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I promise you that the Pipo X9 is unlike any device you’ve seen before. It transcends labels and attempts to carve a niche, but is it a niche that anyone will want? Read on as we find out.

The Pipo X9 is available now with free shipping for under $130 from GearBest.com; and at the end of this review, we’ve got one to giveaway to one lucky reader. Be sure to watch the video to get some additional entries into the competition!

Design and Specifications

There’s no denying it: this is a weird one. Looking more like a kiosk or terminal than a tablet or laptop, the Pipo is a hybrid device, designed to sit on a table or work surface, angled slightly downwards towards the user as a wedge. This is awkward to use when sitting for long periods of time, but that isn’t really the use case for it.

The screen is 8.9″ LCD multi-touch, running at slightly higher than HD 1920 x 1200 resolution, powered by Intel HD graphics. It neither stands out to me as amazing, nor substandard. Although heavy screen glare can be seen in the photos and video, it’s not as bad in actual usage when viewing from head on.

pipo x9 - design

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Inside you’ll find an Intel Atom Z3736F quad core processor (up to 1.83GHz burst), and 32gb or 64gb of internal storage (we tested with 32gb; the 64gb model comes in at just under $150), as well as 2gb of RAM, and expandable micro-SD storage.

The specs are nothing remarkable, but neither is it an underpowered device by any means. Physically it’s 630g, and takes up a desk space of roughly 15x22cm, with the screen elevated 6cm at the rear.

pipo x9 - rear ports

For connectivity, you’ll find a wide selection of options. It features Wi-Fi speeds up 802.11n, and a 10/100 Ethernet port – the preferable option for more reliable media playback and streaming. Neither of these are the latest generation though: the Wi-Fi isn’t AC (do you need an AC router? Should You Buy A Wireless 802.11ac Router? Should You Buy A Wireless 802.11ac Router? 802.11ac promises blistering speeds, but many consumers are just now getting around to upgrading to 802.11n, leaving many to wonder if the new version is worthwhile. Read More ), and the Ethernet port would ideally be Gigabit speed, but isn’t.

A total of 4 USB2.0 can be found on the side and rear (no USB3.0); an SD card slot for additional storage; an HDMI out; and a headphone socket. That’s more ports than you’ll ever need, and it’s easy to imagine how funny the device would look on your kitchen countertop with everything possible plugged in. You’ll definitely want to use either the headphones or HDMI playback for audio, as the built-in speaker is horrendous. It’s fine for interface sounds, but it’s a small driver and echoes around the internals, leading to a horribly muffled sound that any modern smartphone could surpass in quality and volume, easily.

pipo x9 - right ports 2

It’s also worth pointing out the huge Wi-Fi antenna sticking out the rear. It’s kind of ugly, and entirely unnecessary in a world where a 4-inch smartphone can neatly fold a capable antenna completely within its casing. I might forgive the antenna if it came with a faster Wi-Fi chip, but it doesn’t. You can fold it down so it’s somewhat out of the way, but it can’t be unscrewed.

Another minor complaint is the reversed volume buttons: for some odd reason, the button furthest from you is volume down. It’s labelled correctly, but not intuitive.

No Battery

Let’s get this one out of the way quickly: it needs to be plugged in at all times. For that reason, although it has a tablet-like interface and touchscreen, it’s probably not fair to compare this fully to a portable tablet device. It seems like there’s room inside for a battery, but alas, there isn’t. The supplied DC power adapter also has a remarkably short lead of around 1 meter.

That’s not to say this detracts from the device’s function – this simply isn’t designed to go on your lap and be carried around. With USB accessories plugged in and and HDMI cable attached, portability isn’t a factor you’ll be looking for in the Pipo X9 – if you want a portable device, just get an actual tablet. That said, a small battery charge would have been appreciated for those moments when your kid pulls it off the countertop, and other such first world problems. You could also connect this to a large external battery pack Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway We tested the Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh external battery pack with automatic solar charging. Read More if you were desperate for something portable.

Android Performance

Upon booting the device, you’re given a choice of OS, defaulting to a 10 second timer for the last used option. Running Android 4.4 with no indication of a pending update, the Android experience is none the less pure and relatively snappy.

But in a world where Android 6.0 (“Marshmallow”) is rolling out shortly, the inclusion of such an old version is worrying – 4.4 was released at the tail end of 2013, though it’s still the most widely used version of Android, on around 40% of devices. I can forgive the lack of updates to my Karaoke machine that just happens to be built on Android; it’s primary function is the Karaoke subsystem, not the latest Android OS, after all. Hack that and you might just find out my vocal high score (which I suspect is a random number generator anyway) and my most popular tunes to belt out. But on a tablet hybrid designed for everyday general use, the lack of updates it’s a little disconcerting, and may open up a number of security holes.

pipo x9 android performance

Antutu scores the device at around 35,000; the same as a mid range smartphone, or a little below that of a Samsung Note 4. Not outstanding, but certainly not bad either. I’m happier using Android on this than Windows, for certain.

