Review: Ainol Novo 7 Tornado

Android tablets have really come a long way in the past one year. Not only did the high-end tablets give Apple a run for their money, the lower end tablets are doing really well too. One such tablet to enter the lower-end, 7-inch tablet segment is the Ainol Novo 7 Tornado. The name is a mouthful, but let’s see what the specs are like. The tablet comes with an 800×480 pixel, 7-inch capacitive, LCD touchscreen that supports 5-point multi-touch. The resolution is a bit low, specially when compared to a high-end tablet, however, compared to other lower end models, it fits in nicely. The tablet runs Android 4.0.3, or better known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Powering this ICS flavored 7-incher, is a single-core, Cortex A9 CPU clocked at 1GHz and a Mali 400 GPU.

It also has 1GB of DDR3 memory running at 1333MHz, making this a pretty zippy little tablet. It has more than enough power needed to run ICS and will probably handle custom Jelly Bean ROMS as well. It also comes with 8GB onboard memory, giving it more than enough space for all your applications, games, eBooks, and music. It also has a TF card slot that supports up to 32GB cards. Along with that, you’ll find a WiFi 802.11b/g/n adapter that supports a maximum of 150MBps, as well as support for external 3G connections via an OTG dongle.

The usual range of G-sensors, a VGA front facing camera, a mini USB 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack round it off nicely. It even has a 1-watt external speaker. They key selling point about the tablet however, is the 3.7V, 3700mAh, lithium battery. This gives it extremely good battery life, around 7 to 8 hours of video playback or around 30 hours of music playback. However, it does lack Bluetooth and doesn’t have an HDMI port. Additionally, it probably won’t receive OTA updates to Jelly Bean. However, unlike most similar tablets, the Ainol Novo 7 Tornado does come with Google’s Play Store.

On the outside, the device comes in a very attractive, black, brushed metal front with and white, plastic back. It doesn’t have any buttons on the front and is fairly smooth, with one logo on the bezel and a tiny hole for the camera. There is an opening for the speaker on the back, near the bottom left corner, with the buttons on the top of the body. It has the usual volume rocker and power button, and an additional home button as well. On the left side, we have the audio jack, a pinhole for the microphone, the mini USB port, and the TF card slot.

It comes with a custom user interface running over Android ICS, called Atradius 4.0. It is a relatively minimalistic front-end application that does away with the Android dock and moves the notification bar to the bottom of the screen. The basic back, home, and recent application buttons are on the bottom left corner of the UI, and the menu button floats on the upper right corner. The user interface is relatively smooth and looks pretty decent. Unlike most OEM skins, this lets people experience plain vanilla, Android 4.0.3, and simply works to fit everything in place, as per the Novo 7 Tornado’s screen size.

All in all, the device is relatively good and zippy, making it an ideal choice for people looking for a cheap, reliable tablet that they can use for several hours without having to worry about running out of battery life.