Review: Chuwi Hibook Pro Android Tablet

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Android tablets have been declining in recent years. Many consumers have been opting for larger smartphones, also known as phablets, and have seen little need for an Android tablet, since their larger smartphone can do everything a tablet can, and a bit more. But some manufacturers are not giving up on tablets, and Chuwi is one of those manufacturers. Hailing from China, Chuwi has debuted a rather interesting tablet in the Hibook Pro. This doesn't just run Android, it also runs Windows 10, and has a keyboard dock to go with it. Not quite a Microsoft Surface competitor, but it is a pretty interesting tablet. Now the real question here is whether it is worth your money or not.

Specs

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Perhaps the most interesting part of the spec sheet here, especially considering the price of this tablet and the fact it is dual-booting both Android and Windows, is the fact that it is sporting a 10.1-inch 2560×1600 resolution 16:10 aspect ratio display. That's a pretty high-end resolution, not that we're complaining here. It is also running on Intel's Atom Cherry Trail X5 Z8300, making it one of the very few Android-powered devices out there to be running on an Intel chipset. That is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage – keep in mind that storage is shared between the two OS'. There is a micro SD card slot available for expanding on-board storage.

Camera-wise, we're looking at a 5-megapixel camera around the back, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The cameras on tablets don't usually get a lot of attention, other then the front-facing one, considering it can be used for video chatting on Skype, Hangouts and such. Battery-wise, there is a 8000mAh battery inside, and it can be charged at up to 3A using the included charger. It is running a stock version of Android 5.1 Lollipop and a rather bloat-free version of Windows 10.

In the Box

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There's not much in the box, you get the tablet, along with the wall adapter and USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable. Yes, this does use USB Type-C which is definitely refreshing to see, on both the Windows and Android side of things. Now our review unit also came with the keyboard dock, that does not come with the tablet, it is an extra purchase (at under $50 USD). The dock does give the tablet a bit more battery life, and also makes using the tablet a bit easier, especially for work. But more on that later in the review.

Hardware

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When I first picked up the Chuwi Hibook Pro, the first thing I thought was how well-made this tablet is. It's not featuring some fancy design, but it feels nice and solid in the hand. And despite featuring a 10.1-inch display, it feels pretty light in the hand. It has an aluminum chassis, which makes it feel really solid. Surprisingly, it is not that slippery at all. Something that definitely surprised me, while holding the tablet and such. The bezels here are a bit thick, but then again with a tablet you kinda need thicker bezels. Especially if you're planning to play games on this tablet, and not just sit it on your desk and write.

There's plenty of ports available on the Chuwi Hibook Pro. We have a TF Card slot, USB Type-C port, micro USB, micro HDMI and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Along with a microphone hole on the left side of the tablet. The top of the tablet sports a power button and volume rocker and the speakers are on the left and right side of the tablet. Not the best place to put these speakers, but they could definitely be put in a worse position. There is a Windows button on the front, which is essentially useless when using Android.

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It's great to see so many ports available on this tablet, although we would have loved to see a full HDMI port – so it could be plugged into a monitor – but that also would require more room on the tablet. The hardware is pretty top notch here on the Chuwi Hibook Pro. As I mentioned it is not a fancy looking tablet, it's essentially a black slab that runs Windows and Android 5.1.

Keyboard Dock

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The tablet fits into the dock quite nicely. Giving you a nice full-sized keyboard to use with this tablet. This keyboard does work in both Windows 10 and Android 5.1, as does the trackpad. Of course, using a trackpad in Android 5.1 is definitely weird, but it does work and works quite well. What's even more useful about this dock is that it adds two USB Type-A ports (one on either side), giving you even more functionality to this tablet. The dock is pretty thin, which is great to see, as it won't make the tablet all that much faster. The keyboard dock actually runs off of the battery in the tablet. However, it won't drain your battery, it will use a tiny bit to power the keyboard, and whatever USB devices are plugged into it.

