Chuwi Vi8 Review

An 8 inch Windows 8.1 tablet at a bargin price, too good to be true?

This review has been updated to included the Chuwi Vi8 dual boot model, that has both Windows and Android, plus a micro hdmi port the Windows only version lacked.

Chinese Tablet Manufactures are always looking for new low price points of tablets to ship out to the masses. Chuwi recently launched the low priced $84 Vi8. At this price, you wouldn’t expect anything but a throwaway device right? Well let’s take a look.

The Chuwi, unlike other super low priced tablets actually has a good spec sheet. For starters, it has 2GB of ram, something rare among the cheapest of the cheap, it also sports Windows 8.1 Bing, a full edition of Windows 8.1. It has a Bay Trail Z3735F which can turbo at 1.83Ghz, a 1280 x 800 IPS screen and a mircosd card slot. In fact it has basically the same spec as the Dell Venue 8 Pro 5000 series which retails at $249 which is incredible to say the least.

Build & Quality:

The Vi8 is made of plastic with a textured plastic rear shell made to look like brushed metal. It does help cut back on fingerprints and smudges, but it’s no soft rubberized matte finish like some tablets have. There are no creaks or noises in the finish and at 8mm thin it’s not the thinnest of tablets. 207 mm high and 122 mm wide at 310 grams make it extremely easy to handle. The device has only a Mirco sd slot and micro usb port with OTG support. There is no HDMI output here, this could be a deal breaker for some. (Update: The Chuwi Vi8 Dual OS model has an hdmi port)

 

Internal storage:

The Hynix HBG4e eMMC drive is even a decent 32GB to, other cheap tablets have only 16GB. And after a quick benchmark using CyrstalMark, it was one of the faster ones in terms of read and write speeds. Topping the eMMC drive in my Teclast X98 Air 3G I reviewed.

Chuwi Vi8 eMMC speeds

Great speeds for a eMMC 4.5.1 nand.

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Around 19 GB was free on first boot, which is about the same as most other Windows 8.1 tablets I have used that employ 32GB of storage. The recovery partition is on the drive itself and hidden to the user. There is also a MircoSD card slot if you wanted to add up to 128GB more storage. MircoSD card speeds maxed out around 23 mb/s.

Screen and touch response:

The IPS display is a 1280 x 800 unit that is bright and offer good viewing angles. Outside viewing performance wasn’t good in direct sunlight, I could hardly make out what was on the screen. After a day of use I discovered my screen had two dead or fixed pixels on the bottom middle area and not far from the stuck pixels was a piece of dust. This could be down to bad luck or a result of the low price point?

The touch screen is responsive and fluid, not like the Voyo A1 I had a while back that required me to press down hard at times to register touches. Due to the 8-inch screen size and no scaling, I found it tricky at times to close windows in the desktop.

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Performance:

The Bay Trail Z3735F is common amoung many Chinese Win8.1 tablets, the performance is snappy and smooth. I could stream 1080p video clips, multi task within the Windows split screen, run various tabs in IE11 and all at the same time. For browsing, basic office docs and video etc this tablet handles the tasks well thanks to it’s quad core CPU and 2GB of 1333 mhz ram. Over all the tablet feels and runs quite quick for an Atom Bay Trail tablet and better some of the larger Bay Trail tablets tested.

Geekbench 3 Single  Geekbench 3 Mulit 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited PCMark 7
776 2194 8471 10872 2393

 

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Gaming:

Since the Intel HD gen 7 graphics has to only drive 1280 x 800 pixels, all of the Windows store games I tired ran fast and smooth without any lag or stutters. Load times were good thanks to the fast eMMC onboard. Team Fortresses 2 was playable on low settings with the frame rate dipping to low the 20s when there was a lot of action on the screen.

Battery Life:

With only a 5000 mAh battery inside is it enough? Using Battery Bar Pro, your looking around 5-6hours hours of normal web, video and doc use depending on what your doing and screen brightness of course. Personally I would have liked an hour or so more here, but it seems size or most likely cost constraints came into play in terms of battery capacity. But overall it’s good for an 8 inch Windows tablet.

