Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Ainol NOVO 7 Aurora (7" Tablet)

I've owned Ainol NOVO 7 Aurora Tablet since April 2012 and thought I'd share my experiences with you. Having researched various tablets on the internet, I may just start with why I decided to buy this tablet:
  • I wanted something cheap and cheerful (<£120). I will still be using my iPhone 4S for most of my activities, so the tablet was just for browsing, videos and reading (books, comics and magazines).
  •  Wanted an Android tablet to learn more about Android OS
  • 7" is perfect for portability and light-weight (minimises wrist fatigue)
  • Reviews on YouTube show it was powerful enough to run HD video and render 3D games; indicates to me that it should suit my needs perfectly.
Technical specifications:
  • CPU: AllWinner Many Core A10 1.2GHz processor.  GPU: Mali 400.
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD slot 
  • 7 inch IPS Capacitive Screen 1024×600 pixel resolution  (LG version i.e. V3)
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 3.5mm audio, mini USB, mini HDMI
  • Size and Weight: 189mm x 123mm x 9mm, 313 grams

Overall... very happy with the device!

However, if I had to purchase a tablet now, I think I'd struggle to pick between the Novo7 Aurora II and Nexus 7. Without looking at in with much depth, I am slightly swayed towards the Aurora II purely due to the microSD card. I use my 32gb card all the time! 

Added 25/9/2012: If you want another option (only slightly more expensive than the Aurora II) then have a look at the Novo7 Fire: 1280x800 IPS screen, dual core processor, front and rear camera, 5000mA battery.

Added 10/02/2013: If 10" is what I want, it would be between the Novo Hero 2 and Google Nexus 10... purely from a pricing a features point of view, I'd buy the Hero. However, if I wanted an excellent high-res screen and want the latest factory android iOS, I'd get the Nexus 10.

Note: The Aurora had 3 versions released. Knowing which version is important when you want to install a custom ROM. To determine the release model, simply look on the box above the barcode:
  • 201201 = Aurora v1  (Hitachi screen)
  • 201202 = Aurora v1
  • 201203 = Aurora v2
  • 201204 and above = Aurora v3  (LG screen)

Learning points to share:
  • The Aurora comes pre-rooted and CWM installed!
  • If you need to change the language because the ROM defaults to chinese: Settings menu > option "A" icon > choose the first option
  • ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM) is activation: Hold the BACK button and press POWER button for approx. 2 sec, then release POWER; keep BACK button pressed until CWM mode/menu is activated (it may take approx. 10 sec). Release the BACK button.
  • With the factory installed ROM, the opened android logo with red exclamation mark is actually CWM mode: press BACK button for CWM menu.
  • Updating to a different ROM (been trying feiyu, Mobiz and ConRom v2-7) to make the Aurora even faster/smoother. I was using ConRom v7 (CM9) for some time but now on Quarx CM10 nightly.
  • Installing busybox into the wrong directory can cause the tablet to self factory reset on each reboot and result in errors.  Ensure you install BUSYBOX to /system/bin  (not the default xbin). This issue is caused by the busybox install, caused by an incompatibility between busybox and ICS (Android 4). What happens is the a couple of vital directories containing user data FAIL TO MOUNT. The reason is that the program /system/bin/busybox is missing. As you will not be able to download anything from Google Play at this time (No space - volume not mounted) you have to get hold of term.apk, The android terminal emulator, and copy the busybox in xbin to bin. Then reboot.
    Type into the terminal emulator: cp /system/xbin/busybox /system/bin
    Alternatively: Complete a full format flash.
  • LiveSuit 1.09 unable to recognise AURORA in DFU mode (hold down volume-up, plug USB, press power 6 times) on my computer! (Windows 7 64bit).  I tried absolutely every driver combination to attempt to get it to recognise the tablet, but gave up after 4+ hours. Eventually, I used another laptop I had access to and it work right away (same version of Windows!)

Apps I have installed:
  • SwiftkeyX  CM10 keyboard is great
  • SetCPU  (Min 408. Max 1056 - interactive), Screen Filter
  • Opera Mini, Dolphin Browser (and mini)
  • Ghost Commander File (+ SMB plugin)
  • K-9 Mail
  • PerfectViewer (+PDF plugin) (to read comics)
  • Adobe Reader, ezPDF Reader, Flipboard, gReader
  • YouTube , BBC News, iPlayer, Sky News, TED, TVCatchup
  • MX Player & BSPlayer
  • Nova Launcher (Quarx CM10 20120901 launcher currently has problems)
  • Lucky Patcher
  • Superuser, Root Explorer, Advanced Task Killer, Quadrant Standard
  • Terminal Emulator, SManager ads (for V6 script)

Quarx CM10 10121209 install procedure
  1. Using Livesuit v1.09 (and press YES for format), install/flash Feiyu 0429 ROM - aurora_v1_feiyu_mod (0429) 
  2. Load CWM to install the following:
    Activate CWM mode: Turn device off. Press & HOLD "back" key. switch device on. Let go of back key once CWM screen is loaded.
    1. CWM6 (
    2. Feiyu 0429 V3 touch patch (aurora_v3_patch_(0429).zip)
    3. Quarx 1209 (
    4. Aurora V3 touch drivers (
    5. Gapps (
  3. Install Nova Launcher (via Play Store)
  4. Download and install YouTube 4.1.47.apk (via Google)
  5. Use V6 SuperCharger script to optimise memory and remove lag:
    1. Install BusyBox v1.19.4 to /system/bin (Play Store)
    2. Install SManager (Play Store)
    3. Use SManager to run the newest release of V6 SuperCharger Script.pdf (run as "SU")
    4. Patch and install services.jar using Ultimatic Jar Patcher Tools (Windows PC)
    5. Use SManager to run 99SuperCharger as "SU" and "On Boot"
    6. Use V6 SuperCharger Script to "SuperClean & ReStart!"
    7. Use V6 SuperCharger Script to "Fix Emissions"

Useful Links

Beginners guide to improving Novo 7

Full list (with google translator)


Deleting APKs:"Deleting apk from /system/app is like uninstall.
Check this cyanogen website or this link to find which apk's is safe to remove.
Since Aurora didn't have 3G/phone function, it's safe to remove Contacts.apk, ContactsProvider.apk, Phone.apk and TelephonyProvider.apk"

Supercharger V6 script