Ainol is a virtual unknown in the tech industry. Ainol is a China-based consumer electronics manufacturer which specializes in tablets, MP3 players, digital photo frames and the like. The company carries the name Ainol as a brand but it is also into OEM manufacturing for other brands. In the Philippines, the name has slowly achieved name recall and recognition ever since its Android tablets surfaced. Ainol tablets have slowly built a reputation for being cheap, yet solidly built.
The unit that has dropped by for some hands-on review is the Ainol Novo7 Aurora. It is an Ice cream Sandwich tablet packing a 7-inch IPS display. It originally retails for Php9,399 but it is currently on promo and can be purchased for only Php8,999 with free leather case, screen protector and 8GB microSD card. If you’re lucky enough, you might still catch the other promo which can get you a free 16GB SD card and 2GB USB cartoon character flash drive the Philippine distributor EGL Marketing is giving away.
This being my first review of an Ainol product, I didn’t know what to expect. I was in fact ready for some disappointment but when I opened the product packaging, I was genuinely surprised to discover how solidly built the product is. I have used China-made products in the past and I was utterly disgusted at how poor these products are overall. They are cheap, alright, but they are also almost disposable. Ainol is a big departure from these types of China-made products. Ainol Novo7 Aurora is a solid, well-constructed device. How solid, you ask? It is as solid as branded tablets. In fact, this could pass as something made by Samsung.
Hardware and Design
For an unknown brand, the Ainol Novo7 Aurora is a well-made device. The finish is smooth and the device feels premium, belying its low price point. It’s not only the finish and materials that feel premium. The design itself is something praiseworthy.
The device has a beautiful, slim profile, possibly as slim as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Here’s a comparison showing that the the Aurora is almost as slim as the iPhone 4S and the galaxy Note. The Samsung Galaxy S III is just a tad thinner.
The construction is unibody, but the material used to enclose the device is plastic. It may be plastic but thankfully, it doesn’t feel cheap. The bezel surrounding the screen is black, with just the right width allowing for a comfortable grip.
The Ainol Novo7 Aurora has a good set of connectivity options. It’s arguably one of the strong points of this tablet. It has one mini USB 2.0 port (OTG), a stereo headphone jack, a miroSD card reader and one mini HDMI output. The package comes with a USB adaptor that attaches to through the mini USB port, so this tablet offers a host of possibilities.
The obligatory device tour gets you the connectivity slots on the left side of the tablet. These slots are the aforementioned mini USB 2.0 port, stereo headphone jack, microSD card reader, mini HDMI output and the DC in jack. On the top of the device are the power button and the volume rocker. At the top front of the screen, there’s a 2 megapixel front-facing camera. There’s no rear camera so if you want to take photos, you’ll have to satisfy yourself with the front shooter. The speaker grille is located at the back of the device. Overall, the design of the Ainol Novo7 Aurora is clean, save for a few small texts printed at the back of the device, and the Ainol brand shown just below the screen.
In terms of hardware specs, the Ainol Novo7 Aurora is no slouch. It packs a 1.2GHz All Winner A10 CPU complemented by a Mali 400 512 Mb GPU and 1GB DDR3 of RAM. This combination gets you a fast performance, not the level produced by quad-core CPUs of course but it’s still fast for general use. With Ice cream Sandwich running the device, the performance is noticeably fast. The internal storage is 16GB so you’ll find it convenient to download apps and store files. For expansion, the tablet supports microSD cards. Here are the basic specs of the Ainol Novo7 Aurora.
Ainol Novo7 Aurora Specifications
- 7-inch 1024 x 600 resolution IPS display
- 1.2GHz All Winner A10 CPU
- Android 4.0 (ICS)
- 1GB DDR3 RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- Wi-Fi 802. 11b/g/n (300Mbps) with external 3G support
- Mini USB 2.0 port (OTG)
- Stereo headphone jack
- microSD card reader
- mini HDMI output
- 2 Megapixel front facing camera
- Full HD support
- 3700mAh battery
For a tablet that costs P8,999, the Ainol Novo7 Aurora packs a good display. The 7-inch screen on the tablet sports a 1024 x 600 resolution which is sharp and crisp. Again, this is surprising since I was expecting something of lesser quality with the tablet’s spec and price. The display is IPS type, so that is a bonus. IPS is short for In-Plane Switching which is a type of display with better color reproduction and better viewing angles. This means that even if you view the display from the side, you’ll still get a clear view. Indeed, the Ainol Novo7 Aurora offers a great viewing experience with the IPS display, giving users a more flexible photo viewer and video player.
The 7-inch size of the Aurora offers several possibilities to the user. I have always thought that 7 inches is the ideal screen size as it gives the user a display that’s huge enough but also makes the device portable enough. 10-inch tablets like the iPad is simply hard to lug around. I brought the Aurora to work, to meetings, to the mall, heck, I brought it to almost everywhere I went. It’s light and compact so I had no real issues or problems when it came to portability and ease of storage. The fact that the tablet is good-looking is a bonus. The name Ainol will elicit questions but after that, people would start asking where I got the tablet.
Performance, Software, Battery Life
The Ainol Novo7 Aurora is one mean tablet. Don’t be fooled by the modest 1.2GHz All Winner A10 CPU. This tablet is capable of handling multiple tasks easily. The 1GB RAM surely helps in delivering a fast performance but overall, the Ice Cream Sandwich OS also contributes to the speed. Touch response is quick and animations are snappy. The Aurora is therefore ideal for playing games which are abundant in the Google Play store. Playing videos is also snappy, and even HD quality videos are supported.
As to battery life, the Ainol Novo7 Aurora turns in a good performance. The Aurora uses a 3700mAh battery, which is more than you can ask for from a tablet in this price range. A full charge can get you anywhere from 7 hours to 10 hours of battery life if you use it continuously. Use it sparingly and you get a little more juice out of the Aurora. This is more than enough for your daily tablet computing needs if you’re an average user.
It’s no secret that the Nexus 7 is well within the same category the Ainol Novo7 Aurora is at. The Nexus 7 is arguably better than the Aurora but it’s pricing and availability in the Philippines is still everybody’s guess. The Aurora is therefore the 7-inch tablet that’s already available in the country for a very affordable price. The Aurora is a very compelling buy. It has a good set of specs, a good IPS display, a nice-looking design and a solid construction. It’s also no slouch in the performance department. As such, I would not hesitate to recommend the Aurora if you’re currently looking for a cheap and reliable tablet. It is a good alternative to branded tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.
If you will buy an Ainol product, get it from the accredited Ainol Philippine dealer to ensure quality, warranty and after sales service. Ainol is distributed by EGL Marketing (Eight Gold Locks Marketing) in the Philippines. For product warranty, EGL Marketing has extended it to give more peace of mind to buyers. It is offering 7-day replacement, a 1-year warranty on parts and a 3-year warranty on service. How’s that for your peace of mind?
You can get the Ainol Novo7 Aurora now for Php8,999 and it comes with free leather case, screen protector and 8GB microSD card. Mentioning this blog also gets you a free 16GB SD card and a free 2GB USB flash drive. This promo runs only this July so better hurry. You can go to www.facebook.com/