First impressions: Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM

Asus has just pulled the wraps off a new member in the Fonepad family. The Fonepad 7 Dual SIM (ME175) carries forward some of the features from the previous Fonepad versions but adds dual-SIM functionality and a faster Intel CPU.

 

 

We’ve done an in-depth review of the original Fonepad and back then, we thought it was a much better bargain as compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Since then, Asus launched another refresh back in July 2013 which featured a slightly faster CPU. Today, we had a chance to get an exclusive sneak peek at the Fonepad 7 Dual SIM and after spending a day with the tablet, here are our initial impressions of this budget tablet.

 

First impressions: Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM

Built well but lacks a premium feel

 

If you’ve used of held the original Fonepad then you’ll immediately notice that the new dual-SIM version has put on some weight. It weighs about the same as the original but it has gotten a little thicker, which makes it feel quite chunky even for large hands. Thankfully, it’s still light so the weight’s not much of an issue. The glossy plastic feels sturdy but lacks the premium look. That’s fine considering it’s not a premium product but perhaps Asus could have done a better job aesthetically.

 

The slot for the two SIM cards and memory expansion

The slot for the two SIM cards and memory expansion

 

The 7-inch HD (1280 x 800) IPS display is surrounded by really thick bezels all around, which once again, isn’t very pretty. The display itself is pretty good however as colours are punchy and viewing angles are wide.

A familiar looking UI

A familiar looking UI

 

The Fonepad 7 Dual SIM comes with Android 4.3 out-of-the-box and Asus’s typical garnish over the stock interface. I for one really like it as it doesn’t retract too much from stock and yet, adds plenty functional improvements. There’s plenty going on in the notification bar which ensures you don’t stray too far from the homescreen for menial tasks. Asus’s popup apps also aid multitasking greatly.

 

The buttons have good tactile feedback

The buttons have good tactile feedback

 

The tablet is powered by the Intel CloverTrail Plus platform and we get an Atom Z2520 SoC. This consists of a dual-core CPU (previous versions had single-core) with HyperThreading, doubling the number of executable threads per clock cycle. There’s also 1GB of RAM and a 8GB of onbaord storage. The latter can be expanded by up to 64GB. The Fonepad 7 Dual SIM performs pretty well in benchmarks and while it’s not as powerful as compared to some native quad-core chipsets, it’s certainly no slouch.

Holds its own against the competition

Holds its own against the competition

 

Asus also adds a bunch of their own apps like Splendid and Power Saver. The camera interface is also cleaned up nicely and we have a very user friendly layout. We didn’t get a chance to test out the battery life given our short time with the device but it did seem to drain pretty quickly. If you look at the Power Saver screenshot in the image above, the tablet was fully charged when we unboxed it and within a couple of hours, it dropped pretty sharply to just 26 percent. We’ll test this out properly once we get our review unit.

Some of the customisations done by Asus

Some of the customisations done by Asus

 

The Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM is priced at Rs 12,999, which is not bad considering the features and the fact that it’s backed by a renowned brand. There are dual-SIM tablets available for lesser like the Lava QPad or the iBall 3G 7271 HD7, but these tablets lack some features that the Fonepad possess and also, will probably never see software updates in the future. We’ll be bringing you the full review of the tablet soon so stay tuned for that.

Will give stiff competition to the local brands with similar offerings

Will give stiff competition to the local brands with similar offerings

 

In the meantime, you can check out our unboxing video of the Fonepad 7 and our in-depth review of the original Asus Fonepad.

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