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July 21, 2012

Bmorn V99, V16 Android ICS Tablet Review

We’ve got another set of affordable Android ICS tablets on our hands — a 10-inch Bmorn V99 and the samller, 7-inch Bmorn V16. Catch our full review of these two tablets after the break.

Design and Construction

V99

The overall design of the V99 actually resembles that of the 7-incher Ainol tablets that we’ve previously reviewed. From its rounded edges down to its black shiny plastic back complete with labels which attracts fingerprints like there’s no tomorrow, the V99 is in our opinion NOVO7’s bigger brother from another mother.

A quick tour on the tablet’s sides will reveal a total of 5 shiny silver buttons. One for Power, Home and Menu and two for the volume rocker.

Alongside the home button are a set of ports for microSD, micro-HDMI, micro-USB OTG (which I assume means On-The-Go), a regular micro-USB port, charging and two holes for Reset and Mic.

Situated laterally across the other side of the Power button is the 3.5mm audio jack.

On its back are the device logos and small labels for the corresponding ports, holes and buttons. Those labels proved helpful to ease some of the confusion brought by the 5 buttons, 5 ports and 3 holes found on the tablet.

And oh, don’t miss the inconspicuously placed 2MP camera also found at the back of the slate. Now there’s something we don’t see quite often on ChinaTabs (that didn’t sound right). Since they’re in to labeling, I just wished that they also labeled this part or put like a mark or something just to indicate that there’s a camera there.

In addition to the rear camera, the tablet also has a front-facing snapper for your camwhoring and/or video chatting pleasure.

V16

For the V16, although small, delivers more good looks compared to its older brother. It’s also curved around the edges with the front of the device is solely for the screen and a tiny front-facing camera. On the upper right of the device (on landscape) you’ll find the power button, volume rocker, and the return button. On the left is the headset jack, microphone, micro USB and micro SD card ports.

Turn it on its backside and you’ll realize why the V16 looks better. Instead of glossy black, it has an anodized metal back case in a brownish-gray finish. There you’ll find the speaker grill and a textured piece above it which to be honest, I don’t really know the purpose of. Overall, it’s thinner and looks better.

Display

The V99 sports a 9.7” LCD Capacitive Touch screen display with a screen resolution of 1024 x 768, which is what we typically get from Chinese tablets.

There’s really nothing out of the ordinary with the tablet’s screen, just the bare minimum. From watching movies to reading e-books, the V99 pretty much gets the job done indoors with plenty of room to spare thanks to its screen size. Just don’t bring it outdoors because legibility can be an issue.

For the V16 you’ll get a 7-inch, 800×480 pixel resolution, TFT capacitive display. Not exactly high-resolution so pixels are very evident.

Audio

We’re pretty disappointed with the sound output from the V99’s speaker as it is far too soft for comfortable listening. We suggest plugging a pair of earphones when you plan on listening to your tracks or watching a film with this tablet.

For the V16 I’d give the same suggestion, although the sound is very audible, it sounded like it’s coming from a tin can.

Performance

Another downside to this tablet is that it is only equipped with a single core 1.2GHz All Winner A10 processor with MALI 400 for GPU. This is the same processor used in the Ainol NOVO7 Aurora and NOVO7 Advanced II. But for its price, we really can’t expect too much. The performance out of it was rather poor as shown in the benchmark results.

Usually we use to perform three benchmark tests (AnTuTu, Quadrant Standard and NenaMark) on each device that we review but we were only able to perform Quadrant on the V99 because the device is not compatible to run AnTuTu. We’ll talk more about software compatibility later on.

For the V16, AnTutu gave it a score of 2,696, above the Sony Ericsson X10i but below the Samsung Galaxy S. Quadrant Standard gave it a score of 1,707, surprisingly scoring higher than the V99 but still placed itself at the bottom of the charts.

For NenaMark, it scored 25.7 with its Mali-400 MP GPU, beating the Samsung Galaxy S but lost to the LG Optimus 2X.

OS and UI

The Bmorn V99 originally shipped with Gingerbread. But to make it at par with its competition, the newer models will have ICS pre-installed on it. But rather than do the tablet good, we think that the OS upgrade actually made the tablet worse. This is by far the worst Ice Cream Sandwich build we’ve seen on a device.

Here’s why — there’s an intolerable lag even on the most simplest of operations. Most of the time, we try to give a slight consideration to the device that we review, especially when it comes to lag. Frankly, this tablet’s lag is off the charts. We’re not sure if it’s the hardware, software or both that causes this, but bottom line we find it too laggy.

We think that the OS is not fully optimized on the device which is evident on the indicators such as battery bar and WiFi signal. There were inconsistencies in the status being shown and the actual status. For instance, I placed my Huawei Wi-Fi hotspot directly on top of the V99 but the Wi-Fi bar is only showing 2 bars.

