Onda V972 Android Tablet Review

Onda V972 ReviewThe Onda V972 quad-core Allwinner A31 Android tablet with 9.7 inch 2048 x 1536 retina screen is Onda’s version of the iPad clone. The tablet runs on Android instead of iOS but it is obviously “inspired” by the iPad. Android tablets usually have widescreen aspect displays but the V972 has the same 9.7 inch retina 2048 x 1536 display with a 4:3 aspect ratio as the iPad.

The display is not the only feature that Onda borrowed from the Apple designers. The entire unit actually looks very much like an iPad including the size right up to the tapered metallic back cover and the placement of the rear camera. From a distance it is actually not easy to tell them apart if it is not for the giveaway missing Apple logo at the back. If I were to stick an Apple logo at the back of the V972, I probably could have fooled a lot of people.

Putting the iPad inspired design aside, the Onda V972 does have quite decent hardware specifications. It actually shares a lot of hardware similarities with another iPad clone, the Pipo M6 Android tablet. On paper, the V972 actually looks very good when stacked against the iPad. This is an amazing achievement considering that the tablet costs less than half what the latest iPad costs. But how well does it perform in real world tests? We are about to find out.

Buy Onda V972 from Dino Direct

DinoDirect.com is a world’s leading cross-border online store with millions of active customers from more than 200 countries. DinoDirect is committed to becoming the best reliable marketplace on the net by offering high quality products with the widest selections, reasonable price, worldwide free shipping and superior 7×24 customer service.

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Buy Onda V972 from Amazon.com

ONDA V972 16GB Quad Core DDR3 2GB 9.7inch Capacitive Android 4.1 Dual Camera HDMI Tablet PC - Black(front)+Silvery(back) Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Buy Onda V972 from AliExpress

AliExpress has numerous retailers that are offering the Onda V972 at a great price and some even have free international shipping thrown in.

Buy from AliExpress

First Impressions

The Onda V972 comes packed in a simple box that again has shades of Apple. However, the insides of the packaging seems rather flimsy as there is minimal padding for the tablet itself. Also in the box, in a compartment under the tablet are an AC charger, a USB cable and a flimsy looking manual. Considering how much the V972 costs compared to an iPad, we can turn a blind eye to the packaging.

The V972 has almost the exact dimensions as the iPad. It is just a tad bit larger at 242 x 188 x 9.8 mm while the iPad measures 241 x 186 x 9.4 mm. However the V972 is slightly lighter than the iPad. It weighs 655 g compared to the iPad’s 662 g.

As mentioned earlier, it has a tapered edge metallic back just like the iPad. I was quite impressed with the build quality. The housing does look and feel more like an expensive piece of equipment. It doesn’t creak or flex when I applied pressure on the housing. I would also rate the build quality of the V972 a little higher than the Pipo M6.

How does the Onda V972 compare with other tablets?

Refer to our Top China Tablets Full Guide comparison matrix with over 40 tablets.

Onda V972 Specifications

BrandOnda
ModelV972
CPUQuad-Core Allwinner A31
RAM2 GB DDR3
ROM16 GB Nand Flash
CameraFront 2MP, Rear 5MP
Screen Size9.7 inch
Screen TypeIPS
Resolution2048 x 1536 pixels (Retina)
Wi-Fi802.11 b/g/n
3GNo
BluetoothNo
GPSNo
Battery Type8000 mAh
Size242 x 188 x 9.8mm
Weight655 g
Operating SystemAndroid 4.1

The Onda V972 is powered by an Allwinner A31 quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 with a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU. The Cortex-A7 cores are designed to be more energy efficient compared to the Cortex-A9 cores used in the RK3188.

The most impressive feature of the V972 is of course the 9.7 inch retina 2048 x 1536 IPS display. It also comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and 16 GB of storage ROM. Some retailers offer a 32GB ROM version as well.

While the V972 looks like an iPad in many ways, it still retains some Android features like the presence of a many ports and buttons along the sides of the unit. There is no home button located at the bottom edge of the tablet but instead it is placed along the edge together with the power button. This may seem strange but most Android users will probably use the soft home button rather than the physical one. Most tablets do not come with physical home, menu or back buttons.

