Chuwi Vi10 Review

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.

Chuwi Vi10 ports

The ports on the Chuwi Vi10 Dual Boot.

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.

20150601_161307

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:

[show-rjqc id=”13″]

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.

Storage:

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:

[show-rjqc id=”8″]

Chuwi Vi10 eMMC and USB 2.0 Speeds

Chuwi Vi10 eMMC and USB 2.0 Speeds

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.

Switching to Android from Winidows

Switching to Android from Windows

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.

Chuwi Vi10 Switching OS on Boot

Chuwi Vi10 Switching OS on Boot via the volume rocker and power on buttons.

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.

An issue:

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.

Window Benchmarks:

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.

[show-rjqc id=”12″]

geekbench 3 scores chuwi vi10

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.

Android Benchmarks:

Here are the results of various benchmarks I ran in Android. Antutu, Epic Citadel etc

Gaming:

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:

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.

Over 7 hours isn't bad at all.

Over 7 hours isn’t bad at all.

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.

Charge time:

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.

Audio quality:

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.

Cameras:

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.

Conclusion:

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)

Best price? $139 at Banggood.com
Buy this Product

Good

  • Two Full sized USB 2.0 ports and one micro USB port
  • Very loud speakers with good stereo seperation
  • Lite vanilla Android 4.4.4 Rom
  • Keyboard dock attachment
  • Great battery life
  • Good gaming performance

Bad

  • Low HD 1366 x 768 screen res compared to others
  • Slight audio buzz over the 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Poor rear camera for photos.
  • Very fingerprint prone due to glass finish
7.9

Good

Design & Build - 8
Performance - 8.5
Sound - 8
Screen - 7
Battery Life - 8

30 Comments

  1. I have chuwi vi10 32gb version. but the storage is full now. i want to buy a sd card. i was wondering the maximum capacity memory card it can support. can it support 128gb sdhc card ?

  2. Where can i buy this Chuwi Vi10 on Singapore?

  3. Hello All,

    I just received two chuwi Vi10 Pro (this version comes with 64gb of storage) and would like to feedback about it.
    The finishing is really nice, and can be proudly compared to other major’s tablet brand.
    It works very smoothly in both OS. For a standard use (browsing, video, excel, etc) it perfoms very well without laging

    The only issue I have is the battery life. For now, I can not say whether the tablet is able to reach at least 4 hours even on standard use..I would appreciate if anybody could share his feeback on this 🙂

  4. Chris, trying to decide between the Chuwi Vi10 and the Teclast X98 Air after reading your reviews…

    I mainly need something to look at videos on the plane/hotel, run rosetta stone (needs windows x86, not RT – for that) and maybe play an occasional game.

    What would you suggest? I’m worried that the Teclast screen is too reflective, and the chuwi one is too low resolution…

  5. Hey, Chris, how much is the difference between Core M and Z3736F in terms of CPU performance?

  6. very nice review but what tablet like this one do you recommend with GPS ?

    • The X98 Air 3G, but it doesn’t have a keyboard dock. None of the keyboard dock models have GPS.

  7. Can you test programs like AutoCAD? I’m very interested in this tablet, if can run AutoCAD (2D), instabuy!

  8. Hi, and thanks for all the information, a very helpful website.
    If I were to hook up the Chuwi Vi10 to my TV with HDMI would I be able to game with a bluetooth controller from my couch? Or would there be too much lag/latency for it to be playable? I’m trying to do the NVidia Shield thing on the cheap 😉
    Cheers.

    • Yes and no, in my testing Bluetooth lags when the CPU is pushed to hard in gaming, so I used an Xbox x360 wired controller and it was perfect. Any wired controller would work just fine.

      • Great. I just bought a 64GB vi10 from GearBest (yes they have them now!) with keyboard, mouse and wired Xbox 360 controller. Can’t wait. Thanks for all the advice 🙂

  9. Hi Chris,

    First of all, let me thank your work and effort doing such amazing reviews. Congrats.
    Now, I’m going to buy a new tablet and I have 3 candidates: Chuwi vi10, Teclast x98 Air 3G and Teclast x16HD.
    My doubts with Chuwi vi10 are mainly with the screen. Is it really enough?. I use tablets for multimedia so I want a decent quality screen. The other thing with the Chuwi is the lack of GPS. I think that if Chuwi had GPS I would order one for sure, because when I travel I like to use offline gps navigation in the tablet and I don’t want to lose that feature. That’s the problem.

