Ainol Novo 7 Paladin Tablet with Android 4.0 ICS Hands-On Review

Ice Cream Sandwich is the latest Android operating system one would want to get hands on, as soon as they can, with the hype it has got for the features and upgrade it brings from the previous Android OS, and for the same experience in a tablet device, we got the Ainol Novo 7 Android tablet, which is the first Android tablet with the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS. And for what it provides, the pricing of USD 120 is not at all high. Here is a quick review of the Ainol Novo 7 Paladin -

Design, Display and Form Factor

Classic, extremely sleek and perfectly shaped tablet device, which the high-end device companies should take inspiration from. Yes it is a rectangular shaped piece, but what else would have brought the name of tablet to it? The black color tablet looks like the iBall slide, but is thinner and smaller, and actually looks a little better than the slide as it is less bulky.

Ainol Novo 7 Ainol Novo 7 hands-on Ainol Novo 7 back

The front has half-an-inch of panel around the screen, and the logos stay in the bottom left and right sides when the tablet is held in the landscape mode. One could use it in both the modes, but in the standing mode the entire screen looks a little cluttered. The top side has 3 physical keys, the Menu, the Back and the Power key. The side has the Volume jack keys, the reset key, the Mini USB slot, Mic and the MicroSD card slot.

Ainol Novo 7 connectivity sidebar  Ainol Novo side keys

The display is pretty good, and as what the specifications say, it gives the 1080p display output. But when you view it from the upper angles vertically, the clarity is gone. Also, the brightness is not at all high to view in bright conditions, especially under the sun.

Operating System, Interface and Apps

This is what someone should buy the Ainol Novo 7 for, the Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The latest version of Android coming in the tablet device is for the first time, and no other tablet device yet has the ICS in it. The operating system is beautiful, with combined features of Gingerbread and Honeycomb packed into the single next gen version of Ice Cream Sandwich. The lock screen has the option to directly go to few settings or shortcut apps, or else unlock to reach the home screen directly. Many things have been changed in the new version of Android, especially the settings area, the notification and the bottom bar which is seen in the Honeycomb tablet devices, with the right bottom area being the shortcut for various options like the brightness, connectivity, clock etc.
There are 5 home screens which can be edited in various ways, customized and can include various app shortcuts, widgets etc. and for the display that Novo 7 has, the live wallpapers appear pretty good. The bottom left area has the shortcuts for home, back and latest apps or the ones running. The Novo 7 We would anyways be discussing about the Ice Cream Sandwich OS very soon.

Performance, Sound and Battery

The performance is good, provided that the ICS operating system is made in a way to optimize the tasks and running of apps so that the speed of multiple app running is not altered. We played a few games, HD ones that have come already in the device and each of them worked without a lag. The sound output is nice, the speaker being on the back side are on the best place as when you are gaming, you hold the Novo 7 from the sides and the sound output doesn’t get blocked by the fingers or hands.

The Novo 7 gives the output of 1080p video quality, and the test shows some great display. The processor speed and the graphics display sync well, no lag but this could be due to the early review without much usage. The battery provided with the Novo 7 is 3200 mAh and we got a usage of 8 hours while playing the games, playing music and browsing through the gallery, browsing the web all of which took 50% of the battery. 4000 mAh doesn’t seem less for a tablet device, and as said, the Novo 7 is optimized well and we have the 47% battery still left after the standby of almost 24 hours, i.e. the battery used was just 3% for the standby for an entire day. The tab has come with the Super Task Killer app, using which you could make the performance far better.

Ainol Novo 7 back

Connectivity comes in the form of Wi-Fi, a mid-range reception though. There is an option of 3G connection if you are using a 3G modem externally, and that is what had seen with the iBall slide earlier too. So, you are not restricted with just the Wi-Fi option.

