The PiPO X9 is a hybrid tablet/mini PC that runs both Windows 10 and Android 4.4. It also features a 1920×1200 pixel touchscreen. How good is this unique hybrid PC/tablet? Keep reading my PiPO X9 review to find out!
I want to say thanks to GearBest for sending me a sample to review.View the Latest Price
What’s Inside the Box?
PiPO have included the basics to get you started:
- 1x PiPO X9 Mini PC
- 1x 12V/3A Power Supply
- 1x Warranty Card
It’s a shame that PiPO haven’t included a HDMI cable but as the PiPO X9 technically doesn’t need one, I understand the omission.
PiPO X9 Technical Specifications
- Chipset: Intel Baytrail quad core processor with Intel HD graphics (Z3736F)
- RAM: 2 GB DDR3
- Storage: 32GB + microSD slot up to 64GB
- Video & Audio Output: HDMI, 3.5mm Audio
- Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0
- USB: 4x USB 2.0 port
- OS: Windows 10 & Android 4.4
PiPO X9 Review: Design
If you’ve seen the PiPO X8, you’ve seen the PiPO X9. The new device is essentially its predecessor enlarged.
The PiPO X9’s design is a matte black edge that’s dominated by its 8.9 inch touchscreen. There’s a Windows logo at the bottom of the screen that acts as a capacitive Windows key (or Home button in Android).
All the PiPO X9’s ports and buttons are on the back and right of the device. On the back, there’s a micro SD card slot, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a HDMI port, Ethernet and DC In.
The right side houses the power button, volume rocker, 2 additional USB 2.0 ports and the 3.5mm audio output port.
Both the left and right sides have small speakers. They’re capable of putting out decent volume but, like most small speakers, they lack bass and sound hollow.
Thanks to its high resolution and (relatively) small size, the 1920×1200 panel looks incredible. Cramming all those pixels into its 8.9 inches makes everything look razor sharp. It’s also reasonably bright too.
PiPO X9 Review: Using It
When I first plugged it in, the PiPO X9 booted automatically. You’re shown the familiar OS selection BIOS we’ve seen on other dual boot devices where you can choose to boot either Android or Windows. There’s a 10 second countdown, after which it’ll automatically boot into the last used OS. Unchecking the box in the top-left corner will hide the OS selection screen on subsequent boots.
Windows boots fast at around 12 seconds, whilst Android’s slower at around 36 seconds.
Windows 10 on the PiPO X9 works well, with the Intel Z3736F handling Microsoft’s OS with ease. Windows 10 was activated and there’s about 13GB free out of the 20.7GB Windows partition.
Windows is essentially unmodified, with PiPO only adding the WinToAnd app that allows you to boot into Android directly from Windows and reactivate the OS selection screen. A switch to Android took around 53 seconds.
The PiPO X9 features a HDMI out port and its practicality depends on the OS being used. Under Windows 10, the TV acts as a second monitor so you can mirror the displays, extend the desktop across both monitors or use only one.
Android isn’t really designed for dual monitor setups, with screen mirroring being the only option. I couldn’t find any way of disabling the integrated screen under Android. As I mentioned in my PiPO X8 review, Android’s not really designed for dual screen setups yet.
PiPO X9 Review: Android ROM
Android is essentially stock, with only the “OSSwitch” button in the notification shade added that boots you back to Windows. The Google Play Store works and Android’s rooted out of the box.
If you’ve used Android 4.4, it’s pretty much the same Android experience we’ve seen before. Interestingly, the included video app did seem to automatically switch the refresh rate and turned off the integrated screen when connected via HDMI making it a bit more friendly than normal.
The ROM did have an annoying issue where after audio played, some slight hissing could be heard for a few seconds after the audio stopped. It didn’t happen at all under Windows, so I’m suspecting it’s a bug.
PiPO X9 Review: Media Playback
Media playback was tested under Windows 10 using Kodi 15.2 via HDMI.
|Video Codec||Video Performance (Kodi 15.2)|
|1080p 3D SBS H.264||OK|
|1080p 3D ABL H.264||OK|
|1080p High Bitrate H.264||OK|
|4K 30FPS H.264||OK|
|4K 60FPS H.264||Unwatchable (Video lags behind Audio)|
|Unencrypted Bluray ISO (Sintel)||OK|
Media playback was pretty good, with only 4K 60FPS and HEVC content failing to play due to a lack of hardware decoding support on the Z3736F chip.
In Kodi, automatic framerate switching worked perfectly during testing. Deinterlacing performance was good, without any noticeable artifacts.
I’ve had a few requests to specifically test 23.976FPS content. With AFR switched on, 23.967FPS content played back without any noticeable stuttering.
5.1 audio passthrough in Kodi also worked.
PiPO X9 Review: External Storage
I didn’t have any issues watching videos from my NTFS-formatted USB thumbdrive and 2.5″ USB HDD.
PiPO X9 Review: Gaming
To test gaming performance, I installed 2 games from the Windows store – 1 2D and 1 3D title:
Both games were tested at 1080p.
Gaming performance was typical of the Z3736F. The less demanding Jetpack Joyride was nice and smooth. Beach Buggy Racing was playable at maximum settings, though lowering the graphical settings led to a much better experience. Using the internal screen saw a drop in performance due to the slightly higher resolution of the panel, typically hovering around 30 frames per second.
Gaming Controllers and Bluetooth
I connected my iPazzPort Bluetooth Keyboard via Bluetooth without issue.
My Tronsmart Mars G01 was recognized as a Xbox 360 controller and I was able to use it in Beach Buggy Racing.
PiPO X9 Review: Networking
To test out networking performance, I used iperf (iperf –t 60 -c SERVER_IP -r) to test networking bandwidth in both directions. My router is approximately 5m away, with a single wall between the router and the device. WiFi performance is heavily impacted by a number of factors so your performance may vary.
Wireless performance was reasonable, with upload and download speeds of 19.8Mb/s and 37.0Mb/s download respectively
Real world testing saw 4K video streaming without buffering from an NFS share. 1080p YouTube was fine too.
Ethernet performance was reasonable, achieving 89.9Mb/s upload and 88.3Mb/s download.
PiPO X9 Review: Benchmarks
|Ice Storm Unlimited||13109|
|Ice Storm Extreme||8572|
Benchmarking was done on the internal storage, offering solid performance.
PiPO X9 Review: Thermal Performance
Thermal performance was tested using HeavyLoad, a freeware application that simultaneously stresses the CPU and GPU. Testing was conducted using the internal screen at maximum brightness, as this situation would cause maximum heat inside the unit.
After 30 minutes, HWiNFO reported the SoC temperature as levelling off at 74°C without any throttling. Ambient temperature was 21.3°C.
PiPO X9 Review: Power Consumption
|Off||Standby||Idle||1080p30 Video in Kodi||Under Load|
Should You Get One?
The PiPO X9 is an interesting device that works well. As a mini PC, it handles Windows 10 well, multimedia playback was great and Android worked well for those who need to use Android apps. Thermal performance was solid too, which is often a concern with some mini PCs.
I found the integrated screen pretty handy in some situations, particularly as a kitchen PC for recipes or at a recent party where it acted as a music control panel.
However, the Android ROM still has a few rough edges and the screen may not be useful to some.
Ultimately, if you’re in need of an inbuilt screen, the PiPO X9 is an decent contender as a PC/tablet hybrid.
The PiPO X9 is available from Gearbest in 32GB and 64GB variants.View the Latest Price