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Many of the tablets sold in Asia, particularly China and Southeast Asia, suffer from serious design and quality-control issues. On the other hand, some China-designed tablets actually compare quite well with well-known manufacturers. For example, the popular Hyundai (not Hyundai of Korea) T7 tablet pound-per-pound, beats the first generation Nexus 7 Nexus 7 vs. iPad Mini: A Comparative Review Nexus 7 vs. iPad Mini: A Comparative Review If you're shopping for a 7-inch tablet, there's absolutely no shortage of options. It's undeniable, however, that the leading choices are Apple's iPad mini and Google's Nexus 7. We've reviewed both of these devices individually,... Read More in specifications and in price. However, do the best tablets from China compare to the latest tablet, such as the 2013 Nexus 7 in terms of value?

In my experience, no. Plenty of excellent Chinese manufacturers exist, such as Pipo and Ramos. Unfortunately, the vast majority of China-only devices fall short of the standards set by multinational corporations in the United States and elsewhere.

This article delineates the hardware and firmware components of the Hyundai T7, and common issues with China-only tablets. At each point of analysis, I compare it against the 2013 Nexus 7. Ultimately, I determine whether Chinese tablets are worth importing.

Are Cheap Chinese Tablets as Good as the Real Thing?

To answer the question regarding the quality of cheap, Chinese-designed tablets, I purchased an ASUS Nexus 7 (designed in Taiwan) and a Hyundai T7, both with 7-inch screen sizes. What may confuse American readers is why a knock-off company would steal a Korean car company’s brand to sell tablets.

Hyundai in Korea manufactures almost everything, from televisions to the subcomponents of cars – they’re one of the few companies in the world that’s both horizontally and vertically integrated. However, it does not sell tablets. Several knock-off companies do sell tablets illegally under Hyundai’s brand. Hyundai’s actual information technology division has nothing to do with the T7’s production.

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Hyundai of Korea is totally unrelated to the T7. The tablet is actually made by a company known as Toptech Technology, which illegally produces tablets under Hyundai’s brand. You can find their website here. Regardless of its shady pedigree, the T7’s reputation among importers remains high. Many regard it as the best tablet for less than $200 for its low price and feature-rich specifications. Truthfully, it’s more comparable to ASUS’s MeMOPad HD 7 in terms of pricing — but the T7 beats the MeMOPad in almost every conceivable category at face value.

Depending on the manufacturer, Chinese-designed and manufactured tablets vary wildly in quality. Some manufacturers, such as Pipo and Ramos, maintain higher standards for both build quality and performance. Others, such as Ainol and off-brand manufacturers, while popular, do not possess a reputation for reliability or quality.

However, the hardware isn’t the primary failing of most Chinese tablets – it’s the firmware and software that fall short.

Firmware Quality

Conversely, the strength of the Nexus 7 is in its firmware. In fact, out of all devices sold globally, the Nexus series of products remains king of software updates. Not only does Google and its partners commit to a minimum 18-months of support, the enthusiast developer community produces firmware updates long after official support ends. For example, the HTC Nexus One received an unofficial update to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). Considering the Nexus One’s 2010 launch, Nexus phones remain the best of the best in software support.

Following in the Nexus series’ footsteps, the Nexus 7 (2013 edition) received a software update days after its release. It currently includes the latest Android 4.3 software, including TRIM support.

In comparison, the T7 received a beta-update to 4.2.2, the second most advanced version of the Android OS. Strangely, Toptech’s tablet also has a single custom ROM available, which eliminates many of the China-only apps and improves performance. Unfortunately, this particular custom ROM is based on Android 4.0. While the 4.2 beta firmware update improves performance, it’s half-baked and suffers from a variety of problems, primarily bad battery life, occasional stability issues and strange glitches resulting in odd behavior.

Bad firmware remains a key weakness in China-only tablets. For the most part, China’s chipset manufacturers are reluctant to release source code. Additionally, developers also complain of poor support. Many apps run poorly on Chinese tablets and few quality custom ROMs What Are The Best Custom Android ROMs? What Are The Best Custom Android ROMs? The moment you realize you can flash your Android phone with a new ROM is a pivotal one. Suddenly, you're free: Endless customization options, no more vendor bloatware, and, best of all, you don't have... Read More exist.

Dimensions, Feel and Manufacturing Quality

The Hyundai T7 remains about two or three millimeters thicker than the Nexus 7. It uses a slick, piano-polish, white plastic case, with a plastic, silver bezel. Conversely, the Nexus is wrapped in a black, matte rubber finish. Neither design is particularly easy to tear down, although compared to an Apple product, the T7 is a cakewalk, whereas the Nexus 7 rated a 7 in repairability from iFixit.

width of tablets compared

Both feel very well made, although the Nexus 7 is qualitatively superior. Its screen has a resolution and quality that you can’t find at a similar price-point from a Chinese device. However, I should point out that neither screen suffers from busted pixels.

A commonly-reported issue in many China-only tablets is that of busted pixels. I’m not sure why this is, as the same factories that produce LCD screens for multinational corporations also produce them for small Chinese firms. Regardless, buying a cheap tablet will likely result in a higher degree of screen imperfections.

App Performance

The Samsung Exynos 4412 CPU inside of the T7 feels snappy. Compared to budget tablets, it’s among the fastest around. Unfortunately, its implementation on the software side leaves a lot to be desired. While the T7 played several games without lag, it suffered from numerous graphical glitches.

glitch01

Things eventually became pretty much unplayable, very rapidly:

glitch02

I also ran several news reading apps, namely Feedly Feedly Mobile - Keep Up With News & Google Reader Feeds On The Go With This Stylish App [iOS & Android] Feedly Mobile - Keep Up With News & Google Reader Feeds On The Go With This Stylish App [iOS & Android] When I first went looking for a suitable news and RSS reader for my iPhone, I had two prerequisites – no price tag (the feeds are free, after all) and Google Reader integration. Feedly with... Read More , and which ran extremely smoothly. Aside from the problems with 3D graphics, the T7 was rock-solid.

In comparison, the Snapdragon S4 Pro inside of the Nexus 7 ran 3D graphics, without the glitches which plagued the Hyundai. It also ran all apps without issue.

In general, apps running on chipsets popular in China will likely experience a great deal of compatibility issues with apps.

Battery

With its 3300 mAh battery, the Hyundai T7 should in theory give the Nexus 7 a run for its money in battery longevity. Unfortunately, it’s not even close. The T7 doesn’t doesn’t properly suspend while idling, meaning it drains out overnight. Fortunately, several kinds of power management software will eliminate the suspend issues, giving it proper idle state performance.

Frequent issues with Chinese-designed tablets are poor battery quality and overheating. The same holds true in the T7, which doesn’t properly calibrate its battery. If you’ll notice, the battery indicator fluctuates wildly, even after performing calibration.

whack battery t7

AnTuTu Synthetic Benchmark

Anandtech recently discovered systemic issues in benchmarking software: Manufacturers universally cheat on benchmarking tests, with the exception of Nexus devices. For those who haven’t heard: Virtually every other manufacturers design their products to overclock if benching software runs, such as AnTuTu. Numbers can vary by as much as 20%, above actual performance.

That said, the T7 scores in the 17,000 range, which places it among high-end tablets, such as the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity. Many recent Chinese CPUs perform similarly. For example, Rockchip’s RK3188 scores approximately equal to the Exynos 4412, in AnTuTu. The RK3188 also powers a large number of stick-PCs Rikomagic MK802 IV and MK812A RK3188 Android Smart Mini PC Review and Giveaway Rikomagic MK802 IV and MK812A RK3188 Android Smart Mini PC Review and Giveaway A complete Android system for your TV - not a Chromecast, not an adapter for your phone – no additional hardware required. Android "TV sticks" are mini computers running Android. They have no screen, instead... Read More .

