Specs and Unboxing
Since CES 2012, we have daily tested all the features, the hardware, the usability, and found out what the $99 MIPS Ainol ICS 7-inch tablet can do and what it cannot. First, let’s unbox the tablet. The inexpensive box has all the usual announcements on front and back.
Front side of First Android 4.0 tablet’s box
Back side of box with feature listing
Next you slide out the all white inner box by pulling on the loop.
Flip up the inner box lid and here is the first Android ICS tablet. Missing from the NOVO Basic 7 screen is an anti-reflective treatment. That is why you can see the camera lens in the photo below.
Check out our camera lens reflection in the blank screen
You have to first charge the battery using either the power port or the miniUSB port with a 5Volt power source. It takes about 8 hours with a 1AMP, 110Volt power plug for a smartphone using the miniUSB port. The power port can take up to 2Amps at the same 5Volts. The back side of the case has a 2MP camera at the top – just off center - and small sized-font with required FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
information across the bottom edge as well as the MIPS logo. On the right side of case from top to bottom are the I/O ports - 3.5mm headset, miniHDMI, microphone, miniUSB, microSD, reset, and power.
I/O ports clearly labeled on back side of the case
You will notice the NOVO Basic is lighter than say the $199 Kindle Fire. The NOVO Basic 7 is 7.4 x 4.4 x 0.43 inches (187.5 x 112 x 11mm) or 0.1 inches shorter and 0.3 inches narrower than the Fire. The NOVO Basic 7 weighs, on our precision postal scales, 12.5 ounces or 354 grams – less than the factory quoted 370 grams. Lighter by nearly 3 ounces than the Kindle. Weight and size are part of the reason for the $100 price difference between them.
Near MIPS logo is the speaker
With a $2 adapter from Amazon the miniHDMI port hooks up to a standard HDMI cable. You have the choice of 720P or 1080P on your HD TV or monitor.
$2 Tuck miniHDMI to standard HDMI cable
On top of the tablet is the On/Off button and along side is the Volume rocker. Combining the two and you can do a screen capture – if all goes as planned. That is just another item that needs a bug fix for reliability. We added that to our ‘weirdness’ list for the Ainol and MIPS engineers.
On/Off button, Volume control rocker – combo is screen capture
The 800-by-480 pixels, 7-inch (diagonal) capacitive, 5 point multi-touch screen has a resolution of 133 pixels per inch (ppi). A capacitive screen has much better responsiveness than the cheaper resistive type. Capacitive screen variations are found in the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. A capacitive screen works because the human body is an electrical conductor so touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen's electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance. Different technologies may be used to determine the location of the touch. An object like a stylus can also be used on some types of more expensive capacitive screens such as the old Palm Treo stylus.
We have mentioned there are manufacturing cost savings to get down to the $99 retail pricing. Topping the list is the case. It does squeak and creak when compared to the Kindle Fire at $199 or the HTC Flyer Tablet at $299. Some owners and reviewers have reported their speaker makes intermittent funny noises, but we haven’t experienced that – yet.
Reasonable viewing for a $99, 7-inch tablet
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