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January 24, 2012

Ainol Novo 7 Paladin Review

A 7-inch Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet for under Php6,000 sounds too good to be true by the Ainol Novo 7 Paladin has landed and is now the cheapest Android ICS tablet in the market. Check out our full review after the jump.

Ainol is almost an unheard of tablet brand in the Philippines but in some markets (like China), they’re doing really well by introducing affordable yet first-to-market devices. The Novo 7 Paladin is one of them, probably the first and only Android ICS tablet in the local market right now.

Android Ice Cream Sandwich provides a strong brand-influence on a product it is installed on and considering there are very few devices in the market that runs on ICS (Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the older Google Nexus S), having one of the very first ICS tablets out certainly gets a lot of attention.

The Novo 7 Paladin looks pretty plain and simple, comes in a 7-inch form factor with a matte-black finish all over. The device is made up plastic yet still feels solid and firm, even has that attention to detail which doesn’t make it look like a cheap knock-off.

The Paladin isn’t that thin (12mm) but not much thicker than an iPhone 4 either. At the leftmost corner of the topside sits the Power button. Beside that is a physical Back button and the Menu Button (a strange addition to an ICS tablet considering it’s supposed to work without any physical buttons at all).

On the left side is where the volume control is situated along with the mini-USB port for data and charging, a microSD card slot and a pinhole for the mic and another one for the Reset button. The 3.5mm audio jack is also there. There no option for a 3G SIM slot, no front and rear cameras as well as GPS.

So I got so curious as to what type of hardware is inside the Novo 7 Paladin that it can handle Android ICS out of the box.

Ainol Tab Novo 7 Paladin specs:
7-inch capacitive display @ 800×480 pixels
Ingenic JZ4770 Xburst 1GHz
Vivante GC860 GPU
512M RAM
1GB ROM
8GB internal storage
up to 16GB via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Li-Ion 4000mAh battery
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Surprisingly, the specs aren’t that impressive yet ICS runs on the tablet nicely — a 1GHz processor and a measly 512MB RAM (just 335MB to be exact). That’s almost within the vicinity of the specs of the Samsung Galaxy S which will not be getting ICS according to Samsung (TouchWiz is said to be the culprit on that one).

The screen of the tablet isn’t one of the best we’ve seen — a typical TFT display with a low resolution of just 800×480 pixels. At just 160 pixels per inch, you will definitely see the individual pixels on the screen. The display is bright but not very crisp. You’re looking at a similar screen quality as the ones used in the Archos and Arnova tablets.

Android 4.0 ICS runs fairly smooth on the Novo 7 Paladin. There’s not much noticeable lags while the CPU and GPU offers enough power to run the apps and games just fine. Either ICS isn’t really that heavy on the hardware or it even provides some sort of bump in the performance, efficiency and over-all user-experience of the device.

Was able to play Spider-Man HD decently although some of the animations seemed a bit choppy at times. I also noticed some tearing in the graphics but nothing that would ruin the game experience. Ainol also claims the tablet can play 1080p full HD videos and while that is true, the playback isn’t very smooth (didn’t have any problem watching 720p videos though).

We’ve already provided you with a comprehensive walkthrough of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich before but feel free to read over that article again here. In hindsight, has this tablet ran on an Android 2.3 Gingerbread, I would not have been as impressed.

While the Nova 7 Paladin promises up to 6 hours of movie playback on a single full charge, I only notice around 5 hours or so. It lasts a bit longer, around 2 hours more, when just connecting to the web via WiFi.

And since the screen resolution is a bit low, videos don’t look as good on its screen. The audio speaker is also found at the back and doesn’t offer enough volume if you want to watch movies or TV series on the tablet (prepare to have an earphone with you).

Over-all, battery life is decent but not that great when you compare it with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus or the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Quadrant Standard benchmark gave the Novo 7 Paladin a score of only 800, just a few points below the Galaxy S which.

What’s a bit confusing with the Ainol tablet is that it’s packaged for the Chinese market so you’ll have to deal with the tons of apps in Chinese (you’ll probably end up deleting all of them). Android Market is not also available but there’s a native Android app market pre-installed called GoMarket (claims to be the biggest 3rd-party Android software market in China).

The Ainol Nova 7 Paladin sells for about Php5,800 in online stores like WidgetCity. It’s a decent tablet that offers the most affordable Android Ice Cream Sandwich to folks looking for an entry-level tablet.

Disclosure: Widget City provided us with this Ainol Novo 7 Paladin review unit. Widget City is also a display banner advertiser on this blog.