More or less, despite the benchmarking scandal, higher end Chinese CPUs can perform roughly on par with the latest designs from large multinational corporations.

antutu benchmarks

Head-to-Head Comparison

Shockingly, the RAM used in the Hyundai T7 is higher quality than that used in the Nexus 7. In fact, it’s among the highest quality RAM I’ve seen in any device. Aside from that, however, the Nexus 7 is approximately equal, or better than the T7 in almost every other category.

Hardware

  • CPU: Oftentimes the most salient difference between tablets from the West and from China is in the build quality and hardware. The majority of China-sourced (and many Western tablets, as well) designs use one of three ARM chipsets: MediaTek, ATM, Allwinner and Rockchip. The Korean-made Exynos 4412 in the T7 appears infrequently among many Chinese tablets. Anyway, the Snapdragon S4 Pro is marginally faster than the Exynos 4412, scoring 20,000 in AnTuTu against the Exyno’s 17,000.
  • RAM: The RAM performance of the T7 scores 1,700 in AnTuTu, whereas the Nexus 7 scores around 1,100. RAM performance isn’t all that impressive a statistic.
  • Screen: The 800 x 1232 screen resolution of the Hyundai T7 equals the original Nexus 7. However that’s not enough to beat the extraordinary quality of the Nexus 7’s 1920 x 1200 resolution, which leads its form factor in screen quality.
  • Storage: the 8 gigabytes of storage in the T7 is half that of the 16 gigabytes in the Nexus 7. However, the Nexus 7 doesn’t include microSD card support. The T7, on the other hand, can support up to 128 gigabytes of space. Additionally, Chinese devices rarely implement TRIM Why TRIM is Important to Solid State Hard Drives? [Technology Explained] Why TRIM is Important to Solid State Hard Drives? [Technology Explained] Read More , meaning over time they will require a factory reset in order to prevent lag. Some can be manually TRIM How to Fix Android’s Bad Performance and Awful Design How to Fix Android’s Bad Performance and Awful Design Got a laggy Android device? There's a fix for you out there, but it requires root access. Read More ‘d, fortunately. I suggest trying this TRIM method Three Steps to Restore Your Sluggish Android's Performance Three Steps to Restore Your Sluggish Android's Performance Yes, Android devices do get slower with time - you're not imagining things. Here's why, and what you can do about it. Read More , first.
  • Price: A $80 difference between the two devices still doesn’t justify purchasing a T7. While it’s better than any other device in its price range, in terms of hardware, its software doesn’t stack up to the latest Nexus tablet.

Software/Firmware

  • Updates: The Nexus 7 receives firmware updates for 18 months after release. The Hyundai T7 received one half-baked beta update three months after its release.
  • Custom ROMs: The Nexus 7 will have dozens, if not hundreds, of high-quality custom ROMs, which improve performance throughout its life-cycle. The Hyundai has one custom ROM and a potential AOKP ROM from Slatedroid developer Frontier. If Frontier manages to create an AOKP custom ROM, the T7 will compare well with even the Nexus series of tablets.
  • Stability: The Nexus 7 is rock-solid. The Hyundai T7 occasionally experiences forced reboots/crashes.

Conclusion

So do Chinese-originated designs compare favorably to those sold by well-heeled companies, such ASUS or Samsung? Unfortunately, no – they’re not equal. In terms of hardware, you can get a better deal from China-only tablets, but because of poorly developed firmware in the Hyundai, fantastic hardware fails to function properly.

So while you can get a good resolution, solid-performing tablet for a lot less than its Western (and Eastern) competition, the hardware won’t perform properly because of poorly built firmware. Although some devices by Pipo and Ramos have comparatively better firmware than the T7, these come with higher price tags. Comparatively, you get a better deal by sticking with well-known brands.

It’s important to close on the note that most tablets originate from China. In fact, one of the best hardware manufacturers in the world comes from a territory currently claimed by China (Taiwan). It remains somewhat of a mystery why Toptech felt it neccessary to steal Hyundai’s brand name, given China’s pedigree.

Anyone else buy China-only tablets? Please share your experiences in the comments.

  1. Eiji Lin
    January 29, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Have a PIPO Max M1 for over 3 years. Worked flawlessly for the first two years. Upgraded to Roman's Jellybean custom firmware last year and still works fine, though occasionally it would shutdown from idle. The HDMI port also stopped sending out 1080p signal last year making it no longer useful for a portable HTPC. However, for $180 CAD all in I paid for it, which was 1/3 the price of a comparably spec Android tablet at the time, it's been a good experience. Overall I think RK3066 was a really great performer for the value for its time. Disappointingly, subsequent RK3188 wasn't as good.

    I'm now looking to buy a Teclast X16 pro. I want a transformer tablet with dual boot and atleast Cherry trail, and that's probably the only thing that fits the bill. It also uses the same Intel Atom SoC as Surface, so I'm expecting a lot less issues.

  2. Albert Lyubarsky
    September 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I bought Chuwi vi8 3 month ago. It is perfect. Beyond all my expectations.

  3. Andrew Smith
    May 9, 2015 at 10:28 am

    I Purchased a X10HD from Teclast in China and the battery only last 3 hours on a full charge so i tried to contact them.

    The .gmail email address they give out does not work, emails come back so yes i feel scammed .
    The X98 might had been a good device but it looks now like Teclast are doing a runner and the guarantee is not worth the paper it is not printed on.

    • Monne None
      August 19, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      I had the same problem with the device.. After upgrading the bios to V. 2.0.2 the battery lasts very very long but be advised, flashing the bios is a risky thing.

  4. JUDE CLEMENT
    March 12, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Please sir how will you rate PIPO W6 windows 8.1 tablet? Please give me an honest analysis as i intend buying one but i am scared of Chinese tablets but i don't have enough money to go for multinational brands with similar specifications. On the other hand which Chinese tablet making company can you rate as been at per with known brands like Samsung, LG, etc.

    • Kannon Y
      March 12, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      I don't recommend -- at the moment -- buying tablets that don't offer year-long warranties within the country where you are buying them. Pretty much all China-designed tablets will not carry with them a warranty, unless sold as a white-label product. In which case, the warranties are oftentimes terrible, but it's better than nothing.

      There are third parties that sell reburbished tablets with limited warranties. If you cannot afford a more expensive tablet, you may want to look into one of these.

      Sources include eBay, Swappa, Glyde and more.

      PiPO is generally considered to be one of the best Chinese manufacturers. However, there are better regarded companies, such as Xiaomi. Xiaomi is offering a high-end tablet for around $200 in India at the moment. I can't think of a better priced device.

    • Emmanuel
      April 10, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Actually, what I think is that what you buy is what you get. I use an Infinix X507. It has a manageable battery life but with interesting specs. The problem with these low end phones is that they don't last and there's always issue with their firmwares. If you don't have money for the end phones, you'll eventually resort to buying these.

  5. Steve
    February 13, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Does anyone know why the big manufacturers of android devices eg. samsung, HTC, etc don't make 9.7 inch tablets?
    The Chinese manufacturers are the only ones that do this at the moment.

    • Kannon Y
      February 17, 2015 at 5:02 am

      I believe Samsung has a number of 10-inch tablets, of varying models. Also, the Nexus 9 is basically a 9-incher.

