The ASUS Fonepad is pretty much the Google Nexus 7 (made by ASUS) with phone capabilities. ASUS seems to be experimenting with the objective of finding the perfect sweet spot for the all-in-one device that we increasingly demand. With the Google Nexus 7 finding success with its low pricing and Google’s backing, I find out if the sweet spot is the ASUS Fonepad.
Sporting a 7 inch IPS LCD display, the ASUS Fonepad has the same display as the Google Nexus 7 (2012), with a pixel density of 216ppi. Compared to other tablets of the same screen size, this is well above average, though it is not past the 300ppi threshold, thus you will notice the pixels. But just to put it in perspective, the iPad Mini only has a pixel density of 162ppi.
With 800x1280 pixels, the ASUS Fonepad display’s pixel density is ~216. For a 7inch tablet, that is more than decent when compared to other tablets of the same screen size.
Something I noticed though was that the screen tends to get smudged with your fingerprints and sweat much more easily than other devices. I found myself having to constantly wipe the screen clean, and yet I never truly felt the smooth "clean" feel after using it for a while.
The back of the ASUS Fonepad is metallic, though it certainly does not have the premium feel that of the ASUS PadFone Infinity. Nonetheless, it is definitely better than cheap plastic, with the Fonepad providing confidence that it can take a few drops. The contours of the device are rounded, thus holding the device with one hand is quite comfortable.
At the top, it is a weirdly placed removable panel. Removing it (which is awkward at times) will expose the Micro SIM and Micro SD card slot (up to 32GB).
The phrase “you get what you pay for” certainly rings truth in this review. While most mobile devices have opted for the popular and worthy ARM processors, ASUS had decided to fit in an Intel Atom processor. Such a processor coupled with the Android system (which in its nature is inefficient and requires a great load of power to run smoothly) simply results in a distasteful user experience that is of lag and crashes.
Compared to the Google Nexus 7, which uses a powerful 1.2GHz Quad Core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, let's just say ASUS's marketing of the Fonepad as your go-to budget tablet is accurate, with budget being the keyword.
Tablets with phone capabilities have always been a Samsung staple, with each of its tablets having the ability to call and sms. Other tablets (defined as 7 inches and larger) do not have such capabilities, at least until the ASUS Fonepad arrives. That puts it in a niche with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, and if you are to compare the specifications between the two, the ASUS Fonepad is more than well equipped to take on the fight.
Click for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 specifications to compare with the table above.
With a battery capacity 4,270mAh, the ASUS Fonepad promises great battery life. The Intel chipset may not have much processing power, but it sure is power efficient, with at least 2-3 days of average use in between charges. With few devices performing exceptionally well in this aspect, this is definitely a big plus and must be on your "pros" list when considering this device.
With the camera’s megapixel at 3.15mp, there really isn’t much to say about it. As you can see from the sample pictures below, it may be decent to share to your friends, but don’t pinch to zoom. (And add abit of filters on instagram to add “flavour”) Like I said to my father, at least it is better than not being able to take pictures at all, though that is the only compliment I could give in this regard.
*All images shot in default settings
The speakers on the ASUS Fonepad is more than adequate to serve your needs. Located at the bottom left side at the back of the device, the speaker is nothing special, but definitely usable.
Like all other android devices out there, ASUS comes with its own recipe of android, though I must say user experience is very similar to stock android, which is a great thing to many users. Head on over the official ASUS Fonepad site to check out all the proprietary applications available.
Wrapping It Up
The ASUS Fonepad is a device of mixed receptions. There are some pros and cons, and both are at its extremes. I love the battery, the display, and the overall convenience of using a portable tablet with calling capabilities. However, it's lack of processing power and terrible camera leaves much to be desired.
Billed as the go-to budget tablet with phone capabilities, it is in a niche with few competitors, and with that said, it will raise to the competition. However, the word budget has more weight than go-to, thus do take that in mind when making your purchase.
It seems that while there are truly great hardware in the 7 inch tablet market, no one has yet been able to add phone capabilities to them without significant sacrifices.
This section exists to acknowledge that fact that no matter how good a review is, it is definitely wise to seek other reviews and make your own judgement before making a purchase. Here are some other quality reviews of the ASUS Fonepad: