Category: Reviews

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Review: N5Zero Tablet, sub-$100 5″ capacitive Android tablet

Posted by Charbax – September 28, 2011

This is my world exclusive review of the new Window88.com N5Zero Tablet. A 5" capacitive Android tablet to be sold for less than $100 (to resellers). It's using the Rockchip RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 Single Core processor at 1.2Ghz, the screen resolution is 800x480, it has 512MB RAM, a MicroSD slot, between 2GB and 16GB built-in flash ROM storage (depending on the configuration, mine has 8GB), no Bluetooth, the graphics are powered by the Vivante Gc800 that does up to 57 million triangles per second and full OpenGL ES 2.0 for fully smooth Flash 10.3 (and soon Flash 11) support, it supports smoothly all the latest Android 3D games, video playback support is 1080p with all codecs but there is no HDMI output.

Most importantly, this cool 5" capacitive tablet is being sold out of China for below $100 USD! Of course, you have to consider that the low sub-$100 price is for resellers contacting Window88.com and ordering large quantities of the tablet, perhaps 100 pieces minimum, or 500, or 1000, that is to be discussed by interested distributors with the Window88.com people. The final retail price can be a bit higher. In China this tablet is being sold for 699 renminbi on the market, that is $109. But if this tablet gets imported to Europe and the USA, expect a pricing that can be around $139 or more depending on how much margins the resellers want to take.

Rockchip claims that their RK2918 processor has a better performance than the Samsung Hummingbird in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7", Samsung Galaxy S1 and that it's also faster than the Apple A4 in iPad1 and iPhone4. That is to be confirmed. Sure enough, this is by far not as fast as the newest Dual Core processors such as the one Samsung promises for the 5.3" Samsung Galaxy Note, but consider that this Window N5Zero is to be sold to resellers at below $100 and that with software optimizations, with perhaps Ice Cream Sandwich coming, this could be fast enough for many users looking for cheap tablet value worldwide.

Read about more of the specs here: http://window88.com/chinese/pro_show.asp?pid=36&p_name=Tablet%20PC

Video-review of the NEC/Renesas based dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 533Mhz capacitive 7″ tablet from livall.cn (desert safari and camel version)

Posted by Charbax – April 20, 2011

Since I know that you can't wait for me to post more Android tablet videos, I decided to start filming my review in the desert while doing the desert safari and riding a camel, so you can further check out this cool new NEC/Renesas 533Mhz Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 7" capacitive tablet that I got from livall.cn. I'll post my full real video-review once I am back in Copenhagen later today.

You can also watch these other Qatar videos that I filmed:
1. Arrived in Qatar
2. Walking the Souq Waqif, the Corniche and checking out the Doha skyscrapers at night
3. Desert Safari with Arabian Adventure Qatar (includes a fun Video-review of the NEC/Renesas based dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 533Mhz capacitive 7″ tablet from livall.cn)

Review: $120 Hero H2000 MTK6516 Android Froyo Powered iphone4-copy

Posted by Charbax – April 13, 2011

I actually found this being sold at 780 renminbi ($120) at the Shenzhen Electronics Market the day after I bought it. So the price for this is actually as low as that. Also see my video review of the similar but even cheaper $87 FG8 3.5" capacitive MTK6515 HTC Desire clone. And my video interview with Karasnn.com the probable manufacturer of this $120 MTK6516 Hero H2000 smartphone.

Here are the specs for this cool $120 Android Powered iphone4-copy:

Hero H2000
MTK6516 ARM9 460Mhz + 250Mhz DSP
Android 2.2 Froyo
2GB Flash storage, MicroSD expansion
3.5" HVGA Capacitive touch screen
GSM/GPRS/EDGE Dual-SIM card slots (no 3G)
WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, 3.5mm stereo heaphones, 2 Megapixel back-facing, 0.3Megapixel front-facing cameras

I bought one of my H2000 from Sinoteck for $149 (969 renminbi) at http://bysino.net a partner of http://dhgate.com (they were exhibitor at the Shenzhen Electronics Fair) and the other I bought for $131 (850 renminbi) on the Shenzhen electronics market, then finding it being sold for $120 (780 renminbi) the day after.

Best of Shenzhen: $87 Android 3.5″ capacitive phone, MTK6516 FG8

Posted by Charbax – April 11, 2011

Here's my initial video- and photo-review of this $87 Android smartphone that I found at the Shenzhen electronics market. It's based on the ARM9 Mediatek MTK6516 processor, with Dual-SIM (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) support, Android Froyo 2.2 installed (seems smooth!), AGPS, 2Megapixel Camera, Bluetooth A2DP, the screen is a great 3.5" capacitive touch screen, seems super! You read this right, this one now sells on the Shenzhen market for only $87 (565 Chinese Renminbi).

