Voyo A18: The First Retina-Class Android Tablet Worth Buying?

Despite Chinese manufacturers turning out iPad 4/5 clones with Retina-class displays, none of them have been worth buying. Those with the AllWinner A31s CPU have been just pathetic. And even the powerful Rockchip 3188 CPU has been defeated by that pixel-dense screen, with Rockchip releasing SDK 2.0 mainly to address performance issues with Retina-class displays.

VoyoA18001

Now Voyo has come along and is putting an octa-core Samsung Exynos 5410 CPU in a Retina-class tablet [Google English]. This just might be the first Android-based Retina tablet out of China that’s worth buying.

The specs: 9.7 inch Retina-class display at 2048 x 1536, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, Exynos 5410 octa-core CPU at unknown speed [it’s likely 1.6 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 and 1.2 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 (ARM big.LITTLE)], tri-core PowerVR SGX 544 MP3 GPU [likely at 480 MHz], 8MP back camera with illumination, 2MP front camera, USB3.0 port, three-axis gyro sensor, light sensor, HDMI 1.4 output, a 3G mini expansion slot, but no word yet on any microSD card slot [it has to be in it!].

If you’re not drooling, you should be!

This is the same CPU in the Exynos variant of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 phone! Engadget clocked it with an AnTuTu score of 28,167.

So what does the Voyo A18 do with AnTuTu?

Allegedly this:

VoyoA18AnTuTu001

Lower than the S4, but that’s still a damn good score! A lustful bump above the 17,000-range of the Rockchip 3188 in the Chuwi V88, ICOO Fatty 2, Vido Mini One, and others based on that platform.

Now imagine if Google added multiwindowing to Android 5.0 and did it somewhat like Rockchip. You could have four iPad Mini screens (1024 x 768) on that Retina-class display. Except they’d be better than the iPad Mini screen itself — because the pixels would be Retina-sized!

This is a very exciting development.

I have no experience with Voyo — hadn’t heard of them until today — so whether or not this particular tablet is worth risking money on, I don’t know. But you can be sure that if Voyo is doing a Retina-class tablet like this, other Chinese manufacturers with more familiar brand names will jump in too.

Update Friday September 13, 2013: It is doubtful this tablet will be worth buying. After reviewing this new post — Again: Avoid All Chinese Retina-Class Tablets — and looking at that AnTuTu screen above, the throughput of internal storage doesn’t even come close to that of a Retina-class iPad. I’ll still wait to see actual reviews — and, more importantly, owner reviews — but the math looks like it’s just not going to be there. We’ll see if it’s any better than 3188 and A31s versions, at least.

Update Saturday January 11, 2014: The Voyo 18 is a waste of money. Just go read this forum post [Google English]. Nothing that bad should have ever made it to market whether or not everything can be fixed via software updates. It’s just inexcusable.

Update Saturday March 1, 2014: A new AnTuTu score from an owner [Google Translate]:

VoYoAnTuTu4030114

And this many months later, this latest owner reports that the Voyo still shuts down prematurely before the battery is at a critical level. That 26,000-range AnTuTu score is no longer as impressive as it was last year. I still say to skip this tablet.

Second Update Saturday March 1, 2014: I should have read further into the post. A second AnTuTu score was posted:

VoyoAnTuTu4030114b

Well, that’s more like it. A 2,000 point difference does matter. The owner mentions less crashing than earlier buyers reported, suggesting firmware fixes have taken place. But Voyo is still a brand I’ve never heard of before this tablet and their debut of a very buggy tablet does not inspire confidence in their company. I still say to skip it.

Additional:

Voyo website [Google English]

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17 Comments

Filed under Android

17 responses to “Voyo A18: The First Retina-Class Android Tablet Worth Buying?

  1. Anton

    Voyo a15, made ​​by urbetter, this will be just as bad, not all its flashy hardware, one must take into account the quality of assembly and software development that is the worst, not respecting the GPL. This has bad consequences to having no support from the community.

    • mikecane

      After my post I saw some Chinese forum posts downgrading Voyo. But the forums have become so infested with astroturfers and paid agents, it’s getting difficult to tell what little bit of it might be the truth.

      • Joshua C

        I have owned the Voyo A18 since December. It was slightly buggy with resets at first, but the latest firmwares have fixed it. My Antutu X score is 28000. Smooth interface, 6 hr average use battery life, build quality is excellent. I have owned 3 Voyo tablets. The first was a Q101 quad which had a great interface but poor build quality. The second was the A15 which had great build quality and was fast. The only issue Voyo has is buggy early firmware. Usually firmware is smoothed out by 2 months post first release. They make cutting edge devices with great quality!

  2. Great Stuff. VERY well explained and written. Wow, this is some great intake on what Tablets to purchase. The Tablet PC is indeed very good, but expensive. I saw a Chinese shopping website, their flat computer configuration and the brand computer configuration is the same, and the price is relatively cheaper.

