Looking to buy cheap tablet/mini-laptop -- experiences with CHUWI Hi10 Air?


I found myself thinking about getting something nice/light for travelling with. My list of features I’d want are the following:

  • works well with OpenSUSE and installation is not too hacky (i.e. probably needs to be a Windows/Intel device)
  • around 1 to 1.5 kg (2-3 lbs)
  • 10" to 12" screen
  • Wi-fi
  • 4 GB RAM or more
  • either 32+ GB storage with flush Micro-SD slot or 120 GB of storage + optional/non-flush Micro-SD slot
  • at least one USB-C and one USB-A port, with support for USB host mode and enough power to use a USB stick or Android phone attached to it as storage
  • physical keyboard, either laptop-style or detachable; available in Germany with a QWERTY keyboard
  • touch input is optional
  • high-resolution IPS screen (FHD or 2K)
  • price range under 300 €, but I would also buy used

Bonus points:

  • USB C charging
  • ideally matches the form factor of the 12" Macbook rather exactly (I have a rather lovely but tight sleeve for a 12" Macbook already and would like to re-use it)

Obviously, I’d be willing compromise on a few of those, except perhaps the price.

Last year I had a 12" Macbook which I sold in the meantime. I loved the 12" Macbook for its form factor and its screen. Unfortunately, the single port proved rather limiting, as did the OS, given that none of my storage devices was formatted with a Apple-compatible file system, and the fact that half my usual environment of tools were second-class citizens that had to be installed via homebrew tended to be a bit annoying.

So, the device I am looking at hardest right now is the aforementioned CHUWI Hi10 Air but I am open to other suggestions.
There is a nice thread about the device at https://forum.xda-developers.com/general/general/chuwi-hi10-air-linux-installation-guide-t3915804 but so far I saw no one mention Tumbleweed there. Does anyone have experiences?


Hi and welcome to the Forum :slight_smile:
AFAIK those systems only come with 2GB of RAM? I would look at preparing a USB device with a Live Tumbleweed release and visiting the shop that has one to try out. The other observation is a lot of those Tablets have 32bit UEFI implementations and you have to jump through a few hoops to get it working.

My suggestion would be a DELL or HP system, I have a Dell Venue 11 Pro 7130 (Intel i5-4300Y 4GB RAM) it only has one USB 3.0 port so have a USB3.0x3 ports/Gb Ethernet device to use with it, Micro SD slot, easy to get to the battery and a 128GB M2 SSD. It’s heavy though with the extra battery in the keyboard…

I have been using a Toshiba Ultrabook (Satellite Z930) for years (> 5 years) running openSUSE GNU/Linux since the day I purchased it - and I hope to purchase a replacement ultrabook, likely early next year, as I don’t know how much more life I have in the Toshiba’s SSD. Also, its old Core-i7 is starting to look a bit old.

My current favourite to replace it is the Dell XPS-13 although we will see what another 6-months can bring. The very latest XPS13 has improved the webcam position which was a complaint. At 1.23 kg its heavier than my Toshiba, but only 0.1 kg heavier.

I note that Dell XPS-13 does meet most of your requirements - except price, where the Dell is MUCH more expensive than your budget.

taking a look at your suggested hardware, CHUWI Hi10 Air

It looks like it should be an easy install and maintenance, since it uses an Intel ATOM processor, with integrated Intel HD graphics.
This should also mean that all I/O devices should be supported by drivers distributed by the Linux kernel.

My main observation though is that it has only a 9" display, which today is considered a tiny bit on the small side for full sized tablets… There are many 9" but there are also many 10" tablets, and there are also the combo laptop/tablets which fold backwards when used as tablets (13", 15" and up). For work purposes, many people are used to standard 8"x11" paper, so prefer a tablet as close to that size as possible. Of course, the usual benefit of a smaller display is lighter weight and cost.

I’ve personally had a look at a few super-cheap laptops and tablets, I don’t know if this is one of them… sometimes but not always marketed under an American company label… which are very poor hardware (Usually retail < $150 USA). For these machines, it doesn’t matter what OS you run on it, the hardware is barely usable and glitchy/unreliable/won’t last. I advise against crossing that line of hardware usability.

But otherwise,
I don’t see any obvious obstacles for a very normal DVD or NET install (your choice of TW or LEAP).


Hi all,

thank you for the suggestions! Indeed the Dell Venue 11 sounded like it would fit the bill and so I went for a newer version of that, let’s see how it works out. I am hopeful I’ll get a machine with Intel Wi-fi instead of Dell Wi-fi which appears to be the main compatibility hurdle.

The XPS 13 seems like a great machine but for that price, I’d much rather have a Thinkpad keyboard on it :). In addition it really does not work for the use case as a secondary machine which if I lost or broke I’d only want to curse some instead of cursing >1000€’s and all of my data’s worth.

So, after some testing:

  • installation works just like on a laptop which was pretty amazing (you need a physical keyboard of course)
  • overall works pretty well with GNOME & enabled fractional scaling
  • using Firefox with touch screen only is a bit annoying but it does work ok
  • when the SSD is encrypted, you can only boot with a physical keyboard attached which is a bit of a bummer as the tablet works quite well without the keyboard otherwise
  • standby power draw is high (2h ~ 10%), I hope there is some workaround here
  • sound only works via Bluetooth, not via loudspeaker or audio jack, I hope I can enable that later somehow

Overall, that was a good recommendation, I think.

Did you get the active stylus too? For power run powertop to sort it out, for sound not had issues on mine, local, headphones or HDMI. In the GNOME settings have you looked at the sound options?

Anyway, I would suggest breaking your issues down and start new threads in the various sub forums, eg sound=multimedia etc :wink: