I’ve been using the Asus Fonepad for a couple of days now and thought I’d share my initial thoughts.
The phone works well with a bluetooth car kit or headset. I’ve been using a pair of iPhone headphones which have an inline microphone. This avoids looking like a 1980’s reject with a massive phone next to your ear.
With the micro sim plugged in you can get excellent 3G coverage. As a three user I get unlimited 3G data and 600 minutes of calls and a similar number of text messages for £15 per month.
Battery life is great, brilliant in fact. Well over ten hours in practise if you are using the Asus utility which dims the screen brightness whilst indoors. This is better than the most obvious comparison the Nexus 7, which gives around 7 hours of use.
The Asus Fonepad has a display that is almost identical to the Nexus 7, which is to say the screen quality issue great. At 1280×800 it is bit of a letterbox affair… This is great for watching films and reading websites in portrait mode. But when you flip the device on its side you notice how little screen real estate you get as most of it is taken up by the onscreen keyboard. This is not a unique problem to the Fonepad as this is the case with many of the seven inch tablets.
The fonepad uses a Intel Atom single core processor. The processor uses a technology called hyper-threading. This presents two cores to Android so that the processor is used to its maximum capability. In practise accessing apps and swiping between screens is snappy enough. In practise the tablet is fast enough and works well with productivity apps. If you are into 3d gaming on tablets then maybe the fonepad isn’t for you. When compared against similar priced alternatives like the Nexus 7 it isn’t as powerful and may falter slightly in play.
The fonepad ships with a mostly stock version of Android 4.1. This isn’t the latest or greatest but is slick and has lots of cool features without loads of Asus bloatware.
There is no video output in the form of HDMI or slim port. Being as the fonepad runs Android 4.1 there is no screen mirror option, so no dice.
The sound from the fonepad is a bit too tinny with a distinct lack of bass. If you want anything resembling decent sound then you will need headphones or a speaker.
Look and feel
The aluminium back looks and feels a little like the iPad. The bezel and finish is not of the standard of the iPad Mini but it is better than the Nexus 7. One thing I did like about the Nexus 7 is the rubber back and being as I have already scraped the back it is something I would have like to have had. For a budget device I think you get a lot of bang for your buck and certainly worth investigating if you are after a budget tablet with 3G capabilities.