It's more or less similar in comparison to most Allwinner chips from what I observed, but over the past few months of playing around with these devices, there are obviously some differences, namely in the way things are configured and a few others. 1. Just about how similar is it? Is it unbrickable?
Script.bin is still used, for one, though in the case of DFace it's named as sysconfig1.lhs. However, things are a little more involved and difficult due to how things are loaded. As per a chat with Fsebentley, and from what I can attest, you have to re-flash the ROM for every change in sysconfig, though they're trying to find out if it's possible to just change the said file without having to do an unnecessary firmware reinstall.
It uses the same EGON boot ROM method, i.e. that Chuck Norris-ish, hard-coded bootloader AW implemented. As what I can attest, yes, I didn't have any problems with a botched flash and it came back to life after retrying.2. Is it fast?
It ain't a hot rod but it should be good enough as a daily driver. Asphalt 8
runs fine on medium-high settings, and tabs based on the A31/A31s should get 11 to 12k or sometimes even 14k on Antutu.3. ROMS! WE WANT ROMS!!1!
OK, OK, while we won't be able to give a specific one for your device as we put it on the rules, there are some custom ones posted on the web, namely an AOKP or Cyanogen ROM and even a Kitkat one. You can find links to those here
as well.4. A31 or A31s? What's the difference?
Both appear to be the same, though the main difference is that the S variant supports 1080p encoding for up to 30 frames per second.5. How can I flash firmware into this thing?
Basically, what you're going to do is install PhoenixSuit, download a suitable .img for your device (or ask your reseller if they can provide you with one. Good luck with that though. :P), open the .img in Phoenix, then, while holding the home or volume up button (this depends on your device; in my case I have to hold the hardware back button) plug in the USB jack to your PC. Quickly tap the power button as many times as possible until PhoenixSuit tells you to format your tablet. Click OK, and then let the tool do its trick. If done correctly, you'll be greeted with a message telling you that the firmware update's finished.
You can also see this guide
for more details.
This thread's still WIP, so I'll post some more when I come across an interesting finding or two.