There has been a flurry of tablet launches in India with nearly all of them in the budget segment. The last bit shouldn’t be surprising as that is where the volumes lie. The Novo 7 Paladin is one such tablet that its makers Ainol claim can compete in specifications with the ones that burn a hole in the pocket without itself doing the same. Also, the Novo 7 Paladin is the first tablet device to go on sale in India running Android 4.0 ICS. However, the real icing on the cake is the price tag, which at INR. 7,990 makes the tablet super affordable. In fact, at such a price, its even less costly than many a mid-range smartphone currently available. But then, is the price the sole USP of the Novo 7 Paladin or has it got enough substance beneath its well laid out exteriors? Here’s a quick review to find out.
The first thing about the Novo 7 Paladin that catches the eye is its relatively thin bezel. The tablet has a sleek and slim design which makes it easy on the hands for holding or carrying. A look at the way the various buttons have been placed brings forth the meticulous study that has gone on behind their placement. There is the main power button that has been placed at the top which makes it easily accessible with the left hand. The same applies to the menu and back buttons as well. The sides hold the volume rocker and the reset button.
Turn the tablet along the sides and what becomes instantly evident is the depth which at more than half an inch is a far cry from the thin tablet stakes being fought elsewhere in the world. This is more than enough space to hold a mini USB slot, a microphone jack, a 3.5mm headphone jack along with a microSD card slot. However, what also need to be said of the tablet’s thickness is that it is just a bit more than that of the Kindle Fire or the BlackBerry PlayBook.
At its core the Ainol Novo 7 Paladin has a 1 GHz single core, MIPS-based XBurst CPU which works in conjugation with a Vivante GC860 GPU for better graphics processing capability. Surely not the most common processor in the market but nevertheless does the job well. RAM is 512 MB while storage amounts to just 8 GB. The overall response time is quite comparative with other tablets in the market.
The OS the tablet runs on is Android ICS 4.0 while the UI is quite easy and nice to navigate through. One can multitask without any hindrance and its only when the battery starts to get low on charge that the tablet tends to be slow. Also, while still on the battery, the Nova 7 Paladin is powered by 4000 mAh unit but is not user replaceable. Backup time is good too at around 8 hours.
Up front, the 7 inch capacitive display has a resolution of 800 x 400 pixels which is not something to write home about. But once again, at the price that this tablet comes for, that is quite an acceptable specification considering its capable of supporting 1080p quality display. The Novo 7 comes with five homes screens which can be customized as per personal preferences.
Coming to apps, the Novo 7 comes with the usual bunch comprising of Gmail, Maps, Places, the Play Store and a media player. The Novo 7 also boasts of good media playback capability with the built in speakers doing a good job though all of it reaches a whole new level with the headphones. Further, the tablet has built-in equalizers which give it a head start so far as the actual playback effect goes.
Playback formats that the tablet supports are quite many and of them the ones that need mention are AVI, RMVB, FLV, MKV in video and FLAC and OGG in audio. One must note that the Galaxy Tab 620 also supports the same variety of formats the Samsung tablet is placed in a much higher price bracket.
The Novo 7 is also compatible with common e-book formats such as TXT, PDF, HTML, RTF, and FB2. What this means is that the tablet can also sum up as a nice e-book reading device as well. Of course there is no stopping downloading other e-book reading apps such as the Amazon Kindle and such.
As for connectivity, the tablet is restricted only to the USB slot where one can plug in a 3G dongle and only then can be used to connect to the web. The Novo 7 is Wi-Fi capable though. The other big drawback with the tablet is the missing support for flash on the HTML 5 browser that come with the device. There is however news, that the next upgrade is due, and when it comes, it would be with Flash 5 support.
In the end, what can be said is that the Novo 7 Paladin does make for a smart buy, more so at the price that it is selling for. About $120 for a 7 inch device running Android ICS is definitely affordable, more so with the features that the tablet boasts of.