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tl; dr
Bought Ainol Novo 8 from Merimobiles, largely on grounds it had ICS. ICS rom buggy & left tablet crippled. After lengthy delays MM accepted return of tablet & corrected (detailed) description of remaining stock. But have not (yet?) published my critical - but I think honest - review.

EDIT: they have published my review, here (a b's 16th May review)

Hi all - I'm new too Android, so apologies if this post contains misconceptions.

I wanted a tablet to use as an e-reader, for light browsing, media playing etc in my room, (=> Bluetooth for local file access) & a market app (to avoid having to install APKs from unknown sources). I also wanted maximum compatibility with future apps (=> ICS).

The Novo 8 sold by Merrimobiles seemed to fit the bill:
- 8" higher res screen (=> good for reading)
- ICS (=> Bluetooth dongle compatible & good continuing compatibility with apps)
- full-size USB (Bluetooth dongle easier to use)
- Market 'easy to install' according to a comment on the item page

It turns out that the ICS Merrimobiles is unofficial, incompatible with the 5 (so far) versions of the Market/Google Play app I've tried, and not recognising the (totally generic) Bluetooth dongle I've tried.

On top of this, the wifi reception is appalling (unusable in a room where I have no access problems with an Asus netbook). I saw generally positive or neutral comments on the Novo 8's wifi reception, so I wonder if units with weak reception might be defective?

To top it all, post-sale, Merrimobiles have been useless. To start with, they gave no indication that the ICS rom they were shipping with the device was unofficial. I think this is a misrepresentation, given that it was apparently untested (given its incompatible with a critical app). 'techhelp' has just advised me to 'try installing older versions of market' - with no attempt to address the wireless or Bluetooth issues.

This leaves me functionality that covers fraction of what I expected, and rather frustrated. If anyone has any ideas about how to improve the functionality of my device or for dealing with Merrimobiles I'd be very grateful. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After multiple emails Merimobiles have accepted that the tablet was mis-described. Apparently the person doing the descriptions doesn't understand the technology too well. (Perhaps this is because he or she was hired mainly for English skills?)

The email I just got is a bit vague, but it sounds like they'll let me exchange, and have recommended Teclast A10 or Onda VI40.

I'm quite pleased - it really wasn't looking good until I emailed them in Chinese. (Which I can speak Chinese fairly well but don't like reading & writing.)

I can't be sure writing them in Chinese made a difference, but if it did I think it may have been sheer improved communication. My impression is that the people responding to emails aren't all that comfortable in English, and may not have grasped what I was trying to say.

Anyway, I'll keep the forum posted
 

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OK - well they've told me they received the Novo 8. It's taken so long (3 weeks - I was expecting about half that) I got fed up & wrote a quite -ve review.

This... hadn't appeared when I checked. If it doesn't appear in the next few days I'll post it here.

Meanwhile, please be aware that MM may be cherry-picking the reviews they publish. They're not the online online Chinese vendors that do this - I think Dealextreme & Focalprice both do this to some extent. But I've only recently realised (after attempting to publish -ve reviews myself). So if you're as naive as me, it's something worth bearing in mind when reading reviews on vendor sites.

Mean-meanwhile, what's changed in the world of 8"+ Chinese Android tablets over the last three weeks?


EDIT: they mailed me back & said it just takes a while for reviews to appear. They've agreed to refund, as opposed to replace, which is strictly beyond their T&Cs (I returned the unit after more than a month - due delay getting them to try to remedy the problems & then issue an RMA form). So there's been no dishonesty, and pretty fair behaviour on their part. Just a mistake in the product description, and less than ideal (but not terrible) customer service.
 

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Mean-meanwhile, what's changed in the world of 8"+ Chinese Android tablets over the last three weeks?
Many popular tablet makers are focused on 7", 9.7/10.1" tablets. Many 8" tablets still get made but mostly from lesser known brands.

SmartQ Q8. (OMAP4)
Teclast P85. (A10)
Onda VI30 Deluxe or Elite. (A10)

You can see more here:
http://www.merimobiles.com/category_s/360.htm

Go either with Q8 because of dual core OMAP4 CPU or some tablet with AllWinner A10 chip. Onda is very good brand to buy. Also, 1GB RAM will really help. 8GB ROM/Nandflash (internal storage), though 4GB ROM is OK. Big battery size (4500mAh).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Many popular tablet makers are focused on 7", 9.7/10.1" tablets. Many 8" tablets still get made but mostly from lesser known brands.

SmartQ Q8. (OMAP4)
Teclast P85. (A10)
Onda VI30 Deluxe or Elite. (A10)

You can see more here:
http://www.merimobiles.com/category_s/360.htm

Go either with Q8 because of dual core OMAP4 CPU or some tablet with AllWinner A10 chip. Onda is very good brand to buy. Also, 1GB RAM will really help. 8GB ROM/Nandflash (internal storage), though 4GB ROM is OK. Big battery size (4500mAh).
Thanks Nickos! One of the MM support people recommended Onda & Teclast too; s/he said they have the lowest fault & return rates.