      But you are right, very few companies seem to want to put out 10-inch tablets. I think it's because Apple dominates that particular marketspace. It's almost impossible to compete with them. Also tablet sales are starting to contract.

  6. Keegan
    February 11, 2015 at 7:50 am

    The its made in China its crap is silly, just less oversight for certain off brands, testing etc. Try rebooting into recovery mode, wipe davilk and catch and reboot. You probably soft bricked the tablet.

    Update onda V989
    Kannon I installed a custom ROM and all 8 CPU running at 1.8 GHz 46 degrees celcius with light gaming. One is on standby for 4 days now and used 10% battery with stock firmware. Custom ROM is based off stock firmware. Installed dead trigger 2 runs smooth on high settings, system had lag before flashed ROM. No bugs or complaints, firmware still isn't maximizing the potential here 4 sure.

    Teclast p90HD

    Flashed OMA ROM (only 2 options for this tablet) and runs nice. I've had a few issues, when installing themes and customizing icons and menues, had a system UI crash a few times. Uninstalled all except xtheme engine and all seems fine. System runs smooth but havnt had time to mess with it much yet. Screen is off the charts

    • Kannon Y
      February 17, 2015 at 5:24 am

      Thanks for the update. It sounds like a very good tablet. I'm glad Allwinner didn't double-down on producing straight-up octacore CPUs. They took the right path by using a big.LITTLE configuration, meaning they have four little cores and four big cores. If a workload isn't particularly demanding, the kernel parks the four big cores and allows the little cores to go to work. Your temps under regular loads is fantastic.

      I saw some really amazing tablets at CES this year. I'm really looking forward to some of the Lollipop, Snapdragon 410 and other A53 based tablets. I noticed that China was also producing transflective screens. With any luck we might start seeing e-readers using them.

      I've been thinking of importing a tablet similar to the Onda for a review or perhaps something more. The capabilities of smaller Chinese firms has taken large leaps over the past two years. I'd still like to see better QC, but on average even that has come up.

  7. Dana
    January 24, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    CHINESE TABLETS ARE GARBAGE. Don;t waste your time and money in them, they are simply complete scam. I am trying to repair one that is stuck on logo and there is no way to reset it... so there are 300 bucks, on the window. They are simply garbage, like most crap made in China, by their design.

  8. John
    January 12, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Yeah that's true battery displays 10 hours but in fact its just 40 to 30 minutes gaming sucks in it and firmware quality is crap i cant update my firmware version online directly from tablet but u have to do it offline by googling and more headache it hard to find it on Google which is not not well and that thing is unacceptable for everybody thats pretty embrassing

  9. Keegan
    January 8, 2015 at 6:31 am

    i currently own an LG G2 and a dg550 150$ (dodgee) cell phones. The dodgee stays connected to the wifi even when the lg cant, this is also about 50 feet away from router behind a metal building. The touch screen was horrible to me (considering im used to the ultra touchy LG) however after rooting the device and installing a custom rom http://www.needrom.com/download/dg550-kitk4taosp/ it was a very capable 5 point screen, didnt bother me anymore...battery was excellent on standby but would drain very quickly with games/apps, again custom rom literally doubled this. Also i increased the memory from 1 GB to 4 GB, and made the 32 gig the "internal" storage doubling it from 16. Phone came with a mali 450 mp4 video card, because of this some of the newer games wouldnt install, after a few minor adjustments they play perfectly. My experience with my first chinese "POS" has been a golden turd 8)

  10. Keegan
    January 8, 2015 at 6:02 am

    i just bought 2 onda v989 at bangood.com for 383.98 and 1 teclast p90hd for 170.04 with a 5% coupon. The teclast required i used my signup coupon (5%) and not a regular 5% promo code. I researched for months and took the plunge for or a total cost of 554.02, added some sdhx cards through aliexpress, 128 gig class10 upto 30mbs for 24$. A 32gb for 9$, 2 micro hdmi cables from aliexpress and original cases from bangood.com my total was 623$ 8) is it worth it, ill soon find out...

    • Kannon Y
      January 10, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Hey Keegan, thanks for the comment!

      I have high hopes for the Onda V989 and the V919. I believe the V989 is using the brand-new Allwinner A80 chipset, which is one of the first chipsets from Allwinner that appears to compare favorably with designs from other parts of the world. I am amazed at how quickly they got the new Cortex A53 (or was it A57?) architecture out. Right now I'd love to hear more about how energy efficient it is and what its maximum temperature is under CPU/GPU load.

  11. amirhh
    January 2, 2015 at 4:35 am

    hi.great article,thanks a lot man. i want to buy "Onda V989" , what's your opinion about this tablet? is it worth to buy this tablet?

  12. Håkan Rohdin
    April 1, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I picked up a Chinese tablet a year ago, the Chuwi V99. Packing 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, a 1.6GHz RK3066 SOC and a 9.7" retina display it seemed like a fine deal considering I paid a little more than $100.

    The battery life is fine, hitting ~8 hours. The display is marvellous as expected. The wireless reception is quite all right. And the build quality is more than fair.

    So - was it a steal? Well, not really. It's quite slow but the major problem is the buggy firmware. Sometimes it drops the wifi connection, apps keep on crashing, especially the browser. Sometimes the virtual keyboard doesn't pop up when needed.

    It's not a complete mess, but it would have been a much better deal to just pick up a used iPad or a Nexus 10, even if it would have added another $100-200. I'm not completely biased against no-name tablets, BUT I would never buy another one unless being able to try it out for a few hours first.

  13. Victor Dugas
    March 25, 2014 at 3:23 am

    A number of people have asked to Skype with me. Please feel free to add me at JoltSystems. Thanks.

    • Urban
      March 26, 2014 at 2:23 am

      Thanks for fast responses!

      I really appreciate your effort, it was pretty extensive. I have not decided yet.
      What do you think about Onda v975m, Dave?

      Thanks in advance

    • Dave
      March 26, 2014 at 3:19 am

      Hey Urban,

      The Onda v975m looks like a pretty solid choice too. Its popularity is quickly climbing in China and all the features look solid.

      It's pretty much a faster version of the Teclast one I talked about earlier. It also has Android 4.3, which will give it a few more features and be a bit more stable overall.

      The thing is though, is that the v975m is a little more expensive than the other two. $206 at Banggood (you can't use the coupon with this one) and $199 at DinoDirect, which I've never shopped at before.

      Overall, it's a solid tablet and if you're willing to pay for the improvements, by all means go ahead.

  14. Dave
    March 20, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Hey Kannon,

    Although most of what you said is true, I feel that the way most people look at Chinese tablets place them at a huge disadvantage.

    For starters, when most people think of Chinese tablets, they think of an Ainol or some small low-quality brand that offers cheap imported tablets. These tablets are NOT what people in China consider to be good tablets or even the ones they tend to use. Since I can read Chinese, I often go on Baidu to find what Chinese think are good tablets. What I found is that in reality, the good tablets are only available at a fair price on certain sites that sell directly from China such as Banggood and Geekbuying (I've shopped at both of them an they are legit).

    For example, I bought my Colorfly E708 Q1 tablet on Banggood for $84. It is currently the 12th most popular tablet in China for a reason. It runs Android 4.2.2, has a Quad Core Allwinner A31S, a 1280x800 IPS screen employing OGS technology (just like the Nexus 7), 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB storage, and weighs 240 grams, which is very light for a 7" tablet. Its build quality is fairly good as well. At $84, it can pretty much beat any local tablet (I live in the USA) similar in price.

