Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. Though Chuwi is welcome to send me demo equipment for reviews 😉
I ordered the Chuwi Hi12 tablet with keyboard on March 6th 2016 from BangGood.com. I first had heard about this tablet through WindowsCentral and then checked the post at TechTablets.com, who review tablets on a frequent basis and provide an excellent insight into the various direct-from-China devices. I was interested in getting a low-cost tablet to use with Synthesia, but after being burned by a terrible Vulcan tablet from Black Friday (that ultimately I got a full refund for), I wasn’t actively shopping around. When I heard the Chuwi Hi12 had the same display as the Surface 3, I got interested. When TechTablets initially reviewed the device, the keyboard had not been announced. I checked back in and ultimately decided to pull the trigger in March when the keyboard was listed in-stock.
The tablet came repackaged from BangGood, so I can’t comment on the original box. The power adapter box had been bent up a bit, but the contents were secure and appeared to be unscaithed.
I was initially impressed with the large display, the metal-like feel and general sturdiness of the tablet. The tablet itself seems heavy for such a portable device, but with a 12 inch display I can forgive a lot. Another thing I noticed was the availability of ports: TF-Card (aka MicroSD), USB 3.0 (SS), Micro USB (also used for charging), another full sized USB 2.0 port, the Microphone, mini HDMI and headphone jack adorn the left side along with a speaker. The right side has only a speaker, and the bottom of the tablet has the slots where the keyboard connects and the POGO port for the keyboard. The top of the tablet only has power and volume rockers.
The keyboard itself is quite heavy, in large part due to the counter weight. The gray keyboard matches the look of the tablet but does feature white keys. While connected, the hinge moves smoothly with the tablet holding it securely in place. The range of motion on the hinge itself is quite nice.
The keyboard keys are nearly full size and are quite comfortable. I was pleased to see a fully US English keyboard as international keyboards sometimes have additional keys that I’ll never use but reduce the size or alter the shape of the layout.
There is not much to say about the display other than it is gorgeous. It is quite bright, has excellent clarity and is easy on the eyes. The display is simply fantastic.
Battery life is quite good, as with the display on 100% the tablet can last quite some time. While others have measured the actual usage under constant usage, I’d simply say that it passes my test. Every time I’ve picked it up, it had enough charge to finish my task, so long as I throw it on the charger every few days. That’s pretty good in my book.
Booting the Tablet
When I first started the tablet, it loaded directly into Windows. There was no out of box setup. I thought this might be normal for tablets but I wasn’t taking any chances – I immediately scanned the device with several malware scanners to try to validate the OS environment to the best of my ability. After I was satisfied, I logged in with my own Microsoft account then removed the local user, “J”
Using the Tablet
Windows 10 makes for a great tablet experience. When I’ve used Android tablets I’ve been left “wanting” for more. The fact that I have an x86 Windows tablet means the possibilities are nearly endless. Immediately I had my settings synced from my Microsoft account and it was a breeze to setup the mail, messaging, calendar apps that are included in Windows 10. My store apps, such as twitter, were already waiting for me on the start menu and installed when I launched them.
In terms of performance, the OS itself is very speedy, significantly better than my previous experience with the tablet from Vulcan, though to be fair, it is 4 times the cost of that one. The tablet can handle Minecraft aft 20-2FPS5, just don’t log into the game next to skeletons without a keyboard and mouse attached. Ooops.
When attaching the keyboard, the tablet automatically switches from tablet mode, giving a full Windows 10 experience.
The tablet performed up to my standards while surfing YouTube in Edge, using Facebook (browser and Windows 10 app) and watching Netflix (using the Store app)
The tablet seems quite well made, and while it isn’t the lightest little device around, it has all the ports needed to be a light-use laptop at a fantastic price point. A real “kitchen warrior” so to speak. For homework, social media, Netflix it does quite well. If you’re looking for a modestly priced device, you won’t go wrong by ordering this one. (Or rather, the dual boot version which is the same price now).