Here are the specs for this Mediatek MTK6516 ARM9 Based so-called FG8 Android phone:

MTK6516 ARM9 460Mhz + 260Mhz DSP (that can do certain video playback and other UI acceleration)
3.5" Capacitive HVGA 480x320 screen
256MB RAM
Froyo Android 2.2 supported
Dual-SIM Card slots GSM Quad-band 850/900/1800/1900MHz works worldwide on GSM/GPRS/EDGA (no 3G HSDPA data speeds though)
WiFi, FM, Bluetooth A2DP, AGPS, 2Mpix Camera, Microphone, MicroSD card slot (up to 32GB), Mp4 playback support claimed, 3-4 hours talk time and 200 hours standby time claimed (I haven't tested yet).

Here are some pictures of this awesome product (click thumbnails for the bigger photos on Google Picasaweb):

Cheap Android phone cheap Android phone Cheap Android phone cheap Android phone Cheap Android phone cheap Android phone Cheap Android phone

Let me know in the comments what features you would like me to test in my next videos of this device. If you can find links for realiable-looking online Shenzhen exporters for where to order, post the links to export stores in the comments, so interested people can try to order with worldwide shipping.

$95 Cortex-A9 Tablet Review, Kinstone KS-UMD070A9

Posted by Charbax – April 9, 2011

World's cheapest ARM Cortex-A9 Tablet thus far (single core), it is to be sold at $95 FOB Shenzhen, meaning for orders of at least 500 pieces. Add taxes, import, licences, profit margins and the retail price in Europe and USA may be around $149/149€.

Here are the specs:

AmLogic 8726-M ARM Cortex-A9 Single Core 800Mhz
ARM Mali-400 graphics
Android 2.2 (2.3, 3.0 updates possible, depends on Google policies)
512MB RAM
4GB Flash
7" resistive (capacitive available for about $30 extra)
WiFi, Bluetooth, Accelerometer
1800mAh battery
USB 2 host/device connector
HDMI output with 1080p full video codecs support (maximum video bitrate to be tested later.. Do you know of online benchmarks for video playback on this AmLogic, please write in comments)
Flash 10.1, 3G Dongle, GPS (optional, requires extra module)

Find more information or contact the manufacturer at http://www.kinstone.net

Arnova 10, $199 10.1” Android Tablet

Posted by Charbax – February 25, 2011

Here is a world exclusive video unveiling of the new Arnova 10 entry-level 10.1” Android tablet:

This may become the world’s cheapest ARM Cortex-A8 1Ghz RK2918, 10.1” capacitive Android tablet on the market (I filmed an early pre-production prototype of it with capacitive/rk29 combo at CES here). Until about April, Arnova 10 is released now as a 10.1” resistive ARM9 600Mhz RK2818 tablet. The price remains $199 in the USA, 199€ in Europe (consider all European prices always include ~20% VAT). Look for a slightly different model number once the capacitive/rk29 version starts shipping. They will shift to it as soon as 10.1” capacitive and rk29 components are ready/stable and mass manufactured, the Chinese suppliers are working as fast as they can, this should be in a couple months.

Archos is the second largest tablet maker in France according to GfK sales numbers, having 22% market share, far in front of Samsung with 4%, 67% for iPad. Arnova is a new brand from Archos based in Hong Kong, that uses the design, manufacturing and distribution strengths of Archos but will remain a separate brand for the cheaper $100-$200 Rockchip based devices (see the press release here). The idea here is to get these excellent valued Rockchip based designs to more people in Europe and the USA. But Arnova is also more extensively going to be promoted for developing countries as people there enjoy cheaper stuff. But people enjoy cheaper stuff everywhere.

Rockchip is doing excellent work optimizing cost in their entry level SoC designs, and are doing stable hardware optimizations with the latest versions of Android that can be adapted for the given ARM architectures that they use. Archos has probably been the top selling Rockchip maker thus far with the Archos 7 Home Tablet massively sold in every major electronics store in the USA and Europe these past 12 months (go check your local Staples, Best Buy, etc.. it’s probably there), and they plan to further extend that kind of reach with their new Arnova branding.

As it stands right now with Rockchip, Eclair is the furthest they can go for ARM9 RK2818 based devices (Donut for their older ARM9 RK2808 without graphics acceleration), and Gingerbread is the furthest they can go with ARM Cortex-A8 RK2918 based devices. But who knows, Google may announce tomorrow Honeycomb support for every popular ARM architecture used in any previously certified or not certified Android tablets out there, even including the cheapest Rockchip designs. I asked some Google people at MWC, including in my interview with Honeycomb designer Matias Duarte, they told me Honeycomb has no minimum hardware requirements, which hopefully also means other than opening Honeycomb source code for all to use, that Google will also allow for Google Marketplace on all devices without requiring stuff like compass/gps/3g, and hopefully Google also plans to dedicate resources to help all SoC platform makers and device maker with getting great and fully hardware optimized new firmwares with Honeycomb and Marketplaces onto all these cheaper devices as well (evt with Holographic UI effects disabled on low hardware specs).

$800 for a Honeycomb tablet is a lot of money for some people. Sure enough, the Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 Tegra2 Honeycomb experience is awesome, but a lot of people prefer paying 4x less if they can get a decent ARM Cortex-A8 Honeycomb experience, if Google and companies like Arnova just allow consumers to have that choice.