    Another good example is the FNF iFive Mini3 Retina for around $170. It is also from a fairly reputable Chinese manufacturer. It runs a 7.85" 2048x1536 screen (320+ PPI), RK3188 CPU, 2GB Ram, and only weighs 290 grams. It scores over 20000 on Antutu. It also has good build quality and a 5000+ mAh battery. No American tablet I've seen at this price point comes anywhere close.

    These are REAL Chinese tablets that Chinese people use, not the Ainols and other small brands most Americans here think are Chinese. I just think Chinese tablets have a bad reputation because people aren't buying the correct things. Here are the websites for the two tablets in case you wanted to take a look.

    http://www.colorful.cn/ColorfulProductdetails.aspx?id=1309da9363ed6c524ce986f601472007ba43

    http://www.ifive.com.cn/product/pc/3-1-16.html

    • Urban
      March 24, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Hello Dave,
      I have read the whole thread and your reply. I am seeking a good 10" tablet for an older person (so she can see better). My budget is max 190 $ (I'm a student). Do you have any recommendations, I would really appreciate it.
      Thanks in advance, Urban

    • Dave
      March 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Hey Urban,

      At the price level of $190, we have to look for tablets made by more reputable brands. The two I'm thinking of are Teclast (Taidian in Chinese) and Colorful. Teclast is one of the largest and most trusted tablet brands in China. Colorful is a good budget brand too. Looking at their tablet lineup, I've come up with two recommendations.

      Teclast P98HD - 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 Retina IPS screen, 2GB Ram, 16GB Storage, RK3188 Quad Core at 1.6Ghz, Dual Cameras (2.0 MP Front, 5.0MP Back). At Banggood, you can use the Coupon code b185f7 to get 5% off. The final price will be $194 with free shipping.

      Colorfly CT972 Q Cosy 2 - 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 Retina IPS screen, 2GB Ram, 32GB Storage, RK3188 Quad Core Dual Cameras (2.0 MP Front, 2.0MP Back). At Banggood, you can use the Coupon code b185f7 to get 5% off. The final price will be $179 with free shipping.

      Looking at this, I would say the Colorfly is the better deal. However, Teclast is a slightly better brand.

      The Colorfly has a bigger storage while the Teclast has a better camera and a slightly better battery.

      It is up to you.

  15. Bill
    March 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    TRIM support is not CPU dependent, it is a kernel level command passed to I/O dependent hardware.

    Google slipstreamed support for TRIM when it released Android 4.3

    You bash these low priced tablets and only compare them to higher priced ones.

    At least properly inform your reader base.

    • Kannon Y
      March 5, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Bill, thank you for the comment.

      My understanding is that while TRIM is implemented through the operating system, it requires support on the southbridge and storage controller to properly work. On mobile devices, most storage controllers permit TRIM, but the SoCs (system on a chip) implemented by Rockchip, MediaTek and others do not have TRIM support and to my knowledge they haven't released 4.3 drivers for their various lines of hardware.

      Because the SoC integrates the southbridge, CPU and other components, we sometimes erroneously refer to it as the CPU, but it's really a combination of components. In my other comment I should have referred to it as an SoC and not CPU. I don't think I've consistently made that error though.

      At the time this article was written, no MediaTek or Rockchip SoC implements TRIM support. I still believe that to be the case.

      The latest MTK6592 octacore SoC might offer TRIM, but I haven't heard of any examples. But that's also one of the latest SoC and it wasn't out at the time this article published.

      Again, thanks for the comment. I'm currently evaluating the newer chipsets and will publish on whether TRIM support exists. From early reports, MediaTek has really brought their technology up to the next level and is starting to be competitive not just on price, but on performance and firmware, with Western firms.

  16. David
    January 26, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I found on Newegg that the price for the Asus tf701t is actually barely in my price range. I have a lot of asus pc components and swear by them but I am a little worried about their tablets, as the previous iterations of the transformer have gotten alot of bad reviews. Any thoughts? Also they have an open box for 315 dollars but after looking at the reviews alot of people have complained about the the docking mechanism for the keyboard. I might want to get the keyboard later. Is Newegg selling the defective tablets as open box? Would they do that?

    • Kannon Y
      January 26, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      I really don't like working with the Asus TF700T but have heard good things about the TF701T. I also have the keyboard/dock. It's on paper an amazing tablet. The TF701T got an upgrade to 4.3, which I consider to be an essential OS for all devices.

      It uses the same design as the TF700T, which is absolutely beautifully designed. IIRC, it uses the newest version of the Tegra chipset which is powerful and great for idle state battery performance.

      However, the docking is purely mechanical. I would have preferred a magnetic dock, which doesn't cause wear and tear whenever it's connected. As it stands, the way it docks feels decent, but I've seen better docking implementations. The Surface for example, is a great example of how a tablet should be designed.

      The keyboard typing experience isn't all that great, although it's not horrible by any means.

      Another thing that I hate about the TF700T is that it uses a proprietary battery charger. Although it includes a USB OTG port, you can't charge from it. When I travel, oftentimes, I'm forced to bring a separate adapter for my phone and that's an inconvenience.

      Overall, I'd say go for it if you're OK with those shortcomings. The incorporation of the battery into the keyboard gives it really great battery life, provided that the buggy firmware doesn't cause it to drain out overnight. That it updates to 4.3 makes it good enough for most users. The other problems might be deal-breakers for a lot of people.

  17. Anonymous
    January 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I dont have trim on my current tablet and have been using lag fix as a workaround and it seemed like it was working at first but it's been getting finicky lately and dont want to go that route. I was expecting my new chinese tablet with a cfw kitkat to natively support trim. I'm not finding any info that rk3188 doesn't support trim but I did find info that suggests that lag fix is supported, so that might be why. Thanx man now I have something alot to think about, since I the only non chinese 10" tablet I have been considering is tab pro or the note 10.1 2014. I might just get the ifive x3 anyway and factory reset periodically. As I don't want to spend so much on something that I will want to upgrade in a year or so.

    • Kannon Y
      January 24, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      LagFix might not work on many Chinese devices. It's hard explaining why exactly.

      TRIM (passthrough) on the desktop must be compatible with the southbridge chipset. Mobile systems use "systems on a chip" (SoC), which integrates the north and southbridges onto single platform, which helps with energy consumption.

      The TRIM command 'fstrim", as I understood it, must have support on the southbridge in order for it to work. But because on SoC's, the entire system is integrated onto a single chip, TRIM compatibility varies by SoC. So unless that SoC is already known to include TRIM support, it won't work properly. Some device manufacturers included workarounds that provide a TRIM-like feature, but many did not.

      IThere's more complexity to it than this but basically you have the flash memory controller (eMMC controller), the southbridge (integrated into the SoC) and the operating system that determine whether TRIM will work. There's about a dozen workarounds that can maintain device performance, but workarounds have varying reliabilities. Better to have full TRIM support than a poorly understood workaround. But if the price is right, then factory resetting might not be all that big a hassle.

      As long as you know what you're getting, those tablets can be really good deals. Of course you know that already. Good luck!

  18. David
    January 23, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    It was revealed where? All manufacturers? That's a stretch. I know for a fact that if nexus devices dont then my hisense device doesnt as it has very similar specs and the same exact processor as the original nexus 7 and benchmarks about the same. As for trim that is a software feature not hardware and android 4.3+ have it. As power and heat are concerned rk3188 is 28nm vs 32nm die of the exynos 4412 as neither have any extra battery saving features that makes the rk3188 the clear winner either somebody has been pulling your leg or your trying to pull mine either way you need to get your facts straight bro!