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Audio:

The Chuwi Vi8 features only one speaker on the back of the tablet. It’s a tinny tiny loudspeaker that really struggles. It distorts at maximum volume and overall it’s a poor speaker. One of the worst I’ve heard. One area the Vi8 cut corners on to keep that low price point. Lucky for us there is a 3.5mm jack, which has reasonably clean audio. It’s not perfect however as I did detect the slightest amount of static.

Cameras:

The worse part of this device. The web camera’s on are area where the most cost cutting took place, with a 0.3 MP front facing camera, images looked pixelated and washed out. The rear web cam is not much better. Chuwi Vi8 would have been best to just use a 2MP front facing camera for video chat and leave it at that. Check the below samples to get an idea of just the camera really is.

Chwui Vi8 Dual Boot Photo samples:

Video Review:

More videos of the Chuwi Vi8 in action here

Verdict and rating:

For the price and the spec given it’s a hard machine to over look when you think about the Dell Venue 8 which is extremely similar and more that twice the price of the Vi8. But it does have it’s drawbacks, the camera’s are way below par and there is no HDMI output on this tablet. In itself this could be a deal breaker for some (The Venue 8 Pro has no HDMI either) Quality control could be an issue to as my unit had a spec of dust and two dead pixels.

Best price: $83 from BangGood.com
Buy this Product

 

 

Dual Boot Version Updated 14 April 2015:

I got my hands on the updated Chuwi Vi8 Dual OS version, it’s exactly the same hardware, but it has an HDMI output in the form of a micro HDMI port next to the micro usb port. This was one of the bad points of the first model I reviewed that it lacked HDMI, well now it does and it’s working in Android. But my unit doesn’t want to output video in Windows for some reason. Sees like a drvier issue if the port works in Android. I can also report that this model, did not have any dead pxiels or dust under the screen. It’s the luck of the pot when you buy them.

You get less storage space now since it’s a dual boot machine, but this adds to value of the tablet. An outsanding deal for an 8″ tablet if you ask me. A quad core 1.8ghz CPU, 2GB ram powered with Windows 8.1 fully licensed,  Office 365 with one year subscription and Android 4.4.4 all for under $99 dollars, that’s a steal.

In Windows you now get 9.48GB of Free space which is not much and in Android you get 6.42GB. So that microsd card slot will defiantly come in handy, make sure you use a fat32 formatted mircosd card so both operating systems can access the card. Android doesn’t like NTFS. The Android rom is very much a stock Android affair, very plain and this is a good thing. The rom has about 5 Chinese apps you can remove and one you can’t . But it’s not really that bloated compared to some Chinese roms I’ve seen.

Antutu the Chuwi Vi8 Dual OS scores 35000, not a bad score, helped by that 1280 x 800 resolution, all the games and apps I test ran just fine and very fluid. Check below for images of the stock rom and some Android benchmarks I ran.

Android screen grabs:

Good

  • Great specs for the price
  • 32GB of Fast Hynix eMMC storage
  • Runs fast and smooth without any stutters
  • Bright IPS panel
  • Topped the Benchmarks

Bad

  • Dead pixel and dust under the screen on our unit
  • Mono speaker on the rear is very poor
  • Front webcam is a joke at 0.3 MP
  • HDMI port not working in Windows
8

Great

108 Comments

  1. hello i have problem in this tablet it turn off by it self after 2 month of using please i need a solution what is the problem and what i have to do?

  2. Hey, Chris, I cannot decide, what to choose: Vi8 Ultra, Hi8, Hi8 pro, Teclast x80 plus. Purpose – leisure and entertainment. Planning to connect it to a bigscreen via HDMI. Would Vi8U be the one?

  3. Hello
    I recently buyed a vi8 and i wanted to do an win 10 upgrade. As i read from other people i had the same problem of insufficient memory, assuming that the solution was a usb throw the otg or a sd card whitch i bought yesterday a 32Gb. Now my question are…if during the upgrade i decide to chose my sd card do all the files of win 10 get stored there or just the windows.old folder? the sd card has to be formated to fat32 or ntfs?