Final verdict

For the price of $120, giving the Ice Cream sandwich operating system and the great performance and battery, I would forget the fact that it doesn’t have a 3G SIM option, and the missing of camera can be forgotten. The design is neat, the feel is great and moreover, the first tablet device with the latest Android OS is what attracts the mass. The video output and gaming are less lagging, and so we liked the performance. A worth device for what it provides.

Buy the Ainol Novo 7 – Buy the Ainol Novo 7

About Chetan Bhawani

Chetan Bhawani is a dentist, a tech blogger and a passionate writer in the field of technology. Loves everything Tech & Cricket! Keeps himself connected to the web for the entire day, of course except when he's dozed off! Add +Chetan Bhawani on Google Plus for more updates!

75 comments

  1. just bought this for one of my kids, cant figure out how to change from chinese to english, anyone pls help

  2. I have the tornado,,,I did the firmware update and now it is all Chinese and can not locate how to change back to English. is there an English version firmware update for tornado

  3. Hi im hoping someone can help me, im completely new to the android world. I mainly got the Novo7 paladin to use the Kindle App and browse the internet ect. The kindle app has downloaded fine but when I go to read my books it wont stay on the page and wont change pages. Has anyone come accoss this problem before? I dont know if its the Kindle or the tablet that is causing the problem. I have tried uninstalling it and downloading it again but its still doing it. Please help!

  4. also just recieved Nova-just wondering if it can pick up WiFi from local and use as I’m at school? If so, how do i do it or is it automatic?

  5. I have a ainol Novo 7 paladin 4.0 and have no idea how to use it. I can’t even play a video clip that is installed on it to play if anyone can help be much appreciated.

    •  INSTALL KDS player its support many formats of video (i got it in my Totorola Defy Plus) and loveit!!

  6. Should I ship it from online or should i get it in a store in my country? Which is better? Is it worth it?

  7. I have just bought the Nova from a friend and have tried to use it with a tablet USB keyboard ( I needed a USB A Female to USB Mini adapter) It worked on my old Tablet but it won’t talk to this one. Any Ideas.

  8. My Novo 7 pad comes on but just shows a large size picture of the android loge with a star shaped sphere in the m iddle of it. How can I fix this?

  9. does it has gps can android market. it does not cam so can we connect my webcam plz guyz let me know

  10. I accidentally forgot my pattern password on my Ainol Novo7 Paladin tablet and cannot unlock it. does anyone have any advice on how I can do so? It is VERY IMPORTANT!! Thank You!.

  11. well, been working/playing/watching movie and stuff with this little fella. everything is good apart from not been able to install a lot of “MUST HAVE” apps. the hardware issue. couldnt find a way around this so this been lying dead next to my laptop. might just gift it to my nephews n all :)
    if any of you guys have figured to work out the hardware issue(ARM vs MIPS) please ping me. i’d be more than grateful for the kind words.

    for INR5k its worth the bucks, personally i dont like android for all these glitch. keep control on the hardware manufacturer,else users like us ll drift away soon as w8 is on its way :)

  12. Sir.i have already bought Novo7paladin,this is in chinese version,i am in india so i want english please help me for that,and the tablet is no support the angry birds application and some application please help me my email id harshavarthan41@gmail.com

    • bro install magic code latest version in your tablet then you will b able to play angry birds as well as many games.you can download the magic code from here “http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1411879″.

  13. the sound is not working on my brand new nivol paladine novo 7. can any one tell me now to fix it? most the apps from andriod market cannot be download for ics. I m much happier with Ipad 2.

  14. English version of firmware consists of apks for facebook, working Google play, kindle, magic code, ninesky browser, titanium backup and youtube.
    Download link below
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/ainol/Ainol+NOVO+7+Paladin+EN+Firmware+Update.zip

  15. Will try the Magic Code. Where is the best site to find the instructions?
    Just a shame that you can do so little with the tablet from start.
    This whole MIPS excuse is a bad one. Why use this MIPS hard ware if half the applications dont run on it? For the future? we are already 4 months later.
    The tablet has been in the cupboard for two months now. Lets try again.

