Update: The review rating has been updated to reflect the latest patch which improved overall performance, but the touch responce is still slow at times as if it does to sleep the touch digitizer.
Chuwi’s Hi9 Plus is a decent Android 8.0 tablet that sadly suffers from some performance issues. Not to be mistaken with the Hi9 Air, the Hi9 Plus has an optional hardware attachable keyboard via a pogo port and active stylus support. The build of the tablet is good with nice rounded edges, slim unibody and 2.5D glass. It runs on 4GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC 4.5.1 storage and is powered by the 20nm MediaTek Helio X27 ten core chipset. Type-C for charging and data, 3.5mm headphone jack with no static, no HDMI output (Why are they all dropping this!) and MicroSD support.
The screen is fully laminated, a with a good max brightness of 360 lux measured and gamma of 2.2 with decent colours. The screen white balance and colours can be tweaked with the Miravison app included in the display settings to your own preference.
That screen is the key selling point, good sharpness and overall one of the better screens you’ll find in an Android tablet at only $189 USD. It even beats the Mi Pad 4’s screen thanks in part to it’s higher 2560 x 1600 resolution. if I was to criticise one thing about this great screen it is Chuwi has set the lowest brightness a bit too bright for night use, really it should be only a few lux bright. They should dull it down even more.
The Chuwi Hi9 Plus full detailed video review:
Video review index:
01:34 – Optional keyboard 02:21 – Weight & thickness 02:35 – Build and design 04:12 – Screen 05:13 – Real-world performance 07:00 – PDFs eBooks 07:49 – Keyboard in use 08:40 – Benchmarks 10:15 – Battery life 11:03 – Front webcam sample 11:42 – Audio and sample 12:11 – Gaming performance 12:49 – Stylus tests 14:02 – Final words 14:31 – Pros & Cons
The keyboard is a pleasant surprise, it doesn’t add too much weight and the keys, the travel and overall quality are much better than I expected. A good finish and the keyboard folds away to protect the screen only, the case doesn’t cover the rear alloy only the front when it unfolds it supports the tablet firmly with only the one fixed angle. It’s an optimum angle Chuwi has gone for suited really for desktop typing. And touching the screen will not cause the case stand to collapse.
The screen is very close to the keyboard and it’s somewhat like the iPad Pro style of keyboards. In the end, it works and I’m glad it’s not a Bluetooth keyboard. Something like the old Chuwi keyboard dock clamshell style keyboards would have been great but the weight of both the tablet and keyboard combined would have pushed it over 2 kilos. Here it’s just over a kilo as seen in the review video above.
The Hi9 Plus runs Android 8.0 with a July security patch level, so it’s not the latest and don’t be surprised if this never gets an update to Android 9.0. Chances are it never will as manufacturers normally don’t both with such big release updates and by the time they did they would already have a new model out. The good things here is it’s stock Android 8.0, no bloatware and no custom launchers. The tablet also includes GPS and FM Radio and since its’ dual SIM you can even make voice calls on it. A dialer is included. Something the Mi Pad 4 LTE models lack.
The H9 Plus has wireless AC dual band and Bluetooth 4.2 no issues to report here. In fact, the wireless range and speeds are both excellent in my testing posting over 200Mbps upload and download speeds on wireless AC 5Ghz. GPS lock took a while for the first time and it doesn’t lock onto all the visible satellites but it did get an accuracy of around 4 meters which is fine. The tablet doesn’t have a hardware compass which would have been great for improved guidance using Google Maps etc.
Streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and YouTube work fine, Netflix, however, is limited to standard definition due to no level 1 support cert with Widevine. The Hi9 Plus also doesn’t fully support Treble, with no seamless updating.
Battery if is good, almost great on this tablet. For only a 7000mAh battery it’s able to do over 10 hours of video streaming, 12 hours offline PDFs or docs etc or around 9 hours mixed use. This is on wireless, if on LTE data expect a good 30% less battery life, still, this result is very good.
The charge times using the supplied EU, 5 volt 2 amp charger are very slow going. No MediaTek Pump Express support here. In my testing from 5% battery to 100% took over 5 hours with the included charger. Using a higher quality 3rd party type-c PD charger I managed to drop this time to only 3 hours and 40 minutes. Which is a big improvement but still on the slow side.
The good news is under normal use the battery will slowly charge, but the bad news is if you have the screen at 100% brightness and doing something demanding like gaming it will eventually lose charge as the stock charger cannot keep up with the power draw. Use a 3rd part one instead.
Hi9 Plus Battery Test results:
- Tested on the 3rd battery cycle. 80% wireless use, 20% data.
- YouTube streaming, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Chrome, Shadow Fight 3 and PUBG (Very little gaming)
- Over 10 hours screen on time.
- Gaming only expect 5 hours approximately.
- Offline use PDF files, video 11-12 hours is possible on a low brightness setting.
Wireless display output like Chromecast the display is upside down configured incorrectly. Chuwi will need to patch this and there is a patch coming to address the slow, sluggish performance at times seen on the Chuwi Hi9 Plus. This is by far the only real issue of the tablet, performance of the ROM its optimization and the Helio X27 let down what is otherwise a very good overall package.
The stylus driver or the screen doesn’t seem to support the 1024 pressure levels the stlus has or hover. Palm rejection doesn’t work only when the pen touches the screen. So this is not a tablet to buy for the stylus.
Below is the Antutu score and internal storage speeds. Nothing out of the ordinary for the chipset and eMMC 4.5.1 spec storage.
Overall this a great tablet, good build, great screen, fast wireless, 4G support, phone calls, GPS, voice calls but completely let down its poor performance. If Chuwi’s new patch can address this touch input lag, UI lag then this tablet will come recommended. I can’t help but think if only this had a Qualcomm ARM chip in it, even a Snapdragon 625 or 636 this would be a winner.
Chuwi are you reading/watching my reviews? Please try to use Qualcomm chips or the new Helio P60 chipset in your future tablets. Even the Helio X30 would be a step up from the Helio X20 series.