  4. on my chuwi vi8 i can access the sd card from android but i can’t see it on windows 8.1

    the driver on device manager is 3 of intel sd host controller

    i sd card dosen’t even show on the disk management

    • this is a problem that worries me about my vi8 too. as i learned recently the only way to show the sd card in windows is : 1. switch to win os. 2. when it boots up take of the sd card off from the vi8. 3. shut down 4.start up the tablet again. 5.when booted up just put the sd card again in its slot and window recognises it. as i read in many forums this happens because for some reason the android os grabs the sd card and doesn’t let go for the windows. its a bit enigmatic for me too!! at least this method worked for me. 🙂

      • if you need the sd card only for the windows and not for the android try formatting the sd card in ntfs not in fat32 as it already is. android doesn’t recognise the ntfs sow it would be in total disponibility for windows only

  5. installation of win 10 was easier than expected. just go to windows update / check for update and agree to update to win10. than follow the on screen instruction.

    i suggest you restore toa clean 8.1 before the upgrade. and the end of the reinstallatin you will get an offer to upgrade to win10. just agree!

  6. i deleted the raw partitions
    android still works fine…

  7. Guys, has anyone found an installation instruction for Windows 10?

  8. Hi, i reinstalled windows 8.1 (using 8.1 pro instead of bing). I deleted all partitions and reinstalled windows with no issues. I downloaded the drivers from here, but i’m having some issues with the cameras. Using these drivers they install, but after rebooting they are marked with a yellow exclamation and won’t work. I’m sure this isn’t related to hardware because they were working just fine before. Can you please point me drivers more updated? My serial number starts with Q32G2215050XXXX.

  9. Thanks for the great review, made me decide to get one. Ordered from gearbest with dhl and after customs is costing £82.
    Going to play with it but may well remove android to free up windows space as most things I use are that way and my phone does all the android things I need.
    So is it really fairly simple to remove android completely?

    • Just delete the raw partitions in Windows, those are the Android ones. Leave all the others alone.

      • That simple? That’s great, thanks Chris. Will I need to do anything else in the bios etc? Am thinking as its a true windows 8.1 it should get the free windows 10 upgrade?

        Thanks again btw, yours is easily the best and most helpful review etc ive found online. ( im kind of looking forward to teying rainbow six 3, football manager and some emulation on it.)

      • I apologize this may be my last resort. My Chuwii Vi8 will not boot into windows after trying to install windows 10- I have tried your forums, youtube, the internet, the company and no answer. I get the intel logo, then the circle going around then it goes black. A white frame pops up really quick on the upper half of the tablet then I get what looks like an error message but it is in Chinese and when I try and click the button it’s not calibrated so I see a pixel in a different area where I try and push. Android works great I just cannot get into windows. Is there a way to reset this tablet?? I am attaching a link to a YouTube video I made for the company to show the problem but they were no help at all. If there is anywhere you can direct me too. I will take windows 8.1 back just so I have a windows tablet. https://youtu.be/TrbtDoa_i4I

        • Looks like something wrong with the Windows install, you’ll have to reinstall the WINRE windows image.

  10. hello please does the chuwi vi8 has sim port

    • No, it doesn’t. If you want 3G on an 8 inch tablet look at the Cube iwork8.

  11. Hello,
    Is technically impossible to install LoL on the dual OS version because of the small HDD, right? Can I remove android partition and in a future get it back? I am in a foreign country and I would like to play LoL and then when I will come back unistall it and put android back! Let me know and ty for your work! p.s. I have already bought the dual OS version

    • Yes you can remove Android, but to get it back you would have to reflash it and I haven’t seen roms for it.

  12. Interesting! nice tablet, but my work is need to present to projector.
    So what’s about HDMI connection issue in Windows, Is there any solution?

    • On my unit I had to really push in the cable hard to get it to work, but in Android it was fine. Could just have been my unit.

    • Regarding the HDMI issue, Chuwi designed the Micro HDMI port a little too deep, it’s a design issue.
      HDMI mirroring will work in both Windows and Android but you need to do a bit of DIY first.

