Ainol Novo 7 Crystal Review
Ainol is probably a brand you never heard of. I didn’t know about it either, until I saw ads on Facebook. I wanted to buy an Android tab that was around 15000 BDT, since I didn’t want to spend so much on an entertainment device. Primary usage for me would have been watching movies, playing a bit of video game, reading magazines and listening to music. However, I didn’t want a bad device either. Wanted it have at least a Dual Core CPU and a decent GPU, plus 1 GB RAM. Those who are looking for similar device, but don’t want to spend too much, Ainol is a great brand to check out.
CPU: Cortex A9 dual core 1.5 GHz (clocked at 1.2GHz)
GPU: Dual Core Mali 400 MP
OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.1.1
RAM: 1 GB
Storage: 8GB (5.72GB user available)
Camera: 2MP front facing
Display: 16MP 7 inch IPS screen at 1024x600 resolution
The Strong Points:
Jelly Bean: You get Jelly Bean 4.1.1 out of the box. Therefore, no need to mod for OS at least. You have to get a custom ROM for other reasons though.
Good Price to Performance Ratio: First of I got it at 13k from Smart Phone Expo. But it packs the hardware of tabs that are worth 16K up, so a good price to performance ratio. Good brands like Hyundai charge almost $160-$170 for their tabs of similar specification. I am quite satisfied how games or high resolution PDF pages don’t lag on the device, all though it pushes the CPU to its very limit.
Display: The display quality is quite good since its 16M IPS. However, I would have liked the resolution to be 1024x768, at least 720p. Nevertheless, I have watched a few movies on the device and it’s not bad at all.
1 GB RAM: Many games and apps require at least 1 GB RAM. Therefore, you can go ahead and install those apps and games on this device.
Dedicated GPU: The Ainol Novo 7 Crystal comes with a dual core Mali 400 MP GPU. This helps in running GPU intensive games and apps. Other tabs in its price range such as Symphony T7 or T8 do not have a dedicated GPU.
Good Build Quality: For a not so popular chinese brand, Ainol has provide very good build quality. Something I did not expect in this price range.
The not so strong Points:
Battery Life: The Crystal comes with a 3700mAh battery, so you would be running out of juice at the end of each day.
Display: Not 720p. So even though it doesn’t do much harm, still it’s a disadvantage. Moreover, the back lights are visible on the corner of the screen, which looks weird. It’s hard to get used to.
Storage: Comes with only 8 GB and 5.72 GB user available. So you have to buy a memory card. Not a good news for those who don’t want to use a card.
Connectivity: Only Wifi. So you don’t get 3G internet. But most importantly, no Bluetooth, which is a major drawback. We cannot use Bluetooth devices on the Crystal.
Stock ROM is buggy: The stock firmware is very buggy. However once you upgrade to CM 10 or Crystal Clear, a dedicated ROM for this device made by fuser-invent of SLD, the tab performs way better.
Factory fault: The device makes a clicking sound now and then. It’s a factory hardware fault and custom ROMs cannot fix it.
Camera: Only front facing 2 MP camera. Sad news for instagram users.
The Ainol Novo 7 Crystal is not perfect. It has its drawbacks. Then again look at it price! You are getting enough for the amount you are paying. With custom ROM, the device performs quite well, at least as much as you need, if your need, is watching movies, playing games etc. This device is not an android enthusiast's device, and Ainol does not claim it to be. It won’t stand a chance against the big boys like Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 or the iPad. Then again, you are not paying as much as those, why should you expect similar performance? The amount you will have to pay is actually lower than the performance this device provides, so definitely the Ainol Novo 7 Crystal is a good buy. The brand is quite popular in China, especially Hong Kong and also Taiwan. Its available in USA too and lot of people use it there. Other than that, there are Russian, German and French users too. So we can assume, the Crystal has users in Europe too. From a Bangladeshi, I say recommended.
Some photos of my device:Ainol Novo 7 Crystal
The ports. DC in. Mini HDMI. Mini USB. Mic. MicroSD card slot. 3.5mm Headphone jack.
Frosted black finish.