The V16, however, gave us a cocktail of mixed emotions. It’s not that laggy compared to the V99 but when it does, it really makes itself known. Out of my 5 games with Fruit Ninja, it stalled 2 times which forced me to exit the game and restart it. Once it became laggy but keeps on playing anyway.

Temple Run works well. Out of 5 games it only lagged once. Although the gyro doesn’t work well even after tweaking the Accelerometer coordinate system. So no tilting maneuvers on this one.

Do other stuff such browsing, social networking, movie and music playback, and it runs smoothly 95% of the time.

Virtual Keyboard

As with any other device with a big screen, typing is expected to be a breeze and Bmorn V99 shouldn’t be an exception to that. But with the OS issue that we’ve experienced, even typing can be a pain in the neck because the tablet has a bad habit of not registering keyboard taps. For the 7-incher, expect it to be a bit cramped. No lags were experienced so all keys register with perfect timing.

Camera

One of the few things that this tablet has going for it is its camera, or two cameras I should say. This is a rare feature for Chinese tablets because we’re used to seeing just one camera (front-facing) and sometimes even none. Both of the cameras in this device are 2MP. Not really the best snapper in town but should get the basic job done.

We did however encounter an issue when we used both cameras for Skype. It was erratic. Our guess is that it has something to do with the app, not being optimized for the device or it’s just the device to start with.

Nothing much to be said about the V16 as it only has a 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera. If there’s one thing to be said about it is it’s too grainy.

Battery Life

As we mentioned earlier we didn’t really have a good read on the tablet’s battery life because of the unreliable battery status being shown by the OS. So we just decided to play a bunch of movies and see how far it can go. We averaged about 2 and half 720p movies with Wi-Fi on in a single full charge, which is actually pretty decent. Here’s a screen shot of the battery status after normal use.

Notice the message Battery usage data not available at the top. You’d have to get used to that. Anyway we’re banking on this screenshot for the actual battery life but we decide to attach this just to give you a visual idea of the V99’s battery life.
For the V16, even with the 3500 mAH battery, it only lasted for almost two days with constant WiFi connectivity and 6 hours-worth of movie playback.

Hardware Configurations

Bmorn V99 specs:
9.7 TFT capacitive LCD @ 1024×768, 132ppi
1.2GHz All Winner A10 processor
Mali 400 GPU
512MB RAM
16GB internal storage
up to 16GB via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
2MP rear camera
2MP front-facing camera
Android 4.0.3
243 x 190 x 11.8mm (dimensions)

Bmorn V16 specs:
7-inch WVGA TFT capacitive display @ 800×480
Allwinner A13 1GHz processor
Mali 400 GPU
512MB RAM
8GB of internal storage
up to 16GB via microSD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
3500mAH Battery
Android 4.0.3 ICS
190 × 121 × 10mm (dimensions)
370g (weight)

Conclusion

This tablet is one of the cheapest 9.7-inch tablets we’ve seen so far. In our opinion, the Bmorn V99 will have a tough time competing against other Chinese tablets with a slightly better engine under the hood that are already out in the market.

In addition to the lacking hardware component, the ICS build on this device is by far the worse we’ve seen from a tablet to say the least. Apart from the 2 cameras and decent battery life, there’s not much going for this tablet.

With the V16’s case, we can pretty much say the same thing. Although it works it still needs a lot of improvement, especially if it wants to compete with other 7-inchers out there that can perform a lot better.

The Bmorn V99 and Bmorn V16 Android tablets are available at Widget City and are being sold at Php8,200 {here} and Php6,150 {here} respectively. But if you’re willing to shell in another grand or two, you can get a better ICS tablet.

Editor’s Note: For the purpose of this review, we decided to combine the reviews of the two tablets. Ron wrote the original review for the V99 with inputs and additional lines by Louie for the V16. – Yuga

Disclosure: Widget City is a display advertiser on this site. They also provided the products for review.


6 Responses to “Bmorn V99, V16 Android ICS Tablet Review”

  1. JM Balicano
    Twitter: JMBalicano
    says:

    I hope Widget City starts offering the new Ainol Aurora II. That one’s a dual core with 1Gb of RAM and it’s already selling quite cheaply on Sulit.

  2. Justin says:

    Nice price but very crappy hardware specs. Don’t buy this unless you want to find yourself wanting to install certain apps which won’t install on your tablet because of its hardware limitations.

  3. bong says:

    no, thank you!

  4. Edwin C says:

    Ayoko ko nga niyan.

  5. Norbert Zeck says:

    You need to upgrade to the March 2012 version and almost all the problems will be gone. Since I have upgrade its just like having a new tablet.

    http://saulmrt.de/downloads/V99_20120503.zip

    • glen says:

      im planing to buy,, do the new version will really rid all those bugs and lags that they oftenly complaining?
      tnx in advance..

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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