Specs:
Price: $199 in USA, 199€ in Europe (consider all European prices always include ~20% VAT)
Capacity: 4GB (or 8GB) with MicroSD slot
OS: Android 2.1 Eclair (on RK2818), Gingerbread (on RK2918 version available ~April), Honeycomb? (depends on Google/Rockchip)
Display: 10.1" 1024x600 touch screen (resistive now, capacitive version available ~April) , 16 million colors
Video playback (on current RK2818 model): H264 up to 720p 30fps 5mbitps, Mpeg4 30fps 2.5mbitps, RMVB up to 720p 30fps 2.5mbitps, in these extensions: .avi, .mp4, .mkv, .mov, .flv (RK2918 version available ~April may add 1080p and higher bitrates support)
Audio playback: mp3, wav, ape, ogg, flac
Photo: jpeg, bmp, gif, png
Interfaces: USB 2.0 Slave MSC, USB 2.0 Host MSC, MicroSD slot
Wireless: WiFi b/g
Other: built-in speaker, microphone, G-sensor, front-facing VGA camera
Battery runtime: TBC music, up to 6h video
Size: 272x152.3x13.5mm (10.7"x6"x0.5")
Weight: 570gr (20.1oz)

Arnova 8, $149 8″ Android Tablet

Posted by Charbax – February 25, 2011

As with the Arnova 10, this one also starts resistive/rk2818 for now, and becomes capacitive/rk2918 during the next couple of months, staying at $149 MSRP.

Read much more on the rk2818/resistive platform of this device (released now) and the rk2918/capacitive version (to be releasing around April) in my Arnova 10 post.

Specs:
Price: $149 in USA, 149€ in Europe (consider all European prices always include ~20% VAT)
Capacity: 4GB with MicroSD slot
OS: Android 2.1 Eclair (on RK2818), Gingerbread (on RK2918 version available ~April), Honeycomb? (depends on Google/Rockchip)
Display: 8" 800x600 touch screen (resistive now, capacitive version available ~April) , 16 million colors
Video playback (on current RK2818 model): H264 up to 720p 30fps 5mbitps, Mpeg4 30fps 2.5mbitps, RMVB up to 720p 30fps 2.5mbitps, in these extensions: .avi, .mp4, .mkv, .mov, .flv (RK2918 version available ~April may add 1080p and higher bitrates support)
Audio playback: mp3, wav, ape, ogg, flac
Photo: jpeg, bmp, gif
Interfaces: USB 2.0 Slave MSC, USB 2.0 Host MSC, MicroSD slot
Wireless: WiFi b/g
Other: 2 built-in speakers, microphone, G-sensor
Battery runtime: 22.5h music, 6h video
Size: 205x153x12mm (8"x4.2"x0.5")
Weight: 500gr (17.6oz)

Archos 70 Internet Tablet on Leo Laporte’s This Week In Google episode 69

Posted by Charbax – November 19, 2010

As I told you in yesterday's MacBreak weekly 221 post, last Sunday as I was in the Silicon Valley to video blog the ARM Technology Conference for my http://ARMdevices.net site, I had fun traveling up to Petaluma and bring Leo Laporte some of the Archos Gen8 tablets (70, 43 and 32) so he could test them out and let his Twit gang also play with them. So that they could compare those with Apple and Samsung tablets. The time code in this "This Week In Google" episode 69 where they start talking about Archos is around the 5th minute.

You can discuss this video in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=40903

Archos 70, 43, 32 Internet Tablets on MacBreak Weekly 221

Posted by Charbax – November 18, 2010

As I was in California to video-blog the ARM Technology Conference in Santa Clara on my http://ARMdevices.net, I thought I'd suggest Archos send me some extra Gen8 so that I could use those as excuse to bring them to the Twit Cottage in Petaluma, as I am a fan of the Twit podcasting network, the most advanced high quality production quality podcast network, I watched most of the Twit and Twig shows since 2006. The weekly Twit podcasts (they do about 20 weekly, some even daily podcasts!) are some of the most influential and popular technology audio and video podcasts worldwide.

In this episode of MacBreak Weekly, Leo Laporte, Alex Lindsay, Merlin Mann and Andy Ihnatko discuss the Archos 70 Internet Tablets versus the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab. In the embed below of MacBreak Weekly episode 221, I forward the video to about the 1h01m30s time code when they start talking about the Archos tablets (they mention the Archos 7 Home Tablet Amazon pricing for a few minutes).

You can discuss this video in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=40794

Video about my E-Ink watch

Posted by Charbax – November 5, 2010

I am being video interviewed by Sasha Pallenberg of netbooknews.com about my awesome E-ink watch:

It doesn't exactly have the Bluetooth features, those features will come with the also cool looking touch screen Sony Ericsson Liveview and similar Android Bluetooth remote control watches that are coming.

This video was released at: netbooknews.com