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iFive Air Tablet - 9.7" 2048x1536px - RK3288 - Android

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By TeutonJon78, Senior Member on 18th December 2014, 04:24 AM
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FNF iFive Air 9.7" Tablet
  • CPU: Rockchip RK3288 Quad-core Cortex-A17 processor, 1.8 GHz (seems to be locked to 1.6 GHz for heat/battery concerns without much loss in performance, maybe lower binned processor)
  • GPU: Mali-T764 (or Mali-T760MP4 - 4 core GPU)
  • Screen: 9.7", 2048 x 1536 (4:3), Capacitive, Retina, IPS, 10-point multi-touch
  • Memory: 2 GB DDR3 RAM (not sure if LP or not), 16/32 GB eMMC, microSD, OTG
  • Networking: WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Miracast
  • Camera: 8MP back camera , 2MP front camera
  • Sensors: Gravity Sensor, Gyroscope
  • Battery: 8200mAh
  • Net weight: 534 g / 18.84 oz
  • Size: 240 x 168 x 7.5 mm (review measured at 240 x 168 x 7.8 mm)
  • OS: Android 4.4.4 (RK3288 are supposed to get 5.0, so this device might as well)
  • Rebranded versions: HaierPad 971 in Europe


Official Links Reviews
iambillbil (Chinese - use your favorite translator -- Chrome built-in or Bing seem to work well, Google Translate is slower)OtherVideos

Accessories
Cases
  • There is an "official" case for the tablet -- it's a PU leather flip case in 5 colors (black, white, blue, pink, and gold) that can be found on AliExpress and other similar sites searching for "iFive Air case". There are two brands of the case that can be found -- one with a brown interior with volume holes that seem off to one side based on the pictures. The other one has a gray interior with centered volume holes. I got the gray one and it actually fits quite well. There are some areas that aren't protected well (mostly the lower right corner. I ordered the "black" one, which is actually much more of a dark gray. It actually really looks good with the white front and light gray back. The cutouts match very well (better than it looks in the pictures).
  • iPad Air/iPad 5 cases -- as the dimensions are close (240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm), some of those cases might work as long as you take care to get the ones that leave the top part of the tablet exposed for the different port layout -- they may also not work. According to iambillbil in his "Appearance" review, you can use the iPad Air hard plastic and silicone covers as the buttons and cameras line up (although, from his pictures, not quite exactly) but not the Apple shell covers (I assume he means the magnetic attach ones, but I'm not sure). I ordered an iPad Air Origami case from AliExpress. Even thought the dimensions match, the side profile of the tablet is different from the iPad Air, so it didn't fit in the case at all. The case needed the slightly more rounded profile shape.
  • universal 9.7" tablet cases
Screen Protectors
  • The tablet comes with a screen protector installed. iPad Air protectors should work as well, but they will generally have a cutout for the home button which is unneeded for this tablet.


ROMS
Official FirmwareMy Custom ROMsCrewRKTablets' ROMs (Thanks Oma!!)Custom Recovery (Thanks CrewRKTables!)

Known Issues and Bugs (All ROMs)
  • moved to separate post


Tutorials

Resources
*** Remember, anything you do to your tablet is AT YOUR OWN RISK -- following any procedure here may result in bricking your device ***
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18th December 2014, 07:05 AM |#3  
Official Firmware Flashing Instructions (Translated)
This document is included in the official firmware flashing tool, but in Chinese. There are pictures in the document. Here is the translated text (between Google and Bing)

To get the software to be in English instead of Chinese, go into the config.ini and change the [Language] > Selected value from "1" to "2".

Step 1: The Pre-Upgrade Considerations
  • Make sure that the tablet has enough power, not in a low power state. (>30% of power)
  • RK3188 RK3288 upgrade tool and can not be universal.
  • Make sure USB debugging is turned off ("Settings > Developer Options > USB debugging " should be unchecked)
  • Make sure USB connection type is set to "Mass Storage"
  • If the connection to the computer automatically switches to upgrade mode fails , reconnect again.
  • Please copy important files to another storage device in advance, the upgrade will format, to prevent loss of important documents.

Step 2: The Driver Installation
  1. machine turned on, press the switch button 15S, during machine shutdown will be black, but do not let go.
  2. Connect the USB to the computer, and other computer recognizes the device let go (to windows7, for example), as shown below:
    1. If you do not pop up this option, select the desktop or the Start menu, computer / right click My Computer, and select Manage.
    2. After opening management, select the Device Manager, which can be seen when an unknown device.
  3. Driver Installation
    1. Facing the unknown device, right click and select Update Driver Software.
    2. Click the Select Browse my computer for driver software. Note: You can click on the automatic search.
    3. Click Browse and select the location of the driver
      • Upgrade tools folder has a folder Driver, Driver folder contains a version upgrade drive, if your computer system is 64, select X64; if it is 32, select X86, then according to operating system selection.
    4. Pop up whether to install this device software, select Install.
    5. After the installation is complete, in the Device Manager can see the driver Rockusb Device.

