First look at the Chuwi V99 Android tablet with Retina Display
The Chuwi V99 is a Chinese tablet with a Rockchip RK3066 dual core CPU, Android 4.1 operating system, and a 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel display.
That sounded a lot more impressive before Google introduced the $399 Nexus 10 tablet with a 10.1 inch, 2560 x 1600 pixel display. But until Google’s tablet goes on sale in a few weeks, the Chuwi V99 is one of the highest-resolution Android tablets money can buy.
You can pick one up from AliExpress for around $250, or order the Chuwi V99 from PandaWill for $290. PandaWill sent me a demo unit to review, and while I’ll have some more details soon I wanted to share some initial impressions.
The tablet bears a more-than-passing resemblance to an iPad. It’s about the same size, shape, and weight, and I really do think screens with 4:3 aspect ratio screens are easier to hold in both portrait and landscape mode than tablets with widescreen displays.
So far the tablet seems reasonably responsive, but I’ve only been using it for a few hours. Clearly I can’t say much about battery life yet either.
Here’s what I can say though: Text and images look noticeably more clear on this tablet than on devices with lower resolution displays. Unfortunately this is kind of difficult to show in photographs, but when I placed the Chuwi V99 side-by-side with an HP TouchPad tablet with a 9.7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel screen, everything looked just a little better on the V99.
You can see a larger version of the comparison photo at our Google+ page.
The difference is most noticeable when viewing magazines and other content that wasn’t really meant to be displayed on a 9.7 inch screen in the first place. Text that looked pixelated, blocky, and difficult to read on the TouchPad was much more crisp on the Chuwi V99.
Magazines still look best in portrait mode where you can look at one page at a time instead of landscape mode where you view two virtual magazine pages side-by-side. But if you really wanted to, you could use a 2-page landscape view to read at least some magazines on this tablet.
Unlike the Ampe A10 tablet PandaWill sent me recently, I can’t see any physical defects in this tablet. While the Ampe A10 had a dead screen pixel and a bubble under the display, the Chuwi V99 screen looks great.
I’ll have more information about the performance, battery life, and software in my full review. But I can already say that there are noticeable benefits to adding a high resolution display to an Android tablet.
Now that we’re starting to see tablets with high pixel densities both from small Chinese device makers and big-name companies such as Samsung (which manufacturers the Nexus 10 for Google), hopefully higher-than-HD screens will become the norm rather than the exception soon.