We’re starting to see the AllWinner Cortex A10 CPU popping up, but if you’re like me, you’re wondering what exactly is going on with it. The Allwinner A10 CPU is sold to chinese manufacturers at around $7 a pop, BUT uses a 400-pin highly feature-rich 1.2ghz ARM Cortex A8 with a MALI400 GPU. If you’re not familiar with the Mali 400 GPU according to Anandtech it was actually the fastest GPU on the market in September of 2011. If you’re also wondering where you can find it, this GPU is behind the wildly successful Samsung Galaxy SII.
The thing is not all low cost tablets have to be crappy, this is an example of a Shenzhen tablet worth buying. If we look at Shenzhen tablet makers, the one we’re most impressed with is Ainol who actally offers a few different tablets, some worth buying others…not so much. Ainol has have several variants of their 7″ tablets in the Novo 7 line up that range from $99 to $228. The cheapest ones is the Ainol Novo 7 Palladin and Ainol Novo 7 Basic which are equipped with Ingenic JZ4770 at 1Ghz.
JZ4770 is based on MIPS architecture and this fact results into incompatibility with most Android Apps. In fact most of Android apps are compiled the way that stops them running on a MIPS CPU. Some of them can be modified (more exactly their flags in header) by MagicCode and resulting .apk package is then capable running on MIPS CPU, but this won’t work for all, only some Apps. So if you keep this in mind JZ4770 based tablets can not be recommended till all killer apps became available for MIPS platform too. They actually have their own store, but it only have 15% of the Android apps currently available.
So If you pay a bit more, for $149/$129 you can get either Ainol Novo 7 Elf or Ainol Novo 7 Advanced II, which are equipped by Allwinner A10 CPU. What’s the difference between Advanced II and Elf? Well it’s the price, it’s a little more expensive but you get an IPS display with the Ainol Novo 7 Aurora aka the Advanced II. If you don’t mind a regular old display you can pick up the Elf for $165 from Amazon which is around $50 cheaper. So you’ll get full access to Android Marketplace.
It’s a confusing world out there when it comes to budget Android Tablets, we took a closer look at the Ainol Novo 7 Advanced II tablet here in case you’re interested.