Step 3: Firmware Upgrade
  1. Extract the downloaded iFive Air upgrade kit if not done already.
  2. Open FactoryTool.exe [UpdateTool.exe is referenced in the document but outdated]
  3. Select the "firmware", and select the path of the next firmware.
  4. Check the "repair" option.
  5. Select the "Start" option.
  6. Connect the tablet to the PC via USB
  7. The machine will automatically enter download mode and download the firmware.
  8. After the firmware download is completed, there will be a green icon prompt, unplug the USB cable. (Otherwise the machine will go into upgrade mode). [This is super important, because otherwise it will switch to upgrade mode and keep doing factory resets on the device. until you stop it].
  9. Select "Stop" option, and then exit the upgrade program.
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21st December 2014, 09:25 AM |#4  
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GPU question.
Hi,
I have a question about the GPU. Hope anyone can answer.
On their website its advertised as Mali-T764-16 core GPU (@326GFLOPS)
Shouldn't that be Mali-T760 MP16? As far as I was aware Mali T-764 is a quad core GPU (@ around 90GFLOPS)
Any idea which GPU is on this tablet, I'm planing to buy this tablet.(or Pipo P9).
Thanks.
21st December 2014, 06:20 PM |#5  
Quote:
Originally Posted by pal2342

Hi,
I have a question about the GPU. Hope anyone can answer.
On their website its advertised as Mali-T764-16 core GPU (@326GFLOPS)
Shouldn't that be Mali-T760 MP16? As far as I was aware Mali T-764 is a quad core GPU (@ around 90GFLOPS)
Any idea which GPU is on this tablet, I'm planing to buy this tablet.(or Pipo P9).
Thanks.

Everything I've seen listed has it as the Malt-T764. However, if you got the ARM/Mali website, no such core exists. I've seen it listed on other sites as T760MP4. Going by the Mali site (http://www.arm.com/products/multimed.../mali-t760.php), it says it scales up to 16 core product. I'm not sure what the MP4 means. I've also seen other tablets with the 762/760MP2.

Scalable would mean that a company incorporates it into their design, they could use up to a 16 core version (MP16 as you said). The RK3288 design is just using the 4 core version, which is what you'll find across all the RK3288 chips.

I wouldn't get to wrapped up in the Chinese manufacturer specs, they all seem a little "enhanced". Many of them cheat on their AnTuTu scores. iFive also lists the tablet as having a 1.8 GHz chip when it's limited to 1.6 GHz (not sure if a lower binned part, or just software limited). Most RK3288 chips are at 1.8 GHz. The reviews show that it's performance is pretty close to the same but with lower heat and better battery.

The PiPO P9 will probably perform slightly better since it's at the full 1.8 GHz and also running a lower res screen (1920x1200 vs 2048x1536). I wanted the 4:3 screen for reading documents. I personally don't like PiPO because I don't like the charging via DC adapter rather than USB method they use. I don't need another, different cable around.
21st December 2014, 06:25 PM |#6  
I ordered one during the 12.12 sales and am waiting for it now. I wish the processor wasn't slightly underclocked, but the performance numbers aren't really hampered by it that much, and I'm not really getting it for gaming as much as document viewing.

The biggest problem so far has been finding a case for it. The semi-official one (the only one actually designed for it) seems to not even fit it that well, and is well, pretty blah looking. I figure some of the iPad Air cases should work, but I'm hesitant to order one without knowing.

Anyone out there with this tablet try any cases?

[Note: I just moved this from reply 2 down here to clear that out as a reserved reply]
21st December 2014, 06:41 PM |#7  
Firmware Customization Tutorial
  • needs to be done in Linux, as you're working with ext4 filesystems -- however, you can do it in a VM install just fine (I'm using a VirtualBox install with shared folder support)
  • not a Linux tutorial -- you'll need to know what/how to get root access in order to run the appropriate commands for your distro
  • at various points, depending on how much you're changing the system.img, you may need to resize the filesystem and the image file



Accessing the system.img filesystem
  1. if needed, unpack the firmware image
    1. using Android Tools 2.3, click on the Advanced tab [part of Oma's downloads, or can be gotten from Firefly's website)
    2. under the firmware selection box ("...") navigate to the packed firmware image (i.e., stock one, not Oma's)
    3. click on the "Unpack" button
    4. navigate to the "Output" directory under wherever you ran the AndroidTool.exe from to find the extracted firmware portions
  2. in Linux, mount the system.img file
    1. Code:
      mount -o loop path_to_image path_to_mount_point
    2. if this fails with "mount: unknown error -1" you probably don't have the loop module running
      1. as root run
        Code:
        modprobe loop
        and retry to mount
    3. the image should also be accessible as /dev/loop0
  3. go to the mounted directory and make desired changes
  4. defrag the image file if you want using e4defrag
  5. unmount the loopback image


