Not long ago, Atom-powered netbooks were the default choice when it came to cheap computing. Equally inexpensive but high-quality tablets in the budget space have largely displaced those machines.
When it comes to 8-inch tablets that can deliver the goods at a great price, the Chuwi Hi8 is an emerging favorite. It packs a punch and won’t hurt your wallet at the same time.
Look, Feel & General Aesthetics
Like most Chuwi tabs, the Hi8 has seen marked improvements in build quality and visual appeal in the last year or so. In terms of appearance, it’s reminiscent of pretty much every Samsung Galaxy Tab on the market.
Just 7.9mm thick and weighing only 304 grams, the Hi8 is a lean customer. The 8-inch 1920×1200 IPS display boasts a Retina-beating 283 pixels per inch.
Internal and External Hardware
Beneath the surface, the Chuwi Hi8 runs on a quad-core Intel Z3736F CPU clocked at 2.16GHZ and 2GB of DDR3L RAM. Storage is a respectable if unremarkable 32GB of eMMC ROM, though that can be expanded by up to 128GB via a high-capacity microSD card slot.
Rounding out the spec sheet is a front 0.3MP camera, a 2MP camera and surprisingly crisp stereo speakers.
OS, UI and Installed Software
Like its big brother the HiBook, the Hi8 is a dual-boot machine that includes Windows 10 and Android. Originally shipped with Android 4.4.4, users can easily switch to Android 5.0 Lollipop via an OTA update. Bloatware is minimal in either operating system.
The Chuwi App Store gives users access to Chuwi-specific programs for Android. Windows 10 comes with a one-year subscription for Office 365.
On the wireless front, there’s 802.11 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 as you’d expect. Aside from the obligatory microphone and charging jacks, the Hi8 boasts a single MicroUSB port. Sadly, there’s no HDMI for streaming media to larger displays.
The good news is that a variety of apps for both Android and Windows make it easy to sync up with third-party monitors and peripherals over the air.
Performance in the Field
When it comes to raw horsepower, the Hi8 is competitive with most of the other tablets in its price range. It manages to notch a score of 2,030 in PCMark7 and nearly 2,200 in the multi-threaded version of Geekbench 3.
If those numbers mean nothing, rest assured that the Hi8’s performance won’t disappoint. The 4,000mAH is good for about 5 hours of regular use.
The Pros & Cons of the Chuwi Hi8
The best thing about the Chuwi Hi8 is the fact that it comes with both Windows 10 and the latest Android. Switching between the two systems is as simple as tapping an icon on the display. Currently retailing for less than $120, the Hi8 is an insane bargain for such a robust machine.
The only real downsides are the lackluster battery life and awful cameras.
The Ideal Chuwi Hi8 Consumer
If you want an 8-inch compact tablet running Android but need to crank out a few Excel spreadsheets here and there, the Hi8 is a terrific option. This tablet is ultimately a multi-role device that can act as a web browser, a gaming system and a productivity machine all in one.
In other words, there aren’t many consumers that wouldn’t benefit from the Chuwi Hi8.