  16. Can dongle be used with tablet?

  17. Will it work with a dongle?

  18. can i know about the office in paladin?? is it using microsoft office ??

  19. On amazon uk review
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B006R6NT6S/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&tag=androidadvices-20
    the reviewer says that you can use Magic Code app 1.3 to enable apps for ARM to run. I don’t know myself. I’m new to android.

  20. I am from india

    Its too costly here
    Can any one gift me as friend?

    I really want
    Pls
    Pls
    Pls

  21. For you to be able to use some applications from the market, look for an app called \magic code\. Run it on the paladin then install apps by 1st downloading the APK then running the installation from there, facebook, youtube and plenty others are running smooth now.

  22. Do not buy this POS. Apps stink, browser stinks, Wi-FI drops connection. Most apps don’t download.

    Sending it back. Buyer Beware!!! You get what you pay for.

  23. i’m having the same problem with my novo7 paladin it clicks on icons and web sites on it own i try upgrading to 4.0.3 ICS works alittle more stable but still clicks and surfs on its own hope the manufacturer posts a fix soon

  24. I just received my Paladin purchased direct from the manufacturer’s website. It came in Chinese but there are a couple good articles that tell you how to switch it to English in the settings panel. I stripped it of all the apps that did not convert to English and replaced them with their English counter parts from the Android store.
    The only complaint I have is the SD card does not seat flush in the port, but it works, and I have witnessed the device randomly click on and opening apps with out me touching the screen. I haven’t found any scripts running on it so I wonder if the screen my be too sensitive and is registering hand movement on the outer frame.
    I am really bummed about Netflix not being compatible with the system though….
    It was a good purchase for the price.

  25. My youtube does play. Only sound but no pictures. Are there certain video settings that I should be aware off? Or this is a technical issue?

  26. The picture doesn’t seem to display while the video is being played. Only sound heard. Are you all facing the same problem too?????

  27. Is it possible to download the Kindle app on it?

    • no, not as of now, but you can after rooting!

      • You can download the app from other sites, such as apktops, and then install it via the microSD card. I also recommend installing the “magic code” app to run ARM software.

        • hey George,
          well, could you guide us on what to do with magic code app as i installed it n there were only two interface there. i clicked on and still apps not installing. facebook, aldiko, youtube, to name some.

  28. I tested it yesterday. It is laggy and scrolling is jerky. Z-devices app dont work. Most apps don’t work. Android market is their own funny version and many apps don’t show up in searches. No camera no GPS no light sensor. Do not buy this. It sucks. My old samsung galaxy s i9000 running ics custom rom is butter smooth . Even smoother than my Asus transformer running android 3.2, so I know the differences.

    • Hi Bro.

      This is a bad ass little tablet for the price. $120 for a capacitive 1 ghz tablet that is the FIRST to run Ice Cream Sandwich. Bragging rights alone is worthe the price, haha.

      My kids play their games on this tablet without a glitch.

      The GoMarket that it is preloaded with is a Chinese version of Google’s Market. This is a tablet made for a country with 3.5 billion people who just happen to speak Chinese, well, Mandarin.

      Once you install Google’s real market, you have a limited selection of apps, exactly as you stated.

      You just have to give it time. It is not a limitation of the Tablet, but a limitation of apps compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich. Once the REST of the world catches up, you will see more and more apps that will be updated to support ICS.

      As with all new stuff, patience is a virtue, meanwhile, go brag to your friends that you have ICS :-)

      • The missing apps are not because of ICS, they are because of the hardware in the tablet. Most apps are designed for ARM architecture which this tablet does not utilise.

    • finding the same issues myself. lots of issues, very few apps, slow, laggy, you cant log out of facebook or gmail as the buttons are too far into the corner of the screen where its totally unresponsive.

  29. Hi.

    I’m looking for a possibility to connect the paladin to my lan.

