Monday, January 18, 2010

Chuwi P7L Touch Screen, 1080P Telechips PMP Review

Chuwi P7L Touch Screen, 1080P Telechips PMP Review


The Chuwi P7L is a PMP that uses the new Telechips processor, the same processor that is being used in quite a few other players like the RAmos T11TE, but the P7L is priced significantly less than the T11TE. The Telechips processor is quite powerful and is new to the Chinese media player scene, but it is making waves and is being quickly adopted by many manufacturers and after using this player i can certainly understand why they are turning to this media processor.

Packing, build quality and hardware:

The packing of the P7L is very simple and compact, it comes with standard accessories such as usb cable, manual and earphones. It doesn’t come with a wall charger (although one is available) and it doesn’tcome with an HDMI cable.


The build quality of the player is best described as budget, although the body design and size resembles that of the Nationite OS-72HR, but unlike the OS-72HR, the P7L body is made of plastic and quite noticeable too. It also has a very slim profile, thinner than most players and thinner than the T11TE. It does have a balanced weight and overall is not very heavy, however the nice design, slim profile and nice weight doesn’t take away from the rather cheapish feel of the plastic body.


The player also has a built in HDMI port which allows you to connect the player to your TV (more on this later), it also has a microsd slot, i have been able to use a 16GB class 6 microsd card by Toshiba and it has worked fine. This does expand the max 8GB internal memory upto an additional 16GB (24GB total). The player has a standard USB slot, which can be used for charging, but it also has an independent power slot that you can use with a wall charger (not included as a standard accessory). It also supports USB OTG.


The player has a 4.3″ screen, sporting a standard 480 x 272 resolution. There seems to be a growing epidemic that many Chinese pmp’s have these day, poor viewing angles, this player is no exception. diverging more than 30 degrees in any angle from the screen makes images look washed out or colors invert to give a negative type of image. I can’t really say that this is purely due to Chuwi cutting corners to save on money as there are more expensive players on the market with the same problem. The screen won’t win any awards, but it does its job well enough that you can still comfortable view what’s on the screen.

Resting atop of the screen is the resistive touch panel, i think Chuwi must have sourced their touch panel from 2 years in the past as i haven’t seen this type of evenly spaced dotted panel since the Onda VX858. Needless to say the touch screen isn’t the strongest point of this player, its would probably rate a 4 or 5 out of 10 for its sensitivity. The lack of sensitivity may also be in part due to the firmware and this may improve with updates (i stress may).

User interface, audio and video playback:


The user interface is built on an Adobe flash based platform, this should have given developers the room to put together a fairly interactive UI, the P7L again has interaction, but on the budgetary level. It is similar to the T11TE, but it lacks just about all the bells and whistles that the T11TE UI has. This UI will allow you to do the bare basics - watch videos, listen to music, read eBooks and change settings. Don’t expect to get this and hope to dazzled by how the UI works, you won’t. Just a note on scrolling through files, the UI does allow for kinetic scrolling, but it doesn’t work very well, i think it’s due to the touch screen lacking sensitivity.


The player does have a Wolfson WM8740 audio dac, so the audio quality can be considered above average, but sadly the players music UI is so basic that borders or the literally useless. I won’t sugar coat it, the player can’t even sort by ID3, its basically purely directory browsing and the only options that the music player has is ‘random, play all or play one’, it doesn’t even have basic eq options.


Now you’re probably at the stage thinking whats good about this player, well ladies and gents it’s the ability to play just about any freaking video file you can throw at it - Seriously! This plays 1080p DTS blueray rips, 720p h.264 MP4 files, MKV with DTS soundtracks, AVI files that are 1280x720 or even higher! The telechips processor is just a video playback gem. It even plays a demo TS file thats about a two minutes long and about 500mb in size.

I am amazed at how well this chip can play video files. I was not able to find a single video file that would not play perfectly, this is the first time that none of my sample files played even the slightest jerky or out of sync. It even supports subtitles and dual audio tracks!

Well it’s great that it can support all these high res video files, but for convenience sake you probably won’t want to load 2GB video files on a 8GB player, as you wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference between a video in 1080p resolution and that of a video in 480x272 or higher resolution, on the players screen. However, it does matter when you turn this player into a TV media player when you connect it up via the HDMI cable to your TV.


The TV out on this is probably the only feature that was thought through properly. Unlike other players that have HDMI out any other sort of TV connection, the P7L has its own separate UI that’s displayed on the TV. Essentially the player really does becomes like a stand alone media player like the HDVP-1. The UI is quite simple, with some options (like change video aspect ratio, brightness and contrast), but for the most part it works well enough for you to choose and watch videos. The player supports 720p and 1080p TV out, so your 1080p videos actually output as 1080p.

The player also supports USB OTG (comes with an OTG cable) so you can hook up external hard drives and play your movies from those devices through the P7L onto your TV.

When you consider that this can play just about any video file, even those with DTS or AC3 audio tracks, you quickly realize that this is actually quite a sweet video player and for its low price, its certainly a player that worth every bang for your buck. The main downside of using this as a media player for your TV is that you’re stuck using the crappy remote that comes with the player for navigation.

The bottom line:

The Chuwi P7L is a good video player with a basic touch screen navigation - that’s all it is, those looking to get this should ONLY purchase it for its video playback ability, the TV out is a plus but may not be what every potential user will actually use. I certainly think the P7L is a good deal considering that other players using the same chip and with the same limitations and fundamentally the same UI, cost almost USD$60 more. The P7L is a good buy for video playback.

(Via MP4 Nation Blog.)

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