Chuwi HiBox Hero Review: A Sub-$130 Windows 10 Mini PC

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Chuwi HiBox Hero Review 01

The Chuwi HiBox Hero is a compact mini PC that’s designed to be used as a compact home theatre PC or office PC. It’s powered by Intel’s quadcore X5-8350, runs both Windows 10 and Android and features 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. Is it any good? Keep reading my Chuwi HiBox review to find out.

Thanks to Chuwi for sending me a sample to review.

Please note that all opinions in this review are my own and not influenced by anyone. All products are thoroughly tested, with high marks given only to the very best. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. Purchasing through them helps me keep producing the content you love at no extra cost to you. Thanks for being awesome!

Key Features

  • 4K Video playback supported
  • Runs both Windows 10 and Android 5.1 for maximum flexibility
  • Quadcore Intel SoC suitable for media playback and gaming
  • Excellent Kodi support
  • Fanless design for completely silent operation – Perfect for a HTPC

Where to Buy the Chuwi HiBox Hero

The Chuwi HiBox Hero is available from GearBest and Banggood for around $150. It’s currently on sale for $130 over at GearBest for a limited time.

Check Price at GearBest

Chuwi HiBox Hero Video Review

In This Review

Chuwi HiBox Hero Technical Specifications

General

  • Product Name
    Chuwi HiBox Hero
  • Price (MSRP) Suggested Price
    150
  • Processor
    Intel X5-Z8350 Cherry Trail
  • CPU CPU
    Up to 1.84GHz
  • GPU
    Intel HD graphics
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Home/Android 5.1
  • RAM
    4GB DDR3
  • Storage
    64GB eMMC
    SD card slot (up to 128GB)
  • Other Features
    Power Button

Interfaces

  • Video Output
    HDMI 1.4
  • Audio Output
    HDMI 1.4
    3.5mm
  • Other Interfaces
    2x USB 2.0 port
    1x USB 3.0 port

Connectivity

  • WiFi
    Wireless b/g/n (2.4GHz)
  • Ethernet
    1000Mbps
  • Bluetooth
    4.0

Physical

  • Dimensions
    120x120x25mm
  • Weight
    200g

What’s in the Box?

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Inside The Box

Inside the box, you’ll get:

  • Chuwi HiBox Hero Android TV Box
  • Power Adapter
  • IR Remote
  • HDMI Cable
  • Mounting bracket
  • English User Manual

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review: Hardware

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review 04

The Chuwi HiBox features an elegant design that’s unique yet familiar. Its black case features rounded edges and unique concave side whilst remaining close to the standard design of most mini PCs.

Interestingly, the ports are located at the front and right of the unit for a change which is different.

The front panel features the SD card slot, two USB 2.0 ports and the power button.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Front

On the right side, we’ve got DC In, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI In, Ethernet, 3.5mm headphone jack and a reset button.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Right

I’m glad Chuwi included front mounted USB ports as it made it easy to quickly plug in a USB drive with movies and photos to share compared to the side-mounted ports on other devices.

However, it’s odd that the HiBox Hero has its HDMI port on the side. This makes it a little awkward in a HTPC setup unless you use a angled HDMI adapter like this one.

That said, this layout is perfect for mounting to the back of your monitor using the included VESA mount for a really tidy setup.

There’s a couple of odd things I need to mention. There’s a built-in microphone, though it only detects static. This is the same thing other reviewers have mentioned so I’m not sure if it’s a driver issue or not. 5GHz wireless isn’t supported either, despite appearing on product specs.

I was pleasantly surprised Chuwi included a wireless remote/air mouse inside the box. It doesn’t have a keyboard like some higher end air mice but getting an air mouse inside the box is fantastic.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Remote

There’s no need to even plug it in, as Chuwi have integrated the receiver directly inside the mini PC. This means there’s no dongles to fiddle with, though it does mean you can’t use the remote on other devices.

In terms of features, its got basic Android functionality, a toggle for air mouse mode and volume controls which covers 99% of uses.

Getting an air mouse inside the box is fantastic

It also works in Windows, including with apps like Kodi and Netflix, though the lack of a right-click function can be limiting occasionally.

If you’re wanting an air mouse with a full keyboard, check out my Best Air Mouse guide for my recommendations.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review: Software

The Chuwi HiBox runs both Windows 10 and Android 5.1. Chuwi have made a 9.72GB partition for Android, leaving the majority of the 64GB of internal storage to Windows which is good as I find I tend to need more Windows storage when using these mini PCs.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 is the same OS you know and love. It was a fresh install and, after the brief setup wizard, it activated without issues.