Windows 10 Performance

You can boot quickly in Windows from either the initial boot menu, or a custom shortcut in the Android system pulldown.

Performance in Windows 10 is less than stellar, but about what you might expect from a $150 device. It’s better than my HP Stream 7, which has yet to see more than a few hours of use, but that’s not saying an awful lot.

Launching applications can be painfully slow; in one case, I managed to open 10 copies of an install, thinking I’d tapped wrongly. This is endemic to the Windows experience on any tablet though, as the activity light you’d normally have on a desktop PC is absent, which would typically serve to tell you “something is going on, just wait, ok?”. After about 20 seconds, they all launched at once.

Running in desktop mode, I had trouble hitting the tap target for smaller interface elements, but you can switch back to tablet mode simply enough, and it’s nice to have the option. You can of course plug in a mouse and keyboard for finer control.

There’s no bloatware installed, either, but you will find a single non-descript app on the desktop called “PCtoAnd”, which is a shortcut to reboot in Android mode.

pipo x9 windows 10 closeup-1

I can’t see myself using Windows 10 that often, but I’m still glad it’s there. It’s important to know that this is a full desktop version of Windows 10, not an RT-style “sorry, App-Store only and here’s a fake desktop” disaster Microsoft Surface Tablet Review and Giveaway Microsoft Surface Tablet Review and Giveaway The Surface tablet is a flagship Microsoft product -- its first foray into the tablet market as a hardware manufacturer. It’s almost as locked-down as the iPad - the only applications you can install and... Read More . You can run anything designed for Windows; you can download Chrome; you can install whatever you like. If you have a mission critical Windows application that you absolutely must run in the kitchen, this device is for you.

PCMark was less forgiving of performance; scoring just over 1000, or half that of a 2013 “Office PC”. Again, that’s not bad at all for something this small and cheap, but it does serve to how highlight empiracally how unsatisfying the Windows experience on the Pipo X9 may be.

pcmark - pipo x9

In general use the interface is comfortable enough, though trying to stream a game through Steam In-Home Streaming Steam In-Home Streaming Now Available To Everyone Steam In-Home Streaming Now Available To Everyone Steam In-Home Streaming, a feature that allows users to broadcast their games from one computer in their home to another, is now available for all Steam users to use. Read More was quite laggy over the wireless connection – you’ll need to use the wired Ethernet if you plan to do anything like streaming over a home network.

pipo x9 - overview

Is it a TV Box? Is it a Tablet? Is it a Kiosk?

It’s a little bit of everything, and that’s either going to be it’s greatest downfall or a really unique selling point.

Personally, I think this’ll sit beautifully in the kitchen – as a general use machine for reading recipes or watching the news while I make breakfast; as a home automation controller to quickly check in on how the house is doing; as a media player to drive a small TV on the wall so we can watch Netflix over dinner.

pipo x9 - kitchen utility

As an dedicated Android or Windows tablet (if you absolutely must), I couldn’t really recommend the Pipo X9 – there are simply better devices to perform that single function, and they come with a battery, too.

But combined: as a tablet/kiosk/media centre that can dual boot between a full version of Windows 10 and a reasonably fast Android experience? Well, that it does admirably. Buy yours now from GearBest.com.

The real question is: how many people are going need something that does all that?

Our verdict of the Pipo X9:
A curious device that nails a couple of use cases, but not much else.
710

Pipo X9 Mini-PC Tablet Giveaway

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.

  1. Aaron
    June 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Out of the box, my X9 would not boot into Android mode. No biggie.

    When I launched Windows, I noticed that a lot of my 64GB of storage was being used. No bloatware... where did it go? Well, the image they used was from Windows 8 that they upgraded to Windows 10 -- and kept the old files. (You can use disk cleanup function to remove the old files.) There were also about 10 partitions on the eMMC drive.

    Creating a restore USB drive and restoring the entire computer to Windows 10 was fast and painless. Now I have a Windows 10-only box, but it works perfectly and I have all the storage I paid for.

    While the processor is a quad-core Atom, it ain't fast by any means. The eMMC drive is relatively slow, but even CPU-bound applications are kind of laggy. It does what it needs to and little more. Keep your expectations low and this box will exceed them.

  2. philipc
    January 20, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I recently received the X8 device. Using it as Home Theater PC. Windows 10 was functional, but frustrating. I turned of Essentials, loaded the free Malware bytes, and then paid for Webroot. It was unbelievable how much CPU/Memory was being taken by Essentials. Also purchased dual computer fans (usb power) that came with 1/4" rubber feet to keep the bottom cool. Very usable device now, and enjoying it.

  3. Ronny
    January 15, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Where can i find the "wintoandroid" exe-file as a downloadable file or can you peer it for us? The Problem: i have reinstall windows 10 from the image of the device but over windows settings and not over the pipo x9 setzp routine.

