One of the things smartphones consumers have learned in recent year is that, unless you really want that Apple/Samsung branding, it’s not necessary to pay the usual $700 for a very good smartphone anymore. Chinese phone companies ranging from OnePlus to Meizu to Xiaomi are pumping out phones with build quality and specs as good (if not better) than the big two, at half the price.
Chinese tablet makers are now hoping to do the same with the 2-in-1 tablet market dominated mostly by Microsoft’s Surface (although the Huawei MateBook is also very good). Chuwi is one such company. At CES the Shenzhen-based company unveiled its latest 2-in-1 tablet, dubbed the Hi 13, and it’s got a lot of numbers that match Microsoft’s offering — except maybe the most important one, however — at what will probably be half the price.
The Hi 13 is an all-metal tablet with a 13.5-inch 3,000 X 2,000 resolution display (that’s a a pixel density of 267ppi), 400 nits of brightness, and 100 percent sRGB color coverage. It’s also got a stylus and clip-on keyboard case. These are the exact same things offered by the Surface. But — and this is a big but — Chuwi’s Hi 13 runs Intel’s N3540 processor (dubbed Apollo Lake), which is undoubtedly a budget option compared to the Core i5 and i7 on the Surface tablets. The Apollo Lake internals is, however, a 50% jump from the Atom X5-Z8300 processor in Chuwi’s last tablet, the Hi 12.
Chuwi hasn’t announced the price for the Hi 13 yet, but considering the cheap price (HK$1,900 or US$250) of the Hi 10 Plus — which I’m testing now — the Hi 13 may be worth it to those who don’t need the most powerful processor. You are, after all, getting a Windows 10 machine with premium build quality (at least judging from Chuwi’s previous offerings) and the necessary accessories to churn out a paper or email for a few hundred dollars.