Chuwi W3000 MID Hands on Review and Pictures
Well i finally got the Chuwi W3000 sample about two days ago and i will right away say, i am pretty darn impressed with it, oh i know what you’re thinking, it runs WinCE, the AntiChrist of mobile device platforms, but i got to saw, Chuwi has tweaked it to make it certainly one of the more interesting players that i have seen in sometime.
Ok well, its good, but it does have its flaws, like one being that the WinCE is only in simplified Chinese but the upside is that (at least i am) quite familiar with the layout of WinCE so i wasn’t completely in the dark on how to use the OS, unlike when i used the SmartQ Q5.
Overall Design and build quality:
I will admit that the player actually looks much better than how the Chuwi promo renderings made it look, the overll size is no bigger than the Nationite OS-43 and is quite easily pocketable in standard pant pockets – something that most ‘MID’ devices have not really been able to do. The actual quality of the build is very good, the finishing is quite posh and steardy, somewhat the opposite of what we saw with the Yinlips G80.
Its not a very heavy device either, weighing about 230g or so, its about 3/4 the weight of the G80, but heavier than the SmartQ Q5, however the weight is well balanced and feels right for such a device.
- Screen Quality:
The 800 x 480 4.1″ screen is quite stunning, as good as the Nationite OS-72HR screen, colors are bright and vibrant and images look lively and crisp, all of which are coupled by very good viewing angles. I could not really find an angle where the image or color quality degraded, check the photo gallery at the end for more images demonstrating the W3000 impressive viewing angles and screen quality.
The W3000 does not run on your standard ARM processor, Chuwi jumped on the Telechips bandwagon for one of their latest ARM processors (which can also run linux), on using the player and comparing it to the Yinlips G80, which uses a Samung ARM processor, you could tell the Samsung ARM processor was more powerful, BUT, the Telechips still handled webpages very well and video and audio playback is much better on the W3000 than on the G80.
- Touch Screen:
The 4.1″ resistive touch screen is quite responsive, the only downside is that the high resolution of the screen makes scroll bars and menu icons small, too small for fingers, so you have to use the stylus (unless you have freakishly thin fingers).
The Built in Wifi looks to work well within a max radius of 6-10 meters from a wifi source through walls (our testing source being a cheapy wifi router).
On testing we got about 10hrs of audio (screen off), 5hrs of video and 4hrs of life with wifi on, not bad for a device like this with so many power hungry components.
The W3000 comes with a microSD slot, which when used, just shows up on WinCE like an external memory drive, and just like on a normal PC, you can add songs or videos to your playlist from both your internal and external memory sources to make a combined list. The player also support OTG, it did work with my external USB HDD and as well as a logitech wireless keyboard and mouse. The W3000 also comes with a viewing stand, which also triples as being the holder for the stylus pen and also a body protector for the player.
- WinCE OS:
Well, WinCE 5.0 has its pros and cons, some people laugh at the thought of having a device run WinCE, while others have never chosen to get a mobile device with out it. As already stated the WinCE we got on our sample was in Chinese, we believe that Chuwi is to have an English version, but only available for the export version of the W3000 and not for their domestic version.
Another downside was that GAPI did not work properly, even under software emulation i found it hard to get Games and Apps that needed GAPI to properly run. Sadly i was not able to get SCUMMVM to run on the W3000, it would startup, but upon selecting a game it would exit back to the main WinCE desktop. I do think this maybe due to the Telechips processor that the player is using, hopefully we can find a work around solution to this.
Wonderful. Unlike other Chinese devices that use WinCE and use the standard Pocket IE, Chuwi have tweaked their IE to better handle webpages, now most webpages fit almost in the screen, if you want compare the image shot of our forum on the W3000 to how it looks on the G80, you will notice a big difference. The processor handles webpages quite well, all load fast and scrolling is quite smooth, much better than what i saw on the Q5. The high quality screen helps to make webpages look even more lively on the player. There is no flash support, so you will not be able to go on YouTube or properly view any flash based websites on the W3000. So far, the W3000 is the best Chinese device that i have seen in the past 3 years for mobile internet browsing.
This is another area where Chuwi has tweaked the WinCE, their bundled media center software allows, at least for video, much better video playback quality than what you get from using TCPMP. One of the issues that WinCE has is its rather outdated method of video rendering, this is noticeable on many WinCE devices, like the G80, but Chuwi Media center software significantly improves video rendering to the same level as you get on any other current MP4 players.
Video playback, for videos upto 800×480 resolution in AVI play very smoothly, the best comparison for video playback is the RAmos T9 with the RK2712 chipset. Other file formats are supported, like FLV, RMVB, MP4 and others, but AVI is by far the best supported and recommended. Also the player does have TV out, something that i did not know the player had.
Audio quality also very good, the W3000 smokes the G80 and other Chinese WinCE devices, i do attribute this to the Telechips processor, which has been designed for video and audio playback. The only down side to the audio quality is that there is no EQ on Chuwi media center software.
The media center also has an image viewer, ebook reader and FM radio software.
- Other software:
Well most of the standard programs that i tried on the G80 didn’t really work on the W3000 due to the GAPI issue, however the comic book reader worked great, from the above image you can see how the device could really be used for comic book reading purposes.
I wasn’t able to test out the GPS as the external GPS device was not sent with the sample, but from what i have seen on the Chuwi forums, it does work well. The player does come with GPS bundled software, but it is in Chinese and without the GPS device attached, the program will not start.
There are other programs that do work on the player, such as Foxit PDF reader, which is probably a better PDF reader than the bundled PDF reader on the player, works well on the player and can be used for eBook reading.
- Last thoughts:
The W3000 is a very interesting device, its a good internet device, as well as a good multimedia player. Getting other apps to work on the device can be a bit of a hit or a miss, so early adopters may have the most frustrating job of finding what does work and what does not.
Two things that really makes this device stand out from the others, it can fit in your pocket conveniently and it works, its loads fast, it runs and it does what it should, browse the net, play video and audio files and the ability to load additional apps – something that the Q5 wished it could do.
We will have these when/if they release an English version of the player, tentaively the 8GB would be priced below $170 and the 2GB below $140.