Chuwi’s latest dual boot entry level tablet the vi10. It’s a 10.6-inch tablet featuring both Android 4.4.4 and Windows 8.1 using the Insyde bios OS switching system. What Chuwi have done to set it apart from the busy dual OS market is include, not one, but two full sized USB 2.0 ports. Something you don’t get on every tablet, as most just have a MicroUSB port for OTG use.
Even high even tablets don’t have two ports. To go a step further in productivity Chuwi also included support for magnetic clip-on keyboards, making it a 2 in 1. A tablet and mini PC Surface like hybrid when the keyboard is attached. Priced at around $160 it seems like a good deal, let’s see if it really is or not?
Hardware & build:
The vi10 is another tablet that utilizes the slightly faster Z3736F Atom SoC over the more run of the mill Z3735F (1.8Ghz). It’s top boost clock speed is 2.16Ghz and this little quad core is equipped with 2GB of single channel ram. On the storage size of things, you get a 32GB eMMC and a MicroSD card slot for much-needed expansion.
The tablet weighs in at 622 grams and is 9mm thick with isn’t bad considering it has two full-sized USB ports. All of the ports are on the left side of the machine. They are well spaced apart and the charging micro USB port can also be used as a data USB port with a microUSB to full sized USB cable.
The rear is glass with the black gloss backing and it’s a fingerprint magnet as you can imagine that will need constant cleaning. The build of Chuwi Vi10 is good and defiantly strides better than the cheaper 8 inch Vi8’s all plastic build. But having a rear glass panel will make it more prone to damage and cracks if dropped.
Keyboard dock: (Optional)
Chuwi has a 10.6″ official keyboard made just for the Vi10. It’s the best Chinese docking keyboard I have used yet. Once you adjust to the smaller size I found typing a breeze. The individual keys cut down on typo’s and the feedback and travel of the keys are great. The touchpad which can be disabled has good responsive and both left and right mouse buttons. None of that gesture only trackpad rubbish I have seen.
The keyboard weighs in at 420 grams and clicks in magnetically to the bottom of the tablet. The top lid part folds back to support the tablet at an 80-degree angle. So just this one fixed angle, it’s fine for most uses, but it seems there is no way for a case keyboard combo like this to have more angles.
The fabric used is a dark gray shade, much better than the black Pipo W3/W3F fabric used that attacks dust like crazy. Overall for the extra $20-$30 spent it’s well worth it and I recommend getting the keyboard when you buy the vi10 as it works out cheaper than if you brought it separate.
Screen and touch response:
The screen is a lower 1366 pixels by 768 pixels, by 2015 standards this is relatively low. I would have liked to have seen at least a full HD 1080p screen. It’s, of course, an IPS panel at least and having a lower resolution does have some 3D performance benefits when gaming which I’ll cover later on in this review.
Naturally with this kind of resolution on a 10.6″ screen you can see the pixels if you look close enough. I found the resolution fine within Windows and it looks better than I was expecting. I remember this resolution was used in the Asus T200TA and although not the sharpest screen it wasn’t a complete deal breaker, same goes for the Vi10 here.
In Android, things looked a bit blurry, down to the screen DPI set that doesn’t make it look as sharp as in Windows. Once the vi10 has root it would be a wise move to edit the DPI to remove this blurriness and have it scale 1:1 to make the screen.
The screen brightness is okay, it’s certainly not the brightest at 259 cd/m2, to achieve this I had to disable the ambient light sensor from controlling the brightness. On it’s lowest setting the HD panel reaches only 13 cd/m2 making it useful for night time use. See the below graph on just how bright the screen is compared to other tablets I have reviewed here on Tech Tablets:
Touch response on the panel good, default scaling is set to 125% to help with this. At no point did I find myself having to push hard or the screen or have touches go unregistered.
