Chuwi HiBook Pro review: Quad-HD Windows tablet-laptop under £200

Chuwi has a range of Windows tablets under £200 that can be docked to a magnetic keyboard to turn them into budget laptops. There are some subtle differences across the range, so which Chuwi is best for you? We outline your options in our Chuwi HiBook Pro review. Also see: Best budget tablets and Best budget laptops

Also see: Best Black Friday Laptop Deals

This Chuwi HiBook Pro is very similar to the Hi10 Pro we recently reviewed. It's around £30 more expensive, but comes with a higher-capacity battery, a Quad-HD screen and a 5- rather than 2Mp rear camera. The two are very similar in size and weight. A key difference is that the Hi10 Pro supports an active electronic stylus (sold separately).

You'd also struggle to tell the difference between this HiBook Pro and the standard HiBook, with the only real difference being the larger-capacity battery (8000mAh versus 6000mAh) and higher-resolution screen (the standard HiBook has a 1920x1200 display).

All three feature the Intel Atom X5 Z8300 quad-core 64-bit processor, 4GB of DDR3L RAM and 64GB of storage, with microSD support for expansion. In terms of performance there is very little to separate these Chuwi laptops, so your choice will likely come down to whether you want the higher-resolution screen and whether you need a stylus.

All three tablets also dual-boot Android, opening up a world of software you can't get on Windows, though the two HiBooks run standard Android 5.1 Lollipop and the Hi10 Pro runs a custom version with the Remix 2.0 UI. We prefer vanilla Android, given the option - and we'd also like to see a newer version of Android given that we're now up to Android 7.0 Nougat. Still, some Android is better than no Android, and you're probably more likely to use the Chuwi as a Windows 10 device in any case. Also read our Windows 10 review and Android Lollipop review

Chuwi HiBook Pro

Chuwi HiBook Pro review: UK price and availability

Chuwi tablets are sold in the UK via grey-market importers such as GearBest. You can buy this Chuwi HiBook Pro for £172.69, the Chuwi Hi10 Pro for £146.89, and the standard Chuwi HiBook for £154.30. The optional keyboard dock, which we thoroughly recommend, costs an additional £29.61.

If you are buying from China, note that you may be asked to pay import duty (around £30) upon its arrival to the UK, though GearBest offers free shipping if you're prepared to wait a couple of weeks for your tablet to arrive.

Buying from China has different risks than does buying from Europe, so read up on our grey-market tech buying advice before you take the plunge.

Chuwi HiBook Pro review: Design and build

You might be paying under £200 for this tablet, but you wouldn't know it to look at it. With a slim grey metal build and chamfered edges, the HiBook Pro certainly looks more expensive than it is, and it feels well made with no rough edges or creaking parts. The only giveaways to its budget price are flaws of all Chuwi tablets: chunky screen bezels, a magnetism for fingerprints and legends on the rear for the various ports and core specifications. Also see: Best Windows tablets

Chuwi HiBook Pro

We'll start with the screen, since this is the key difference between the HiBook and HiBook Pro. It's a 10.1in, 2560x1600 panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio that is well-suited to watching video. The standard HiBook has the same size screen, but a lower resolution of 1920x1200 pixels.

The HiBook Pro's screen is much sharper than that of the HiBook, but with more pixels crammed in to the same area you'll find text and icons are significantly smaller. You'll more than likely want to increase their size in Windows' settings. 

Chuwi uses IPS technology, which offers bright, realistic colours and strong viewing angles. The latter is aided by the use of a fully laminated OGS screen, which puts very close together the touch panel and screen glass.

The display isn't the brightest we've seen, and you may struggle to use it in direct sunlight - especially with greasy finger smears all over its surface. For most usage scenarios, though, it is bright enough.

The HiBook Pro is a little larger and heavier than the HiBook thanks to its higher-capacity 8000mAh battery, but it's actually thinner at 8.5mm rather than 8.8mm. When used as a tablet the HiBook Pro weighs 550g, but docked to the keyboard the weight doubles to just over a (still easily portable) kilo.

Chuwi HiBook Pro

We thoroughly recommend purchasing the keyboard if you will be using the HiBook Pro for productivity tasks. It docks to the tablet with a sturdy magnetic hinge that can prop up the Chuwi at a comfortable angle, and we like the fact it doesn't need to be separately charged. See all laptop reviews 

It's a US keyboard, but it has reasonably large, well-spaced keys and is comfortable to type on, given its size. It's fairly quiet in use, and makes typing on a tablet much quicker and easier. 

Usefully, the keyboard adds two full-size USB ports to the tablet. The Chuwi HiBook Pro has a good complement of ports, but none of which are full-size USB, which means you will otherwise need an adaptor to plug in a USB mouse or hard drive.

Chuwi HiBook Pro

Connections are found on the Chuwi's left edge. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack that sits just above a Micro-HDMI port and a mic, then Micro-USB, USB-C and a microSD card slot. The HiBook and HiBook Pro can support up to 64GB via microSD, while the Hi10 Pro can accommodate 128GB. Both also support 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. There's no GPS, NFC or a cellular connection.

You'll need to use the USB-C rather than Micro-USB connection for charging the Chuwi's battery, which supports a fast 3A charge. This means you can fill the Chuwi in three- to four hours when using a compatible fast charger. Although it has a larger battery than the Hi10 Pro and HiBook, the HiBook Pro also has a more power-hungry screen. Expect between six- and eight hours use from all three of these tablets, give and take a little depending on your usage.

As with the other models in the range, stereo speakers are found low down on the left- and right edges of the Chuwi, which means they are poorly placed when used in tablet mode and can easily be muffled by your hands. That's not great, given that they aren't especially loud and can be rather tinny to begin with. Still it's a minor criticism of a tablet that has a lot to offer. See all tablet reviews

Chuwi HiBook Pro

In common with the standard HiBook there is a 5Mp camera at the rear and 2Mp at the front (the Hi10 Pro has a 2Mp camera front and rear). It will suffice for video calls, but we can't imagine you having much use for the rear camera even given its higher Megapixel rating.

NEXT PAGE: Chuwi HiBook Pro performance, software and verdict