hiddenMay 02, 2013 12:53:04 IST
by Royden Cerjeo/Tech2.com
The Asus Fonepad - yet another tablet with voice capabilities (God knows there are a lot of them these days) is the latest entrant into India's increasingly crowded smartphone market. The FonePad is priced in competition with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 P3100, which will soon be replaced by the Tab 3, a supposedly slimmer and lighter version of the Tab 2.
Verdict and Price in India
The Asus FonePad is priced at Rs 15,999 for the 8GB version, which is a pretty good deal. We would even go as far as saying the FonePad offers more value for money than the similarly-priced Nexus 7.
Apart from not receiving updates instantly and the lack of a powerful processor, the FonePad does everything the Nexus 7 does and more. It can run almost any app (albeit heavy apps like 3D games won't run as well), has a pleasing and functional skin, similar battery life, plays Full HD videos, boasts of expandable storage and it doubles up as a phone.
The camera is still a bit woeful although we do appreciate the inclusion and the fact that it's auto-focus.
The only major downside that we came across is the fact that it can get a little sluggish now and then. Between this and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, we'd recommend the Asus FonePad for its higher resolution screen, (relatively) better auto-focus camera and better battery life.
Design and Build
The FonePad's design is loosely based on the MeMO Pad, another 7-inch tablet that never really made it to the Indian market.
The tablet has a sizeable bezel, which is just enough to be held comfortably with both hands without making it look ugly. The glossy front is a real pain to keep clean as it attracts fingerprints very easily.
The tablet is comfortable to hold with one hand which ought to be since it also doubles up as a phone. We liked the matt finish for the back cover which protects the non-removable battery.
The power and volume rocker are placed on one side and along the sloped edge, which is not the most ergonomic of placements. We have a rear facing camera as well and the speaker grille is all the way to the bottom. The flap above the camera can be removed to insert the microSIM and microSD card. Finally, the headphone jack and microUSB port are placed at the bottom.
The FonePad is fitted with a high-quality IPS display which sports a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. The panel manages to produce vibrant and punchy colours and the LED backlight is strong enough for outdoor use as well.
Asus hasn't messed around too much with the stock music player, which is not a bad thing since Jelly Bean comes with a pretty mean player. You can sort your songs by Recent, Albums, Artists, Songs, Playlists or Genre. The stock video player and the one by Asus only recognises MP4 files but MX Player extends the format support quite a bit. 1080p videos play flawlessly but not through the floating video player app.
The Asus FonePad is a quad-band GSM and 3G phone along with other connectivity options like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. We even have A-GPS with GLONASS support. NFC is missing and so is the 5GHz band for Wi-Fi. Call quality is good and so is the speaker phone volume.
You get a 3.1MP rear camera and a front facing 1.2MP camera, both capable of 720p recording. Both cameras are below average indoors under ambient lighting. There's a lot of grain in the images and not much detail. Outdoors is a bit better but overall, is still just about average. You get the standard set of tweaking options along with panorama mode.
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