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26 Responses to “Ainol Novo 7 Paladin Review”

  1. Fordie says:

    Sir Abe, sana when the Ainol Novo 7 Elf comes out you can give a review din. Balita ko kasi daw, mas maganda yun sa Paladin.

  2. reader says:

    Caveat to all who are interested in this tablet…. Since it has a MIPS CPU, a good deal of Android Apps out there will not run on it.

    Most android apps in the Android market are compiled to run on an ARM based CPU.

    The Novo 7 Elf and Aurora models which will be out on Feb will sport a front camera and will have an ARM based CPU. The Aurora will also have an IPS display (similar to the iPad2). So these tablets might be a better buy than the Paladin.

    One last thing, the Android marketplace is not available for any of Paladin, Elf, or Aurora. Only way to get it in to the tablet is to root your device and have marketplace installed. Of course, there are alternative marketplace out there you can use (i.e. GetJar, SlideMe, AndAppstore, etc….). Make sure you have an antivirus software installed before you check the alternative market places. These sites have less security controls when checking for malware on published apps.

  3. Kapeng Salaan says:

    For under 6k? compare sa mga tablets na worth more than 20k? which btw could get me a descent netbook or laptop, I’d prefer this instead, a glorified media player-internet tablet-ebook reader in one, fair specs, i won’t be playing games on this gadget tho, desktop pc pa rin, I don’t need the camera for the tablet too, so this works for me.

  4. garz says:

    A nice tablet for kids.

    btw, i think you meant Google Nexus S, not Samsung Sexus S.

  5. garz says:

    oh man, typo.. ^

  6. kimkae77 says:

    great tablet for its price..
    able to run talking tom / ben and other arm compatible apps with the use of magic code from XDAdevelopers..

    my first ics expereience not bad.

  7. jorgelendeborg
    Twitter: jorgelendeborg
    says:

    this one is great and it is actually a great tablet — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30c_NaKFXhc

  8. Edwin C says:

    Entry-level tablet – ibig sabihon di ka-afford ng mamahalin na tabs ang bibili nito. Bisaya ka, dong?

  9. tracernet says:

    can its browser run websites with Adobe Flash?

  10. SnowBear says:

    Right, get a decent camera to get a decent shot.

  11. Hi. I have online stores in multiply, sulit and tipidPC. I would like to sell the Ainol line of tablets. Would you know who the Philippine distributor is? Also their contact numbers? Thanks a lot.

    • tin cabzh says:

      try EGL search it on sulit website he has a physical store.. i am looking forward to buy one :)

  12. jerico says:

    HI guys, san ako makakabili netong tab na to? tinignan ko yung widgetcity witch is ipapadala pa, san po yung ibang pwede? nakita ko din sa widgetcity na pwede sila puntahan sa address nila?

  13. ensaymadaaa says:

    i bought the novo elf version and wow. ainol hands down. functionality and value for money. marunong ka lang dapat magtweak para maging ok sya hehe.

  14. John says:

    nice may ainol novo 7 elf na at may PLAY store na siya, pakireview naman mga sir oh,

  15. Marc Albert says:

    maganda ba 2ng ainol novo?? want ko kc bumili n2 san nakakabili???

  16. queen says:

    sir meron din ba kayong review for KATA android tablet..?? maganda din ba yun?/ nakita ko lang kasi sa isang sikat na mall nag titinda sila ng ganung brand.. i hope meron din kayong review for that.. thanks

  17. jexuiq_05 says:

    sa mga nagiisip bumili ng ainol, check nyo screenshots ng elf ko hehe. theme it with ADW Launcher and flash some custom roms and you have a device worth more than your $150 ;)

    http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/32483-post-your-homescreens-and-app-screenshot/

    http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/32485-what-to-do-with-your-newly-bought-ainol-elf/

    ok ang elf pramis. pero ngayon hinihintay ko na ung dual core na lalabas sa may for $150 ulet hehe.

  18. Mel says:

    Sir Abe i need something cheap that could play videos and i can read ebooks, is this a good choice?

  19. gerald says:

    …sir abe,panu po ba ang proper na pagchacharge sa cherry mobile paladin,naka turn on ba or turn off,kc kung naka turn off walng lumalabas na details na ung tab ay ngchacharge…can u help me sir…need ur answer ASAP…thank u…

  20. gerald says:

    sir abe…panu po ung proper na pagchacharge ng cherry mobile paladin…naka turn on ba or na katurn off?kc po pag chinacharge ko na nakaturn off wala pong lumalabas na details na ung pad is charging…need ur reply ASAP…Thank U….

  21. penda says:

    what? no camera?

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Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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