    • Kannon Y
      January 24, 2014 at 2:48 am

      Nearly all manufacturers? It's a very common industry behavior, according to the guy who broke the story. Basically everyone but Google (Nexus and Motorola) rigs their benchmark performances.

      Everything you've mentioned is right, but let me elaborate on what I've written earlier. Tegra 3 includes a hidden fifth core which is designed specifically for low power consumption. In general, Tegra 3 is one of the best performers for idle state battery consumption. But according to the article I linked to in the first comment, it's also more battery efficient than the RK3188 and the Exynos 4412. But that's just one analysis and I'm sure there's others out there. But to the best of my knowledge, the Tegra 3 is more battery efficient. I only know what I've read.

      TRIM is definitely effected by support at the operating system level, but it also requires a compatible eMMC controller or otherwise it won't work. There's a small number of Chinese tablets that do indeed have some kind of TRIM workaround, but the documentation on the subject isn't particularly good. From what I know, if they don't have a workaround (and most don't) then they won't be able to TRIM their device because fstrim isn't supported by the hardware.

      But yeah, the RK3188 is a great CPU. And I agree custom ROMs make many bad devices suddenly good ones. But even though 4.3 adds TRIM, that doesn't automatically mean all devices get TRIM. If it's not supported by the hardware - particularly the storage controller - then it can't be added to the device.

  19. David
    January 23, 2014 at 8:19 am

    First off you have to read alot of reviews on chinese tablets they are hit and miss and get one that's a hit. My first tablet was an ainol novo 7 elf and even though ainol as a brand has gotten alot of negative reviews the tablet itself after a custom firmware flash was great. That's where people get stuck, leaving stock firmware on their device. The android dev community supports a device better and longer than any retail company be it China or elsewhere. If it has good hardware they will get it running smooth and fast and usually get it on the latest version of Android almost as fast as nexus products. Second I noticed a lot in this article that I just don't agree with. Like exynos 4412 benchmarking the same as rk3188 yeah right! That t7 and 720p resolution and 17000 antutu score? I have seen many rk3188 devices with full hd res get 18 - 20000. I currently have a sero 7 pro another chinese tablet albeit a Walmart sold product. I have played around on a family members ipad 4 which costs way more than my little 130 dollar tablet and the only thing that I envy about it is the screen but even though it has a much higher resolution its not that much nicer and my voice recognition and Web browsing is much better. My next tablet I'm about to get is an ifive x3 a 10.1 inch full hd rk3188 tablet that's thinner than the Ipad air for 250 dollars and the dev community already has a rock solid kit kat firmware for it! I have no reservations about how much I will love it and can't wait.

    • Kannon Y
      January 23, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Thanks for the comment David!

      Most of those AnTuTu scores reflect substantial amounts of overclocking. For example, in these benchmarks indicate the RK3188 as the clear winner in comparisons between Tegra 3 (Nexus 7), Exynos 4412 and RK3188. But basically, AnTuTu scores aren't very reliable, although they do provide a bar for comparison.

      Unfortunately, it was revealed that all device manufacturers, with the exception of the Nexus series of devices, automatically overclock once benchmarking software is detected. This causes AnTuTu scores to distort by up to 20% - the RK3188 and Exyno's actual AnTuTu scores are likely actually close to early model Tegra 3. In terms of battery efficiency, they are both remarkably inferior. They also lack TRIM support, which makes them poor choices for device reliability in the long-run.

      On the other hand, in terms of price-to-performance, the RK3188 is the undisputed champion. So would I recommend the RK3188? Only if someone gets TRIM functioning on it. But unfortunately the controller onboard the vast majority (99.9% it looks like) of Chinese-designed tablets using RK/MTK SoCs doesn't even support TRIM passthrough. That means without some kind of workaround, it will require a factory reset to restore performance.

      It's a shame, because most Chinese tablets have great engineering and design along with very low prices. But until TRIM support gets added, I can't recommend them because of the inevitable reliability issues.

  20. alberteng
    January 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    hermm, interesting article,, actually i want to get an 8" tablet but torn between asus memo 8, acer a1-830 and ramos i8.. its even harder to find people reviews on them

    • Kannon Y
      January 11, 2014 at 12:04 am

      My suggestion is to accept no firmware older than Android 4.3. Android 4.4 of course is ideal. If you do end up with older firmware, it will require performing a factory reset to restore performance, unless the manufacturer implemented workaround for TRIM.

      MTK processor I don't think offer any kind of workaround. So out of the three, I might end up choosing the Memo 8. But I would pick that one grudgingly.

  21. Dong
    January 4, 2014 at 12:15 am

    PIPO products are definitely as good as the 'name' brands. The manufacturer updates the firmware frequently and it is freely available for download. ROM mods are well supported and there is a large international community engaged.

    I think some of the dislike of Chinese tablets comes down to thinly veiled racism.

    • Kannon Y
      January 10, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      I wouldn't even call it thinly veiled, in many cases it's just classic racism.

      I've seen people at department stores balk at buying a Chinese-made product. When I point out that if a laptop or tablet isn't made in China, its subcomponents are, the normal reaction is confusion, fear and anger.

      But I thought I made it clear that PiPO was a good brand. The issue with PiPO is that they use Rockchip CPUs that don't have TRIM support. To my knowledge, only Ainol has a CPU brand that supports TRIM. And their products compare poorly against Ramos and PiPO.

  22. ymjshinwari
    December 31, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Really helpful article
    So for less in pocket
    These lesser
    In price tablet
    Keep u happier

  23. TimA
    November 28, 2013 at 3:02 am

    I bought a Chuwi v88 iPad mini(runs android 4.2.2) for $144 including shipping. I love it. It has the rk3188 quad core chip, IPS screen, I flashed OMA's ROM on it with Bluetooth and Multi-window (version 5.2) with rooting. Scores 20000 on antutu.

    • Louellen
      January 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Hi guys, I've been researching for awhile and was also leaning towards the Chuwi V88. Anyone else have experience on this? Thanks also for great article and everyone's comments. I'm learning a lot.

  24. Derek
    November 27, 2013 at 7:53 am

    That's some old articles there. :) I'm frustrated as I want a cheap tablet for my daughter. That's how I stumbled upon this. Lot of dual core A7 chip jelly bean tablets for £50/£60 out there. Look good on paper. I'm spoilt with my iPad Air. Nothing against android. As an apple guy I divert often. I had a N7 before I got the Air. Sold it after reading the stories. My sisters one died before she really got to use it. Nexus has to be number one for android with good QC in place. Best of both would be good.

  25. Derek
    November 27, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Dead nexus 7's. Non charging/slow charging. This being the 2012 one. Also screen seperation and random reboots. i have come across a few that wondered why Google went with asus again despite the QC issues. Many skipping the 2013 N7 to see if a better manafacturer is used next year.

    • Kannon Y
      November 27, 2013 at 4:30 am

      Among laptops, and probably tablets, Asus's quality control has been considered among the best. Unfortunately, that's because most tablets are poorly made and regarded as disposable goods, with two-year lifespans at best.

      Even Apple has had it own QC problems. There's a number of studies that have been done on the subject. The results tend to vary wildly, but Asus always shows up in the top portion for reliability.

      http://www.rescuecom.com/news-press-releases/computer-reliability-report-2013-Q2.aspx

      http://www.techhive.com/article/244603/tablet_reliability_and_satisfaction_ipad_comes_out_on_top.html

      From a firmware perspective, the Nexus 7 is the best. On the other hand, I will agree with you on Asus's quality control. While the studies indicate they're among the best, I'm very unhappy with the QC on my Asus Transformer Prime and my Asus Transformer Infinity. My Nexus 7 is among the most reliable electronics though.