  30. I bought one of these for $109 from PandaWill, received it this morning. I paid an extra $20 for expedited shipping (it was a time-sensitive gift for my parents), but US Customs held it for three days for no apparent reason, so watch out for that. I like the tablet – it looks and feels nice, and while slightly sluggish on some things, very workable. But half of the apps are in Chinese. The Market is 100% Chinese and therefore unusable. I’ve gone in the settings and changed all possible language settings to English, but it changed nothing. Guessing I need to do a fresh software suite installation…? Anyone know how to do that?

  31. Does youtube.com video work on it?

  32. Is there away around the Facebook problem along with any other programs giving the same issue?

  33. Hi, I have just purchased the Ainol Novo 7 Paladin and i was wondering if it was in English? Most of the other videos i Have seen have all of the App names and If there is any lettering on the apps in Chinease. I.E. Youtube.

  34. @ Mike Bruyneel

    That is because the applications are written for ARM based processors, while the novo 7 paladin contains a MIPS based one (Ingenic JZ4770 Xburst). Have fun with the tab tho, I ordered one aswell ‘:D

  35. This is because of the difference in the processor. Most tablets are based on ARM-structure, when the processor in novo 7 paladin is based on MIPS-structure. Therefore the the applications have compatibility issues cause they are written for ARM.

  36. Hi may I ask how did you put the Optional 3G dongle? cause as i can see there’s no USB 2.0 port it is only micro USB port.

  37. got it in Singapore last week and brought to PEN for holiday, watching movie and playing game with it is great….

    but the wifi totally suxx….got drop off whenever trying to connect to the guesthouse wifi network, but the wifi works great when I am using it at home (and its near to my home wifi modem)

  38. I got the Paladin last week. Does not give me full access to Market Place. I cannot install Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, etc.. If that is the case, why having Wifi build in. Can anyone advice me. Thanks

    • I could do the installation of Facebook. can you explain what error you are getting?

      • It’s because most apps are written for ARM-structure processors, while the xburst processor used in the paladin tab is based on MIPS structure. Thats why alot of apps in the android market won’t work.

        • Personally, have DEFINITELY seen a LOT of apps that will not work with this device.

        • Download magic code 1.3 and install. After that turned it on. Go to 4shared.com and download black market alpha and install. After that u need to update the market. That was the 3rd party market but all games and applications was free of charge!! Get your Facebook, twitter, youtube and other apps in that market.

      • It wont work since the applications are written for ARM based CPU’s when the paladin tab got a MIPS based CPU.

      • mine doesnt install facebook, youtube, aldiko, avast mobile security to name a few. says “Your device is not compatible with this item”. i followed some guides and tried working it out with LCD density app. fun part is, this app supposed to be “killall and reboot” your device. it doesnt even do that in my case. so stuck at point zero.

        i’d appreciate any help on this.

        Thanks.

    • @Mike Bruyneel, Try install Magic Code, it will allow ARM based app run in MIPS based device.

    • Facebook, twitter, spotify etc all work fine via the browser. I haven’t tried any apps for the sites.

  39. where dou you get it in Malaysia? I really want to buy it.

  40. I’ve just bought one yesterday in Malaysia priced at roughly USD 127, so far the expectation is met (except for the non-sim 3G option, need to hook a USB modem). WiFi is average, now is testing gaming and movie

  41. I have the chinese version, can i get the english firmware to update.

  42. Does this unit include a GPS receiver? Bluetooth? The article says $120, but Amazon’s best price is $143. There was another article in EE Times which said it was $99! Not sure what to believe or if I should wait to buy.

    • Actually the prices differ from store to store and also you need to check out the shipping costs. If you can get it from China then the cost would be another 20-40$ while if you buy from Amazon, in most cases the shipping is free. It also has the Google Maps App which comes preinstalled in the tablet.

  43. Will Amazon ship it to India?

  44. I cant believe that android 4.0. I am still with 2.2 :(