But one of the reasons I went for 8' not 10' is the weight. I just yesterday came across the Breffo Spiderpodium (below) & ordered a few.


If these work as advertised then weight will be much less of an issue for me, and a ~10" (or 9"?) tablet could be the way to go. I'll try the spider with some heavy books first
 

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Got a novo 8 from merimobiles today.

I put the charger in and it turns on but get nothing afterwards. Stays on 0% can do things on it but it doesn't seem to be able to be calibrated correctly. Is it to do with a firmware issue?

I need help desperately.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got a novo 8 from merimobiles today.

I put the charger in and it turns on but get nothing afterwards. Stays on 0% can do things on it but it doesn't seem to be able to be calibrated correctly. Is it to do with a firmware issue?
This doesn't sound like the firmware issues I had (with the Android 4.03 rom they were providing about two months ago) - charging was OK and there was no problem with touchscreen calibration.
 

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This doesn't sound like the firmware issues I had (with the Android 4.03 rom they were providing about two months ago) - charging was OK and there was no problem with touchscreen calibration.
Damn...thanks for that...hoping someone can please fix my problem!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Damn...thanks for that...hoping someone can please fix my problem!!
I think you need to talk to MM support. They may not be very helpful, but I think you'll need to make some efforts with them for them to accept an RMA. Also take note of MM's returns policy - I think you have a month to request an RMA for a hardware issue (& if it's an undocumented/disclosed problem with the firmware they supplied, I think that should count as a hardware problem).
 

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I think you need to talk to MM support. They may not be very helpful, but I think you'll need to make some efforts with them for them to accept an RMA. Also take note of MM's returns policy - I think you have a month to request an RMA for a hardware issue (& if it's an undocumented/disclosed problem with the firmware they supplied, I think that should count as a hardware problem).
What's an RMA?

It has been 32 days since i paid but 2 days since i received it, which is the right one? (They sent it 2 weeks after i ordered it)

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What's an RMA?

It has been 32 days since i paid but 2 days since i received it, which is the right one? (They sent it 2 weeks after i ordered it)
RMA = return merchandise authorization
Here's the returns policy:
http://www.merimobiles.com/Return-Policy-a/246.htm

So you've got about a month to sort it out or ask them to take it back - don't waste any time getting onto them because they can be slow replying (& not v helpful when they do reply!)
 

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RMA = return merchandise authorization
Here's the returns policy:
http://www.merimobiles.com/Return-Policy-a/246.htm

So you've got about a month to sort it out or ask them to take it back - don't waste any time getting onto them because they can be slow replying (& not v helpful when they do reply!)
Thanks for that info.

Problem is i have emailed them once so far, it took 48 hours for them to reply back with a response that didn't really understand what i was saying.

I tried to call them 24 hours ago left a message with my number haven't heard back.

What is the best way to contact them?

When are they available in Australian EST does it go back Canadian times or an Asian time zone?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for that info.

Problem is i have emailed them once so far, it took 48 hours for them to reply back with a response that didn't really understand what i was saying.
This is why their 30 day return policy is a bit farcical. Someone genuinely trying to figure out how to get a device working can easily burn 30 days...

What is the best way to contact them?
By email in Chinese worked ok for me. Send me a PM & I'll mail them for you. (Include your order number so they know who I'm talking about).

They really need to get their f***ing act together on this!
 

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This is why their 30 day return policy is a bit farcical. Someone genuinely trying to figure out how to get a device working can easily burn 30 days...

By email in Chinese worked ok for me. Send me a PM & I'll mail them for you. (Include your order number so they know who I'm talking about).

They really need to get their f***ing act together on this!
Thanks for that, if i need you i will get in contact with you.

Surprisngly I got a really good response from the online chat.

Basically i went on chat and talked to one of the sales team who put me through to one of the tech support.

We established that it is either a dudd battery or loose connection (same as here basically) anyway so they are looking to send me a new battery and then explain to me how to replace it.
So things are looking good hopefully.
Will keep you posted though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Basically i went on chat and talked to one of the sales team who put me through to one of the tech support.

We established that it is either a dudd battery or loose connection (same as here basically) anyway so they are looking to send me a new battery and then explain to me how to replace it.
That's good - hope it works out. Just drop me a pm if the language barrier's getting in the way too much!
 

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That's good - hope it works out. Just drop me a pm if the language barrier's getting in the way too much!
Okay well it has been 4 days since the last conversation and still no advice on how to take it apart and whether they are able to send me a new battery.

I'm around a week from the paypal 45 days. Should I lodge a claim now just in case?

Thanks.

Also does anyone know any videos out there about taking a novo apart?
 

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Okay well i still haven't heard back after making a paypal claim 3 days ago. Last official contact was 1 week ago.

Don't know what to do? Should i escalate the claim?

This is getting pretty bad!
 

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Okay finally got a reply today and they said they will be sending a new battery which should come monday and they will send it then.

Hopefully this goes a little better.
 
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