Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hands-on with the ASUS FonePad

We are here in beautiful Cebu where ASUS just launched three tablets, one of which is the recently announced ASUS FonePad, the 7-inch phone/tablet which has a U.S. street price of just $249.
ASUS FonePad 01
The ASUS FonePad can be liken to the numerous 7-inch Galaxy Tab’s Samsung have that has full telephony functions. What makes he FonePad different is that it’s powered by an Intel Atom processor and its relatively affordable price.
ASUS FonePad 02
The FonePad has a 7-inch 1,280 x 800 IPS display that looks sharp when indoors but doesn’t have the brightness for a clear display when used outside. It’s also hard to believe that it uses an IPS panel because viewing angles is somewhat restricted (or maybe it’s the brightness again).
ASUS FonePad 03 ASUS FonePad 04
The front (and even the size) looks like your typical ASUS 7-inch tablet (Nexus 7 or MemoPad) and the back has a polished aluminum finish. Removing the top part reveals a hatch for the microSIM and microSD slots.
ASUS FonePad 05
On the left side you’ll find the Power/Sleep button and the volume rocket. Not a fan of the craftsmanship on these buttons which you can see are a bit uneven.
ASUS FonePad 06
At the bottom you’ll get your 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB charging/data port which is more convenient compared to other tablets that have their own proprietary charging ports.
So how does a single-core 1.2GHz Intel Atom perform for Android. Well since the processor has hyper-threading, it’s pretty comparable to decent dual-core processors out there.
Here are the Antutu and Quadrant benchmark scores if you’re interested:
ASUS FonePad Antutu ASUS FonePad Quadrant
But overall, the performance matches mid-range Android phones of today. It handles Jelly Bean quite well, even Temple Run was decent at most. There are a few hiccups here and there but that’s because I’m used to the speed of a quad-core phone.
Rounding up the features list is a so-so 3-megapixel rear camera (no flash) that can capture HD videos, a 1.2-megapixel front camera for your video chats, and 1GB worth of RAM. Internal storage is at 16GB and there’s support for USB OTG. Battery is rated at 4,270mAh which should be good for about 9 hours.
Update: ASUS PH is planning to ship in 32GB version of the FonePad which will certainly bring up the price. Unnecessary in my opinion considering that there’s already a microSD slot for this phablet.
The ASUS FonePad will be available in the 2nd quarter of the year (most probably April) with a “your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine” price. If this tablet retails for Php15k, then it might be the value-for-money choice for those who wants a phone and a tablet in one package.
ASUS FonePad Specs:
7-inch 1,280 x 800 IPS 10-finger multitouch display, 216 ppi
1.2GHz single-core Intel Atom Z2420 processor
PowerVR SGX540 GPU
1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD up to 32GB
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
3-megapixel rear camera, no flash
720p HD video recording @ 30 fps
1.2-megapixel front camera
HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP
No FM Radio
GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS
4270mAh battery
196.4 x 120.1 x 10.4 mm
340 g
SRP: TBA (available Q2 2013)

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