Looking at the way the competition is shaping up in the Chinese tablet market, we believe that its only going to get a lot more complicated and chaotic since the major chipset manufactures have all launched their quad-core Soc.s. Once we enter 2013, with more tablets hitting the market with quad-core processors, we should see the battle heating up.* Being one of the biggest and most well-known tablet makers in China, Ainol is one of the few pioneers to market their quad-core tablets. With the NOVO10 HeroⅡand NOVO7 Venus powered by the Actions ATM7029 quad core chipset, and the NOVO9 Spark with Allwinner A31 quad-core processor and a 9.7 retina display entering the market at the same time, The brand has definitely drawn enough attention. Ainol entered the tablet space with the NOVO8, back in the Feburary of 2011. But it didnt have an easy childhood. It was a bit bulky, glitchy, due to Froyo and the Singular-core AMlogic 8726-M processor, also the display is not satisfactory at all. What we did like about it, though, was that Ainols build quality is much better than the rest of the gang of MP4-turned-tablet makers. Due to the fact that AMlogic MX dual core chipset lag behind RK3066 in raw processing power, Ainols dual core tablets also fail to become best-sellers in China. So Ainol desperately needs a successful quad-core tablet to help itself rebound, will the NOVO7 Venus be the one? Specifications: Operating System: Android 4.1.1 Model: Ainol Venus Display Technology: IPS Capacitive touch screen Screen Size: 7 inch Resolution: 1280*800 CPU Manufacturer: Actions CPU Model: ATM7029 dual core A5 processor with GC1000 GPU CPU Speed: 1GHz RAM: 1GB DDR3@1033MHZ Hard Drive Capacity: 16GB PCMCIA Expansion: T-FLASH (Support 32GB MAX) Camera: VGA front + 2MP rear* HDMI: HDMI V1.4 3G: external 3G network card support Bluetooth: NO GPS: NO G-Sensor: Yes Audio: Built in stereo speakers / Built in Microphone Language: Multi-language support Battery Type: Li-ion, 4000mAh Charging Voltage: DC 5V - 2A Color: Black, White, Yellow, Pink, Blue Item Dimensions/ W*D*H: 186.2 x 126.9 x 10.8mm Net Weight: 320g Design and Build The NOVO7 Venus borrows a lot of its features from its elder siblings - the NOVO7 Fire and NOVO7 Elf. But the chunkiness of the old one hasnt been shaved down at all, its 10.8mm thick body is not thin by any tablet standard. The weight has been controlled very well, though, at just 320g, its very easy to carry around. In order to achieve this, Ainol have used a lot of plastic for the chassis, but despite this, it feels sturdy and durable. There arent any creaking parts and everything feels put together well. The front-facing VGA camera is located in the middle of the top display bezel, nice for video chat. All the physical controls (the power/standby key, the home key and the volume rocker) have been placed on the top, while all the ports and slots (the micro SD card slot, the HDMI port, the dc connector, the Micro USB port and the 3.5mm audio jack) are placed on the right. The back shell of Venus, Anti-skid shell surface with matrix dots on it can provide its user very nice hand hold feeling. The rubber paint finish makes the touch feeling more comfortable than those applied with metal material or synthetic material. The back camera on the corner is 2.0MP. (Thanks to Mcbub for the detailed description) Ainols build quality has always been on the top of the Chinese tablet makers, and NOVO7 Venus is not an exception, the mould, as well as all the hardware controls feel pretty solid. The only issue is that, even though being a black technology fan myself, I dont really fancy the look of the tablet (black version), it appears porky because of its thickness, and the back shell really isnt good-looking at all. Display The new IPS LCD screen that has been used on the Venus has a pretty decent resolution of 1280 x 800, pushing the PPI all the way to 216, so the images look extremely sharp on this display. Also the color saturation, viewing angles and contrast ratio of the screen are all satisfactory. However, I couldnt help but notice that the brightness levels were a tad low. Even on full brightness, its not blindingly bright, so you could run into problems under direct sunlight. Brightness compared to Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 (Middle) and ICOO ICOU7 (Left) Brightness compared to PIPO M8 (Under direct sunlight) Color saturation compared to Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 Viewing Angles compared to Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 Hardware and Performance The NOVO7 Venus has adopted an all new Soc., the Actions ATM7029 quad core chipset, which uses 40nm workmanship and Cortex-A5 frame. And since this new quad-core chipset made its debut appearance at the end of 2012, there have been constant arguments about whether quad-core A5 can beat the popular dual core A9 processors in processing power and graphic capability. In the Benchmark tests, NOVO7 Venus hasnt blown any dual core processor out of the water, as most of its benchmark scores fall prominently behind the famous RK3066, it makes us think why we would need a so-called quad core tablet which is less powerful than dual corers. When it comes to gaming, NOVO7 showed even less capability than in those benchmark tests. The GC1000 GPU in it cannot support graphic-intense games as well as the Mali-400MP or SGX544 used on other dual-core or quad-core tablets, not only in compatibility, but also in fluency and control responsiveness. Video playback is one of the few advantages the NOVO7 Venus has over most dual-core tablets, since the Actions was the king of MP4 Player chipset maker long before they try to have a piece in the tablet Soc. Market. 