  26. Derek
    November 27, 2013 at 2:53 am

    Noone knows about the Nexus 7 QC issues here then.

    • Kannon Y
      November 27, 2013 at 3:39 am

      The 2012 Nexus 7 had defective firmware (as did many other Asus devices), but it was fixed in the 4.3 update. Is that what you were referring to?

  27. Hon
    November 18, 2013 at 12:43 am

    From my own experience, phones from China are pretty good at the ~$200 price point since unlocked branded phones are typically a lot more expensive. But for tablets, stay away. It is worth every cent of the extra $100 you pay for a Nexus 7 v2 for better SoC, QC and Google official ROM support

  28. peter
    November 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    anything about sanei N70, N78 and AMPEX N70 and N78? I have interacted with the 7 inch for sometimes but apart from poor battery, all other performance is ok. How about city call?

    • Kannon Y
      November 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      I haven't heard much about Sanei tablets, although I did see a lot of them on DHgate.com for sale. The overall specs look good, but I would imagine that their firmware isn't on par with Nexus devices. My suggestion is to use Nexus devices as the benchmark.

      If a Nexus device is out of your price range, then Chinese tablets might be the only possible alternative.

  29. Asif
    November 7, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I totally agree with the writer as I personally owned an ainol flame tablet and although it had good specs and hardware to showoff but poor firmware ruined my experience with it. And after using it for 6 months it lost sound from speakers and after that screen started to show artifacts and in the end it's touch died, so i could only use it with an external usb mouse.

  30. Stan
    November 3, 2013 at 1:31 am

    I have a Hyundai T7. The battery life is terrible, maybe 2 hours at best. Does anyone know the tip specs for the wall adapter? I'm trying to find a USB to power cable so I can plug the tablet into a power pack.

  31. Bill
    October 30, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Any cheap Android tablet beats iCrap tablets. crApple and their closed system is the same and boring and idolized by it's cult followers.

    Android just keeps getting better.

  32. sl0j0n
    October 17, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Hello.
    I read this to learn more about possibly worthwhile Chinese tablets, but it looks like there isn't much known about them.
    I've tried 2 or 3 of the refurbs sold at the local Big Lots,
    but they all had some lame problems, so the 30-day money-back warranty was much appreciated.
    About a month ago I bought a WonderMedia WM-8880-MID on ebay, for $79.99, w/ "free shipping".
    Its supposedly a VIA V7, w/ 4.2.1, & the "About" page says its "Kernel version 3.4.5".
    Spec-wise, its is supposed to have "dual core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, at 1.5GHz; Mali-400 MP GPU; 40nm process; MiracastTM wireless display tech; 512MB RAM; a claimed 4GB [the "Storage" page says it has "2.62GB"]; front & rear cameras; 1080p HDMI out".
    has a section on it, but it seems to be down, at last check.
    That forum says the ROM is broken, which I don't doubt.
    I haven't been able to move apps to the SD card, & others have complained that they couldn't install paid apps.
    It took some research, installing & deleting apps, & so on,
    but it works pretty fair now.
    I'd like to find a ROM for it, but it doesn't look good right now.
    I bought it for my wife, 'cause she wanted to read Nook, Kindle, & other stuff on it, & its fine for that.
    Once in awhile it still acts a little flakey, but its usually alright.
    I would like to get 9"/10", but I can't find one that I think would be a good 'brand', since it looks like a craps shoot w/ most of these cheap Chinese tablets.
    I'd never heard of "WonderMedia", but what little I could find online looks good.
    $80 bucks U.S. is a pretty good price, but it ain't no Samsung Tab, that's for sure.

  33. Alain
    October 14, 2013 at 4:32 am

    I know this article is about cheap Chinese brands, but there are some good stuff from Taiwan from not well known brands but excellent quality/specs/price ratio. Ergotech is well known here, their tablets MD8012 - 9inch, and MD 8056CW also 9 inch are good. There is also GPLUS which has now released a tablet P7002, they make very good smartphones too. GSmart 7 Tab made by Gigabyte. Just my piece from Taiwan.

  34. pmshah
    October 14, 2013 at 3:42 am

    You need to do some more research before writing your article. Hyundai sold off their consumer electronics division several years ago to Videocon of India. So what you consider knockoff may not be that at all. The brand in this range is owned by Videocon. BTW whci of the components that go into manufacture of a tablet are actually made by ASUS ? Probably only the casing and the motherboard ! Same is true for the other Chinese manufacturers. The question then is of selecting more reliable components and better quality control system. Companies like ASUS can afford to use slightly more expensive and higher spec components. They command premium price due to their brand recognition. Does not necessarily make them better products. Maybe ASUS tablet will last 5 years and cheap Chinese variety may only last a couple of years but by then you have got your money's worth. You make a product only as good as it is required to be.

    I will give you another example of putting in extra quality when not required. During the WW2 as quoted by a US general the Germans manufactured tanks which could provide 30 years of service when the average life was merely 3 moths ! What was required then was quantity and not quality. That is one of the reasons why they lost the war !

    10 - 12 years ago even the outer finish of Chinese products was bad, to say it mildly. Today even the insides are extremely well finished. 50 years ago I had the misfortune of using Japanese wrench set. When I tried to open a rusted nut, believe me the jaws of the wrench spread wider ! I am quite sure industries in all countries have gone through this phase.

    3 years ago I bought a Chinese made media player. The casing was made from Alluminium extrusin of flawless quality. It also had the provision for installing a 2.5" sata hdd. When I opened it I couldn't believe the quality of the finish of the metal components and the PCB. It was impeccable. No cheap self tapping screw. No bad solder points or joints.

    So don't simply generalise across the board. In India today one of the so called cheap Chinese smart phone is outselling Samsung and Apple combined. And this at a price point which none of the 2 came come even close.

    • Kannon Y
      October 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Hey thanks for sharing!

      Everything you've said is absolutely right - particularly on the trajectory and development of Chinese manufacturing. My primary critique is on the firmware - most Chinese sourced tablets don't have the same degree of quality that a Nexus series tablet offers. But some are good enough for temporary use. You're absolutely right.

      However, this is relatively minor, I would point out that Hyundai-digital.cn is indeed a rip-off of the Hyundai brand. You're speaking of Hyundaitec.com (which I thought was also a rip-off, but it looks like this is the company you are speaking of). Hyundai-digital.cn apparently stopped making tablets under the Hyundai brand. The only example they produced is the T7 - which is a great tablet for the money. It's well-designed, but it has problematic firmware.

    • simon
      November 17, 2013 at 3:58 am

      you talk too much. Go get one of these tables, test it, and then tell me how good it is.

  35. Dennis
    October 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    To - Victor Dugas
    Yes but the quality of chinese tablets has improved specially since the launch of rk3066 chips. I also resell tablets pcs and I have lost some money in the beginning but now I know what is good and what is garbage.

    • Victor Dugas
      October 17, 2013 at 4:53 am

      Dennis, I tend to agree...and it seems that we have similar experiences :)

    • Victor Dugas
      January 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      This response is for Paul. Sorry, there was no option to reply to him.

      Hi Paul, hope you get this. My Skype name is JoltSystems...anytime.

