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CHUWI Hi10 X 2-in-1 PC Review: An Affordable 2-in-1 PC

Laptop? Tablet? You choose!

By Christopher Coke on May 09, 2020 | Hardware Reviews | 0

Have you been looking for an affordable 2-in-1 PC? How about just a touch screen laptop? Chuwi may just have the answer with their Hi10 X 2-in-1 tablet PC. This tiny laptop packs a 10.1 inch IPS screen, a full Windows 10 installation, stylus support, and more for $229. If you want a tablet with the functionality of a laptop, read on for our full review.

Specifications

  • Current Price: $229.95 (Amazon, CHUWI Website)
  • Type: Tablet PC
  • OS: WINDOWS10 home
  • CPU Brand: Intel
  • CPU: Gemini Lake N4100
  • Storage:
    • RAM: 6G
    • eMMC Flash: 128G
    • External memory: SD Card
  • Screen:
    • Size (inches): 10.1
    • Resolution: 1920:1200
    • Aspect ratio: 16:10
    • Type: IPS (Full Lamination)
    • Touch Screen: Capacitive multi-touch
  • Connectivity
    • SD card slot: Yes
    • HD Video out: Yes
    • USB: 2.0/3.0Yes
    • 3.5mm Headphone Jack: Yes
  • Camera
    • Camera type: Cameras
    • Front camera: 2.0MP
    • Back camera: 5.0MP
  • Ports
    • USB: 2*USB Type-C (Tablet), 1*USB-A 3.0   1*USB-A 2.0 (Keyboard)
    • Micro SD: Supported
    • HD: Micro HD

Chuwi may not be a brand you’ve heard of if you live in the United States, but they’ve been on the rise the last several years. They’ve garnered positive press attention through their IndieGoGo campaigns, but more importantly, they’ve received positive attention from fans due to the exceptional value their devices tend to offer. In fact, that’s exactly what commenters shared in many of our own reviews: for the money, they tend to be a great deal. 

One thing to know upfront, though, is that the current $229 pricing on Amazon is for the tablet only. If you’d like the keyboard and stylus, they’ll cost a bit extra at $32 and $20 respectively. You can get $20 off by buying through AliExpress, though that means waiting 6-8 weeks for shipping — at least to where I live in NY. At minimum, you should get the keyboard to take advantage of the 2-in-1 functionality, but it’s certainly possible to just use the Hi10 X as a Windows tablet if you don’t need those accessories. 

Specs and Performance

The Hi10 X is the company’s latest 2-in-1 tablet PC. It’s running a full Windows 10 Home installation, so there’s no trimmed down mobile OS. Under the hood, it features an Intel Celeron N4100 CPU, 6GB of DRAM, and a 128GB SSD to make sure it’s speedy and responsive. The tablet display is 10.1 inches, runs at 1920x1200 resolution. It also features a pair of speakers that are actual decent for a tablet at this price, two USB Type-C ports (one of which also handles charging), an SD card reader, to add an additional 128GB of storage, as well as a pair front and rear camera from web conferences and photography alike. The WiFi antenna is also able to receive 5G signals, which allowed me to find a strong, high speed connection throughout my home. 

Much has been made of this tablet challenging Microsoft’s Surface Pro. It’s easy to see why people would make that comparison. There aren’t many companies pushing 2-in-1 tablets of this size, and with it being similar in weight and thickness, the comparisons are inevitable. Given the dramatic price difference, however, you should clearly have a different set of expectations. In light of how much the Hi10 X costs, it’s rather impressive. 

Chuwi Hi10 X Tablet

The tablet is fully laminated IPS with vibrant colors. The integrated GPU is able to decode 4K video content, even if the display can’t show it, but being able to stream at that level opens up higher bitrate video and a crisper image on YouTube. I was also impressed to see that it uses a metal unibody design and both the body and screen feel good in the hand.

Chuwi has made big strides over the last couple years with their build quality and the Hi10 X is much better for it. Earlier models had plastic backs with detachable shells for accessing the SD card slot. Here, the tablet feels much closer to its more expensive stateside counterparts while costing substantially less. Another small but meaningful improvement is the feel of the buttons. They no longer feel cheaper than the rest of the body and don’t have the troubling wobble they used to. As is often the case, a big impression is often formed by small details and that is certainly the case here. 