  3. Dennis

    Hi Mike,
    after reading some post of yours…Im really not sure anymore if I should buy a chinese tablet at all. I read alot…thought about purchasing maybe an pipo m6pro or voyo18…sure the cheap price comes with issues (software mostly as i can recall; fixed with custom roms?) but is Samsung, Apple & Co. really worth spending so much more money on them. I can easily afford an Ipad..but I dont want to throw my money at a product which is that horribly ovepriced (just because of the design, brandname etc.).
    Thanks for your articles!
    Greetings from Beijing
    Dennis

    • mikecane

      When you buy a known brand name, you can be sure it’s built to last. Many Chinese tablets succumb to Sudden Death Syndrome, where they just die unexpectedly and in less than a year. Chinese tablet makers are held in contempt by most Chinese tech savvy buyers too — and they have experience with them, having bought them. If you think an iPad is “overpriced,” over in China it’s about ten times the price of a domestic-made tablet. A cheap Chinese tablet would make an adventurous second tablet, but not one you’re going to count on for the long term.

      • beerdude26

        Tell me about it! Bought a few Chinese tablets before and I know my way around the landscape. And still, these things has something with firmware, or with the ROM, or they cheaped out on build quality. Cube, Urbetter (“Hyundai”, ugh), Onda, Ramos… All of them have issues. I can feel confident recommending Chinese phones to people, but Chinese tablets I’d only recommend as kids toys because the chances they’ll die for no reason or get stuck in a bootloop or reset every month are just too high.

      • mikecane

        Let’s see if these issues crop up with Intel-based CPUs too. Intel requires their partners to improve their quality control. Any boot/ROM issues would likely be on the head of Intel, since — at least with Android — they’re providing the software.

  4. Dennis

    Thanks for your fast response.
    Yes thats what Im struggling with…of course with a brand (f.e. samsung) you get better support, longlife (whatever longlife in the electronic market means ;) )quality and less problems….still they produce the products all here in china/japan..sometimes in the same factories than part of the cheap firms. Even with deep research it seems that you can get all the Ipad or higher specs just for 30% of the price…maybe greed blinds a bit ;)

    I like Apples design, the quality…but I dont like the lifestyle religiouslike marketing strategy they are selling. Its an electronic device..not more not less..and def not sth definying my personality..but anyways..lets put the Apple-or-not-Apple-Question aside.

    Im only wondering why the community for chinese tablets is so big..if the products are that “shitty”.
    Would you say Lenovo & Huawei are the ones who got into first league with Samsung & Co.?
    Seems like I have to stay with the big names…

    • mikecane

      It’s generally not true that the same factories that produce brand name tablets produce Chinese tablets. In China, the domestic brands are referred to as “cottage.” As in cottage industries. They do their own assembly. Search YouTube for Charbax and see several videos of these cottage factories. They look nothing like, for example, Foxconn.

      Another thing that sets apart the brand names are the quality of the components. Chinese tablet makers ruthlessly compete for sales and will often buy the cheapest stuff to meet a target price. We didn’t know for weeks that the Chuwi V88HD had a TN screen and not IPS. Chuwi did that tablet to hit a price point and cheaped-out on the screen without ever mentioning that fact in its marketing.

      And unlike American and European tech sites, Chinese tech sites often skip “Gotchas” in their reviews so they can stay on the good side of makers and continue to get review units. It’s not until I read forum posts from buyers that the “Gotchas” are revealed.

  5. Dennis

    Thx for the insights!

  6. John

    Did you bought the Voyo A18? Did you try it? Is it really waste of money?
    If yes, what are the good alternatives for max. $310 U.S with similar killer specs like this?

    • mikecane

      I did not try it or buy it. I’m relying on the user reports, which have been bad. I would avoid it. The next tablet like it is the Onda V975M, which has other problems:

      http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/the-onda-v975m-not-all-that/

      EDIt to add:
      Also see:

      http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/the-onda-v975m/

      • John

        Dear Mike,
        Actually I want a FHD or Retina android 9.7 or bigger tablet for $400 maximum with Bluetooth & GPS & HDMI or MHL & OTG & TF Card Slot.
        Whatever it was, chinese or famous brands :)
        Thanks a lot Mike!

      • mikecane

        Onda will be the first to use the new octa-core Allwinner A80 CPU, most likely in a new 9.7-inch Retina-class tablet. But this is probably 1 to 3 months away.

        There’s the iFive 3, but I don’t think it has GPS. It does have a microHDMI-out port, though. But like the Retina-class Mini 3, it’s using the Rockchip 3188, so it’s not a powerhouse. I expect them to refresh this with the new Rockchip 3288, but that’s also a few months away.

  7. John

    I think I will buy ASUS TF701T

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