Product Asus Memo Pad HD7
Specifications 7in 1280x800 IPS touchscreen, quad-core 1.2GHz Mediatek MT8125 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB internal storage expandable via microSD card up to 32GB, 5MP rear-facing camera, 1.2MP front-facing camera, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, 199x121x10.8mm, 302g
Price From £129 SIM-free
TAIWANESE HARDWARE MAKER Asus is a big player in the tablet market although not many know it, with the firm having collaborated with Google both this year and last year on Nexus 7 tablets. Having gained little critical acclaim from the success of its Google branded tablet, Asus clearly wants to gain industry recognition with its budget Memo Pad HD7 tablet.
However, the firm picked a bad time to release this tablet, as Google's new Nexus 7 is set to launch in the coming weeks with its more impressive specifications sheet in tow. However, at £129 - lower than originally expected, and £70 cheaper than the new Nexus 7 - and with its own set of fairly impressive specifications, it looks like Asus' budget tablet will be able to compete with Google's latest small tablet.
Despite being constructed almost entirely from plastic, the Asus Memo Pad HD7 looks sturdy and offers a high-end feel in the hand.
We got our hands on the bright pink model, which clearly won't be to everyone's taste. We quite liked it however, with its vibrant back panel offering something different than the horde of lookalike Android slates on the market. If you're not a fan of the pink model, the Asus Memo Pad HD7 is also available in black, white, lime green and blue models.
At 199x121x10.8mm and 302g, the Memo Pad HD7 is one of the most comfortable to use small-screen tablets, proving easier to grasp one handedly than the iPad Mini and much less bulky than Amazon's 7in Kindle Fire HD.
There are a few issues with the design of the Asus Memo Pad HD7, though. The tablet's IPS screen is quite susceptible to picking up grime and fingerprint marks and is exceptionally reflective, and the location of the volume and standby buttons can be awkward when using the device in landscape mode.
With the tablet priced at £129, we weren't expecting much from the screen on the Memo Pad HD7, as manufacturers frequently skimp on displays in budget tablets. However Asus clearly hasn't made cutbacks in the screen department here, with the Memo Pad's 7in 1280x800 touchscreen proving to be one of the most vibrant that we've seen on a tablet this size.
Thanks to the onscreen IPS technology, the device offers vibrant colours and deep blacks even when it is used outdoors, and viewing angles are just as strong, more than those of the original Google Nexus 7. Saying that, we have noticed that text can sometimes appear a little fuzzy around the edges, and the display is likely to be surpassed by the new Nexus 7's higher resolution 1920x1200 screen, although we have yet to put that to the test.
While we rarely warm to pre-loaded apps, Asus' Splendid app proved to be a great screen-tuning tool during our time with the tablet, enabling users to tweak the display's colour temperature, hue and saturation, unlike rival tablets on the market.
Next: Performance, operating system.