Memoirs of the Color - Iaiwai MiniPad AW920 Review


  1. jupiter2012

    jupiter2012 Well-Known Member

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    We have seen dozens of 8 inch tablets this year, but the category gets a new spin with the Iaiwai MiniPad AW920. Iaiwai, the Hong Kong based electronic technology company, manages to pack in a slew of ports and slot in a well-designed, compact model. Iaiwai AW920 also happens to be the first 8 inch tablet entering into the market with Android4.1. However, as most of other peer 8 inch tablets have already received a Jellybean update, this cannot be taken as an advantage.

    1. Specs and Design

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    Iaiwai has really taken its time to bring AW920 to the market without hitting it in a rush. And the extra time shows through in the solid build and exquisite design of this tablet. The most stunning part of the design has to be the colorful metal back cover, which helps the device stand out from its competitions.
    The MiniPad’s core has a familiar ring to the Chinese tablet fans: a 1.6 GHz dual-core Rockchip RK3066 processor, 1GB of memory, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, an 8-inch XGA display, and a multi-touch touchscreen.
    Except its popular pop-up video play function, the Jelly Bean operation system is largely unchanged from version4.0.

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    A few other things caught my eye: AW920 has a 0.3MP front-facing and a 2MP rear-facing camera, stronger than most other 8 inch tablets which only have a front-facing camera.

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    Also notable is this tablet’s impressive complement of ports and slots. Along the top edge (when holding the tablet in portrait orientation), you have a Micro-HDMI port, charging connector, and micro USB port, headphone jack. On its left edge you will have a TF card slot that supports cards up to 32GB, a very useful feature for a tablet with only 8GB built-in storage. The tablet's stereo speakers are on its back cover, right near those ports and slots.

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    All of the buttons are located on the right edge, including the power/standby button and two volume buttons. With Jelly Bean, the permanent status bar on the bottom of the screen already has the back button, the home button as well as the menu button, that's why the MiniPad isn’t flooded with physical buttons.

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    AW920 measures 9.3mm thick, noticeably slimmer than the 9.65mm thick Cube U9GT3 and 9.5mm thick Ployer MOMO8. It weighs 418g, lighter in comparison to most other similar-sized tablets with a metal back cover.

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    I found the AW920's display to be a pleasure to view looking straight ahead, color saturation and brightness are really quite good. With the definition being XGA on an 8 inch display, the image also looks pretty sharp.

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    However, the viewing angle is one of the tablet’s greatest weaknesses, looking from the angle below or right, image fainting becomes noticeable. (Vertical rather than portrait orientation)

    2. Operating System and Software

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    Android4.1 looks and feels like ICS. There's not a whole lot that's clearly different on the outside. At the bottom of the screen, you'll find a permanent control bar that includes virtual back and home buttons, as well as an icon that brings up a list of open apps, which can be closed with a swipe to the right.
    Meanwhile, tapping the lower right part of the screen (with the clock, Wi-Fi, and battery indicators) brings up the notifications box, which includes quick controls for turning on/off Wi-Fi, quiet, and screen rotation lock, among other features, plus you can access the brightness setting on the fly and tap into the full Settings menu.

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    The only thing that clearly separates Jelly Bean from ICS is the Pop-up play function, which allows users to watch videos while browsing the web, reading E-books or even playing games.

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    In addition to the original jellybean UI, Iaiwai has also designed the uniqueYUI cloud desktop, and offers a batch of new functions, such as a digital administration center, which allows your MiniPad to get access to other internet devices, including your PC, a voice control app which eliminates the need of typing under certain circumstances.
    What is most amazing is that it is easy to switch from one desktop to the other by just touching the icon on the home screen. For people more accustomed to the sloppiness of the original ICS UI, the customized YUI desktop will also be an ease to learn.

    3. Hardware Capability

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    Like many other 8-inch tablets coming out this year, AW920 is powered by the peppy Rockchip RK3066 Dual core 1.6G processor (GPU: Mali-400MP4@399MHZ) and 1GB DDR3 RAM @1033MHZ. Although it does not blow anybody out of the water, especially as many tablets are coming out with more powerful quad-core processors and 2GB RAM, it still provides plenty of power to run the device smoothly over a wide variety of applications.

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    According to numerous benchmark tests, the Minipad performed better than almost all android devices with other dual core processor, the monstrous Mali-400 MP4 that also powers the incomparable Samsung Exynos 4410 really assist in crushing the other competitions.

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    Through my own personal experience with AW920, the power of RK3066 doesn’t only show in benchmark scores, whether playing video games or browsing the internet, AW920 never disappoints. Fluency and touch control acuteness can be fully guaranteed, the G-sensor is very responsive, too.

