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Old February 12th, 2013, 12:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Decent China Tablets

Looking for an Android tablet with aspect ratio of 4:3 and 2048x1536 resolution. I won't be using the tablet for gaming but minimum CPU should be comparable to whatever's on the HP TouchPad (dual-core Cortex A8/A9-level 1.2GHz, I believe). Primary use is for comics (dual-page landscape mode) and letter-sized PDFs (portrait mode). I've got a Transformer Infinity and iPad, and the iPad's 9.7" 2048x1536 screen lends itself better to my usage than the Infinity's 10.1" 1920x1200. Unfortunately, I don't see Apple ever adding a built-in microSD card slot to their devices and I don't think I'll be seeing 4:3 Android tablets from a major manufacturer (they seem to stick to 16:10) so I'm guessing my only option is to buy off-brand.

What are some decent Chinese tablet manufacturers and models? I've got an Ainol Novo 7 Venus which I'm quite happy with so I'm counting Ainol as pretty okay and have the Ainol Novo 9 Spark shortlisted. I'm wondering what other modes I should be considering.

Specification Requirements
  • 2048x1536 9.7" IPS display
  • Android 4.0 minimum
  • 1GB RAM
  • microSD/SD slot
  • Google Play pre-installed
  • preferably $250 or less ($300 absolute max)

Thanks!

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Old February 12th, 2013, 07:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There's not too many Chinese devices that actually fit you're requirements. Most of them are 16:9 rather than 4:3. I think the Ainol Novo 9 is a good choice. You could have a look at the Onda V972, but I've only ever seen this with Chinese software on it in person, probably due to location. There should be an international Google version of it though. Another one is the Ployer Momo11. Ployer is supposed to be a reputable manufacturer, but we've had some people posting about problems with Ployer devices here on AF, like bricking and crappy WiFi.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 08:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mikedt View Post
There's not too many Chinese devices that actually fit you're requirements. Most of them are 16:9 rather than 4:3. I think the Ainol Novo 9 is a good choice. You could have a look at the Onda V972, but I've only ever seen this with Chinese software on it in person, probably due to location. There should be an international Google version of it though. Another one is the Ployer Momo11. Ployer is supposed to be a reputable manufacturer, but we've had some people posting about problems with Ployer devices here on AF, like bricking and crappy WiFi.
Yeah, I kinda noticed. Ainol has pretty crappy wi-fi, too, but it's something I can forgive as I'm more after the microSD for doing offline stuff. For web browsing, there's always the iPad. I've been trying to research my options and came up with the following:

Rockchip RK3066 (dual-core Cortex A9, Mali 400 MP4)
  • Chuwi V99
  • Cube U9GT V (U9GT5)
  • Hyundai Play X X900
  • YuanDao N90 FHD

Allwinner A31 (quad-core Cortex A7, SGX544 MP2)
  • Ainol Novo 9 Spark
  • Chuwi V99 (yep, they kept the same model number)
  • Nextway F9X
  • Onda V972/V971 (V971 only has front camera)
  • Ployer momo11 Master

Those are the only ones that I've seen so far. Thing is I've read some reports of lag on both chipsets so I'm not sure if they're going to be good enough. While I don't need gaming-level performance, I would prefer something that doesn't lag/freeze when flipping through screens. There are several retina display tablets announced with the new RK3188 chipset but release will probably be in March/April.
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Old February 13th, 2013, 11:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think many of them are really commodity devices, there's not much to differentiate them. Often they're based on chip-set manufacturers reference designs. In theory a fast quad-core processor with 1GB RAM shouldn't lag with ICS or JB. But then who know's what a manufacturer might do with Android, and what bloat they might fill it with. Also the touch screens can be very variable as well, and sometimes not very responsive at all, that's what I've found. Because the R&D, testing and QC can be minimal or non-existent at all.

IMO the ideal way to find a good one is to go hands-on and try a few out, pick-over them, find the best. But I think you can only really do that in China, or you find a dealer that has an honest, no quibbles, money back or exchange returns policy.

The Hyundai is an interesting one. Because I'm sure that's not really Hyundai of South Korea.

Out of choice out of that lot, I'd say go with the Ainol.
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Old February 14th, 2013, 10:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ended up getting the Nextway F9X on the basis of this review:
Nextway F9X Quad Core A31 Tablet PC 9.7 Inch Android 4.1 Retina IPS Screen 2G Ram - SlateDroid.com - Page 2

Ainol is on at least 2-week back-order everywhere I checked and $40-50 more expensive than the Nextway after shipping. Crossing my fingers and hoping this turns out okay.

Interesting bit, it looks like Archos will carry the Onda V972 rebranded as the Archos 97 Platinum HD with a $300 MSRP. Alas, I don't think I'll be able to wait long enough for its US release.

One issue I have is I want retina display (2048*1536). The thing is most of the GPUs included in these tablets are designed to drive 1280*800 resolution displays, maybe 1920*1200 tops. From reviews I've seen, the chipsets work brilliantly in 10.1" 1280*800 tablets. However, supporting 2048*1536 can sometimes be a bit too much.
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