  36. Victor Dugas
    October 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I can agree and disagree at the same time. I admit unless you want to get serious about purchasing Chinese products then you probably shouldn't. However, we were determined to get serious about it. It took about three hard years of determining who do work with and for what. There is a lot of garbage out there and a lot of ripoff companies in China. However, that said...China has the best and the worst to offer and everything in between. After years of working with China, My chinese tablets way outlast my locally purchased units with big brand name, they more then compete speed and resource wise, I wouldn't shop locally for anything anymore...however, again, that said...it costed us about $5000 in lost revenue from finding rip off companies to throwing substandard devices in the garbage...that has not happened in about 3 years now, everything we get is top notch...

    • Kannon Y
      October 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks for sharing Victor!

      Do you recommend any particular product? Do you know if any tablet comes with 4.3?

    • Victor
      October 15, 2013 at 4:53 am

      Hi Kannon Y....

      It all depends on what you are looking for. A good starting point might be:

      - Onda V972 with Steve Mar's SuperNova rom
      - ICOO ICOU Fatty2
      - PiPO M9

      None of these have Android 4.3, I think they are all 4.1...but nice none-the-less. As for the android haters above, I have been using computers for about 30 years and I can use Android for most everything that I do...even write software and websites...

    • Kannon Y
      October 17, 2013 at 5:35 am

      Thanks for the info Victor! I've heard good things about Onda. From what I can tell, they're making solid, well-equipped tablets.

      What keeps me from importing them is the lack of Android 4.3 support. They require running what's referred to as SD_ERASE (factory reset) in order to restore performance on dirty flash memory drives. This will temporarily eliminate stutter, but zaps many of your apps. Only one or two Chinese tablets that I've heard about include support for TRIM. I think Ainol is the only company that makes them... and I would prefer to avoid that particular firm's products. They make some semi decent stuff, but PiPO and others are much better.

      I think once the Chinese tablet manufacturers start using 4.3 with functional TRIM, they will be in a much better position to compete with Western design houses.

    • Victor Dugas
      October 17, 2013 at 5:52 am

      Kannon Y, Interesting, however my experience has been different. Every "local" tablet I have ever owned is dead and my Chinese equipment still works fine. The best tablet I have ever had (one that you may consider junk) outlasted them all, it still works however I allowed my cat to knock it down a pretty big drop breaking the adapter receptacle on the interior of the tablet. I have been considering repairing it however, resource-wise it no longer competes. My phone is a Star Butterfly S5...best phone I have ever had...same goes for each one ive sold.

      Now I quoted the word "local" above since nothing is manufactured in North America any more except for Asbestos and Hellmanns Real Mayonnaise.

    • Paul
      January 17, 2014 at 12:05 am

      Hi Victor,

      Thanks for your post.

      Our Company is serious about replacing our current technology with Chinese Tablets.
      We have spend a good part of 6 months sampling various models.

      Would you be available for a Skype chat? I would really appreciate picking you brains with issues on our end.

      Thanks Victor.

      Regards

      Paul

    • Urban
      March 25, 2014 at 2:41 am

      Hello Victor!

      I have read your replies and I too have some small questions for you. Could I Skype with you?

      Regards, Urban

    • Urban
      March 25, 2014 at 2:41 am

      Hello Victor!

      I have read your replies and I too have some small questions for you. Could I Skype with you?

      Regards, Urban

  37. Druv B
    October 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I have an 7-inch Ainol Aurora II and its a good deal considering its price. The tablet works fine, with custom ROM of course. But in one year of use, I had to reset the device 2 times. Gaming has its ups and downs, but works well for other apps and Internet use. With a 32GB memory card, its good for media consumption on the go. The only thing I miss is Bluetooth, better CPU/GPU and build quality.
    But NO MORE. Won't be going on Chinese cheapos anymore. Thinking about the 7" Hisense Sero Pro or 10" from Sony or a Nexus one.
    Waiting for the end of the year to make my purchase.

  38. mizdoc
    October 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Hisense Sero 7 Pro. Comparable stats with Nexus 7, except has only 8 gb ram BUT has a card slot for up to 32 gb expansion.
    Fast, 8 hr battery (and it really is). Watched two movies and still had 65% battery life left. I paid $149 at Walmart, but I see they're only $129 now.
    I'd buy another in a heartbeat!

  39. ianc
    October 12, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I have an Onda V972 quadcore 9.7" tablet, running Android 4.2.2, and a Star S5 smartphone, running Android 4.2.1. Both run outstandingly well, very fast and slick; they run the some of the best Android apps (without rooting) and cost half the price of equivalent UK brands. I read and compared extensively before purchasing.

    • JakeG
      November 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

      I have a star s5 too and I second ianc.. It's one of the smoothest android phones I've ever use.. Until today I can't explain why. My friend who used iOS was stunned top by this marvelous butter. I reckon it has to do with the firmware optimisation.

  40. Ben S
    October 12, 2013 at 1:25 am

    I have a Super Pad VI 10.1 inch China imported tablet. I had it since the middle of January. For most parts, it works fairly good. It has taken spells when it tells me that all that apps failed to work, and I had to reset it back to original settings. I had to do this 4 times. Sometimes it will restart but not reboot for no reason. The screen is clear and has excellent color and the sound is good from the stereo speakers on the top edge. The biggest pluses are the full size USB ports x2, the HDMI port, full size ethernet port, and a GPS antenna port. The battery rarely shows a charge over 97%. I have it in a folding case with built in keyboard which plugs in to one of the USB port. Most of the time it functions great, so I really enjoy using it. Also, it has ICS 4.3 on it.

  41. Ajarn D
    October 12, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Thai government schools are having many problems with the cheap Chinese made ones for their students here in Thailand.

  42. Steve
    October 11, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    I recently bought from one of those discount websites a Zeepad Google Android tablet. The seller said it lists at $159.95,they sell it with leather case and keyboard(a majour asset)for about $75. It is okay.Does what the android system in a smart phone does. The problem is it's very slow.as in dial-up slow. And drops connection easily.(I have Comcast X-Finity).
    It has no on board storage beyond photos,etc.,and cannot perform computer functions. But it is a good reader,has decent picture quality. Has webcams(two),and sound,and does work on Skype(and I assume Messenger,etc). email is also available. Cannot play any games outside of those on Play Store,nor can it download anything not in Play Store. Does accept a home page.(I use Google).
    Overall,its worth the $75,but sure not $150.

  43. Thep
    October 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    My first foray into tablets was a Zeki 7" that I purchased for under $70 at Kohl's. The point of that purchase was to see what it was like to use an Android tablet without much of an investment. Since I work in IT, I was very comfortable hacking the unit, being able to root it and have much better control over the apps that I could install and to some degree being able to tune the machine. Technically speaking, this was not a matter of ordering a Chinese unit directly from the Asia, so my experience may not be as applicable. Also, the unit was more on the low end although, I was able to run games, install what was then Google Market, use it as reader , view movies and listen to music. It even had external storage; something my Google Nexus 7 does not have. Apart from running a bit sluggish, when many apps were open, I only really had two complaints - the relatively low resolution of the screen and that it had no blue tooth. So overall, this cheap low end unit was acceptable and did pretty much what I expected it to do.

    That all being said, I did upgrade to a Google Nexus 7 which clearly has a better feature set, is better supported by the community and is better. At three times the price, I suppose you should expect that.

  44. David Morris
    October 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I bought an Ainol Novo10 Hero 10 inch tablet from Merimobiles and aside from the deep earphone jack, I don't regret it for a moment. I was looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab10 but it costs twice as much. The only thing it had of interest was the IR Blaster, to use it as a remote control for your TV.
    The Ainol screen is large enough to read comics or magazines and it is fast enough for my meager needs. I gave it a 16gb TF Card and I'm using Go Launcher EX for its bells & whistles. I also bought a case for it from an eBay seller.
    I have seen other reviews/comments from people who have had problems, but similar problems can affect brand names (though not as much due to stricter quality control).

