CHUWI Hi10 Plus: Review and Arch Linux Installation

CHUWI Hi10 Plus: Review and Arch Linux Installation

So I recently bought a chinese CHUWI Hi10 Plus 2 in 1 Tablet. This post details my impressions and the steps I took to install Arch Linux on it alongside android and Windows.

The Screen

The tablet comes with a 10.8 inches screen with 1920x1280 pixels and 4:3 aspect ratio. The screen is reportedly 450 nits in brightness. The IPS panel looks very nice indoors, but outdoors the reflections on the glossy screen makes the experience not as great as I expected.

The Performance

The processor is a quad-core Intel Atom x5 Z8350 clocked at 1.82 GHz tops, with 4 GB ram at 1066Mhz (changeable to 1600MHz on the bios). The built-in storage is a 64Gb eMMC,

eMMC performance:

Hdparm:

$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/mmcblk0p9  
/dev/mmcblk0p9:
 Timing buffered disk reads: 430 MB in  3.01 seconds = 143.01 MB/sec

And with dd:

$ time sh -c "dd if=/dev/zero of=ddfile bs=8k count=250000 && sync"; rm ddfile
250000+0 records in
250000+0 records out
2048000000 bytes (2.0 GB, 1.9 GiB) copied, 14.7495 s, 139 MB/s

real    0m21.893s

Sd Card Performance

My suppsoed sdxc 48Mb/s sdxc card gives us the following with hdparm:

$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/mmcblk2p1 
/dev/mmcblk2p1:
 Timing buffered disk reads:  72 MB in  3.07 seconds =  23.44 MB/sec

And with dd:

time sh -c "dd if=/dev/zero of=ddfile bs=8k count=250000 && sync"; rm ddfile
250000+0 records in
250000+0 records out
2048000000 bytes (2.0 GB, 1.9 GiB) copied, 100.3 s, 20.4 MB/s

real    2m11.917s

Wifi speed @ Arch linux

The wifi drivers seem to be suffering in Arch, hence the lousy performance:

[will@tabletemaroto ~]$ iperf -c 192.168.15.44
[  3] local 192.168.15.67 port 50296 connected with 192.168.15.44 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.2 sec  9.88 MBytes  8.14 Mbits/sec

[will@tabletemaroto ~]$ iperf -c 192.168.15.44
[  3] local 192.168.15.67 port 50302 connected with 192.168.15.44 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.3 sec  7.62 MBytes  6.21 Mbits/sec

[will@tabletemaroto ~]$ iperf -c 192.168.15.44
[  3] local 192.168.15.67 port 50304 connected with 192.168.15.44 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-11.0 sec  9.75 MBytes  7.41 Mbits/sec
[will@tabletemaroto ~]$

Wifi Speed @ Windows

The wifi adapter is a

$.\iperf.exe -c     192.168.15.44
[  3] local 192.168.15.67 port 51106 connected with 192.168.15.44 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.7 sec  36.4 MBytes  28.6 Mbits/sec

$.\iperf.exe -c 192.168.15.44
[  3] local 192.168.15.67 port 51110 connected with 192.168.15.44 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec  28.0 MBytes  23.4 Mbits/sec

$.\iperf.exe -c     192.168.15.44
[  3] local 192.168.15.67 port 51114 connected with 192.168.15.44 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec  22.2 MBytes  18.6 Mbits/sec    

$.\iperf.exe -c     192.168.15.44
[  3] local 192.168.15.67 port 51124 connected with 192.168.15.44 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec  28.9 MBytes  24.2 Mbits/sec

The Keyboard

It came with a foldable cover with built-in keyboard. The cover/keyboard combo helps reducing weigth as it supports the screen on the back instead of counterweighing the screen with weights on the keyboard. The Con is that it's not adjustable, and almost impossible to use on the lap as a laptop. The typing experience is nice, but the keyoard is slightly noisier than I'd like. It is possibel to buy a proper keyboard dock for around USD 50, which weigths ~650g, instead of the covers' 461 g. On the other hand, 200 g for a proper laptop mode seems fair. The cover is also a great dust magnet.

Touchpad

The touchpad on the keyboard/cover is a little awkward to use, and I caught myself using the touchscreen instead a few times.

Connectivity

The connectivity in this model is not the greatest, there's a micro-usb port, a type-c usb port (used for charging) and a micro-hdmi output. Both USBs seem limited to USB 2.0 speeds, and you will need an adapter (or the real keyboard dock) to plug full-sized USB devices on the tablet. The Wifi is not the best, and there's no 5GHz bands support.

The Sound

The sound is quite bad. It is both high-pitched and low volume at the same time, I haven't tried the headphone plug yet.

The Battery life

The battery life is a mistery this far. Both Windows and Linux extrapolate around 10h of idling, down to around 3:40 of heavy usage.

Getting Arch Linux into it.

I really enjoy getting linux running on places, and this tablet is no exception. I was faced with a tough decision: Where to install it? The 64GB is quite a small space, and I really wanted to try both windows and Android in it too. So I decided to install it on a "fast"(ish) sd card, this leads us to..

Problem 1: The BIOS cannot boot from sd cards

The solution here is to install the boot partition on the eMMC and the / on the sdcard. Just do it before running "genfstab"

Problem 2: The sd card is not recognized after boot

Turns out I'm using an sdxc instead of sdhc, and it seems to need some aditional drivers. to fix this, I had to add some module to /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:

#/etc/mkinitcpio.conf

MODULES=(sdhci-acpi mmc_core mmc_block)

Then re-generate initramfs and you should be fine. I just run "pacman -S linux" again because I am lazy.

mkinitcpio -p linux

should also do the job.

Problem 3: HiDPI

~~I am using Gnome, and while wayland supports non-integer resolutions, it is not friendly to the on-screen display I"m using, so I have to use~~

I moved on to KDE Plasma, and it runs smooth, HIDPI is easily setup

Sound:

Follow these instructions