What can you buy these days with a hundred dollars? Not much some people would answer, but you can get the Ainovo Novo7 Basic which is probably the most affordable Android ICS-running tablet on the market today. For the money you’re paying you get support for full HD video playback through HDMI, along with a pretty decent battery life and a bunch of games. However, it’s far from being perfect since in order to keep this price tag the manufacturer had to do a lot of compromising.
When you first look at it you’ll probably say that this is an overweight Samsung Galaxy Tab as it has a boxier look. After just a few minutes of playing around with the tablet you will immediately notice the cheap materials used while manufacturing this device. The front of the tablet is occupied by the seven-inch display which is bordered by a black bezel. As for the rest of the Ainovo Novo7 Basic, we notice a matte white plastic which won’t win any beauty awards. By squeezing it just a little bit around its edges, you’ll see that it flexes and you will also notice creaking noises.
The front of the tablet also holds a 0.3 megapixel that is installed to the right of the screen, above the menu, volume, home & back touch capacitive buttons. On the top edge you will have access to the tiny power button and the volume rocker, while on the right spine sit the power jack, headphone jack, microSD card slot, miniHDMI and microUSB port. The back features a two megapixel camera and three speaker slits sitting on the bottom.
The Ainovo Novo7 Basic measures 7.4 x 4.4 x 0.47 inches and weighs 12.2 ounces and comes with a 7-inch touchscreen display that has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, which is lower in comparison to the resolution of the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire, which both have a screen with a native resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels. The colors are quite bright and vivid but we were disappointed when we noticed the lag while performing multitouch gestures like double tapping in order to zoom in or out.
As far as the speakers, the quality is below average but at least there’s enough volume to fill a small room. The bad news is that there’s almost no bass available, a common issue among tablets as well as most of today’s laptops.
For input you get the standard Android keyboard that features large buttons which are a joy to use especially when you are holding the tablet in landscape mode. You will most likely appreciate the haptic feedback which is quite gentle, but there’s a bit of a lag between when you tap on a key and until it appears on the screen.
When this tablet came out it was the first one to actually run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) as standard. You might want to know that this is the stock Android ICS version so those of you who are Android purists will appreciate that Ainovo hasn’t messed around with Google’s OS. In the system bar you are going to find mini notifications for battery and Wi-Fi status, along with a clock. When you are in the Recent App menu you have the possibility of swiping the applications off the screen in order to close them.
If you do a long press of the lock on the tablet’s lockscreen it will launch a wheel consisting of the applications that you have used recently. From that point on the user is capable of dragging the lock over one of the icons in order to open the application. You get to use up to five homescreens which can all be customized. In the first one you’ll get to see an analog clock along with a bunch of applications. In the top left corner of the screen sits the Google Search icon, while in the top right corner is the apps button.
Even though it runs on Android 4.0, the Ainovo Novo7 Basic does not come pre-loaded with any of the Google-based goodies, which means that you don’t get Gmail, Gtalk, Google Maps or the Play Store. In addition, installing application is a little bit tricky as not all of them work. One of the reasons why some of the apps are not compatible with this tablet is due to the reason that such apps have been originally compiled by using an Android Native Development Kit (NDK) which is a non MIPS architecture.
The good news is that the tablet comes with several preloaded applications, such as the People app which will aggregate all of the contacts from your e-mail account as well as Facebook account. It also has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment as it comes bundled with The Last Defense, Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem, Angry Birds, TurboFly 3D, as well as WowFish. On top of that, there are a bunch of third party applications like Documents To Go, Amazon Kindle, YouTube, ES File Explorer, Pandora and Facebook.
The two megapixel camera sitting at the back of the tablet can provide bold and bright colors which aren’t that sharp but this is understandable given the low price tag of the tablet. The videos recorded are mostly grainy and you will most likely notice some blurriness on just about all of your recordings. As for the front-facing 0.3 megapixel camera, this doesn’t come with video chat tool while its quality is nothing to write home about.
At the heart of the Ainovo Novo7 Basic is an Ingenic JZ4770 X-Burst processor running at 1.0 GHz. It packs 512MB of RAM and offers 8GB of built-in storage which you are able to expand by installing a microSD card which can have a maximum capacity of 16GB. The graphics power is provided by the Vivante GC860 GPU which is underpowered in comparison to the GPUs we find on today’s tablets.
According to the manufacturer, the battery is able to last for about eight hours during continuous video playback. In the LAPTOP Battery Test it can provide enough juice for approximately seven hours, which is a little bit better than most Android tablets.