Other ports on the tablet include a microUSB port for both connecting to USB devices and for charging (but not both at the same time), a microSD slot for additional storage, a mini HDMI port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The microSD slot is an easy and cheap way to add storage compared to buying the higher end model with bigger ROM. The mini HDMI allows you to output the display to a TV or monitor. This is ideal for watching movies.

The Onda V972 has no GPS or Bluetooth. Last but not least, it has a 8000 mAh battery which is significantly lower capacity compared to the 10000 mAh battery on the Pipo M6. It is rated at 7-8 hours of continuous use.

Onda V972 Performance

Benchmark tests has shown that the quad-core Rockchip RK3188 has an edge over the A31 but the A31 has a superior GPU. The A31 edged out the RK3188 in graphical tests. The hires 2048 x 1536 retina panel requires significant graphical power to push all those pixels.

The RK3188 is barely up to the task on the Pipo M6 but the Allwinner A31 seems to be more suited for the task. Normal non-graphical intensive tasks run smoothly. Opening multiple windows on Chrome doesn’t seem to cause the processor any problems. Moving on to more processor intensive tasks, the V972 chugs along fine with 3D games like Temple Run 2, Riptide GP and Dead Trigger.

However, the tablet did suffer strange freezes occasionally. It could be running a simple task but it would still freeze momentarily for no reason. Updating the tablet to the latest firmware 3.2.1 seems to have reduced the freezing problem considerably.

WiFi on this tablet is great as I experienced great speeds with no dropped connection. China tablets can be a bit flaky when it comes to WiFi but I have no complains whatsoever with the V972. Big plus point here.

The rear 5MP camera on the Onda V972 is surprisingly quite decent. To be honest, I have very low expectations for the cameras on China tablets so I’ll be happy with any camera that can produce images that do not have too much noise and nice color reproduction instead of the washed out stuff I normally get. The V972 produces passable photos that do not scream “cheap China tablet”.

Unfortunately, the front 2MP camera does not seem to be any better than the other China tablets. However, it is not such a big deal as it is mainly used for video calls although it is rather murky when used in dim lighting.

The speakers are rather loud but are distorted at high volumes. I would rate the speakers as average. If you want better sound for watching movies, it is better to use the HDMI out or plug in your headphones.

The biggest problem I have with the Onda V972 is battery life. With the smaller battery, I expected the V972 to have slightly worse battery life compared to the Pipo M6. The M6 lasted 11 hours on light usage and 6 hours on heavy. I could barely get 4 hours on the V972 which is a huge disappointment.

If I can only get 4 hours now, imagine how bad the battery would be 12-18 months down the road. A quick check on the internet confirms that I don’t have a defective unit. Battery life is a big issue with this tablet. It is such a huge pity as the Onda V972 performs great at almost everything else.

Conclusion

The Allwinner A31 seems to be a good match for the high resolution retina screen on the Onda V972. The strange glitches I experienced are probably due to firmware issues. The V972 has a lot going for it with decent performance, great WiFi and even an above average rear camera.

Unfortunately, the terrible battery life puts a huge dent into the overall score. It is hard to ignore poor battery life on a mobile device. There are ways around this limitation of course such as carrying along a portable charger. However, the  strong points of the V972 are not strong enough for me to make this compromise. The Onda V972 does have a lot of competition and with more coming out each day.

Where to Buy Onda V972

Buy Onda V972 from Dino Direct

DinoDirect.com is a world’s leading cross-border online store with millions of active customers from more than 200 countries. DinoDirect is committed to becoming the best reliable marketplace on the net by offering high quality products with the widest selections, reasonable price, worldwide free shipping and superior 7×24 customer service.

Buy from DinoDirect

Buy Onda V972 from Amazon.com

ONDA V972 16GB Quad Core DDR3 2GB 9.7inch Capacitive Android 4.1 Dual Camera HDMI Tablet PC - Black(front)+Silvery(back) Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Buy Onda V972 from AliExpress

AliExpress has numerous retailers that are offering the Onda V972 at a great price and some even have free international shipping thrown in.

Buy from AliExpress

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Onda V972 Android Tablet Review, reviewed by Roy Yap on 2013-08-20T10:45:40+08:00 rating 3.0 out of 5

Author: Roy Yap

Roy Yap is the administrator of TopChinaTablets.com. Roy has been writing both online and for print magazines for many years. He writes mostly technology related articles, particularly on consumer electronics and gadget reviews.

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