I received an Ainol Novo8, a couple of days ago, that I purchased from merimobiles.com and I thought I'd give you a brief overview of what I think about it.
To start with the Novo8 is my fifth tablet (my sixth if you count one I returned). Here they are in the order of purchase: Velocity Cruz T301, Pocketbook IQ701, Coby 7014 and the Herotab MID816. My primary use of tablets is as an ereader or to view video clips or photos, although I do check email and browse the web. I mention this so that you can judge my biases.
Where the Novo8 really shines is in video playback. It has played every format I have thrown at it without fault! The only format I haven't tried is AVCHD but I will shoot some soon and give it a try. The speaker(s)? are pretty loud and the quality is as good as you will get in a tablet. You can watch a movie and listen without earphones, but not up to music standards. This deserves an A+
I would give the screen an A+ if it weren't for the resolution (1280X768 186dpi) which is much more than required for an 8" screen. A 186dpi resolution allows to much data on a screen making it hard for my old eyes to read (I have to get out a magnifying glass to read some of the menus). I would be much happier with a screen resolution of 1024X614 150dpi). The color is pretty good although slightly under saturated. I guess the viewing angle to be about 30 degrees, which is sufficient for my needs. I give the screen an B+.
The build quality is not bad. All plastic, but sturdy and nice looking. One thing of note: Both the 7" Coby and the 8" Novo have the same aspect ratio (16:9.6) but the Novo is only 3/8" wider and 5/8" longer and only adds an ounce.
I like buttons and the Novo has them well placed and they feel good. All of the buttons are placed along one narrow side. When held in landscape mode on the right side, starting right below the camera from top to bottom they are: Power, Vol+, Vol-, Search, Menu, Home and Back. Right below the Back button is a trackball. The trackball is touchy but I think it will come in handy as soon as learn to use it.
All of the ports are under the buttons with the full sized USB (host), the mini USB (device) and the mini HDMI ports recessed behind a cover. You have to turn the Novo over to remove another cover so that you can add or remove the micro SD card. I can not use any of my SD card readers and not many of my thumb drives because there is not enough room around the host port. If the host port were not recessed there would be no problem since they all work well when attached via an extension cable. I had no problems using a wired keyboard or a wireless mouse. I have a wireless keyboard/mouse that uses a single receiver on order and I will see if the Novo will support both at the same time.
Like most tablets, the battery meter is unreliable and the battery doesn't last very long. I get about 5.5 hours as an ereader, about 4.0 hours browsing the web and about 3.0 hours viewing videos This is my major complaint. It will not charge over a USB port, but you can use it while charging (nice long power cable helps).
I received the Novo running Android 2.2.1 with a promise of an upgrade to gingerbread in the near future. I probably won't upgrade unless there is an improvement in the battery life.
Below is a link to MeriMobiles, where I bought the Novo, that has complete specs and a video. (I have no financial or any other interest in MeriMobiles)
Over all, this is a very nice tablet and I think it will serve me well. Comments and/or questions are welcome.
Regards - John
A remote control unit came with the Novo but I have no idea how to use it or what it can do since the manual was in Chinese and I don't speak Chinese and certainly don't read it.
The Apple iPad and the Coby both have 132dpi resolution which is OK with me. Years ago I read, somewhere, that 144dpi was the optimum resolution between sharpness and cost. In which case 988X593 would be right for the Novo and 1120X840 for the Apple iPad. I believe this to be true. I played the same video side-by-side on a 186 and a 132dpi tablet and did not perceive a significant difference. When I played the same video at 125 and 132dpi side-by-side, I did. I'm sure part of it, but not all, had to do with the quality of the screens.
I'm not sure that a good resistive screen isn't as good as an capacitive screen. My fingers are to big to easily make selections on a capacitive screen (not even a stylus helps much on the Novo) but I have no problem tapping on a selection and scrolling with a finger nail on a resistive screen. If somebody made a resistive multi touch that allowed two finger zooming, I would go with the resistive screen
The Novo speakers can't be seen. There is a about a three inch slit in the back that is apparently to allow air to pass, and it seems the back is used as a sounding board.
My son has an Acer Iconia and in a side-by-side screen comparison the Novo came out ahead. As a finger print magnate the Acer wins hand down. The Novo must have done something to the screen to impede finger prints because my fingers are as oily as the next guys and when I used a, freshly cleaned, Acer or Cruz (both capacitive screens) they looked really bad in no time. My same fingers don't seem to bother the Novo.
This would be an A+ tablet if it did the following (in order of importance):
1-Add two hours to the battery life.
2-Make 1024X640 150dpi the screen resolution. Add IPS technology for an A++
3-Mount the USB and HDMI ports flush with the side and remove the cover.