      Assuming you have a Micro HDMI cable with rubber housing covering the connector, you just need to shave off some rubber housing off the end so the metal connector will reach deeper into the port, That is how I made my MicroHDMI work perfectly with my Chuwi Vi8

  13. What’s about HDMI issue in Windows, Is there any solution?

  14. hi
    i’ll buy this tablet from http://www.banggood.com/Chuwi-Vi8-Super-Z3735F-Quad-Core-1_83GHz-8-Inch-Dual-Boot-Tablet-p-968268.html?p=QZ14021624945201505Y
    it’s on sale
    just 87.99 USD
    but i want to know more about the battery drain
    could it annoy me? already i have an onda v975m and it’s battery is very disappointing…
    sorry for bad english…

    • Hi, It has standby battery drain, all the bay trails do. Yes the battery on the Onda v975 is really bad.

  15. Hello Chris… thanks for your response… but how do i do that i can’t even get into windows… or is there a method so i can do it using another computer? I’m Really desperate here man.. really need help to fix this super amazing tablet… or maybe at least i can use the Windows

  16. hi chris 🙂
    i need to buy one but i have a few questions before doing this 🙂
    WINDOWS:
    is it good for gaming like League of Legends ? and can i use my mouse?
    if the storage is out of memory and i want to format it or restore it to be as the first time, is it possible?

    Thanks 🙂

    • I can run LoL on low settings and you can plug in a mouse via the mircousb to full sized adaptor. An 8″ screen is quite small for gaming. You can reset the tablet back to factory settings under recovery.

  17. hello there… i have problem here… my tablet just stuck at recovery mode.. I’ve tried holding vol + to get into os selector but it always end in recovery mode…

  18. Hi,

    I ordered a 3DR Solo “Drone” and I know that the controller has a HDMI output so you can connect a Tablet. That said, is the HDMI on the Dual Boot Chuwi Vi8 IN or OUT or BOTH?!

    thanks,

    Frank

  19. pls, how long does the battery last on both os?

  20. Has anyone been having battery drain problem in Windows 8.1? The tablet w’s from fully charged 30% in ~12h of standby. Thanks!

    • Yes! In stand-by in either Windows or Android my battery depletes completely within 24 hours.

  21. I’ve been recovered my 8″ Chuwi Vi8 Tablet.
    Now I have no access to Android OS after recovery my device. I have on Win8 InsydeQ2S Android OS «Programs and Features». Where is Android OS?
    If it was deleting during the recovery where I can get Android OS back?

    • It should still be there. Try holding vol+ on boot and then go into Android.

      • Thank you very much! It worked.

  22. How does one switch the OS from one to another. I have a Chuwi V10 HD

    • Normally a pull down menu and switch from within Android and then in Windows there is a shortcut to boot to Android. Also holding down vol+ on boot should give you the dual boot menu.

  23. I downloaded the drivers and managed to fix bluetooth etc touchscreen driver doesn’t fix the screens response to touch its not accurate for use. Is there a way to fix

    • It’s a harder to use touch in Windows on that smaller screen, also it could be hardware related.Personally I find 8 inch tablets to small for this very reason.

  24. One day after I received it touchscreen stopped work, it rebooted itself and loading with no end. With bios by get into Anroid and it works but without touch. Windows is loading with no end even after eset or refreszh it. Have you any ideas to fix it?

    • Doesn’t sound good, hold the power button for 10 seconds or more to force it off. Then try and factory reset it in recovery. Wipe everything and start from scratch.

      • Unfortunetly it didn’t help.. I will probably send it back;/

  25. do you know where I can get the drivers for windows or could you make a backup of them and upload them?

    I have the dual version and had to restore the windows. Now my touchscreen does not work well anymore.

    Cheers,
    David

  26. Hi Chris, could you possibly check if it is possible to resize the Windows & Android partition size without killing the tablet?

    I would like to have maximum Windows partition size but still able to dual boot to Android just for browsing, no need to install any apps. Thanks.

    • Hi, I haven’t found a way. I tried to do it myself and then it wouldn’t boot into Android. They saw as raw partitions in Windows.

      • Hi

        If I don’t care about Android, is it safe to delete those partitions from purely Windows point of view? I’m afraid to delete a partition which is used by Windows for recovery or other hidden purpose.

        Thank you for your valuable reviews!

        Alexander

        • Just delete the RAW partitions, they are the Android ones. Make a Windows backup image to an external HDD (in File History in the control panel)

  27. I think so.
    Does the chuwi and pipo support 4 port usb hub?

  28. Thanks chris.
    I am using software like MATLAB
    Could I install it on sd card? How does it run if I could install it?