  45. Krzysztof B
    October 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    NO, NO, NO and once again NO to cheap Chinese tablets. I have bought an Ainol Novo 7 tornados... it was really cheap and its specification looked quite good. It has poor software... The ROM provided by manufacturer was improved by one of users. Without that the Tablet had problems with performance in MENU!!! The second thing was that it had "ghost touches". Random clicks without touching screen... The remedy was putting sheet of paper inside of tablet (between screen and motherboard). This helped a lot. after all these tweaks and modifying system settings file, the tablet is usable... Is it worth ? NO. There is no sense in sending the tablet for warranty repair to chine because the post cost will be worth half of tablet... So if you can spend a little more money buy something with well known brand.

    • jandeeska
      November 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      Don't buy something that is really cheap, you will get what you paid for... I have no problem with Chinese brands (the genuine ones, not fake looks like Apple but it ain't ones).

    • Krzysztof B
      November 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      It was really cheap - true. But it wasn't some ePad or aPad or whatever. It looked like real brand. It even had some good opinions. So the genuine or not, it's still Chinese crap.

  46. shaun
    October 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    can anyone tell me which game is that in the screenshots?

    • Kannon Y
      October 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Dead Aim. Pretty good game, although there's a ton of better zombie titles in the Play Store.

    • shaun
      October 11, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      thanks allot. i cant seem to find it in the play store, could you assit by send me a link?

    • Kannon Y
      October 12, 2013 at 2:22 am

      ARGH! I'm sorry, I gave you the wrong name. Dead Aim is the title I was thinking of:

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.madfingergames.deadtrigger

      Dead Trigger is an old lightgun Resident Evil game. I'm sorry about that Shaun!

  47. Jim Van Damme
    October 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I have a 7 inch Nextbook (from E-Fun, how fun is that?) with android 4.1, google play and all that, 8GB storage and 2 GB memory. But no bluetooth and only front camera. It was $70 at Wally World. Works fine mostly, and slips in my pants pocket.

    • Tom
      March 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Hey Jim. If it is the same 7" Nextbook for $59.99 it only has 1GB of RAM.

    • James V
      March 8, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      I stand corrected, 1 GB RAM. Also it has Android 4.0. It's a next7 p12-bg.

  48. Prateek J
    October 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I have a Lava tablet (Indian brand importing tablets from China) which i got for $100 in Feb ($1= Around 60 INR). It is adequate for reading ebooks, watching movies etc but does have a lot of lag. With Nexus now being very affordable, i will suggest going for it instead of a local or chinese brand.

  49. Barrie
    October 11, 2013 at 9:05 am

    A lot will depend on the the use you put it to. I have 2 LyF1 tablets used for E-books and occasional email and/or browsing and media playing. At £60 they knock lumps of any of the Kindle or KoBo offerings.

    The new Tesco Hudl, whilst very obviously budget, also performs extremely well in these areas.

  50. Jaspreet
    October 11, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Hey! Thanks for the neat info!
    But just to confirm you're saying that brands like 'PiPo" and "Ramos" are still decent buys?? Any specific stores if one wants to try them out? or ways to gauge authenticity?

    • Kannon Y
      October 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Great question Jaspreet! PiPO (I typo'd it in the article) and Ramos make some high end tablets that are pretty good in terms of hardware/price. But compared to the Nexus series, you still get a better deal by going with the Nexus 10 or the 7.

      But that's assuming you can't get a similarly equipped Chinese tablet for a really good deal. For example, I saw the Hyundai T7 going for $50 on US eBay. For $50, that's a tough choice.

      For retail value, you can't beat a Nexus series device, though. They're just too good.

  51. nrkmann
    October 11, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I have two cheap tablets from China.

    $49 A 10" 1Ghz etc. A bit slow and one movie worth of battery but adequate in every other way. Red several books on it. My only complaints were the browsers were a bit slow, the cameras were low resolution (2 & 1.3 megapixel), no Bluetoooth.

    $149 A 7" quad core Freelander tablet with all the bells and whistles (Bluetooth, GPS, multi-finger, two phone SIM slots, HDMI, rooted, 802.11 b/g/n, 5 & megaixel cameras, etc.) that is a wonderful tablet. One SIM for personnel phone and the other for a work phone, and use Bluetooth to listen and talk. All the android apps work well. Benchmarks well with the Nexus 7, beating the N7 in some areas.

    I don't see what $400 would get me that I don't have.

  52. James S
    October 11, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Great article. I had been toying with going down this route for some while, and couldn't find any definitive comparisons of any note. Will leave well alone at least for now..

  53. Josh
    October 11, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Or just buy an iPad and be done with it.

    • Tanim I
      October 11, 2013 at 5:01 am

      Read the article again, you didn't get the point

    • Kieran C
      October 11, 2013 at 5:11 am

      I used to know someone who worked in Siemens in Beijing, and he used always say that Chinese manufacturers usually did everything to within about 90% of the quality of the west. Unfortunately it's that 10% that makes all the difference when it comes to some products.

    • mohit kumar
      October 11, 2013 at 5:55 am

      iPad isn't Android.

    • Joe
      October 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      No..Josh is right. Android is trash, get something that works.

    • Joe
      October 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      No, he is right Android is garbage

    • Bill
      October 30, 2013 at 4:02 am

      Apple sucks. Android is way better than that rubbish with a half-eaten apple logo on it. Geez, isheep have nothing better to do than spam these Android.

      Apple fanboys have this idea that if it doesn't have that rotting fruit than its no good. Tim Cook could take a crap in a shiny box, slap a Apple logo on it, and these zombies would line up in droves for it.

  54. roshan
    October 11, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I have a Pipo M8 Pro (3G) which i got for around AUD$270. I previously owned an iPad 1, and for various reasons, decided to give a cheap android tablet a go, as I am happy with my Sony Xperia S android phone. I added a decent brand 32GB class 10 micro-sd.

    On paper the specs looked good, but it has turned out to be (1) a seriously laggy device, especially compared with my iPad experience (2) very prone to hangs and crashes regardless of the most complex or simple app (3) very poor reception, particularly on 3G where in the same location my phone works great.

    So I pulled all the extra apps off, am using the stock launcher, no fancy backgrounds or widgets - but makes no difference. It's only just functional for what i need it for and it's a regretful purchase.

    For the money, there's no 9" tablet that compares, but I would say you really get what you pay for. Should have gone for a mainstream brand, and that's what i'd recommend.

    • Kannon Y
      October 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks for sharing!

      The slowness is oftentimes a sign of TRIM not working properly. Basically, Chinese devices do not properly manage their solid state drives and over time, they slow down. A factory reset should restore performance to original levels (SHOULD restore), but ultimately, they can't optimize on their own.

      There's a really risky method that could either destroy your device or help it run smoother called LagFix. You have to check if your device is compatible and even if it is, for a Chinese device, it's rolling the dice.

      http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-fix-androids-bad-performance-and-awful-design/

      Here's an explanation on why TRIM can help your device work properly. Unfortunately the safe method outlined in the article below probably wont' work on a Chinese device:

      http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/three-steps-to-restore-your-sluggish-androids-performance/

    • Freddy Greenwood
      October 12, 2013 at 12:49 am

      No sd slot on the Nexus 7 is a huge drawback, having to carry an OTG cable around in this day and age is ridiculous. Bad move not to have one just to reduce the price.

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