Asus Fonepad review

16 Apr 2013

An absolute bargain of a compact tablet, whether or not you choose to employ the phone features

Price when reviewed: 
180(£180 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
5

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.

Asus Fonepad

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.

Asus Fonepad

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.

Detail

Price ex VAT £150
Price inc VAT £180
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 5
Performance 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 6

Physical

Dimensions 120 x 11 x 196mm (WDH)
Weight 316g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 7.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 800
Resolution screen vertical 1,280
Display type Multitouch, capacitive
Panel technology IPS

Battery

Battery capacity 4,270mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1MHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 1MB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating N/A
Focus type N/A
Built-in flash type N/A
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11bgn
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Upstream USB ports 0
HDMI output? no
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 4.2.1

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