As you may know, mobility rules the tech sector. With an overwhelming majority of users untethering themselves from the desktop, offering a device that can cater to a large cross section of those users has become tantamount to success.
And the majority of those users, across the globe, work with Android. Even with those astonishing numbers, there are those users with whom one platform simply isn't enough. Android is a great ecosystem for being productive while on the go. But what do you do when work requires Windows? Do you carry your Android device and a Surface together? You could, but why encumber yourself (especially when you might not have the budget for such a combination)? Instead, you could turn to Chinese manufacturer, CHUWI and their Hi10 Plus tablet. This little device, coupled with the matching CHUWI Tablet PC Docking Keyboard and you have a device that might just meet that demanding on the go schedule.
What makes this device so special?
The Hi10 Plus is a 10" tablet device that dual boots between Windows and and Android. What this means is you can take the device on the road, enjoy serious battery life and the usual connectivity/productivity of Android and, when needed, boot into Windows to work on projects that Android cannot serve. With the added keyboard, the device transforms into something you can really dig your fingers into.
Top that off with the ridiculously low price point (approximately $185.00 for the tablet and $49.99 for the keyboard) as well as the CHUWI Stylus Pen and the Hi10 Plus starts to really make sense. Is it perfect? No. But at this price, you shouldn't expect perfection.
What makes this device something I can happily recommend lands squarely on the shoulders of its dual booting nature. Even though the Android side of things is fairly out of date (my device is running Android 5.1), it still works flawlessly when running Google's flagship platform. Connecting with Google? Check. Install necessary apps from the Google Play Store? Check. Easily connect with whatever network I need to work on? Check. Everything works exactly as expected. And having the additional keyboard to use with Android makes the experience all the better.
As for the hardware — it has heft. With the keyboard attached (Figure A), the device feels as solid as any mobile device I've used.
Some might complain that the combination of tablet/keyboard might be on the heavy side, and it is. But that weight helps the CHUWI leave behind any thought of working with some cheap plastic-y device that would so often be found at this price. The ability to work with Android as if it were a native laptop is quite refreshing —something every Android power user should experience.
Another really huge plus is, with the added keyboard, you get two full-sized USB ports. That's a serious bonus for both sides of the operating system coin. Couple that with the mini-HDMI, micro USB, and USB-C connections found on the tablet itself and you have serious flexibility on how you can connect to the tablet.
Since I'm not a Windows user (this being the only Windows device in my home/office), I have had the pleasure of not dealing with Windows updates. Boy was that a serious wake up. Rebooting from Windows to Android the first time was an eye opener. The initial update for the device took over two hours. TWO HOURS! I can install a fresh LAMP server in about twenty minutes, or do a complete factory restore on Android in about fifteen. That Windows took over one hundred and twenty minutes to update made me seriously glad I rarely touch that platform. To make matters worse, a reboot or two later, Windows did the same thing (only this time the update only took about thirty minutes). Do note, that once the Windows updates finally complete, everything works exactly as expected. This, of course, isn't a knock on the CHUWI itself, but Windows.
The next issue is mostly a matter of taste. Given the size of the device, the keyboard is pretty small. Personally, I'm used to typing on a Kinesis Freestyle keyboard that gives my hands plenty of room (probably more room than most would need). Because of that, typing on the confined space of the keyboard can be a real challenge. If, however, you're accustomed to typing on cramped keyboards, you'll be fine.
Finally, if you happen to be power hungry, the specs of the CHUWI will slightly disappoint. Here are the important specs:
- CPU: Intel X5 Cherry Trail 1.84 GHz Processor
- Internal Storage: 64GB eMMC
- RAM: 4GB DDR3L
Although the device is spot-on with RAM, the small internal storage for a dual-boot device is a bit lean and the CPU is slightly on the low end of the spectrum. Nevertheless, the Hi10 Plus performs adequately. In fact, on the Android side, the device enjoys nearer to "flagship" speed than you might expect. Windows? Not so much.
The CHUWI Hi10 Plus tablet/keyboard/pen combination took me by surprise. I was doubtful that the low(ish)-end hardware hindered by Windows 10 would be little more than a boat anchor. Instead, the device turned out to be a real treat to work with. Although ninety-nine percent of the time I spent using the device in Android mode, on that rare occasion that I did have to switch to Windows (and the added rare occasion that Windows didn't require an overlong update), the Hi10 Plus performed quite well.
If you're looking for a device that will meet all of your needs (and then some), while on the go, you cannot go wrong with the CHUWI Hi10 Plus. The price is right and performance will allow you to get your work done.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.