  4. alienor
    December 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    hi everyone
    I buy the 32gb, it's really pleasant to use, but I have a problem to connect it to my pc, on android
    I did all needed, I tried the 4 usb ports but nothing work, so I can copy files from my computer to the pipox9
    please excuse my language, I'm french :-)
    take care

    • apat
      April 15, 2016 at 9:14 am

      hello,
      I have the same problem.
      did you find a way to transfer files?

  5. Rick
    December 25, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Does this have a moniter port for use with an old moniter?

    • James Bruce
      December 25, 2015 at 5:46 pm

      Nope, HDMI only. You could buy an adaptor, but then you're just better off buying somethign else for the same cost.

  6. Atanas Palavrov
    December 15, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Got mine few weeks ago and really love it!
    It sits on my desktop always in android mode as companion device for:
    - email, im, facebook
    - spotify, casual games
    ... i.e. everything that distracts me so I can dedicate my MacBook to my job
    What it lacks:
    - camera & microphone - i.e. I can't use that for conferencing - not a stop problem but is something that will make me really happy especially if it is bundled with an old fashioned phone handset to become really nice desktop tool - imagine a desktop phone with 8" FullHD touch screen and Android on it.
    - small battery would be nice too

  7. Peter
    November 21, 2015 at 5:18 am

    pepipopum will love to get it

  8. Mark Bunds
    October 29, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I ordered the 64GB X8 out of curiosity, and expected that it would turn out to be another garbage gimmick, but I was very surprised at how good it actually is.

    My X8 runs Windows 10 very well; so well in fact that I ordered the X9.

    All of the Microsoft Office applications open very quickly, although with only 2 GB RAM one wouldn't expect to be able to open too many programs or extra-large spreadsheets.

    Maybe there was something wrong with the X9 that MakeUseOf received for review?

    • James Bruce
      October 29, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Could be. I'm playing with the Voyo V2 at the moment which is almost identical in specs but no touchscreen, and it runs a lot snappier than this did. I assumed the difference was the overhead of the touchscreen, but maybe Windows 10 was stealing my bandwidth and processing messages for the NSA in the background while I was doing the testing :)

  9. Donovan Burns
    October 21, 2015 at 3:27 am

    This looks like it was made for a food truck to used as a cash register. I'd still want one.

  10. John Watson
    October 20, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Lots of features, but does it blend?.

  11. Daniel Perez
    October 20, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    For some reason the code for bonus video entries doesn't work. The video shows Pipo x9 but the entry space only types PIPO X9.

    • James Bruce
      October 20, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      That's not the entry code. Please watch the whole video!

  12. Christopher Wetmore
    October 20, 2015 at 11:43 am

    In case anyone monitors this, the share for Twitter has no link.

    • James Bruce
      October 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Well that's odd, thanks Christopher.

    • James Bruce
      October 20, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Are you sure? I clicked that entry, and it tweeted, with the link. If you hover over the Tweet underlined bit, it shows the text that will be sent.

      • Christopher Wetmore
        October 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm

        Very odd. It worked the second time I tried it this round.

  13. Peter Dunkelberger
    October 20, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Why all of the pics with this thing outside when it always has to be plugged in? Talk about deceptive advertising.

    • James Bruce
      October 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Lol, I get better light outside and I like the contrast with the grass.

  14. Baldo Sanfilippo
    October 20, 2015 at 11:02 am

    liked and shared

  15. John Everett
    October 20, 2015 at 3:56 am

    I hesitate to comment on this thing because I might somehow win one.

    Why would anyone get this when you can just get (or make) a little tilt-stand for any old tablet?

    I have been thinking of making a wall frame that I can slide my Ipad into so we can watch Youtube while eating. That would be a great way to avoid further interaction with the other humans!

  16. Michael Lang Waller
    October 20, 2015 at 3:18 am

    I can see this as a kitchen device while washing dishes or cooking, use your Bluetooth headphones to listen to music or stream a video, display recipes while cooking, making phone calls through Skype or other communications apps to name a few, but I don't see going out to buy when you can get a tablet. I do see a possible market for the older users that are not online or as tech savvy as the general public, inexpensive, low learning curve, stable base, and angled for a person not able or willing to carry a tablet or laptop.

  17. James Van Damme
    October 20, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Get rid of Windows, put Linux and Kodi on it, you have a controller for your TV.

  18. alfred chan
    October 20, 2015 at 2:13 am

    No people like this piece does all in one? :)

  19. Kelsey Tidwell
    October 20, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Wow. If that's not the wallflower at the Senior Prom, taped glasses and powder blue tux with ruffles at the neck, standing over to the side with a punch-red mustache...I don't know what is.

    Many features which each alone on a phone or tablet wouldn't really kill the fun factor, but all Frankensteined together? Kind of makes me think of something a Back to the Future movie filmed in 2007, predicting what we'd be using today, would look like.

  20. thrtk3
    October 20, 2015 at 1:35 am

    People would say Ya, that is something weird you would have.

  21. alfred chan
    October 19, 2015 at 2:51 am

    Its something different!! Like it.

    • Nikhil Narkhede
      October 19, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Nice and cool .

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