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Since the tablet is a 10.1-inch tablet, the keyboard is quite small. Which means that the keys are rather cramped, and the touchpad is even more cramped. Luckily, the tablet is touchscreen, so I didn't find myself using the trackpad all that often, actually. The keyboard is usable, but it does take some time to get used to the smaller keys and smaller keyboard.

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Display

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It's a 10.1-inch, 2560×1440 resolution display here, which gives it a pretty great resolution even at 10.1-inches. But the glass feels pretty cheap. When using the display, your finger doesn't really glide across the display like you'd expect it too, especially on higher-end tablets and even smartphones. It's a bit tough to describe, but it feels pretty plasticky. The digitizer could use some work as well. At times when we tapped on a button on the display, it wouldn't recognize the fact that we touched the button. Which is due to the digitizer. but to get a tablet like this for under $200, they did have to cut corners and it's clear that this is one of those corners.

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While it is a 2K or QHD display, it's not the best one out there. It will work well for watching media and such, but there are definitely better displays out there for doing that. If you are looking for a tablet that does work pretty well, at a pretty low price, then the Chuwi Hibook Pro is definitely worth checking out. Otherwise, you'll probably want to look elsewhere.

Performance

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Typically, Android tablets and smartphones aren't powered by Intel's processors and that's because Android wasn't built for those processors, but built for ARM-based SoCs. However, that has since changed, but Intel still hasn't released any mobile processors that have done well. The Intel Atom Cherry Trail X5 Z8300 is a pretty low-end processor that is made for mostly Windows tablets and 2-in-1's. And surprisingly, it does pretty well with Android 5.1 and Windows 10 here on the Chuwi Hibook Pro. Obviously it doesn't compete with what Qualcomm is offering up for Android-powered devices, but it works fairly well. One thing we did notice is that it does get pretty warm. But that mostly only happened when switching back and forth between Android and Windows. So it doesn't get warm often, nor does it stay warm for long. Which is definitely a great thing.

The Cherry Trail X5 Z8300 is a pretty good chip, it's not the best, but it does its job. Of course, having 4GB of RAM included definitely helps out. Speaking of which, 4GB of RAM performed beautifully on the Android side of things. It was a slightly different story on the Windows side. This is due to the fact that Windows 10 is really a desktop OS, so it definitely could use 8GB or even more RAM. But for common things like browsing the internet on Chrome or even Internet Explorer, it worked out pretty well.

Benchmarks

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On the Chuwi Hibook Pro, we ran three benchmarks. These included Geekbench 4, AnTuTu, and 3D Mark. These benchmarks are designed to showcase the true power of the tablet, and then compare it to other smartphones and tablets on the market. When it came to Geekbench 4, the tablet scored 878 in the single-core test and 1961 in the multi-core test. That puts the Chuwi Hibook Pro pretty far down the list, even below flagships from last year and possibly even the year before. With 3D Mark, the Hibook Pro scored a 983, and finally on AnTuTu, it got a 52,448 which put it between the Meizu MX5 and the Meizu M3 Note. Both of which were announced in 2015.

Battery Life

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There's an 8000mAh battery inside here on the Chuwi Hibook Pro, and honestly, it's pretty bad. Standby battery life is just horrible. Keep in mind that this is running Lollipop and not Marshmallow, so there is no Doze here. And in standby, the Hibook Pro performs so bad that overnight it lost nearly half of its battery. That is compared to most smartphones that lose about 1-2% overnight. And that's with being connected to a cellular network (also having a smaller battery). When it's actually being used, the tablet has respectable battery life. You'll get a few hours of on-screen time here out of the Chuwi Hibook Pro, but that's about it. Surprisingly, it appears to get better battery life when it's in Windows 10. Now that could be because the processor is better equipped to run Windows 10 over Android. But it is pretty interesting nonetheless.

Chuwi touts that the Hibook Pro can charge at up to 3A which is a pretty fast speed. It appeared to charge about that quickly in our testing. However, keep in mind that this is still a 8000mAh battery, which means it's still going to take quite some time to actually charge anyways. But having a 3A charger is definitely better than having a tiny 2A or even a 1.5A charger bundled with the tablet.