Using the Hi10 X as a laptop is easy thanks to its POGO pin system. You simply fit the tablet onto two support pegs, the pins make connection, and Windows asks if you’d like to go into desktop mode. Take it off and it asks about tablet mode. The keyboard accessory is decent and matches the metal body of the Hi10 X perfectly. The actual buttons are a bit soft and are pad printed, but they have decent travel. Due to the size, I found the keyboard to be a bit cramped, but as a small form factor PC, that goes with the territory. The convenience of having such a small laptop to throw in a bag and take on the go makes the smaller buttons more worthwhile — though I still use a separate keyboard when I’m home (that’s how I’m writing this review right now).

The Hi10 X can also work as an art tablet when paired with the H3 Pen. The pen offers 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is excellent for art applications. It’s also good for taking notes and using the onscreen keyboard. 

The Hi10 X can work as an art tablet, but it has a couple of shortcomings that set it behind more premium options. Palm rejection isn’t the best. If you take care to touch the stylus to the screen before your palm, it’s not a problem, but otherwise you’ll have errant lines. The second is a very slight delay between the tip of the stylus and the line being drawn. I didn’t find this to be that big of a deal, but it’s not instantaneous like artists may demand. 

Where the Hi10 X really shines is entertainment and productivity. Browsing Reddit and my favorite gaming sites was easy and mostly lag free (image heavy sites exhibited micro-stutters at times). Watching Netflix, Twitch, YouTube, and Plex all worked flawlessly, and, unlike some cheaper Android tablets, streaming in Full HD is no problem whatsoever. Over the course of the week I’ve had the Hi10 X, I’ve also worked extensively in Office, Photoshop, and the online photo editor, Photopea. It’s able to handle each of them without breaking a sweat.

You shouldn’t look to this tablet for gaming, though, which should be obvious at this price. It’s able to decode 4K video but running even 1080p games is out of the question. One of the ways that Chuwi keeps their prices so affordable at this level is by using hardware that’s a few generations old. The N4100 CPU isn’t a new part and the integrated GPU is going to struggle even playing older games at their lowest settings. That said, if you enjoy retro games, you could easily load up an emulator and enjoy some classic Nintendo, SEGA, or handheld games.

Another Win, But Could They Improve?

If you’ve gotten this far, it should be pretty clear that I think this is another win for Chuwi. Their approach of using slightly older parts in exchange for drastically lower prices is one I can on board with. Frankly, at $229, you’re probably looking for something cheap to use on the go, maybe a PC for your kids, or something small to get a job done. The Hi10 X exceeds the expectations of those purposes in every way. It accomplishes what it sets out to do in a way where, if it was a department store brand, would easily cost twice as much.

Chuwi Hi10 X Bezels

That said, the Hi10 X has a couple areas it could improve. The first and most meaningful are the bezels. The left and right bezels (in landscape mode) are each an inch wide. The top and bottom are a half inch. This design just feels dated, especially when compared to some of Chuwi’s other offerings, like the UBook Pro. Their size stands out especially because it’s a two in one. Laptops haven’t had bezels this wide in years.

The other is specs — namely, the RAM. 6GB is plentiful for a tablet, but remember, the Hi10 X is running Windows 10 Home. If you’re used to opening up lots of Chrome tabs, you’ll find that media-rich websites start to micro stutter. When I’m writing, I’ll often have two windows open to quickly swap between Google Docs and Google Photos, plus different sites or programs I’ve used for reference. In writing this review, I was able to open two windows and six tabs (total) before the stutter set in. Even a bump to 8GB would make for a smoother experience.

Final Thoughts

Even with that in mind, the Chuwi Hi10 X is, well, a lot like Chuwi’s other products: there are a few sacrifices, but the product you’re getting is overall a great value. The Hi10 X is a full-fledged 2-in-1 Window 10 tablet that brings with it many of Chuwi’s design improvements over the years. This tiny PC looks, feels, and performs like a laptop in the $400-500 range and has the benefit of acting as a standalone tablet. It leaves me excited to see what Chuwi’s higher-end UBook Pro brings to the table.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. 

7.0Good
Pros
  • Solid build quality
  • Nice screen: fully laminated, good brightness and colors
  • Full Windows 10 Home Installation
  • Keyboard and stylus support (1024 levels of pressure)
Cons
  • Palm detection isn't reliable (unless you touch the stylus first)
  • Large bezels
  • Only 6GB of memory


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight