Chuwi V7 Extreme (Speedmax) Review

Chuwi V7 Extreme (Speedmax) Review

Review Date: December 2012 - Review unit purchased from A Happy Deal. Review written by James Cloud.


So, I put together a review of the Ainol Novo Legend 7 just a few days ago. I’m on a quest to find a great eReader that doubles as a good tablet. I don’t like the widescreen aspect ratios that most tablets have for viewing text or surfing the web, so the 4:3 ratio is for me with this mission. The Novo 7 Legend is a good, solid little tablet for reading and web surfing, but it has some performance issues and the screen didn’t have the quality or resolution I was looking for. From a specs standpoint, the Chuwi tablet seems to address all of these issues and promises to deliver a speedy, pleasurable reading and browsing experience. A good eReading tablet for ALMOST less than $100 (shipping charges, you know). Does it live up to that hype? Read on…

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Chuwi V7 Extreme  Chuwi V7 Extreme  Chuwi V7 Extreme  Chuwi V7 Extreme  Chuwi V7 Extreme

Quick Review: Chuwi V7 Extreme

  • Great, clear, sharp IPS screen at XGA resolution with awesome viewing angles
  • Great touch screen
  • Thin, light, clean design
  • ICS out of the box, minimal Chinese bloatware pre-installed
  • MicroSD card slot for expandability and sideloading
  • Enjoyable web browsing experience
  • Mini-usb port that supports both data and charging
  • HDMI output with a regular HDMI cable
  • 4000 mah battery
  • Single core processor. Not sure why they decided to not go dual core
  • Why has nobody produced a 1280x960 small form factor tablet? I’d get one
  • Both cameras are pretty much poop, but you can video conference
  • Why a MINI-usb port? I thought that died off a couple of years ago…
  • Some incompatibility with certain apps
  • Why is there a 5 volt connector if the USB port works for that purpose?
  • 4000 mah battery that lasts only as long as a 3000 mah battery

Wow… I’m really impressed with this little tablet. I’m impressed enough that I’m buying another this week, in fact. It really is that nice. It’s just a total-package, inexpensive solution with a traditional screen aspect that doesn’t just get the job done… it does it with quality results. This is the nicest 7 inch 4:3 android tablet on the market… period. If you’re looking for a 4:3 small form factor tablet and can’t choke down the price of the iPad mini, look no further, Chuwi has a solution for you. It doesn’t quite get the battery life that a 4000 mah tablet should, but it still gets plenty.

Do yourself a favor and order this from a reputable Chinese dealer like A Happy Deal or Gadgets Dealer and make sure to pay the $15 to $20 for expedited shipping. China Air Post really, really sucks that bad. From the minute this left their facility in China until it got into my hands in the US was less than four days. That’s a nice turnaround time for $15 shipping and not bad for under $110 total… and this tablet, like the Legend is only slightly larger than a Nook Simple Touch. In fact, this tablet is identical to the Legend in width (plus one mm) and height and about 80% as thick… and lighter by about a half-ounce. Not bad for less than I spend on my monthly cable bill!

Estimated Price: $95 to $115, depending on shipping at A Happy Deal

Hardware and Design

Just like so many other Chinese tablets, this one actually has a pretty clean, minimalist design. Just like the Ainol, this has the mind-boggling and useless physical back button. Equally boggling is the inclusion of the 5VDC power plug. In theory, it supports a 2 amp charge and should juice the tablet up in record time, but in reality it’s a superfluous addition, as the mini-usb port charges the tablet just fine and the DC port only charges the tablet about 10% faster.

For me, the charger was only used to test the speed of charging once, and then put back in the box to rot in electronics limbo. Still have your volume rocker and power button, micro-sd/tf card port, headphone jack, mic port, and… the HDMI full sized connector. Nice. Not a huge fan of the mini-usb port, but it is standardized and works great. The sd slot has a bezel around it for some reason, so it’s not the cleanest layout I’ve seen, but it still looks nice and professional.  On the back, you’ll find two speakers that are set up for stereo output when in portrait mode. Being as everything else is set up for landscape orientation, this is a bit odd, but no big thing. This tablet’s clean and minimal… just the way I like them.

The contents of the box are even minimalist, with the tablet, the mini-usb cord, the DC adapter (that probably didn’t come from the factory), and standard Chinese and Engrish directions and inserts that you’ll never use. They even included a useless, cute, little Chuwi logo cutout with some QA message on the back. Whatever… I’m really glad no crappy, straight-to-the-trash headphones were included. The specs online are a bit of a conundrum, as some sites claim this to have a 1.5GHz processor. In actuality, this is a 1.2 GHz processor with the Mali 400 GPU. It’s noticeably faster than the Ainol Novo 7 Legend, so I wonder if the Legend’s 1.0 GHz claim to its processor might be another mislabeling propaganda technique.