Software

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The software here on the Chuwi Hibook Pro is pretty plain. We're looking at a stock version of Android, as well as a pretty bloatware free version of Windows 10. Which is actually a pretty big deal, considering most Windows laptops, desktops and tablets all come with a slew of bloatware. Switching between the two is pretty simple as well. On the Android side, there is a toggle in quick settings which allows you to simply tap on it and reboot into Windows. Making things pretty easy. On the Windows side of things, you have the ability to switch to Android from a shortcut on the desktop.

Android 5.1

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As mentioned, this is Android 5.1 Lollipop. That's a pretty old version of Android, especially on a tablet that launched in the second half of 2016. That's pretty much inexcusable, but because this tablet is running an Intel chipset and it is dual-booting Windows, we'll let it slide. Keep in mind that this means there's no Doze, now Google On Tap on this tablet. Which is a big reason as to why the tablet has such terrible battery life. But it is a fairly stock-ish version of Android. The launcher is even the AOSP launcher, not some launcher that Chuwi made for this tablet, nor the Google Now launcher.

There is very little pre-installed here. Some Google apps are pre-installed, but not everything. That is likely a good thing, considering how little space you have available on the Android side of things here. Of the 64GB of storage that is inside this tablet, you only get about 9GB for storage on Android, with the rest being left for the Windows 10 side.

Tablet apps have always been rather, bad, on Android. And that still appears to be the case. One main example is Twitter for Android. A few years ago, they debuted a tablet-optimized version of the app that was exclusive to a Samsung tablet, but then later on launched on all tablets. It's not available here. So instead you're stuck using a stretched out UI that you would have seen on a smartphone. Not exactly a fun experience. And that's largely the experience you get with all of the apps on this tablet.

Updates is definitely going to be a big talking point here, and where this launched with Android 5.1 Lollipop, it's tough to say that it'll get updates anytime soon. We'll cross our fingers and hope that Chuwi pushes out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the Hibook Pro, but don't look for it to come anytime soon.

Windows 10

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This is indeed running Windows 10, and it's not some slimmed down version of the desktop OS either. Which is quite impressive. You do get a pretty small amount of storage here, at just 44.1GB. We did install Google Chrome, everything else we used was web-based, due to the small amount of storage available here. Of course, you can add in a micro SD card and gain a ton more storage. There is some bloatware available on the Windows side of things, but it's mostly Microsoft applications, and of course Candy Crush is here as well.

Surprisingly, or maybe unsurprisingly, Windows 10 provides a better experience on this tablet than Android 5.1 does. Of course, a big part of that is due to the fact that Android 5.1 is nearly two years old now. But if you're looking for a tablet with Windows 10, this is definitely a great one to check out.

Camera

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So the backside of this tablet has a 5-megapixel sensor, while the front has a 2-megapixel shooter. Honestly, we didn't use the rear-facing camera that much, because who uses a tablet to take pictures? But the pictures we did take, you can see in the gallery below. They are about what you'd expect from a tablet camera. The front-facing camera isn't that great either, but it is decent enough to use for things like Skype and Hangouts, or any other video chatting.

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The Good

Build Quality

Display

Dual-Booting Windows and Android

Price Point

The Bad

Battery Life

Camera

Outdated version of Android

Wrap Up

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The Chuwi Hibook Pro is a pretty interesting tablet to be honest. It's not everyday that you see a tablet dual-booting both Android and Windows, and see it at under $200. But that's what Chuwi has done here. Of course, they did cut the corners in some areas to meet that price point, but for the most part this is a pretty impressive tablet.

Should you buy the Chuwi Hibook Pro?

If you are someone that travels quite often, then you may want to take a look at the Chuwi Hibook Pro. Why? It's a lightweight tablet that you can actually get work done on. Take for instance my own example. I can still write reviews (like this one) while sitting in an airport or on a flight, even without an internet connection, thanks to Microsoft Word being installed. Of course, the experience will be different for everyone, but you can also use it to watch media while you're in a long flight across the country or even across the world. Making it a great buy, especially at this price.

Buy the Chuwi Hibook Pro