You can jump into Android via a boot menu at or using the SwitchNOW app in Windows. It’s essentially stock, with no bloat and few customisations.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Android 01

There’s no included apps or custom launchers though apps can be installed from the Google Play Store. Chuwi have also added in a shortcut in the notifications shade for switching to Windows 10 and over-the-air (OTA) updates app for updating Android.

I was actually surprised to see there was an update from November and the box automatically downloaded and installed it. The whole process was painless.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Android OTA

The Chuwi HiBox Hero isn’t not rooted out of the box, though this won’t affect most users.

Intel’s quadcore Z8350 didn’t have any issues handling both Windows and Android and the 4GB of RAM definitely helped with multitasking.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review: Media Playback

My video tests were done using Kodi 17.1 under Windows 10, playing back videos over wifi from an NFS share on my server and a USB 3.0 hard drive. Windows 10 is recommended due to its superior Kodi support compared to Android.

Overall, the Chuwi HiBox Hero’s video playback was solid.

The Chuwi Hibox Hero’s video playback was solid

Most videos played back flawlessly and the more powerful chipset allows for software decoding of many video samples that trip up Android boxes I’ve tested.

Automatic framerate switching worked flawlessly under Windows for smooth playback of all videos.

CodecVideo Performance (Kodi 17.1)
1080p 3D SBS H.264
1080p 3D ABL H.264
1080p24 H.264
1080p High Bitrate H.264
1080p60 H.264
720p50 H.264
1080i25 H.264
4K 30FPS H.264
4K 60FPS H.264
1080p24 HEVC
4K 30FPS 8-bit HEVC
4K 30FPS 10-bit HEVC
1080p VP8
720p Hi10p
1080p Hi10p
1080p MPEG2
1080p VC1
Unencrypted Bluray ISO (Sintel)

5.1 Audio Passthrough

Dolby Digital 5.1 passthrough via HDMI worked without issues in Kodi 17.1 after being enabled in settings.

Netflix

Netflix works well on the Chuwi HiBox Hero via the Netflix Windows 10 app at full HD.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review: Gaming Performance

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Asphalt 8

To test gaming performance, I installed 3 games, 1 2D and 2 3D titles:

Gaming performance was decent thanks to the Z8350’s improved GPU. Beach Buggy Racing and Jetpack Joyride were flawless, though Asphalt 8 did show sub-30fps framerates when maxed out, though lowering the settings improved things dramatically.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Beach Buggy Racing

Gaming Controllers and Bluetooth

I used my GameSir G4S (read my review) via the 2.4GHz wireless dongle without any issues, with Windows 10 detecting it as an Xbox 360 controller.

Thermal Performance

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review Stress Testing

Stressing the Chuwi Hibox Hero using HeavyLoad for 30 minutes saw temperatures max at out 83℃ without any thermal throttling. Ambient temperature was 22℃.

This left 7℃ of headroom so Chuwi’s fanless cooling setup is ok though I wish it ran cooler.

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review: Benchmarks

Should You Buy the Chuwi HiBox Hero?

Chuwi HiBox Hero Review 02

The Chuwi HiBox Hero is a great Windows 10 mini PC that offers a surprising amount of utility for under $130 despite the odd port layout.

From media playback in Kodi to general web browsing and watching YouTube, the Chuwi HiBox Hero performed well. Being able to move between Windows 10 and Android depending on your needs sweetens the deal.

If you’re looking for a compact mini PC, take a look at the Chuwi HiBox Hero.

Pros

  • Solid price/performance ratio
  • Includes Air Mouse and Mounting Bracket
  • Running both Windows and Android offers maximum flexibility

Cons

  • Awkward side-mounted HDMI ports
  • Thermal performance could be better
  • No 5GHz wireless (despite advertised)

Where to Buy the Chuwi HiBox Hero

The Chuwi HiBox Hero is available from GearBest and Banggood under $150.

Check Price at GearBest

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
7
Features
8
Performance
8
Usability
7
Value
8
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Michael is a technology expert with over 10 years of experience in IT, Home Theatre and Automation. Feel free to send Michael a message here.
  • Hi Jonathan,

    Have you enabled HDMI passthrough in Kodi under Settings?