The CHUWI Hi9 Pro is such an interesting device at least on paper. The 8.4-inch mini tablet is quite well done with a solid build, a 10-core processor, and an amazing display.
This is a quick review where we discuss the design, display, hardware, software, and battery life to decide whether it delivers.
Chuwi Hi9 Pro Specs
MediaTek Helio X20 ( 2 x Cortex-A72 @ 2.3GHz + 4 x Cortex-A53 @ 1.85GHz + 2 x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4GHz)
Mali- T880 MP4 780MHz
Android Oreo (Version 8)
2560 x 1600
3GB LPDDR3 @ 800MHz
Non-Removable Lithium Polymer 5000 mAh
8MP Rear+ 5MP Front
8.5" x 5.1" x 0.4”(217.4 x 128.9 x 9.3 mm)
•USB Type C
Chuwi Hi9 Pro Review
Overall Build and Design
Chinese tablets have a reputation for having poor quality builds and consumers associate that with the cheap price.
This is mostly true because to cut prices some brands just assemble devices and don’t give much thought to its design and build. But then there are exceptions like the CHUWI hi9 pro.
The black table has a sturdy build with curved edges and a rounded back. This roundedness makes the device feel slimmer than it is on paper. The dimensions are set at 8.5" x 5.1" x 0.4” (217.4 x 128.9 x 9.3 mm).
The tablet isn’t completely made of metal but for this price, even a metal backplate is top-notch and the top and bottom bars are made of plastic. The device weighs 0.83 lbs (380 g) and can’t be labeled super light because the IPAD MINI 5 with a similar display size weighs 0.66lbs (300g) and also features an aluminum back.
Another thing Chinese tablets are known for is basing the design of flagship devices. Not only designs but names as well. Just head to the CHUWI website and see how many of their devices remind you of flagship devices with their designs and names. Even though they do this, it’s quite difficult to get that premium feel that comes with flagship devices. The hi9 pro looks like one from the bac but still lacks the feeling.
Something I like is the fact that instead of using plastic buttons because no one bothers about how the power and volume buttons feel, CHUWI has used the same metal as the rear panel on the red outlined power and volume buttons.
The USB-C port is located on the top along with the 3.5mm headphone jack. The dual sim card slot is also located on the top with one of the two slots doubling as an external storage slot for a microSD card. Even the slot trays are made of metal instead of cheap plastic.
The top of the device is quite packed with the slots and also surprisingly an earpiece which isn’t quite common in an 8.4” tablet meaning this can also be used a mobile phone with its LTE capabilities.
The mono speaker is pushed to the bottom and is honestly the biggest let down of the device. It works okay for YouTube or Netflix, but it’s recommended that you use a good pair of headphones instead.
The camera is another thing that most Chinese tablets and even some mainstream tablets can’t get quite right. I guess the thought process behind this is who gets a tablet to snap photos but while tablets have decent cameras the hi9 pro takes decent photos at best.
The display is truly the highlight of this tablet. The 8.4-inch screen has quite a high-resolution set at 2560 x 1600 pixels and a PPI of 359. Anything above 250 is a win in my book, so a PPI of 359 means the images and texts are quite sharp and the colors are deep and saturated.
Even the IPAD MINI 5 only has a resolution of 1526 x 2048 with a PPI of 324 while the SAMSUNG GALAXY tab A 8.4” has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and a PPI of 267.
This says a lot about the display on the CHUWI hi9 pro. We’ve also got to love the IPS display for the wide viewing angles.
The only let down about the display is the brightness. The device is ideal to be used indoors or outside when it isn’t too sunny but under direct sunlight, it’s a no-go.
At the core, the device ships with a MEDIATEK HELIO X20 chipset which is an upper mainstream SoC used on ANDROID-based smartphones. The chip was launched in 2016. The X-series is one of MediaTek’s most powerful SoC series.
The processor has 10 cores with a 20nm architecture which is more than capable of handling any task on the hi9 pro. The 10 cores are split as follows; 2 super-fast Corex-A72 clocking at around 2.3Ghz while the remaining eight are split into Cortex A-53 cores running at 1.83Ghz and 1.4Ghz.
Under the Geekbench 4 single-core score the SoC scores 1643 points with the median of being 1594 and under the multi-score criteria, it scored 4596 points with the median around 4211 points.
The processor is super-efficient thanks to the 10 cores inside. This is paired with the inbuilt GPU Mali T880 and 3GB RAM.
This pairing works perfectly and provides a good platform for gaming too. The tablet is advertised for gaming too but one nothing I noticed is that even though you can run almost any game without lag the display resolution is a bit too high for the HELIO X20 and you have to turn the graphics settings down to medium to enjoy smooth gameplay.
For the price range, I think CHUWI has outdone itself. At this price point, I expected to see a 2GB RAM with around 16GB of internal storage.
The device runs on stock ANDROID Oreo 8.0 and it’s the perfect match for the processor and memory capacity.
ANDROID Oreo is rich in multitasking features like the picture-in-picture and multitasking is a breeze on the deca-core SoC. You can unlock the full potential of the operating system on the hi9 Pro. Customizing the ANDROID OS can go well and it's nice to see the stock ANDROID in play here with its clean and tidy UI.
Major updates are an issue in tablets within this price range. So, I’m not sure whether CHUWI will roll out an update to ANDROID 9.
Another interesting feature of this device is the ability to function as a smartphone. Remember the earpiece?
Usually, even on cellular tablets you don’t find the phone dial pad application and you need to separately download a VoIP app to make calls over LTE but with the hi9 pro, you can easily make calls and send text messages without the need to download any extra applications.
The device has a battery capacity of 5000mAh which is decent for a tablet in this price range and is usually the norm. The SAMSUNG GALAXY Tab A 8.0 has a capacity of 5100mAh and the IPAD MINI 5 has a capacity of 5124mAh.
On a single charge, the device can last for around 8 hours which isn’t the best but isn’t too bad either. For comparison, the IPAD MINI 5 with just 124mAh extra can last for 10+ hours which is ideal for a tablet.
Overall, I think the hi9 pro is an amazing value-added tablet for the price. You get a super-fast processor, a brilliant display, a good memory capacity, and an okay battery.
Thanks to tablets like the hi9 pro I hope consumers will break the stereotype about Chinese products and be more open to them especially when you are strapped for cash.