Just like the Ainol Legend, the screen (and the resulting form factor) of this tablet is the whole reason I bought it. Read my other review. Being 5’5” and having the hands of a twelve year old girl, I like a small tablet… otherwise, I can’t palm it comfortably. But I also want a quality screen. What can I say? The IPS screen on this tablet does NOT disappoint at all. Right from boot up, through the interface, in the apps, games, videos, and whatnot, to the whole Android experience, I would easily have believed I was looking at a screen on a tablet costing $200 or more. It really IS that nice. Sharp images, great color reproduction, great contrast and brightness, fantastic viewing angles, and overall screen clarity make this thing shine. It doesn’t have quite the contrast, brightness, or color reproduction of the iPad mini, but it’s really close and not really noticeable unless you have the two side by side. Even then, it’s no big deal. And this tablet costs a third of the cheapest iPad mini’s price. You can buy two of these and two 32 GB micro-sd cards, a couple of nice cases, and STILL have a few bucks left over for the price of a 16GB iPad mini. Great job by Chuwi, here.


Yep… this is ICS 4.0.4, like so many other Chinese tablets. It’s a clean, minimal install, and that’s a good thing. A few Chinese and Chuwi bloatware apps need to be removed, and some useless videos, side loaded apps, and pictures should be taken off before you get too far. That’ll give you a nice, clean load to start from. The 1 gig of RAM and the slightly faster processor than the Ainol Legend really is noticeable. Only minimal lag happens in the interface, usually while installing, updating, or downloading other apps. This UI really does run smoothly, though it’s no Nexus 7. The system doesn’t boot as fast as the Nexus, but it loads up faster than many other mainstream US tablets, and it has a nice, neat little Android boot animation, too. A lot of time and energy were put into making sure this tablet pushes out a quality Android experience, and it paid off. This is absolutely solid.

As an eReader

Again, this is no Nook HD, but this REALLY gives the iPad mini a run for its money, here. All of the eReader apps I tried (Nook, Kindle, Kobo, Aldiko, Play Books, Sony, Adobe reader, Overdrive, Zinio, and a few others) run smoothly and look GREAT. Text is sharp and clean, everything animates nicely, and the ratio of the screen is just about the perfect aspect for reading, either in portrait or landscape orientations. This is a great eReader screen that boasts the same exact resolution as the iPad mini, but looks quite a bit sharper due to the 12% reduction in size. It’s the difference between 162 dpi and 183 dpi. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s quite a nice effect and does really well by the device. The IPS technology that the screen boasts does a great job at pumping out good contrast and brightness so that you can adjust the screen to suit your needs while you’re reading. Very nice.

Chuwi V7 Extreme  Chuwi V7 Extreme  Chuwi V7 Extreme  Chuwi V7 Extreme  Chuwi V7 Extreme

Magazines and Comics

You’ll need to do some pinch and zoom, since the screen’s only 7 inches across, but this exceptionally nice XGA IPS screen really does a fantastic job here. Color replication isn’t as accurate as the iPad mini, but it is really close. Whites look a little bluish, brightness and contrast aren’t quite as good as what the Apple screen provides (though it’s pretty damn close), and it is a bit smaller, but the screen retains the same resolution and looks noticeably sharper. As such, color publications and comics look GREAT. Zinio rocks on this tablet. Look at the included screenshots…(above) that’s with ZERO zoom enabled. This screen is MADE for comics and magazines. Pinch and zoom is needed, but kept to a bare minimum with the 4:3 aspect ratio and the nice, high resolution IPS display. Nook, Kindle, and Google Play publications look just as good on this tablet. Not much else to say. I’ve found my new eReader. Outstanding job. Gosh, I love Zinio…

Android Apps

More CPU incompatibility issues with this tablet, just like the Ainol I reviewed. Some apps do not show as available for the device in the Play Store. There aren’t a ton of these, so it’s not a huge deal, but certainly annoying, even if it is expected, because some of these are big name apps like Google Chrome. I prefer Dolphin, anyhow, but this may be a concern for some. Maybe a fix is coming… maybe not. All in all, it’s a pretty good effort. I have another tablet (widescreen) for these apps, but I’ll stick to eReading on this one, since that’s what I got it for.


Nice... I was quite surprised by this tablet. Bad Piggies and loads of other potentially stuttery games run fairly smoothly. Games made for a wide display might be a bit awkward on this aspect ratio, but that’s a trade-off for the 4:3 aspect. The IPS screen, XGA resolution, 1 GB of ram, and 1.2 GHz processor are put to good work here. A dual core processor (and GPU) would have worked better, though. Again, my other tablet is faster and will be my gaming tablet, but that’s OK… this one does a decent enough job and more than makes up for it with its screen.


Not bad… but not great. Chuwi advertises 6-7 hours of battery life, and while I have to say that they’re a bit off target, they’re not completely out to lunch. With moderate to heavy use, I got about four or so hours out of this. The 4000 mah battery was certainly a nice addition to this tablet, and the fact that it weighs in at a half ounce LIGHTER than the Ainol Novo 7 Legend that I reviewed earlier this month (which has a 3000 mah battery, by the way) is a refreshing surprise, but it SHOULD last longer. It lasts plenty long under normal conditions (five or so hours), so it’s not a HUGE deal, but it is a deal, nonetheless since it means a little more frequency on the charging.