    • Sorry, I’m not familiar with this software. So not sure, I know I can move steam games to microsd and there are other ways to use a microsd like a normal drive. But it is slow, limited to 23mb/s max.

  29. How much is the initial space of C drive at the beginning with dual boot version?

    • Windows 9.48GB free and Android 6.42 free, which is why I prefer at least 64GB eMMC drivers like the Pipo W4S has.

  30. Hi
    does chuwi vi8 support usb hub(multi usb usage)?
    is there any developer site that are working on this tablet?

    • Yes, I have a powered microusb 4 x usb 2.0 hub and it works fine. Try XDA for developers working on the tablet. Would be great to see a custom rom or two. To be honest the rom is light and doesn’t really need much work, but still would be nice a few DPI tweaks etc

  31. hullo there, so guys i bought my vi8 recently and i was so unfortunate that it cracked the lcd…does anyone known if chuwi have those replacement LCDs yet coz i been googling without any results and if anyone know were i can buy them a refference will be greatly appreciated
    thanks in advance

    • I think there are Chuwi Vi8 screen spares on aliexpress, have a look. If not email Chuwi and see if they sell spares. When the cost of the tabelt being so low, it might not be worth it.

      • Thank you i will try that. However i am based in Zimbabwe and i just happened to buy that tab on ebay when i was in the UK and i have developed an attachment with it. What i am trying to do is comparing the costs of buying a new one and buying a replacement screen since in Zimbabwe there is no place that i am gonna get that tab.

        • So there are none on Aliexpress? I know they do have screens for other models. To be honest a new touch digitizer panel you’re looking at at least $40.

          • yaaaaa i checked on aliexpress they dont have the screen replacements..but thanks for the info on the $40 you know when i include the shipping as well as the other costs that i am going to incure like the duty its much better if i buy a new tablet…Thanks once again Chris

  32. Can some here please confirm if these units ( esp that with the HDMI out ) have GPS built in

  33. Hi, i bought this tablet in dual os version. is it possible resize partition or delete android and using all space for windows?

    • I’d like to remove Android also… I’m not sure how to do this other than deleting the partitions, but I’m not sure if this will mess up the boot process. Can anyone help?

      • Nevermind, I used windows diskmgmt to delete all of the “RAW” partitions, and then created an NTFS partition and it worked beautifully.

        • Glad to hear!

        • How do you which default OS to boot into? And now that you’ve deleted the Android partitions, does it affect the boot up or bios, etc?

  34. Excellent review, congrats.
    Is there any procedure to restablish the system to its original state? i mean, a recovery tool or so to reset Windows system? Thanks.

  35. does it heat ? in common use ,, internet (data) ,, watching youtube of movies ? and Chris man yo are the best in reviews this chinese tablets ,, and please make a review for the Chuwi V89 it’s good waiting for your reply 😀

  36. Could you please introduce a shop to buy it?
    except aliexpress

  37. Got the HDMI version with dual boot. After installing the stuff I need to use I windows I have about 5GB left. The whole partition is only 13GB for Windows. On the other side the Android has 7GB at its disposal. It would appear the rest of the capacity is lost in translation in the form of recovery partition, and a lot of small raw partitions ranging from 16MB to 1GB.

    I haven’t figured out how to properly resize the partitions yet due to the weird OS switching mechanism. Another bummer is that my screen has a discoloration spot that stays. Likely I will send this back to China for a refund or exchange.

    The performance was okay, the animation doesn’t seem alittle that smooth when compare to my other devices and the dpi at 160 was no good for a tablet of this resolution. After rooting it with a version of import from the Chinese site, and changing the Dpi to 200, everything becomes much easier to read and seems faster.

    Windows performs just fine. Office works very well. Sometimes my BT mouse cursor would get choppy under heavy load.

    Tried a generic OTG cable and harddrive does not start, whereas the included cable works fine. Having this tablet makes me want to reconsider the option of a bigger 10″ tablet

    • Hi, the raw partitions are the Android ones. As for the hard drive not working, I have a OTG cable that also has a power in and it will let you use a normal 2.5″ drive as it needs more power than the usb port can provide, the power in us a micro usb port. BT mice I find can lag and can also slow does the wifi speed since it’s on the same frequency. How is your screen? Do you have any dead pixels or dust like I did?