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    When it comes to video playback, AW920 is even more powerful, the RK3066 processor easily supports all format of videos to at least 1080P through hardware decoding. Watching online videos through both applications and webpages with the AW920 is also more pleasurable than most other android devices.

    4. Internet and Connectivity

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    With many Chinese tablets falling short on WIFI connectivity, one may easily make the presumption that MiniPad’s connectivity also disappoint. However, this is nowhere near the truth. AW920’s wifi connectivity is as good as that of Samsung Galaxy tab, streets ahead of the peer competitions such as Cube U9GT3 and MOMO8. The metal back cover which is widely criticized for blocking the connections for U9GT3, is no obstacle for MiniPad at all. Even with a wall between the device and the WIFI router, a circumstance where Cube U9GT3's data reception fails, the MiniPad holds its ground, providing smooth online video streaming and web-browsing.
    Only a stock Jelly Bean Browser comes preinstalled on AW920, offering the popular up-tabbed browsing and supporting Adobe Flash 11. Dolphin and Chrome can also be installed to your personal preference, well, it’s android, remember!

    5. Camera
    As is mentioned earlier, AW920 has both a 0.3mp front-facing camera which is designed for online video chatting and a 2mp rear-facing camera which could be used for taking pictures. As expected, neither camera brings any pleasant surprises. Images taken by the rear camera are far from being sharp, the front-facing camera cannot even provide clear facial images during online video chatting.

    6. Battery Life

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    The AW920 features a 4500mAh Li-Polymer battery, the same with Cube U9GT3. Before discussing the MiniPad’s battery life, I have to throw some stones at the low efficiency of its charging. Fortunately, AW920 can be charged while it is shutdown. During its charging, the indicator lamp will light up in red, the light will automatically extinguish when the charging is complete. Unfortunately, charging while shutdown doesn’t mean high efficiency, at least not for AW920, a complete battery charge can take up to 6 hours with a 5V-2Ah charger.
    Like its 8 inch peer, the Cube Cherry, AW920’s battery life does not disappoint, it can offer 6 and half hours of 720P video playing with 50% of screen brightness and full volume on a charge. The MiniPad does not have to be charged more than once a day if there isn't any intense use.

    7. Specific Applications
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    Unlike other Chinese tablet makers who don’t have their own applications, Iaiwai has shown much more R&D capability. Aw920 comes preinstalled with several applications specifically designed for Minipads.


    1. Intelligent Home:
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    The Intelligent Home app, which has already been seen on the 7 inch Iaiwai AW900, aims to create a more comfortable lifestyle. Lighting, air conditioning and other electric appliances can be controlled via the internet with an Iaiwai tablet. And Iaiwai has set up two test rooms in Shenzhen, China to demonstrate the idea of intelligent home. Imagine turning on your air-conditioner 10 minutes before you get home, or showing just taken photos on your television to family, or turning off all the lighting in your house without leaving your bed....You cannot help but fall in love with this concept.


    1. Voice Search
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    Iaiwai has taken the famous Google Voice search to a whole new level. With the touch of the voice search icon, located at the bottom of the YUI desktop, you can tell the MiniPad the application you wish to launch. This can save you a lot of time if your tablet is overflowed with applications.

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    Voice search also works in the Iaiwai Minipad Free Market, where users have the choice of tens of thousands of free applications, you tell the market app what you want, and the search results will be shown within one second.

    8. Verdict

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    Like many of its 8 inch rivalries, Iaiwai AW920 is priced at 127 USD, a very modest pricing for a quite well-known brand. The advantages and disadvantages of this product are all quite obvious. Even with such a low price, I still cannot help but worry about the market prospects of this tablet.

    We liked:


    1. Well–designed and solidly built model, sanded metal back cover and lively back colors
    2. A slew of useful ports and slots
    3. Front-facing and rear-facing cameras
    4. YUI desktop and specific applications

    We disliked:

    1. TFT display with poor viewing angles (mainly below and right angle)
    2. Only 8 GB built-in storage
    3. Low efficiency in charging
    4. Poor image quality of the rear-facing camera

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  2. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    ^^^^^^
    Google does NOT live here.

    "The MiniPad
  3. jupiter2012

    jupiter2012 Well-Known Member

  4. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Depends if the price is worth it, for the disappointment, heartache, stress, possible lost productivity, and Googlelessness, one of these cheap off-brand tablets can bring.

    BTW I live in China, and I'm rather familiar with the poor quality and general shoddiness of domestically produced el-cheapo tech products. In fact I know a few people who work in the Guangdong tech industry with R&D and marketing. They won't even buy this stuff. They actually go into Hong Kong, and buy Samsungs, Apples, LGs, Sonys, Motorolas, etc.

    It's worth reading....
    http://androidforums.com/android-lounge/631594-off-brand-phones-tablets-worth-low-cost.html

    ...this book is also worth reading as well...
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