    From your reviews I understand that the problem with x16hd comparing with Chuwi comes with battery life, right?

    • Hi, the Chuwi Vi10 screen I thought would be a huge disappointment. It’s bright enough, great viewing angles. But only 1366 x 768. I found out it’s the old Surface RT (1st models) screen so MS used this. I have a Surface 3 and other retina style sharp screens I can live with it and I thought I wouldn’t. The Vi10 has become my favorite tablet so far due to it’s practical usb ports and nice keyboard to type on.

      X16HD is a nice tablet, good build. Port location is a bit odd. But it has GPS and a keyboard. But now full USB 2 port. It’s a hard call if you must have GPS, then the Cube i6 3G, X98 or X16 is the way to go.

  10. Hi Chris, I am between PIPO W3f and Chuwi Vi10. Which one do you think is better between these 2 ??? They are currently at the same price with the keyboard for $170 and I am confused on what to choose. what is the best choice ???

    • Hopefully this will help:
      Chuwi Vi10 is faster, mainly in 3D performance.
      Pipo W3F has a better screen and 16:10 (I like that better for tablets)
      Chuwi Vi10 has a better keyboard cover and build.

      Personally if you can live with 1366 x 768, I would get the Vi10. It’s currently my dual boot of choice.

      • Hey chris, I have been using the Nexus 7 for the last couple of years and it has finally died on me. Now, I habe around 140$ to spend, and I was originally planning to get the Chuwi Hi8/ Core iworks 8 3g. Now looking at this tab, I am starting to like this as well. Now do you think it is worth it to spend 50$ more than less say compared to the Hi8 one?

        • Hi, it all depends on your needs. If you want to game faster, have a proper useable keyboard and have full sized USB ports the vi10 is the way to go. But if you want a sharp screen and portability the iwork8 3g, Vi8 Ultimate or Hi8 is the way to go. I would go for the Vi10 as it suits my needs better. I have my mobile phone for portable gaming or on the go stuff.

      • Hi Chris , thank you for your help.
        You covered me by answering : ”It’s currently my dual boot of choice.” 🙂
        I trust your reviews and opinion 100% !!!

  11. Other than the full size USB ports (which would actually be really handy), why would I buy this over an Asus T100 ? The price with keyboard is pretty close ($199 on Amazon). The Asus would come with more support ?

    • Yes the Asus will have better support, you get almost nothing in the way of support from Chuwi outside of China. This tablet is now $143 + around $20 for the keyboard. Hard to beat the price and value of the machine. I had the T100, good little machine. Enjoying my time with it, but I would take this model over it for the 2 x usb ports and price.

  12. Hi Chris, do you have any sleep battery drain problems with this tablet? I just got mine and it drops 20% in 3 hours. My other tablet the Acer Aspire Switch drops a lot less than that. I have nothing installed except for Chrome, Hearthstone, and Office.

  13. Hi, Chris!
    Did I get you right that charging from a Surface power unit was faster? I tried to charge it from a big 5V 3A PSU connected by a short DIY made cable (2×0.5 sq.mm area, copper), but ACPI showed exactly the same values as when charged from a bundled PSU and cable.
    BTW, if you change a value in UEFI settings, you could double the microSD card speed. Though, it can be unstable with some cards and work fine with another. Some issue with the Intel controller itself. The option is called “DDR50 …”, you should turn off the previous one (“SDR25 …” or something like that) and turn on this one.

    • Hi, it seemed to charge better from the 23W SUrface 3 charger, I’m waiting on a USB inline multi meter so I can see the values and compare them soon. I have messed about with DDR50 settings which works fine with my Samsung Evo 64GB. But my 64GB Sandisk Extreme doesn’t like it.

      • The irony is that I bought today a SanDisk Ultra card for the tablet and it isn’t even recognized in DDR50 mode.

  14. Hi Chris,
    Thank you for your review. Finally i decide to take this Vi10 instead of W3F. I agree with you, too bad it only have 32GB option.
    I bought the keyboard altogether and glad to know that you rate is as a good keyboard.

  15. So could you use it as desktop replacement, meaning connect it to large screen via HDMI and use it plugged in without fully discharging the battery ?

    • Yes, I have been doing this and it’s possible. It will stay at 100%, drop a bit and then back to 100% again, not sure if that’s good for the battery in the long run.

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