Speaking of charging, this tablet charges just fine via the mini-usb port. In fact, the included DC adapter obviously wasn’t made specifically for this device (it doesn’t quite fit in the box properly in any orientation), and I’d never use it for anything other than reviewing it… once. Once I did that and timed it (only 9 to 10 percent faster than the usb cord through the mini-usb port, by the way), I put it away and won’t touch it again. I like my devices, so I don’t use cheap power adapters… ever.

Slight edit, here… since writing this, I’ve figured out that if I disabled data monitoring and enable airplane mode, the WiFi still works great, but my battery life is noticeably increased. Now, I’m getting about six hours. If I drop my brightness to 55-60% (MORE than enough, with this screen, by the way), I’d probably get somewhere around the advertised battery life. As it is, I have my brightness around 75-80%, since 100% is SEARING bright. It’s an odd thing for the user to have to do (especially since there’s no cellular antenna in this tablet), but it’s no big deal.


I didn’t review this feature on the last tablet because it was strictly average and nothing either good or bad. With the Chuwi, I think I can possibly get a signal from the Moon. This isn’t a dual band antenna, but it sure acts like one. Awesome reception.

Audio and Bluetooth

Headphones sound good on this unit. But you’ll need to bring your own. In a stroke of good common sense, Chuwi does not include crappy quality headphones in this package. They opted to not include any at all. Great… I’ll just use the nice ones I have laying about already. The stereo speakers are respectably loud and have decent sound quality, but these aren’t the Beats Audio speakers on the HP Touchpad. Not sure why they’re set to portrait orientation when everything else on the tablet is made for landscape. Weird. About Bluetooth... um, yeah… not so much… in fact, not at all. Don’t expect Bluetooth to be present on most inexpensive Chinese tablets like this one. Oh well, I’ll just have to use a wired headset. The tablet DOES support expansion via USB for GPS, 3G, Bluetooth, and whatnot, but those dongles kind of defeat the purpose of having a tablet.


This tablet has front and rear facing cameras… don’t expect much out of them, though. I took a couple of shots of my fat, useless cat with both cameras for your viewing pleasure (pics at top of page). What he’s doing in these photos is pretty much all he ever does. Like I said, useless. Anyhow, the front facing camera will work fine for video conferencing (with a bit of fuzziness and grainy quality) and the rear is good for some basic and low quality but clear pictures. But that’s about it. No flash or any other features on either camera. Honestly, I’d rather they have put the 2 megapixel camera up front and lost the rear camera completely in order to save some room, weight, and money. It’s nice to have them both, but they’re both strictly… “meh”.

Videos and HDMI

HDMI? Yep. That’s right. This fairly cheap tablet has HDMI output… and it’s a full sized HDMI port, so any old HDMI cable laying around works just fine. The output quality claims 2160p compatibility, but I don’t have a 2160p TV. I tried to get 2560x1440 out of my beasty 27” 1440p Cinema Display monitor, but no dice… 1080p only. I’m not surprised though, as that’s not a standardized display resolution. 1080p worked pretty well, though. It’s not the best quality in the world, but it’s actually pretty damn good.

Expect a bit of performance hit at 1080p, as the screen is literally drawing more than two and a half times the resolution of the tablet screen. That said, 1080p video played quite smooth with little lag… but it is there, occasionally. Not a bad effort. Videos on the tablet screen play just fine, even HD video. Widescreen videos display at about 1024x600, and on this tiny screen actually look quite nice if you can get past the letterbars. Really, the IPS screen is VERY well implemented on this tablet.

Who should buy this?

Again, compare this tablet to the iPad mini for the most direct size comparison. Both have the same screen resolution (this one’s sharper because it’s smaller, but the iPad mini is brighter with a little better contrast and noticeably better color replication), both are close to the same size, both are really portable and great for web browsing and reading. The iPad mini is certainly faster and will last twice as long on a charge, but this tablet costs about a third of the cheapest Apple device. And it’s expandable to 48 GB total, if storage is a concern. Again, weigh the cost vs. performance issues. If cost isn’t a concern, get the iPad mini. But understand that this is certainly the nicest 7 inch XGA android tablet on the market… and it really does do a good job at pretty much everything except photos and is only slightly lagging in battery life. This is really a steal for such an awesome little device. I can’t wait to see what comes out of China in 2013!

Chuwi V7 Extreme Specs

  • 7-inch XGA IPS LCD screen
  • 1024 x 768 pixel resolution (183 ppi)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage (about 13 available)
  • MicroSD/TF card slot for cards up to 32GB
  • Front 0.3 megapixel and rear 2.0 megapixel cameras. No flash.
  • 1.2 GHz Allwinner Boxchip A13, Cortex A8
  • Android 4.0.4
  • Dual Speaker, headphone jack, mini-usb sync/charge, 5V dc input, HDMI
  • 4000 Mah Battery life: 6-7 hours (really about 4-5 hours)
  • Dimensions: 7.2" x 5.6" x 0.35" (184x143x9 mm)
  • Weight: 12.3 ounces (349 grams)
  • Price: $95-$105 USD plus shipping

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