Chuwi HiBook full review

Chuwi's 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; find out more in our Chuwi HiBook review. Also see: Best budget tablets UK.

Chuwi is a Chinese brand that is sold in the UK via grey-market sites such as Geekbuying, which supplied our HiBook for review. (US customers can also buy Chuwi devices on Amazon.) Read our advice on grey market tech before you buy.

The Chuwi HiBook reviewed here is sold by Geekbuying for £143.42, while the optional magnetic docking keyboard costs £34.97. 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 OSes 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 6,600mAh battery, and the loss of two full-size USB ports afforded by the Hi12's larger chassis. See all budget tablet reviews.

Chuwi HiBook

Chuwi HiBook review: Design and build

On paper the screen on the Hi12 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 16:10 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.

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 onscreen (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.

Chuwi HiBook

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 make it easier 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 photographs 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.

Chuwi HiBook

Chuwi HiBook review: Hardware and 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. Also see: Best Android tablets 2016 UK.

The Chuwi 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 6,600mAh 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 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 (which, as we mentioned earlier, gets 50GB of that allocation, and Android 16GB).

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. Also see: Best Windows tablets 2016 UK.

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Specs

Chuwi HiBook: Specs

  • Android 5.1 Lollipop/Windows 10 Home tablet
  • 1.44GHz (boosts to 1.84GHz) Intel Cherry Trail X5-Z8300 quad-core processor
  • Intel HD Graphics (Gen8)
  • 4GB DDR3L RAM
  • 64GB storage (split 50GB Windows, 16GB Android)
  • microSD support up to 64GB
  • 10.1in full-HD (1920x1200, WUXGA), 16:10 IPS screen
  • 5Mp rear camera
  • 2Mp front camera
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • OTG
  • USB-C
  • Micro-USB
  • Micro-HDMI
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • AAC Double Speaker
  • optional magnetic keyboard cover
  • 6600mAh non-removable battery with 3A fast-charge tech (charges in 6 hours)
  • 262x167.5x8.8mm
  • 522g

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