      • No dead pixels, just a purple discoloration patch about 1cm by 1cm. Mine also came with a screen protector, which I lifted to see if it was the cause of the discoloration. (it was not)

        I look into the partitions, aside from a dozen of little raw partitions, which I think could be for switching OS and whatnot. There are a few big ones. 1.5GB not sure what it is, 1.0GB, not sure what it is. Then Android shows 7GB. 3.5GB is recovery.

        Originally I have wanted to do 8GB android and the rest windows to keep that OS usable in the long run, but looks like I wil have to deal with this weird structure Chuwi has decided to use, and perhaps the only one I can remove now would be the recovery partition.

        Chuwi all made it difficult to fiddle without computer equipments with how they designed their file team and BIOS. And now I do feel you that a 64GB is probably necessary for a dual boot in a big windows-small android partition setup.

        • can you kindly advice how to remove android completely & allocate all memory to windows?
          thank you

          • Windows disk manager, delete all the raw partitons and then move this unallowcated space to Windows. On the boot menu, untick the selector (top left)

    • Hi Kenneth,

      Would you be so kind to show me how to change de DPI?

      I guess you will have to root it first and then change the build.prop, but I am a bit clumsy and I am afraid of ending up in a bootloop. Maybe there is a guido for doing it safely 🙂

      Thanks so much in advance
      /Javier

      • Many apps on Play do this, resolution changer is one i used.

  38. Will the dual boot tablet get windows 10 and Android 5.0? Are chuwi good with their updates?

    • Not sure about Chuwi when it comes to updates, but Onda on the other hand did say they will have Android 5.0 for their latest tablets.

      • Oh okay. Kind of a deal breaker for me if I would buy or not. Will chuwi release more similar dual boot tablets this year with possibly the newest OS’s?

  39. Can you try running pcsx2 on the tablet
    It is a PS2 Emulator

  40. Love how you organize your articles. Everything is easy to read and enjoyable. Thanks again.

  41. I just got my CHUWI Vi8…in early January 2015. It seems very good for the price ($99 US) from AliExpress…however, without an HDMI, running an external monitor is going to be bit of a problem (yes, an external USB video card!!). My question is this: Does this tablet support USB 3.0? I checked the system/device specs and it seems to indicate that it has 3.0 capability. I was also going to replace the basic 32GB SD card I added, with a high speed card…Would that make any difference? Great review!

    • Hi it’s usb 2.0 so, not usb 3.0 which docks with hdmi or displayport need. The eMMC is 32GB and non replaceable. And if you use a mircosd your limited to around 24mb/s read and write as it’s on a usb 2.0 bus the microsd card reader.

  42. HDMI of dual boot version work for sincronize windows in my TV?

    • Yes the dual boot version has HDMI and is recommend for those that need HDMI.

  43. Hi, good review, thanks. BTW, have you checked the microphone sensitivity or quality? I saw a Russian review on YouTube, and making a test call in Skype was disappointing, I haven’t had any Chinese tablet without interference or low quality of the microphone, but this one seems to be worse,,, can you check that for me?
    Thanks!

    • Just tested the skype, front camera is horribly blurry, but at least you can make out the facial expressions and vid conference no problem.

      Microphone is fine, not too low. The sound in Android is good on the speaker. Noise is higher in Windows, but perhaps it’s because I didn’t bother to turn on noise cancellation in control panel.

      There is A Lot of interference in the headphone jack, making it very distracting to use for skype. Also regular popping get and high background noise across the two platform when using a headphone. This alone makes me want to return the tablet… :p

  44. How GOOD is Wi-Fi ?

    • Wireless N upto 150mbps, it’s not bad at all I had no issues.

      • My wifi speed is the highest I have seen so far out of all my handheld device.

        For comparison, speed test on my PC is 100mbps down/100up, my smartphone can do 50bmps and 45up. Chuwi Vi8 can do 60 down 60up.

        Signal also is about one bar stronger than my smartphone (OnePlus One)

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