Many Chinese manufacturers produce devices that will never reach North American shores, save through online importers, but Chuwi is an exception that sells its offerings directly through Amazon. So when the company preps a new system like the Hi13, it may be of greater interest than just to Chinese buyers.
The Hi13 is clearly an attempt to produce a cheaper version of Microsoft’s Surface Book 2-in-1 tablet. It has the same size screen (13.5-inches) with the same resolution (3,000×2,000) and emphasizes digital pen input just like the Surface Book. But aside from both devices running Windows, the similarities basically end there.
At $369, the Hi13 is several hundred dollars less costly than the Surface Book — and a look at its other specs quickly shows why. Whereas Microsoft uses the latest Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, Chuwi builds its knock-off around an Intel Celeron N3450 processor. Likewise, the lowest-priced Surface Book starts with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage, while the Hi13 comes with half the amount of each. Microsoft includes its Surface Pen standard and provides some configurations with optional Nvidia graphics cards; Chuwi instead has an optional digital pen and relies on integrated graphics.
If you can live with the lesser performance of the Hi13, it still includes a USB Type-C port, dual-band Wi-Fi, and four stereo speakers. (The detachable keyboard adds a pair of non-Type-C USB ports.) Chuwi promises 7 hours of battery life from its 10,000 mAh battery, which is far shorter than the Surface Book’s claimed 12 hours of battery life.
The Hi13 is slated to go on sale starting on Monday — don’t expect Microsoft to be very concerned. However, if you live in England and don’t want to pay the Brexit surcharge (over 10 percent) on the Surface Book, you may just want to see if Chuwi sells directly to the UK.