There is no shortage of convertible tablets and Surface wannabees these days, including the Hi12 convertible tablet provided to us by Chuwi.
The device is a budget convertible tablet that features a 2160×1440 12-inch touchscreen display, the same size and resolution as a Surface Pro 3. Interestingly, Chuwi refers to the Hi12’s display as an “Original IPS Retina Display”. I’m not joking. Look at the company’s website here. Which is brilliant. I couldn’t be more ironic even if I tried.
However you feel about these fledgling Chinese computer manufacturers, as indicated with the Onda Surface Book knockoff we reported on a few days ago, originality isn’t exactly their greatest strength.
Ill-conceived naming aside, the display quality is very good. It lights up well, has good, if not spectacular color accuracy, and has no discernable backlight bleeding or other anomalies that might plague a budget device.
The device is powered by an Intel Atom Cherry Trail X5-z8300 with not 2, but 4 whole GBs of RAM and a generous helping of ports, including two full-sized USB ports.
The tablet uses a microUSB port for charging, like most other tablets including Microsoft’s own Surface 3 and other tablets. It’s rather inconspicuously blended in with all the other ports on the side. This is kind of annoying, as I often find myself mistaking the microHDMI port for the charging port.
The Hi12, a solid, bang for your buck tablet can also be attached with an optional keyboard. And once you do attach the keyboard, the tablet transitions from a competent tablet, to a mediocre laptop.
The keyboard features a full-size keyboard accompanied by an absolute garbage trackpad. It also has two full-sized USB ports on both corners of the keyboard, which would be fantastic if adding the keyboard didn’t add so much weight to the device.
This is the crux of why I think the hybrid form of the Hi12 is worse than the tablet form, because while it more or less gets the job done, it also makes the device significantly less portable. The combined device is really thick and heavy, to the point where you don’t feel like you can just toss it in in a bag anymore. Furthermore, the range at which you can adjust the tablet’s angle is perhaps just a tad shy of ideal. In many situations I found the maximum angle unsatisfactory.
Nevertheless, I will say that the actual keyboard itself is excellent. Key travel is deep, with a very satisfying clicking sound with each keypress, while not being obnoxiously loud. It also spans the breadth of its 12 inch companion nicely. The keys are spaced well, not too spread out, nor too cramped. I would say it’s even better than that found in the Surface Pro 4.
And while the angle range is a bit shallow, as a laptop the device felt very stable, if a bit top heavy, which is to be expected which these kinds of devices.
Look forward to our more comprehensive review coming soon. You can purchase the Chuwi Hi12 through the company’s website here.