We don’t usually do a lot of tablet reviews on GizChina, but there are some devices that simply catch your attention. The Chuwi Vi10 happens to be one of them. The tablet doesn’t cost a lot of money (sells for a mere $140), and does a lot of things. Not only does the Vi10 run Android (v4.4 KitKat), but it also does Windows 8.1 — full desktop Windows!
Let’s delve into the details in the Chuwi Vi10 review.
Chuwi Vi10 Review: Design and Build
Chuwi seem to have set their minds straight when making the Vi10. They perhaps decided that they won’t do a lot of things with the Vi10, but whatever they do, they’d do right. Which is why, the Vi10 isn’t a mind-blowing tablet at the outset, but instead it impresses you on the long run.
The device isn’t the prettiest around, and is sure as hell not meant to be flaunted. There are other things that the Vi10 does better. It is for the most part a generic slab with not a lot of thought gone into the design, with thick-ish bezels and a rather large size thanks to the 10.6-inch screen. The tablet is also pretty heavy at over 500g; that combined with the size means that you’ll probably need to keep it in a bag to be able to carry it around.
OK, the design isn’t mind blowing by quite a distance. Lets get to the build next. This is where the tablet starts impressing you. There’s glass on either side of the tablet, which seems pretty sturdy but is a fingerprint magnet. By default, the Vi10 will come with protectors installed on the front and back.
The chassis of the tablet seems to be made out of plastic, but the kind of plastic that feels sturdy and inspires confidence. There’s however metal strips running around the top and bottom edges (the two longest edges on the tablet) that blend into the other two sides, thus covering all four corners with metal. Simple and effective! Also sort of elegant.
Besides that, there isn’t much to speak about the Vi10. It feels like it’s built like a tank with a very impressive build quality (I’m blown away, honestly).
The front has a Windows logo which also acts as the Start button in Windows mode, and home button in Android mode. The 2 mega-pixel front facing camera sits on the top bezel (when the tablet is held in landscape).
The rear of the Vi10 will tell you that it’s made by Chuwi (in English and Chinese), along with some other stuff — including the Intel logo on the bottom, all in shiny silver. Oh, and, there’s also the 2 mega-pixel rear camera right above the Chuwi logo.
There’s nothing on the right edge of the tablet besides the oblivious speaker grill.
The left edge is the business edge on the Vi10. From top to bottom, here’s what you find on this side of the tablet: a 3.5mm headphone jack, micro HDMI output port, full USB port #1, charging micro USB port, full USB port #2, microSD slot, and the other side of the speaker grill.
Last but not least, there’s the docking port on the bottom edge for you to connect the Vi10 to its keyboard case, which in my book is a must buy if you’re going with this device.
Chuwi Vi10 Review: Display
Unfortunately, the display on the Vi10 isn’t as impressive as the build quality of the device. This pretty much rules out the device for folks looking for a multimedia companion; others, like me, who’d be more interested in a Windows device for productivity should still be interested.
For some reason, the display doesn’t seem as bright and crisp on Android as is does when running Windows. It is, by the way, a 10.6-inch 1366 x 768 pixel display, so it isn’t the highest resolution display. My eyes are probably tuned to using much higher-res displays on Android devices, which is perhaps why it feels as though the Vi10’s 10.6-inch panel lacks lustre while running the open source OS. Or maybe Chuwi ships the Vi10 set to a lower DPI on Android.
Although viewing angles don’t matter as much on tablets, it’s nice to know that they’re pretty good on the Vi10.
Chuwi Vi10 Review: Camera
It’ll probably be a good idea if you don’t bother about the 2 mega-pixel cameras on the Vi10. They’re good for Skype though, but the angle is a little off. Take a look at these images for reference.
Chuwi Vi10 Review: Performance
The Chuwi Vi10 comes with the quad-core Intel Atom Z3736F processor with 2GB of RAM. To sum up the performance of the device — I’m blown away. I’ve used Z3735F devices in the past (the Vi10 runs the Z3736F, which isn’t very different), but for some reason, the Vi10 really impresses in this regard.
Mini PCs which have better cooling should generally perform much better than tablets such as this one, since everything is cramped into a very small package. However, that is not the case.
If you purchase the Vi10, it should be for the Windows OS; there are other better tablets available in its price range that run Android. Android, I believe, is just another option that the makers are giving with the Vi10. Probably following the ‘because we can’ strategy here.
I’ve used Chrome (on Windows) with up to two windows open with around 5 tabs each, and the Vi10 hasn’t failed me yet. The sound output too is beyond satisfactory. You could maybe enjoy a movie while you’re on a long flight or something, and the Vi10 certainly won’t disappoint.
Switching between OSes: Simply fire the OS switcher app.
Chuwi Vi10 Review: Storage
The tablet has a total of 32GB of storage, which isn’t great for neither a productivity device or a multimedia tablet. Out of the 32GB, you get less than 11GB free on Windows, and about 4.5GB on Android. There are ways and methods to change the balance, but you’re on your own with that.
Chuwi Vi10 Review: Battery
The tablet comes with an 8000mAh non-removable battery. According to Chuwi, this cell is enough for up to 6 hours of usage, and I can confirm they haven’t been lying about that.
I was consistently able to get over 5 hours of usage, mainly with the Windows OS with a little Android every now and then. Usage was mainly Chrome, but with some additional MS Office and Skype thrown in.
Chuwi Vi10 Review: Keyboard Case
Like mentioned before, if you are planning to purchase the $140 Vi10 (which you truly should if you aren’t looking for a full blown multimedia companion), set aside another $24 for the Vi10 keyboard case which comes from the company. The keyboard case doesn’t require any additional setting up (no Bluetooth, etc.), and instead works with the proprietary (if I’m not wrong) keyboard port on the bottom of the tablet. This means that there’s no additional wiring that you’ll be carrying around, and also that you don’t have to worry about keeping the keyboard charged; it draws power right from the tablet’s battery.
Also, there are two additional slots that work magnetically in the tablet’s body that ensure the device is properly locked when docked on the keyboard case. The keyboard case also comes with a touchpad with multitouch so you can perform your usual Windows 8.1 and Android gestures. The touchpad is clickable, so right and left clicks can be performed right from the case.
One downside with cases such as these is that you can’t use them on your lap — the rear of the case needs something flat and sturdy, like a table.
Chuwi Vi10 Review: Verdict
The Chuwi Vi10 is a very impressive tablet which deserves to be more popular than it actually is. A brilliant build, solid performance and availability of a compatible keyboard case make the device a productivity freak’s dream. At a total cost of under $170 ($140 for tablet, $24 for case), you get a full blown Windows 8.1 + Android 4.4 tablet, and at the risk of sounding like an ad, I’ll say that I don’t think you should miss this one!
Feel free to comment below with any questions that you might have and we’ll try our best to answer each one of them. Also, if you already own one of these, do check out our guide on how to enable hibernation on the Chuwi Vi10.