There are smartphones and there are tablets. Merging both of them gives us a unique way to explore the best things. ASUS has been a pioneer in this market and has ruled the segment effectively. We tried our hands on one of those and here we bring you the ASUS Fonepad 7 FE170CG review which is an affordable 3G calling tablet.
Let’s find out how Fonepad 7 2014 version performs on our review and performance test.
ASUS Fonepad 7 Specifications
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB internal memory with MicroSD Expansion
- 7-inch IPS display with 1024×600 resolution with ASUS Splendid Technology
- 2MP Rear Camera with Auto Focus
- VGA Front Camera
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 Connectivity
- Zen UI, Dual SIM Standby, USB OTG, Front Firing Speaker
- Dual SIM – DC-HSPA+ (SIM 1), GSM (SIM 2)
- 3950mAh Battery
HARDWARE – 4/5
For the price tag, ASUS Fonepad 7 2014 variant packs a better hardware. It is powered by Intel Atom Z2520 Dual Core 1.2GHz Processor with Quad Hyper-threading functionality. The processor is good enough to handle the multitasking and at times showed very little lag while on heavy duty.
With 1GB of RAM, the user will get roughly around 370MB for the usage. This device comes with 8GB of internal memory out of which 5GB will be available for apps and files.
For the snappers, Fonepad 7 doesn’t provide more megapixels to play with. However, the features are abundant and you will end up like them more. It comes with the 2MP rear camera with auto focus and 0.3MP front camera for video calling capabilities.
The Fonepad 7 comes with a dual SIM card support wherein primary SIM supports HSPA+ networks and secondary with GSM support. It also packs 3950mAh battery which is a bit of let down for the 7-inch tablet.
BUILD QUALITY / ERGONOMICS – 3.5/5
ASUS is working well these days in terms of the build quality of their products. Likewise, Fonepad 7 looks a solid device to hold in hand. The back cover has a rough type, texture that doesn’t make the device feel slippery while holding it.
ASUS has also shrunk the bezels on the front to make the tablet feel small but we still felt it is more than expected and compact. The slightly curved design on the sides of the tablet lays comfortably in our hands. This reduction is immediately noticeable since the device is easier to use with one hand.
One other thing to mention is about the speakers. Asus has decided to replace the dual front-firing speakers with a single one on top of the screen. This will make sure the users will get to hear the perfect audio output from the device.
SOFTWARE / OPERATING SYSTEM – 3.7/5
The Fonepad 7 runs on the company’s own user interface called Zen UI. It is currently running on Android 4.3 and upgradable to Kitkat (no news about it yet). But the Zen UI steals the show with better integration of the OS to the bigger screen.
ASUS also has the practice to provide updates to its devices to fix the bugs or occasionally adding in new features. It is always good to know that you are not forgotten after you bought the device.
Speaking about some of the features and app integrations,
- The lock screen has direct-access icons for the Camera, Phone and Messaging apps
- What’s Next feature on the lock screen lists the schedule of the user
- Bundled with a few third-party apps and some proprietary apps, including Audio Wizard, Omlet, Power Saver, SuperNote, Web Storage and Splendid
Apart from these, ASUS has packed a decent looks icons. The notification and quick settings menu bar are very easy to access as well.
DISPLAY AND UI – 3/5
The ASUS Fonepad 7 has a 7″ WSVGA LED display with a resolution of 1024×600. The pixel density is at 170 pixels per inch. The color saturation is quite satisfying. To improve that, ASUS has included Splendid software for users to adjust the display temperature, saturation and hue. The display is far from sharp by today’s standards. With a pixel density of 170 ppi, the display is quite pixelated.
However, due to lack of ambient sensor, there is no automatic brightness control which causes trouble when we’re using the device outdoors. ASUS claims that there is an anti-fingerprint coating on the screen. Although fingerprints and oil stains will be collected on the screen over some time, they can be cleaned very easily. Other than that, the device works perfectly without a much of a hassle.
CAMERA – 3.2/5
The ASUS Fonepad 7’s camera features a number of filters and post processing effects, it also includes a Party Link feature that automatically shares photos to nearby devices. Sadly, the 2.0 MP camera is underwhelming. You will end up seeing lots of noise in the images you click.
Any zoom and crop is almost impossible due to the very poor front camera. The focus will be a little off too sometimes and the shutter is not snappy enough. Outdoors, color reproduction is still acceptable. However, upon moving indoors, the photos appear washed out and the white balance tends to go to the cool side.
ASUS also made good use of the volume buttons. You can also use the volume button as shutter and double press on volume button will launch the camera when the screen is off. You also can access to the camera with the button on lock screen too.
ASUS has packed in a number of effects, namely panorama, night, HDR, smart remove, time rewind, all smiles and others. Smart remove, time rewind and all smiles are effects that make use of the burst shoots to remove photo bombers, get the right frame and getting everyone in the picture smiling. However, they are not very useful most of the time. HDR mode is present, but to be honest, I cannot tell the difference between picture with and without HDR mode turned on.
CALL CLARITY – 4/5
The ASUS FonePad 7 has a pretty accurate voice command engine. We never faced any call drops during the course of usage. On call UI is pretty with few additional features like call record, add notes, hold and mute conversation. Overall, it is a pretty good calling tablet when it comes to audio output during the call.
At times we felt the device lacks a proximity sensor. The display isn’t able to turn off itself when we put it the device near our ears. It made really troublesome for us to control our phone calls when the screen switches off itself.
SOUND CLARITY – 4.2/5
The plus point of the Fonepad 7 is having a front facing speakers. This will help the users in receiving the better to loud audio output while listening to music, watching movies as well on while receiving the incoming call. Again, a very good thought process by ASUS engineering team.
ASUS also included AudioWizard software for you to choose the preferred sound effect mode.
BATTERY – 4/5
One thing that I worried about while looking at the specifications list for the first time is the battery life. Although the 3950mAh battery is not a small capacity, Intel Atom processors are not made for long lasting battery life due to the architecture. Fortunately, it seems that my concern is needless.
On an extensive usage, the battery lasted for more than 11 hours. When I used it moderately, it can even last more than 3 days, which is impressive. ASUS also include Power Saver for you to adjust the performance to squeeze more battery life.
PERFORMANCE AND BENCHMARKS – 4/5
Benchmarks on the Fonepad 7 yields similar results to quad core devices two years back, which demonstrates the power of Intel’s hyper-threading technology despite being a dual core SoC. So we did put the Xiaomi Mi4 under heavy performance test and noted down the benchmark scores. I should tell you frankly that the hardware combination of this device played a huge role in getting good results in our benchmark tests.
Antutu Benchmark Score: 17435
Quadrant Score: 6226
Vellamo Benchmark Score: Bowser – 1559; Multi-core – 904; Metal – 535
GeekBench: Single Core – 339; Multi Core – 800
The ASUS Fonepad 7 is a surprisingly solid device, although the affordable price tag may suggest otherwise. The device is sold at Rs. 6949 on Flipkart right now, which is very cheap price such a product. The design is simple yet attracting and the build quality is very convincing. The display is not the best, but it is acceptable for its price.
Performance-wise, it has no problems for you to carry out normal tasks. It is running ASUS’s Zen UI, which is very similar to the stock Android. The applications packed in are useful for productivity. Yes, we recommend this tablet is worth buying. But keep in mind of those limitation anyways.