The new FonePad 7 FE7010CG is a the latest 7 inch, 3G-enabled phablet from ASUS, currently representing one of the most affordable devices in this segment with a retail price of only 129 Euros. Mobile Geeks take a detailed look at one of the most attractive 7 inch Android devices on the market right now.
Arriving in a choice of Black, White, Red and Blue, the ASUS Fonepad 7 FE7010CG is available in Europe right now for around €129, an incredible bargain basement price that might lead you to believe that the device is underpowered and perhaps lacking in quality, but in fact the ASUS Fonepad offers a very compelling mobile experience. You are getting a Dual SIM 7 inch device that runs a fairly new version Android with 42Mbit/s data speeds that makes is also usable as a regular phone. Could this be the perfect mobile companion for customers on a budget?
Check out this unboxing and hands video of the ASUS FonePad 7 from our buddy Roland:
ASUS Fonepad 7 FE7010CG: General Hardware
Of course for the €129 price point to be possible, we expect some corners cut and certain sacrifices made, so let’s look at the device in more detail. One area you would expect to see some pennies saved would in the area of the display. The FE7010CG is adorned with a 1024 x 600 resolution TFT LCD display, that as much as anything reflects the price it is being sold for. It is not the brightest screen by any stretch but the viewing angles are reasonably good, with little color distortion at acute angles. The relatively pixel density of 170ppi is apparent when you look closely at the fonts and icons. Even so, at this price point we would have been happier to see a 800 x 1280 display, similar to the previous ME175CG model.
When we look at the internal storage and on-board memory, we can see that ASUS has also shaved off plenty of the bill of materials. 1GB of RAM is joined by a paltry 4GB of internal flash storage, which pretty much amounts to about 1.9GB for the end user to use. This is not going to allow you to install too many larger apps, such a games, although a microSD card slot is thankfully available for those of us who like to have access to our mp3s and other media.
Other specifications include a VGA camera on the front and a 2MP camera on the back. Taking seriously great photos may prove difficult, but at least the 2MP shooter includes auto-focus. The battery is a decent sized 3,950mAh, which is great to see on a 3G device that will suck down a bit more juice than a Wi-Fi only device.
In our testing it was reasonable to expect approximately two days of standard use. Even when running benchmarks and continuous app syncing over Wi-Fi and HSPA+, we saw the ASUS Fonepad 7 perform admirably. Solid battery life is certainly one of the highlights of this device.
Software and Performance
We have encountered the ASUS Zen UI on previous devices including the ASUS MeMo Pad 7 and the ASUS PadFone mini, and it is a Android implementation that we have come to enjoy. The design is pretty heavily modified from a vanilla Android experience, but it is generally well thought out and attractive. The keyboard experience however did reveal a short lag between input and processing, pointing to less than stellar processing power from the Clover Trail-based Intel Atom Z2520. Although the ASUS Fonepad 7 is not the fastest device around, it is still more than capable of decent everyday performance – apps loaded in reasonable time and the Zen UI showed very little lag or stutter. The last generation Intel Atom Z2520 processor is clocked at 1.2GHz and proves to be a capable, if not exceptional performer.
Visually speaking the design of the new ASUS FonePad 7 is very reminiscent of the smaller Fonepad 6, with almost identical placement of the speaker and hardware buttons. The back of the device is made of plastic, but actually has a textured finish to that does well to negate that fact. The texture is a dimpled, faux leather finish that feels remarkably professional for a tablet this affordable. The frame around the edge of the phablet could have been a little slimmer, but overall the 11mm thickness and 290 gram weight does not feel overly clunky or cumbersome.
If you are looking for an affordable 3G tablet device, the new ASUS Fonepad 7 is certainly not a bad choice. The device is absolutely one of the best contenders in the affordable 7 inch space, and a solid competitor to the Acer Iconia Tab and Iconia One devices. The only real difference in terms of spec, is the more generous amount of flash memory that Acer give. ASUS themselves also offer the ASUS Fonepad 7 ME175CG which sports a higher resolution screen and more memory for around €150. The new ASUS Fonepad 7 is incredible value for money and offers Dual SIM card slots, a popular feature that many competing Phablets neglect. As an affordable 7 inch 3G connected device, the new ASUS Fonepad delivers a lot of bang for relatively few bucks.