The Chuwi Vi10 comes with a 32GB eMMC which is shared between Windows and Android. I really find 32GB is quite limiting and you only get 10.5GB free in Windows and 4.6GB in Android. It would be nice to have a 64GB option for an extra for dollars, but at the time of writing this review Chuwi haven’t one. The eMMC Itself is an unknown brand, or at least I couldn’t find who makes this one. The speeds are okay for an eMMC, but a little slow on the write side of things. You can see in the chart below how it compares to other tablets:
Ports & Connectivity:
The Vi10 as mentioned has two full USB 2.0 ports and one micro USB port. They can run up to 40-41 MB/s, max USB 2 speeds. The MicroSD card reader slot maxed out around 23 MB/s read and write on my Samsung 64GB Evo MicroSD. The cards click into the housing and can be a little tricking to get out if you have short fingernails. There is no risk of it coming out when traveling or moving the tablet around as it sits 1mm inside the slot recess.
Wireless and Bluetooth are handled by a Realtek all in one solution. Wireless N with 150 Mbps max speeds. Single 2.4 GHz band, unfortunately, no dual band WiFi here, you only get that on more expensive tablets. I had no wireless dropouts or limited connection issues. Which was great and overall the reception within my house was strong.
The micro HDMI port works fine and I had no issues outputting 1080p in both Android and Windows.
Dual OS switching:
Like the Onda’s the Chuwi Vi10 uses the same Insyde bios switching system. In Android, you can pull down the top menu and switch to Windows and in Windows it’s a matter of clicking the OS Switcher application that will then reboot the tablet into Android for you. This process takes around 15-20 seconds.
There is a third way of selecting your OS and that’s on boot. Just hold the volume down button when booting up and select the OS you require there using the volume rocker and power on button.
Windows & Performance:
Like all the other tablets with Bay Trails from China, you get Windows 8.1 Bing. The Bing part means Microsoft have Internet Explorers default search engine set to Bing. It’s easy enough to change it later on. You also get 1 year of office 365 included, but you need to activate it within a few months or you can lose it. Oh and my Office 365 version was in English. This is worth around $60 so not a bad freebie.
I did notice that when the system was powered off in Windows I sometimes had a hard time powering it back on. Pushing and holding the power button over and over again before it would boot up and I was greeted with the Chuwi Windows boot logo. Not sure what the issue is, if it’s my power button or it needs a bios update? I think it’s the latter and coming in and out of sleep doesn’t seem to be an issue.
The Chuwi scored well in the Windows benchmarks, with a notable single thread Geekbench 3 score of 892. 3DMark scores were defiantly helped along by the lower screen resolution which is easier on the 4EU Intel Gen 7 GPU.
Android Rom and Experience:
The Android 4.4.4 Rom is a very stock, with a stock launcher and some pre-installed bloatware apps. You can uninstall everything apart from one Chuwi store app in Chinese. I couldn’t gain root on this ROM either, I tried all the know auto root applications that have worked on these Bay Trails. But I gave up after 3 root apps failed to gain root permissions. Something Chuwi have done with the ROM doesn’t allow typical root methods to work. Hopefully someone will figure out a way on XDA soon?
The Rom uses 160 DPI and could do with a build.prop edit to adjust this to something that is more fitting to a 1366 x 768 panel, as the screen looks a little blurred in Android compared to Windows.
Overall the ROM is fast and I had no lag or Play Store issues. There were also no OTA updates at the time of this review. It will be interesting to see if Chuwi will be updating the ROM to Android 5 later in the year. I wouldn’t hold my breath for it. The amount of free space within Android is an issue if you plan on installing a few large games you’ll find the 4 and a half GB runs out real quick.
Here are the results of various benchmarks I ran in Android. Antutu, Epic Citadel etc
All of the store games I tested on the Chuwi Vi10 ran great with the exception of Modern Combat 5 Blackout which is without a doubt one of the most graphically demanding store games you can get on both Windows and Android. That game lags on even the high-end tablets at times so not to worry. Anything else ran just fine, aided even by the lower screen resolution Vs say the Retina screen tablets I have been using. The lower 1366 x 768 is far easier for the GPU to render and it shows in the games. Sure it’s not as sharp looking, but the games tested were smoother and faster due to this.