2160P videos can be played smoothly on the NOVO7 Venus, and the Owl player designed specifically for ATM7029 powered machines can play six HD videos in different floating windows simultaneously. The Super clear IPS display, and the incredible volume, sound clarity and stereo effects of the Venus all contribute to making the video watching experience enjoyable. Multi-tasking is not really one of the NOVO7s strengths, even though you can play Fruit Ninja and watch three clips of HD videos in those floating windows at the same time without tablet crash, yet what is it for? And what also needs to be mentioned is that NOVO7s web-browsing experience is not really as pleasant as it is on RK3066 tablets, I have encountered noticeable lags during the dragging or zooming web page, And its loading of flash-heavy page is far from being as fast as the RK3066 powered tablets. Interface NOVO7 Venus has incredibly fast start-up, the boot only takes less than 30 seconds, before the all too familiar Jelly Bean lock screen greet my eyes. And Ainol has done next to zero change to the stock Jelly Bean interface. For first time, I dont mind that the shortcut access to various settings are scattered all over the screen, simply because, for a 7-inch tablet, its very easy to reach, so less effort.* For a 7 inch display, the NOVO7 has used an interface more made for 10 inch tablets, probably because of its WXGA display resolution. The icons and fonts look relatively small, which may sometimes cause misoperation. The interface is not really that fluid, at least not as fluid as it is on RK3066 powered machines. But since the Actions has promised more software updates will come to the ATM7029 powered devices, I believe it is going to get better. Third Party apps are kept to a minimum, even the Google Suite of apps has been cut down to only a few. Like the PIPO M8 and many of the Samsung tablets, there is a screenshot button in the status bar, which lets you take a screen grab of almost any screen and then you can edit it, add some notes and send it via mail, Facebook, etc.* Speakers One thing that pleasantly surprises me is the speaker, which has very pleasant volume and clarity to its sound, although there is only one speaker gate on the back shell of the tablet, you can still hear its stereo effects. And according to my test result, the Venus beats most of the other tablets in speaker volume.* Camera NOVO7 Venus has an VGA front-facing camera and a 2MP rear camera. Both cameras can do decent jobs of video chatting or capturing photos to share on Social networking applications while the light is sufficient, but you should know better than having high expectations over a 2MP tablet camera which doesnt even support auto-focus. Photo taken by rear camera Photo taken by front-facing camera Connectivity WiFi reception of the tablet is good, if not amazing. The tablet is able to establish a solid connection even at 8 meters and a wall away from the WiFi Router, showing very little evidence of fluctuations, but its ability in collecting weak WiFi signals are not as strong as the Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000. Battery Life The NOVO7 Venus featured a 4,000 mAh Li-PO battery, which is equivalent to most other 7 inchers. But the Actions has a very nice reputation in making low power consumption chipsets, and its very true with the AMT7029 used on Ainol Venus. During my 720P local video playback test (30% display brightness, 50% speaker volume, Wifi off), the NOVO7 Venus lasted nearly 7 hours (6 hours and 53 minutes) before the battery dies. And during another Online video streaming test (50% display brightness, 50% speaker volume), the tablet stood for 5 hours! Also, while the tablet is on standby (WiFi off), battery loss is very little, less than 5% a day.* I believe the battery life of the Venus is sufficient for most tablet users, although you cannot expect a 7 incher to hit the record set by some bigger players with more than 10,000mAh batteries, its able to outlast most 7-8 inch counterparts. Verdict The Ainol NOVO7 Venus is a tablet with a quad-core chipset which generates less processing power than most dual core Soc.s, and the Actions has attributed ATM7029s weak performance all to the lack of optimization. Even though that may be true, the chunkiness and lags sometimes could drive an impatient person crazy. I have been struggling to understand the meaning of the existence of the ATM7029 chipset: what role is it going to play in a year where quad core powered tablets rise in front of our eyes? Why do we need a quad-core chipset which cannot even outperform a dual core Soc in almost everything? It really had me thinking. If you are looking for a video player which can also sometimes serve as an internet device, the NOVO7 Venus may just be right for you, but if you are an intense gamer, you could easily make a pass. Priced at RMB799 ($129), its not really genuine for me to say that its worthy of every penny you spend, especially since the Ainol NOVO7 fire, PIPO U1 pro with the same display but better experience are at similar prices. The good: 7 inch IPS Display of high resolution (1280*800); Great build quality; Solid battery life; 4K*2K video playback support. The bad: 10.8mm thick; Poor overall performance; Poor support for graphic-intense games; Pricier than alternative options.