The Asus Fonepad 7 LTE is certainly qualifies a 'phablet'. It's a 7in tablet that, you've guessed it, also acts as a phone. It's not to everyone's taste, but it does its job well. Here, we review the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE.
The Asus Fonepad 7 LTE is for consumers that want to own both a smartphone and a tablet, but can't afford both. It's also for anyone who's been wishing for the ability to make a phone call from their tablet. We think that's a pretty niche market, but if you fall into it then the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE could be exactly what you've been looking for.
Starting at £199, it does seem a little overpriced, particularly compared with Asus's own impressive £120 Asus MemoPad 7 which we recently reviewed. However, that model does lack the SIM-card slot so there's no 3G/4G connectivity or ability to make phone calls and send texts.
That's the same price as the Nexus 7, though and is much less than the high-end 7in tablets from the likes of Apple and Samsung. Here, we'll be finding out how the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE compares with its rivals and the other new tablets that Asus offers.
It's important not to confuse the Fonepad 7 with Asus's Padfone. The Padfone is a smartphone that slots into a tablet docking station, while the Fonepad is a tablet with a SIM card slot and the ability to make phone calls.
Asus FonePad 7 LTE review: Design and build
The Asus FonePad 7 LTE comes in just black or white, unlike the Memo Pad 7, which comes in several bright colours. We tested the black unit of the Fonepad, which has a slightly sparkly, textured finish on its plastic back. Unfortunately, rather than adding a bit of glamour to the tablet, we think it looks cheap and quite tacky.
According to Asus, the Fonepad's display has an anti-fingerprint coating, but during our testing we found that smudges and fingerprints showed up on the reflective screen more than we'd normally see on a tablet.
Aside from those qualms, we found the overall design and build of the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE to be solid and reasonably attractive, though the bezels around the display are a little thick for our liking.
Dust and dirt tended to get stuck in the uncovered MicroSD slot and MicroUSB port, too.
Then there's the matter of weight and thickness. It's a great size overall, measuring 198 x 120mm, but it's thicker than many rival tablets at 10.5mm. That's compared with the Memo Pad 7's 9.6mm, the Tesco Hudl's 9.9mm and the Nexus 7's 8.7mm.
It also feels heavy, at 333g compared with the 295g of the Memo Pad 7, though that's only two grams heavier than the larger 7.9in iPad mini.
We found the Fonepad 7 easy to hold in both portrait and landscape orientations, but it did begin to feel heavy after prolonged periods of time – watching a film on the train home or browsing the web for several minutes, for example.
Additionally, if you're planning on using the Fonepad 7 to make phone calls without using the speakerphone functionality or plugging in headphones, you've got to hold that huge device up to your ear. Not only does it look very silly, it's also extremely uncomfortable, especially if you're a bit of a chatterbox – a Bluetooth headset or headphones with a built-in mic will be a good investment.
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