A phone and a tablet in one do-it-all device; that’s one of the many gadget trends happening around, and for those who have a specific budget, the new Asus FonePad 7 is looking to be a great package, holding every essential element to a good experience. Is it worth the buy? Read our full review to find out.
Asus has already released a FonePad 7 before; this new model got trimmed down in specs, but the price tag has been also shaved off. Below is our unboxing video:
Design and Construction
At first glance, the new FonePad 7 looks just like any other 7-inch tablet with a black slate design upfront. However, turn the device around and you’ll find that despite the affordable price, the back is far from cheap and is in fact a lot better than the competition by not feeling flimsy at all. It’s well-put and textured, and if there’s one complaint that we have, it’s that the FonePad 7 attracts quite a bit of dirt on our white model.
The speaker and the earpiece is found above the front-facing camera and the display, while only the rear-facing camera is found on the back – all together with some branding. On the left side, you have the slots for the dual micro SIM cards and the micro SD card, while on the right you’ll find the volume rocker and the power button that is quite undistinguished, and finally, up top, you’ll find the place for audio equipment and charging.
One of the things that downgraded with the new FonePad 7 is the 7-inch display – now at 1024 x 600 with a few more problems. First, the resolution can be an eyesore for long periods of use, as lots of details are really jagged. Second, the viewing angles are messy, giving you different colors from specific angles.
Under the right light however, colors can be really accurate, and the display is very responsive. If you want to tweak a few elements on color, Asus has bundled Splendid software for that, which is nice.
OS, Apps and UI
We’ll be saying it here first, and we’re sure we will be saying it again in future Asus device reviews: the company’s new Zen UI is mind-blowing on Android 4.3. Really. No other manufacturer comes close to its consistent design and simplicity. It doesn’t put its services right in your face all the time, and some prove to be really useful and clean.
Together with the UI, Asus has also bundled in beautiful and clean widgets that we’re enjoying at the moment. As for the apps, you’re not forced to use them anyway, but they’re there and can be hidden – AudioWizard, Do It Later, Splendid, What’s Next and a lot more.
In our time of use, we have received two software updates already, but none of them updated the tablet to Android 4.4 KitKat. Maybe in the future as promised.
Multimedia & Camera
Thank the heavens, for Asus has placed the speakers on this device up front, facing all of us. It’s no BoomSound and it’s far from being the best, but it’s really good and loud, giving a really pleasurable experience. Sadly, the display can’t compliment it with good viewing angles for watching video.
In addition to the low-res display, say hello to the low-res cameras – VGA & 2 megapixels. We won’t really recommend using them, but they’re there for quick selfies and shots that simply need capturing whatever the quality.
Performance & Benchmarks
With a dual-core Intel Atom CPU and 1GB RAM, the device can manage mostly everything basic without sweat. There are still a few slowdowns loading apps and I may still see a few stutters playing Smash Hit on low settings, but the firepower behind it is more than enough for a tablet of this price.
- Antutu – 15,245
- Quadrant – 6,362
- Nenamark 2 – 60.2 fps
Call Quality & Battery Life
The FonePad 7 is also, well, a phone, having dual-SIM support – and for the most part, the connectivity experience is just average. The earpiece produces clear and loud audio, and we didn’t have any problems with it overall.
As for our battery draining test, video playback at 50% brightness and 50% audio volume, the FonePad 7 lasts 11 hours on a full charge! We suspect it is because of the efficient internals paired with the low-resolution screen, so there you have it. Standby times have surprised us even more.
ASUS Fonepad 7 (FE170CG) specs:
7.0-inch WSVGA (1024 x 600) LCD, 170ppi
1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 dual-core CPU
PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
4GB internal storage
up to 64GB via microSD
2MP rear camera, f/2.8
0.3MP front-facing, f/2.8
dual-SIM (micro), dual-standby
HSPA+, 3G, 2G
GPS, GLONASS & AGPS
Android Jellybean 4.3 (upgradable to Android 4.4 Kitkat)
192 x 110 x 10.7 mm
A lot of people have been really excited about the new Asus FonePad 7, us included, and it proves to us why it’s worth all the attention. For a price of just Php5,995, you get a really solid design with decent internals and a software experience that is almost unmatched. Not only does it have loud front-firing speakers and great battery life, it’s also a phone with dual-SIM functionality!
Asus made two big sacrifices here to attain this extremely attractive price tag – the display and the cameras. For a tablet whose main purpose is to give a great multimedia experience, the display is a big downside, lacking in resolution and good viewing angles. As for the cameras, we’re sure a lot can live without it, especially since it’s not ideal to take pictures with a 7-inch device, but if you’re looking for the complete package with decent cameras, this is not it. If, however, you can survive with the display and the cameras – the new Asus FonePad 7 is a killer.
What we liked about it:
- Affordable price tag
- Solid design
- Beautiful software
- Long battery life
- Phone functionality
- Great speakers
What we didn’t like about it:
- Low-res display
- Bad viewing angles
- Sucky cameras