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[Review] - Chuwi Hi9 Air - A Budget Tablet

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dipsylalapo    1,328

So I’ve owned my Apple iPad (2017) for about 6 months now, and whilst it’s been great I wanted something that was Android based. Whilst I love the simplicity of Apple, I found a few things a little restrictive. Custom keyboards, sideloading apps and just being in control of my tablet was something that I craved. Enter the Chuwi Hi9 Air. I picked up the tablet in the early pre-sales so a little over £140 for tablet that looked great on paper. 


Here’s my review :)

 

Specs

  • CPU - MTK6797 Helio X20 Deca Core (dual-core Cortex-A72 @ 2.3 GHz, quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.85 GHz and quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.4 GHz
  • GPU - ARM Mali-T880 780MHz
  • Display – 10.1 inches, 2560x1600, 299ppi, IPS
  • Dimensions - 241.7 x 172.0 x 7.9 mm, 550g
  • Camera- 13 megapixels rear and 5 megapixels front
  • Battery - 8,00mAh
  • RAM - 4GB
  • Storage - 64GB
  • Misc – Dual SIM, Android Oreo, 400cd/m2, dual speakers and up to 128GB SD card
  • Price - €250.00 RRP

 

As I said earlier, I’d pre-ordered the tablet so I had a few months before the tablet actually arrived and then it was delayed :(

 

 

IMG_20180616_170301.thumb.jpg.d5e20357ef3e0ece662b69693d0f1843.jpg

 

IMG_20180616_170349.thumb.jpg.dec03a5743eaf0ea2c10d974377be887.jpg

 

IMG_20180616_170754.thumb.jpg.424daa0b79c7471c987ad2b102202d1e.jpg

 

IMG_20180723_073258.thumb.jpg.be74dfe7034f75e1be23ebf3fd263b4b.jpg

 

The tablet came with very little in terms of extras; it had a USB cable and a European plug. Banggood were kind enough to throw in a UK adaptor for me. For some unknown reason, Chuwi shipped all tablets with an awful screen protector. It was cheap, plasticky, hampered the touch screen and something that I removed after the first boot.

 

Design – Interestingly, previously tablets that I’ve owned have been primarily been designed to be used and held in portrait orientation, but the Hi9 Air looks to have been designed to be held in landscape orientation. Because of this the power and volume buttons are on the bottom (or top) of the tablet. The same goes with the two cameras, which are located on the left (or right) of the tablet. It has two speakers at the top alongside a removable cover where the dual SIM and SD card slot in. Alongside the speakers is a headphone jack (yay) and the charging port, which bring me to my first negative. It’s a micro USB, I’m disappointed that it’s not USB C, but I guess it’s one of the compromises. No physical or capacitive buttons on the front, which does mean a small portion of the screen is reserved for on screen buttons.

 

IMG_20180725_110005.thumb.jpg.8a64660ae9af1b4ecd2d6e46169bf6e7.jpg

 

IMG_20180725_110204.thumb.jpg.3ed27ec676758832ed9a652b9ab671c4.jpg

 

The tablet is made from metal which gives it a good solid feel. It feels comparable to my iPad in terms of quality.  The bezels are thin enough to make the tablet look modern and not something from a few years back. They’re thing but wide enough to not cause any issues when in use. Despite weighing a little more than the iPad, it’s not heavy enough to cause any issues when using, at least none that I’ve noticed.

 

Screen – One of the biggest selling points from Chuwi is the 2K display. It’s great to use. The colours are great, it has fantastic viewing angles and thanks to the 2K display everything looks great. I’ve mainly been using to the stream media from my Plex server, read books and comics and everything looks great and is easy to use. Another issue that was reported, thankfully not one that I found, was the brightness was gimped if during setup you chose to import settings from your Google account. I’ve used the tablet under and number of conditions (outside, during my commute, in bed etc) and found the screen worked well in all situations. Another minor negative, is that there’s no ambient light sensor which means no auto adjustment of brightness.

 

Screenshot_20180725-113714.thumb.png.98790293daf010de90e19be1034ee9da.pngScreenshot_20180725-112046.thumb.png.f88291deedf0ca70d6bebbb038072d30.png

 

I haven’t been able to test the camera too much, but it looks good on paper. I’ll try and get some testing done soon and add some sample pictures.

 

Software – Tablet comes with Android 8.0 out of the box, which is good to see! I had my delivered early June and it had Feb 2018 security patch. I’m hoping that we see regular updates, but I’ve not seen anything in the last few weeks. There is very little bloat which is always nice to see. Out of the box it had its own browser, file manager, FM Radio and messenger app. It’s also good to see that tablet does have Project Treble support, which should mean that updates are pushed out quickly for the tablet, we’ll how that actually pans out in reality.

 

IMG_20180616_171229.thumb.jpg.a9bb8c6a8f41944674e79d93d4c121a8.jpg

 

Hardware – Chuwi have pushed the tablet as being for gamers, now I’m not a big gamer so again not something that I can comment on. The tablet comes with a deca-core processor from a few years back, but Chuwi do promise that it’ll handle the latest games with ease. May be something I’ll check for the follow up.

 

I’ve attached from benchmarks below to give you a flavour of where it stands. Some people like seeing benchmarks, I’m indifferent. They may give a good indication, but feel that without any hands on time benchmarks are useless.

 

Geekbench (single and multi-core) – It scored 1589 and 4922 respectively. This put it somewhere in between the Galaxy S7 and Pixel in terms of performance.

Screenshot_20180725-120118.thumb.png.9f8b6a48bfedf664953b52c2b81b0404.pngScreenshot_20180725-120140.thumb.png.5d53343fd2daa31f39442ddd17ea58f8.png

 

Screenshot_20180725-120146.thumb.png.38ffaa5463b8e29d8a299039c33bbcfe.png

 

Antutu scored an okay 101, 930. This was outside of the Top 50 that Antutu have in their app and site.

 

Screenshot_20180725-121349.thumb.png.53ee406b46c28bf6d55d70918543e974.png

 

Finally GPU benchmark. I used 3DMark here. Again, as you see, this isn’t going to set the world on fire…or anything smaller either. It’s strange, because Chuwi do highlight this as a gaming tablet, but the performance doesn’t seem to be there. It’ll probably happily play anything that doesn’t need any really performance but anything more and it’ll struggle. The score puts it in the same region as another Chuwi product, the HiBook Pro.

 

Screenshot_20180725-123023.thumb.png.ac68105b951f6d71ec9674dd4eead72f.png

 

Battery Life – Now this is one of the most disappointing areas for me. The battery is only slightly smaller than the one in the iPad (8,000mAh vs 8,827mAh) but I only get a fraction of the battery life from the Chuwi tablet. A few weeks ago, I had both tablets full charged and left alone at home. Coming back after a week, my Chuwi was completely dead and my iPad had used about 10%. Both had Wifi enabled so were receiving sporadic notifications.

 

Conclusion – Given the low budget on this tablet, I don’t think that I’m disappointed. It’s probably not going to replace my iPad as my daily driver, but something that I’ll use around the house. I hesitate to pay the RRP for this tablet, but I don’t think that I’ve seen it at that price on most sites. It’s a great little tablet to have for browsing the internet, streaming media or playing a few light games.

 

Pros – Android 8.0 out of the box, great display, dual SIM, Project Treble ready

Cons – Battery life, performance is just okay

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+warwagon    11,715

The one thing I really like about the iPad 2017 is the aspect ratio of the ipad Screen.

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