Asus Fonepad review
An absolute bargain of a compact tablet, whether or not you choose to employ the phone features
The Asus Fonepad is a curious mix of devices: it's a 7in tablet with 3G and a smartphone too; a fully fledged handset complete with an integrated earpiece and microphone, so you can go all Dom Joly making phone calls on the bus home.
In reality, the chief appeal of the Fonepad, aside from providing a talking point down the pub, is that it's exceedingly good value. It will set you back only £180, and when you think of what you're getting for that money – a smartphone and a 7in 3G tablet similar to the Nexus 7 in one handy package – it's a remarkable buy.
Fonepad vs Nexus 7
The physical similarity between the Fonepad and the Nexus 7 is striking, and perhaps shouldn't be all that surprising given that the two tablets are made by the same company. The screen surround is the same width, the screen itself is the same resolution at 800 x 1,280 and size (giving a pixel density of 216ppi), and it employs the same IPS technology as well. In the UK, the Fonepad is available with only a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera – just like the Nexus 7.
However, there are big differences between the two tablets elsewhere. Take the rear panel: the Fonepad is made of smooth, matte plastic where the Nexus 7's is textured and rubbery, and there's a pop-off panel at the top for access to the tablet's SIM and microSD card slots. The Nexus 7 had no way of expanding storage; the Fonepad, on the other hand, can accommodate another 32GB on top of its internal 16GB.
The other big difference lies inside the Fonepad: it sports a single-core, hyperthreaded 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2420 CPU and 1GB of RAM instead of the quad-core, 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 of the Nexus 7. Despite the discrepancy in the number of cores, performance is comparable. In the stock Android browser, we recorded a score of 1,240ms in the Sunspider test and it achieved 2,935 in Quadrant – switching to Chrome as the main browser wouldn't complete the test – and a Peacekeeper result of 348.
In general use, the Fonepad feels fluid and responsive. Swiping from homescreen to homescreen, panning and scrolling was a pleasant experience, and it handled all the demanding games we threw at it, from Real Racing 3 to Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation, with hardly any frames dropped at all.
|Price ex VAT||£150|
|Price inc VAT||£180|
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||6|
|Dimensions||120 x 11 x 196mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||800|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,280|
|Display type||Multitouch, capacitive|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||N/A|
|Built-in flash type||N/A|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|Mobile operating system||Android 4.2.1|