I picked up a cheap Android tablet from NCIX: An Archos Arnova 7 G3, for a little over $100. The tablet impressed me enough that I figured I should do a short review on it. The market right now is bloated with cheap ebay android tablets that are really just hurting Google. But amidst all the crap there lies a gem at a very affordable price – the Arnova 7G3.
This is a 7 inch tablet running a Arm A10 processor with 1gb of ram, 4gb of storage space and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich pre-installed as the operating system…
- Already rooted from the factory
- Easy to hack further (Lots of information available online for this unit)
- Comes stock with Super HD Player and plays full HD 1080P video flawlessly
- Because its a re-badge of a Hyundai A7, and is already rooted this unit should also be overclockable using SETCPU (I haven’t tried this personally yet)
- The games that do run on it, run very well.
- Comes with 1gb of ram and runs Android 4.0 very smoothly
- Has the bells and whistles that other cheap ebay tablets don’t (Expandable storage with microSD and HDMI out!)
- A re-badge of an existing tablet (Hyundai A7), so it isn’t really anything ground breaking
- The red LED on the side by the micro usb port is really bright
- The built in microphone is too close to the built in speakers. This forces you to use headphones when you skype
- Not all games work on the device. Graphic heavy games from big box companys don’t work
- Camera is mounted in such a way that you have to hold the unit in portrait mode
- Built in Wifi Antenna isn’t the best
- Only 4gb of solid state storage space – this could be bigger for application installs!
- Viewing angles for the screen are pretty bad. The device definitely sports a cheap TN (Twisted Nematic) screen
- Default location is locked to Europe so this messes up time settings
- Not a lot of apps available for Android 4.0 ICS yet (As of this writing, Facebook and YouTube apps are not available).
- If you chose not to hack and install Google Play Android market, then the default market that comes with the tablet (Apps Lib) leaves a LOT to be desired.
The front of the unit has a camera and two speakers. The camera is mounted for portrait users. I found this very odd. You can also see two slots on the front – this is where the stereo speakers are.
The unit has minimal ports:
- Mini HDMI port
- Headphone jack
- A Micro USB port that doubles as a port for usb storage devices as well as for charging the unit with the included charge
There is a built in microphone on the unit but the microphone is far too close to the built in speakers, so you can forget about clear skype sessions with this unit, unless you use the headphone jack.
There is also a tiny bright LED on the side, right next to the micro usb port. This LED is on even when the unit is asleep.
The back of the device is plain with some markings along with the company logo and obligatory FCC information.
This device is actually a re-badge of a Hyundai A7 tablet. The Hyundai A7 tablet has a fairly large enthusiast following. Many custom roms exist for this unit and it is rootable.
Out of the box, the first surprise I got was that this tablet was already fully rooted!
It made further hacking very easy, and I was able to get Google Play Android Market and Google voice recognition quite easily, thanks to the Guys at http://goo.im/gapps/
First thing to do is download ES File Explorer. This has an option to make the system root of the android writeable. You will need to do this if you want to install core Google APKs.
The exact version I downloaded can be had directly from here: http://goo.im/gapps/gapps-ics-20120317-signed.zip
After that, simply add the required app(s) to system/apps and reboot.
To install google voice capabilities you will have to copy the files from system/lib into your system/lib folder and then reboot again.
For more information on this you can visit: http://www.arctablet.com/blog/forum/arnova-7-g3/arnova-7-g3-google-play-android-market-setup/
You will also want to get a better web browser. I installed Dolphin Browser HD and the gestures and sonar functions of the browser work wonders on this tablet. There are occasional hiccups with the android operating system but nothing you can’t look past for the price point.
After you are all done you will see how well this tablet really runs. I was able to play 1080p HD files over my network flawlessly. Netflix works too. The wireless antenna built in to the system isn’t the best quality but it does the trick for me.
Its a neat little tablet with a very bright screen albeit horrible viewing angles. Most games work flawlessly on it. I found that EA games and big box company games do not work on it as they look for specific devices like the Acer Iconia, or the Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Otherwise they don’t download the correct textures. Its a little bit difficult but if you can find textures for a Arm A10 cpu online for a big box game you want then it will work. So far, I have only noticed this on EA and GameLoft games though
This tablet is better than most of the ebay tablets you can buy. However, there are many workarounds that need to be done. And for this reason, I would only recommend it to the tech savvy user. For everyone else, go buy a $399 Samsung Galaxy Tablet or an iPad or even a Blackberry Playbook. This tablet gets a decent 7 out of 10 and a recommendation from the brown guy for tech savvy users!