2012 has been a big year for the mobile and tablet industry. Release of iOS 6 , Android Jelly Bean and Windows 8 being the highlights of this year. Although Google released it’s first tablet, the Nexus 7, it is the Chinese who have been driving the Android tablet industry.
Today I have with me Onda v712 dual core tablet which is the Chinese reply to Nexus 7.
Can the Onda v712 really be an alternative to Nexus 7, especially with it’s $150 price tag ?
Let us find out.
Packaging and Bundle
The tablet comes in a white cardboard box. The package includes the tablet and the charger / data cable. There is no bundled earphone. I would have loved to have a protective pouch too. The bundled user manual is in Chinese and is of not much use.
Design and Build
The design is really good and on par with Google’s Nexus 7. It is thin on the edges and sturdy in build. The back face is metallic and gives it a nice expensive look. It is really nice to see that Onda has taken care of the aesthetics too.
Due to the unique curved design the side edges look more thin than they really are.
There is a 0.3MP front facing camera and a 2MP camera at the back but no flash. There is a thick bezel around the 7 inch screen.
Connectivity and Buttons
Almost all the connectors and hardware buttons on the Onda v712 is located at the bottom of the tab (When held in portrait mode) except the 3.5mm audio jack, which at the top corner.
The bottom panel houses a power button and a home button. I didn’t like the positioning of the power and home buttons as they feel really awkward to use.
There is a reset jumper located near the power button in case of any emergencies. In addition to that there is a micro SD card slot, mini HDMI out and micro USB port. It is surprising to see a micro USB port on the Onda v712 as usually the Chinese tabs use mini USB connectors and they are a bit harder to find.
Also Onda v712 is HDMI 1.4 capable and therefore you can view movies on your TV after connecting to it in Full HD.
I have to admit that the display is the main highlight of the v712. It features a stunning 7” IPS panel with a resolution of 1280×800 which is unseen in many tablets in it’s class. The colours are vibrant and there is no backlight bleeding as well. The viewing angles are also really awesome.
Thanks to the awesome Mali 400 GPU (the same as Samsung Galaxy SII)and Amlogic 1.5Ghz dual core CPU , it runs any game I throw at it super smooth. A score of 7745 on Antutu Benchmark is impressive. The touchscreen is responsive and it makes playing games on it a joy.
I could play Full HD 1080p videos easily and even connect to my TV through the HDMI port.
Onda v712 comes with Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. According to the Onda it will soon be upgradable to Jelly Bean. It supports Google Play Store by default unlike some of it’s Chinese siblings.
The default language is Chinese and I had to remove a lot of Chinese crapware using Titanium Backup. The default firmware v1.4 was buggy and was giving me some problems like occasional crashes. I had to download a new version v1.5 from their official website www.onda.cn which unfortunately was in chinese.
Also the v1.5 firmware has no GApps support and I had to push Gapps (Play Store, Contacts, Gmail etc) using ‘adb shell’.
You can download the latest firmware from this link : http://file2.mydrivers.com/ondata/download/driver/oamp3/V712D/V712D-V2_v1.5.zip
The firmware still lacks much desired features like the ability to change WiFi Sleep Policy, which would have been useful because as of now the tablet turns off WiFi once the screen sleeps, to save battery which can be annoying because all your downloads will be paused and you will stop receiving notifications for Gmail, Facebook etc.
The battery is 5000 mAH and lasts about 4 hours on continuous heavy use. It can last for a week on standby. Although it is really unfortunate that the battery is not user replaceable which seems to be the trend these days with devices like iPhones and HTC One X.
The Onda v712 Dual Core tablet is a really good buy for it’s price considering it’s features and performance. I bought it for $165 from Aliexpress.com. The 7” IPS screen is gorgeous and is perfect for gaming.
I hope Onda fixes the problems with the firmware considering it is the only letdown in the package.
|CPU||Dual Core 1.5GHz|
|GPU||Dual Core Mali400|
|Screen Type||Capacitive Screen|
|Display||7 inch IPS screen, 1280*800 resolution, Multi-Touch|
|Camera||Dual Camera Front 0.3 Megapixels,Back 2.0 Megapixels|
|Memory Card||MicroSD upto 32GB|
|3G||Not built in|