdy and free of any squeaking or bending.
It has a light curve around the sides as well, which feels a lot nicer in the hand than its competitor, the Telcast X98 Plus (our review). The Telcast is another $200 Chinese tablet that dualboots Android and Windows, but it felt much boxier and generic than the HiBook.
Included on the right side of the tablet is a TF card slot (which should work with Micro-SD cards), USB Type-C port, Micro-USB port, the mic, a Micro-HDMI port. Along the bottom, it has two slots for connecting with the magnet keyboard.
The top edge is home to the power button and the volume rocker.
At 8.8mm it's not the thinnest tablet out there. The previously-mentioned Telcast is only 7.8mm, and Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 (our review) manages to shave that down to 7mm. Though I do have to admit that because of the curved edges, the HiBook definitely feels thinner than the Telcast. In terms of weight, it's about the same as the Telcast at 522g
For comparison, that's a bit heavier and a good deal thicker than the iPad Pro 9.7″ (our review), which weighs 437 and measures 6.1mm thick.
With the keyboard attached, it of course becomes a good deal thicker. In this form, it's much more like a netbook than a tablet; in fact, it has similar dimensions to my Chromebook Flip (our review), though the Chuwi HiBook is a tad thicker.
Like most 2-in-1s, the HiBook suffers from being top heavy, so be careful not to knock it over. One of the more noticeable flaws, though, is how difficult it is to open. There's no slot to slide your finger in, so prying open the HiBook can be a challenge.
On paper, the 1900 x 1200 screen sounds pretty high resolution for this little 10.1″ screen, but in reality, it's quite underwhelming. Colors are washed out, and it just doesn't have the pop that so many other screens offer. It's also terrible in direct sunlight; it just does not get very bright.
That said, it's not a bad screen. Text and images appear relatively sharp, and for everyday usage in the home environment, it should be fine.
If Chuwi cut one area to make this hit the $200 price point, it was certainly the cameras. The 5MP rear shooter is abysmal. Below you can see one of the photos I took with it outside on a sunny day.
Details were just blurry, colors were muted, and it was achingly slow to take photos. Below is another taken with the rear camera.
This photo was blown out badly, as you can tell by the glowing white in the upper left where there should be a building and some trees — details which my two-year-old OnePlus One captured just fine.
The 2MP front-facing photo could work for video chatting, but I wouldn't recommend it for Instagram-worthy selfies.
The HiBook is actually home to dual speakers, one on the lower right side and one on the lower left side. They're relatively loud for such a small device too — just be careful not to cover them with your hands if you're holding it in tablet mode.
Basically, you won't be blown away, but they're good enough.
This is a tiny keyboard. There's no way around that when the tablet itself is only 10.1″. If you hate typing on small keyboards, you're gonna hate typing on this. However, if you can adapt to a smaller keyboard, it doesn't feel bad. The keys have plenty of travel and they're well spaced out. And the touchpad manages to be relatively large given how little space is available.
You can use the mouse in Windows or Android, and you can cycle through selection options with the arrow keys in Android and use Enter to select them — though you're probably better off just tapping the screen.
For connecting to the tablet, the keyboard has two magnetic plugs and an electric connector in the middle. The tablet snaps in like a charm, and it requires quite a tug to loosen it from the keyboard (which is good for not accidentally taking it off).
There's no battery in the keyboard, and it's not backlit, but that should be expected given how tiny and cheap it is. It's certainly a nice way to make your tablet more productive for not that much money.
Given that Android can look very different depending on which manufacturer you buy it from, you might expect the HiBook to have some kind of Chuwi skin — but no, this is mostly stock Android.
It is Android 5.1 Lollipop, but strangely, it's styled more like KitKat or Jelly Bean. The homescreen doesn't have a transparent navbar or status bar, the app drawer has a black background instead of a white pop-up animation, and all the built-in apps like Gallery and Browser seem older too.
Of course it does have the Play Store, so it would be easy to trick out your tablet with a new launcher and all the apps you normally use.
Performance-wise, everything was a bit slow on the Android side. Even tapping the power key had a second or two delay before the screen came on. Animations often staggering and apps took a while to open. With 4GB of RAM, you'd think that it'd be fine, but that Intel Atom processor must be in over its head.
On the Windows side of things, it's all pretty much as you'd expect. Windows 10 doesn't see the kind of changes and skinning that Android does, so it's just like using Windows 10 on any other device. When connected to the keyboard, it will behave more like a desktop, and when you detach it, it will go into "tablet" mode where apps take up the whole screen.
The performance felt a little smoother and quicker on the Windows side for some reason, but it wasn't exactly a dream come true. Having more than a few tabs open slowed it down considerably, but it would fine for working on Word documents.
After watching maybe a little too much YouTube, playing some games, and reading some articles throughout my day, I ended with about 3 hours of screen on time. It's enough to get you through the day with medium usage, but it's not fantastic.
Perhaps more disappointing is how long it takes to charge: about 3.5 hours from dead to 100%. That's painfully slow, especially in an age where fast-charging is being tossed onto everything.
Should You Buy It?
There's an argument to be made for not buying cheap Chinese tablets, but if the Chuwi has everything you're looking for, why not? If you want an Android tablet that can double as a Windows laptop from time to time, and you're not too concerned with having the newest, fastest device, then go for it.
However, if you're looking for something that's going to see an update to Marshmallow or Nougat at some point, or if the laggy experience isn't worth the low price tag to you, then look elsewhere.
The Chuwi HiBook has a nice build quality and low price, but it suffers from a slow processor, weak camera, and mediocre screen. If those are sacrifices you're willing to make, go ahead, but most people would probably be better off with a Chromebook or Nexus tablet. Our verdict of the Chuwi HiBook: 6/10
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