Product Asus Fonepad
Specifications 7in 1280x800 IPS LCD touchscreen display, 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2420 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB internal storage expandable via microSD card, HSDPA connectivity, 802.11a/b/g/n/ WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, 1.2MP front-facing camera, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean mobile operating system, 4,270mAh battery, 196x120x10.4mm, 340g
Price Around £180
TAIWANESE PHONE MAKER Asus announced the Fonepad at this year's Mobile World Congress, a launch that was met with moans and groans due to the 7in device's ability to both work as a tablet and make phone calls.
There's no debating that the Asus Fonepad is far too big to be pushed up against your face for making calls, unless you have a giant head, but given its decent spec sheet it may just manage to woo customers away from the Google Nexus 7.
Given that Asus was behind the Google Nexus 7, it probably won't shock you to hear that the Asus Fonepad is a good looking device. In fact, we prefer the design of the Fonepad, featuring an aluminum back panel, as opposed to the textured plastic found on the Nexus 7 tablet. Although the chassis proved a nightmare for picking up fingerprints, the metal casing gives the Fonepad a high-end feel, despite its low-end £180 price-tag.
At the top of the Asus Fonepad is a plastic strip, which can - if you're extremely strong, apparently - be removed to reveal the SIM card and microSD slots. It might disappoint some that the full backplate is not removable though, as this means the tablet's battery cannot be removed.
In terms of size, it's certainly fair to say that the Asus Fonepad is far too big to be classed as a phone. The device measures 196x120x100mm, which unless you have abnormaly large pockets means it's not the most portable of devices. At 340g it's noticeably heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 also, and there's no way you'd catch us holding the device up to our faces.
Saying that, in terms of design and size, the Asus Fonepad is a great tablet, essentially offering a better designed Nexus 7 for a similar price.
The Asus Fonepad features the same 7in 1280x800 display as the Nexus 7, and proved just as clear and responsive. However, we're slightly disappointed that Asus didn't upgrade the screen to a crisper, HD display, given that the Nexus 7 tablet has been on the shelves for almost 12 months.
That's because, next to the iPad, the Asus Fonepad struggles to compete in terms of clarity and brightness. It also costs a fraction of the price of the iPad, though, so users shouldn't be too disappointed.
Asus has furnished the Fonepad with an app called Asus Splendid - we kid you not. This lets you manually change the colour balance, temperature and saturation to be just how you like it. While the tool proved to be easy to use, we found ourselves making the screen look worse than it did to begin with.
Next: Operating system, performance.
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