Can a $150 tablet be any good? We recently had a chance to spend some quality time with the Ainol Novo 7 Elf, and, we must say, for the price, it’s an excellent tablet.
Almost everything is made in China these days. The combination of low cost resources and cheap labor seems to be an irresistible draw for most companies in the tech industry. Hot out of the furnace of an industrialized and modernized China, rises an unlikely competitor in the tablet arena. One that seeks to provide acceptable quality products at affordable prices. All that without the “bleeding edge” factor of high end products.
Ainol is a Chinese company, and when we heard that our friends at The Taken Shop were stocking some Ainol Novo 7 tablets, I jumped at the chance to do a review for all of you. Can cheap tablets really be good? Let’s see.
It is surprising that this device is fast and smooth, considering it’s powered by a single core Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. Frankly, it worked just like any dual-core tablet out there, except for an expected processor bottleneck when doing some more serious multitasking. The stock ROM is decent, and packs a punch. It’s equipped with the full Google services set, but the guys at The Taken Shop said that they could root your device and install a pure Google ROM instead. That’s pretty useful, since Chinese OEMs often struggle with poor software implementation.
Unlike other China-made tablets, the Ainol Novo 7 comes with 1GB DDR3 RAM and a powerful Mali 400 GPU. That looks very impressive on paper, but it turns out average in real life. App switching is brilliant, but that CPU bottleneck does little for power users.
On the media side, the Novo 7 Elf puts many other tablets to shame as it plays 1080p videos perfectly – surprising, since the tablet’s display is a 1024×600 resolution. There’s no noticeable lag, and it’s a great entertainment device. Casual gaming is great on this tablet, though high-end 3D gaming will leave much to be desired.
On its own, the display is fitting for daily use. It’s sharp and crisp, but the LCD falters in direct sunlight, but it’s not like you’ll use a tablet under the sun that much. The tablet’s screen is vibrant enough for web surfing and entertainment.
The Ainol Novo 7 Elf only comes with WiFi. There’s no Bluetooth. There’s no 3G. If WiFi is all you need, then that’s great. You’ll either find yourself enjoying the simplicity of it, or you’ll be scrambling around for an internet connection. The bundled on-the-go USB cable does help a lot, though. There’s a 3.5mm jack for audio, as well as mini usb support and mini HDMI support.
The Novo 7 Elf has a basic 8GB internal storage, with about 5.8 GB of free storage. However, it supports a micro SD on the side of the tablet that lets you bump up the storage capacity with up to an additional 16GB.
This is one tablet without the extras. There’s no rear camera for any photography, which I must say is the right track. I think that’s it’s not practical nor fun to shoot photos and videos on a tablet. That’s what your smartphone is for. Instead, the Chinese were smart enough to incorporate a 2MP front facing camera that’s good enough for Skyping and video chatting.
Build quality & battery life
The Elf is made of plastic, which makes it quite sturdy and light. It feels great on the hands. The tablet has a non-removable 3700 mAh battery, which is great, and, considering that it’s only WiFi enabled, it does last days without needing a charge, as long as you don’t use it relentlessly for demanding games or streaming on the move.
Price and conclusion
At $184USD, this is definitely an affordable tablet for all. It’s cheap and it simply works – if you can live with the averge performance. Without a doubt, it can rival other tablets in that price range, for the Novo 7 Elf is a great first tablet for the kids that won’t leave a bid dent in your bank account.
For a limited time, you can get an additional 10% off this tablet from our buddies at the Taken Shop as well as an Androski kit. This offer is only till the 15th of April 2012. Promotional code – ANDROIDAUTHORITY
Plus, they are running a promotion that gives you a free case, worth $11. It’s great value for money considering the potential Ainol holds.
|Size and Weight:||187mm x 111mm x 12mm, 353 grams|
|Operating System:||Android v4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich|
|CPU:||AllWinner Many Core A10 1.2GHz processor|
|Memory:||1GB DDR3 RAM|
|Storage:||8GB internal storage|
|Display:||7 inch Capacitive Screen 1024×600 pixel resolution|
|Expandable Memory:||TF Card (microSD) up to 16GB|
|Camera:||Front facing 2 megapixel|
|Sensor:||3 axis Gravity Sensor|
|Connectivity:||WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 3.5mm audio, mini USB, mini HDMI|
|Battery:||3700MAh (up to 8 hours)|
Ainol Novo 7 Elf standard package comes with:
- The tablet
- Standard DC Charger
- Mini USB cable
- OTG USB cable
- Product manual & leaflet
Value Added Free Gifts:
- 1 unit of leather casing (worth RM35.00)
- 1 set of Android collectibles @ Androski Figure Pre-assembled Avatar Kit (worth RM50)
- Optional custom firmware installation, Android Market (Play Store) installation & rooting service (upon request only).