Popular online Windows games like Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter Strike Global Offensive were playable as seen in the below video:
Battery life in Android and Windows is one of the Chuwi Vi10’s strong points. With 40% brightness, I was able to reach 6 hours and 30 minutes screen on time in Android. This was with Wifi on, medium to light use, browsing, gaming and watching a few Vikings episodes in 720p. This is a much better result than I expected in Android, normally Android runtimes are much less for me than Windows, at least they have been on other dual os tablets.
Windows saw a slightly higher run time of just over 7 hours. Again with 40% brightness (Auto brightness disabled) and mostly web use, TV clips and 30 minutes of gaming. Wireless and BT were always on and power usage ranged from 3 to 7 watts. It’s safe to say you should get 6 hours at least. If your gaming non-stop this figure will be around 3-3 1/2 hours. Despite BatteryBar’s estimated time in Windows claiming I could only get 5 hours and 30 minutes, it just kept on going and surprised me.
Heat and throttling:
After a long session of Dungeon Hunter 5, I took a look at the CPU temps the Z3736F was running, the temperatures maxed out at 71 degrees and there wasn’t any throttling triggered according to HWinfo32. A good result there. See the below video to get an idea of the surface temperatures of the CHuwi Vi10 dual boot after gaming.
Like all the Bay Trail tablets charging via the MicroUSB port, charging is a very slow and painful process. With the tablet on the supplied power adaptor, it can hardly keep up with charging the tablet, just managing 2 watts or so. When powered off, charging from 0% to 100% takes around 5-6 hours. With the tablet running this figure can almost double. So it pays to charge the tablet overnight or when not in use and powered off. I did later try out my 23 watt Surface 3 MicroUSB charger and saw better results here.
The two left and right stereo outward facing speakers on the vi10 are very loud, some of the loudest I have heard on a tablet, which is a great improved for Chuwi considering they some of the worst speakers around on their 8 inch Vi8 model. At the maximum volume, they can distort and vibrate a little, but they have even a slight hint of bass to them which is rear.
Due to their location, holding the tablet with two hands when gaming, for example, it’s easy to block the speakers causing them to sound muffled. The fix is simple, turning the tablet around so the speakers are on the top solves the issue. And thanks to screen rotation in Windows and Android you’re not looking at the screen images upside down!
Headphone output, the 3.5mm jack in both Windows and Android exhibits some buzz and interference over the plug. It might have something to do with the design of the PC or it could just be my unit. Overall it’s all too common on these Bay Trail tablets and disappoints me to hear this. It’s only really audible between tracks in silent parts of the audio like the tick tack noise of the onscreen keyboard.
2-megapixel front and rear fixed focus camera. Nothing special, passable for video chat and that is about it. I wouldn’t be taking any photos with these cameras. Here are a few samples taken from the rear camera, Chuwi should have gone for a 5 or 8-megapixel camera on the rear.
Chuwi have come up with a very practical, fast and overall well rounded dual boot tablet. I love the two full sized USB Ports and the option to have a clip on a magnetic keyboard is another plus. Where the tablet falls a little short is the screen resolution, but then you have to think to yourself it’s a $160-$170 tablet. If it was a much more expensive tablet I would see 1366 x 768 as a deal breaker (Bit like the Asus T200ta). But really I feel it’s not and I’m coming from a sharp 1920 x 1280 pixel panel on my Surface 3.
The speakers and their decent volume levels really compliment the Vi10, what I would really like to see is a 64GB option, 32GB just doesn’t cut it for most on a dual boot. Even a 1080p screen would a great upgrade if Chuwi were to make a Vi10 updated “super” edition.
Overall my time with the Vi10 has been very positive, it’s such a practical machine with only the headphone audio buzz issue and powering it on at times really bugging me. (It could just be I got a bad unit, Chinese tablets can be a lottery)