Resizing the filesystem/image file
  • dd method (example included step not needed for this purpose (partition resizing)
    • use dd to make image file the size you want
    • use dd to copy over the old image file into the new file
    • run e2fsck and resize2fs on the image file
    • (basically, this is extra work beyond letting the resize2fs taking care of resizing the image file for you)
  • filesystem resize method
    1. image must not be mounted
    2. e2fsck -f ./system.img
    3. resize2fs ./system.img [size] ("768M" for example, see the man page for more info)
22nd December 2014, 06:55 AM |#8  
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Thanks for the info.
I think I'll go with the PIPO P9. I'll be using it mostly for gaming. I considered the Xiaomi MiPad, but the screen is bit too small for my taste. The other high end tablets are out of my budget.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TeutonJon78

Everything I've seen listed has it as the Malt-T764. However, if you got the ARM/Mali website, no such core exists. I've seen it listed on other sites as T760MP4. Going by the Mali site, it says it scales up to 16 core product. I'm not sure what the MP4 means. I've also seen other tablets with the 762/760MP2.

Scalable would mean that a company incorporates it into their design, they could use up to a 16 core version (MP16 as you said). The RK3288 design is just using the 4 core version, which is what you'll find across all the RK3288 chips.

I wouldn't get to wrapped up in the Chinese manufacturer specs, they all seem a little "enhanced". Many of them cheat on their AnTuTu scores. iFive also lists the tablet as having a 1.8 GHz chip when it's limited to 1.6 GHz (not sure if a lower binned part, or just software limited). Most RK3288 chips are at 1.8 GHz. The reviews show that it's performance is pretty close to the same but with lower heat and better battery.

The PiPO P9 will probably perform slightly better since it's at the full 1.8 GHz and also running a lower res screen (1920x1200 vs 2048x1536). I wanted the 4:3 screen for reading documents. I personally don't like PiPO because I don't like the charging via DC adapter rather than USB method they use. I don't need another, different cable around.

22nd December 2014, 11:24 AM |#9  
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Is there any way to disable vibration on notifications?
24th December 2014, 06:58 AM |#10  
Quote:
Originally Posted by pylly

Is there any way to disable vibration on notifications?

Mine's not vibrating on notifications. But I turned off the "Vibrate on touch" setting. Maybe those are linked?
27th December 2014, 08:27 AM |#11  
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The Pipo P9 has a larger screen with lower pixel count than the iFive Air. The Pipo P9 can be charged using the Micro USB and/or the AC charger, this is also possible with the P1.

I don't like false advertizing, especially not with the CPU and GPU and I highly doubt that the RK3288 clocked at 1.8 GHz would have generated more heat than the aluminum case could cope with.

The biggest factor with power consumption is the screen brightness, not the CPU clock. I need to dim my scren to the lowest setting and it is still extremely bright.

With a higher clocked CPU I can always change the clock frequency to clock it at 1.6 GHz in case I want to. But since I pay for 1.8 and only get 1.6 GHz, I cannot clock it higher than 1.6.

Antutu 5.5 shows over 35000 points and Geekbench 3 reports 720 points with the single core test, very good. But all the lies, this needs to stop. It is chid's play and not very mature.

Ah just in case, the iFive Air does not have GPS and it is missing HDMI out, otherwise it is a very solid choice. The 5GHz WiFi works very well. But I regularly see red flashing frames around Chrome browser what is an indicator that the CPU is not powerful enough to cope with the browser's CPU power demand.

And because it also has ART support, I switched to ART from DALVIK. Big mistake. The iFive Air does not boot anymore and is stuck in the boot animation. There is now way to fix this and wow it get's better.

I cannot even flash a new firmware because the OMA ROM flashing method does not work. I always get Error "Match device type failed,stop running!".

How to recover from accidently switching to ART runtime switching (installing factory firmware):

You can download the factory firmware from the first post in this thread. The Factory Tool provided there will not work.

Download the Factory tool from this forum link, it will correctly work and show English Language when starting it up. You will also find the working RK3288 drivers there.

1. Install the drivers for the RK3288 (don't bother with the adb folder, just use the installer
2. power the iFive off
3. Start the Factory tool
4. Press Power button on the iFive and check if it is finding a loader entry with the USB tree shown in the factory log. If you do not see a Loader text, it won't work, e.g. if ADB is shown, nothing works, try powering it off and on until you see Loader as text next to an USB port.
5. Load the factory image using the appropriate button
6. Run the update. You will see progress next to the loader text.
7. Wait until the iFive flashes the ROM and do not remove the USB cable yet.
8. After the iFife tablet has booted up, remove the USB cable and close the Factory Tool.

Rooting the iFive Air:


1. If you would like to root the iFive Air, use Root Genius 1.8.7. You can download it from here.
1. Enable USB Debugging in the Settings and then start the tool Root Genius.
2. It will install drivers needed and after it recognizes the tablet you can then root the tablet using the green Root button.
3. Root Genius will install Kinguser.
4. Update the Kinguser program and then install Link2SD from the Google Play Store.
5. Link2SD will allow you to uninstall all the chinese programs.

Disable all the crappy utilities in the factory ROM (all with chinese signs) and you are set.


Warning: whatever you try, do not switch the iFive Air to ART runtime, it will not boot anymore after that.
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