What if you had the form factor of the Nexus 7, the processor of the future and a behemoth battery to boot? Meet the Asus Fonepad: your next do-all tablet.
What Is It?
The Asys Fonepad packs a lot into a tiny space: underneath a beautiful 7-inch, 1280x800 screen with 216 ppi lurks a new 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2420 processor, 1GB of RAM and a 3.15-megapixel camera. All of that weighs in at just 340 grams.
The Fonepad's main stand-out feature is the fact that on top of being a tablet, it's a phone as well thanks to a 3G/GSM antenna and a microSIM card slot. Handy!
This is one of the first small tablets that we've got our hands onto that has the new ultra-low power Intel Atom processor, and now that we have it, we don't want to let it go.
The 1.2GHz clock speed might not sound fast, but it makes for a particularly zippy experience when getting about your device, and makes for especially impressive multi-tasking performance: even with a whole swag-bag of apps open, we didn't notice the Fonepad slow up in its performance.
The price is also really spot-on: if you were going to buy a smartphone and a 7-inch tablet these days, you'd be looking at over $1000. The Fonepad brings it down to a very managable $329. It's expensive for just a 7-inch tablet, but you have to remember that this is an incredibly capable combo-device.
The Atom processor is also responsible for the best part of the Fonepad: dat battery.
The Best Part
The Fonepad is packing a massive 4270mAh battery which, when paired with a powerful, yet economical chip like the Atom, means you'll have battery for days. We got over four weeks of stand-by time on this thing. So awesome. You'll be using this thing all day with heavy use and it won't even bat an eyelid.
Like so many things in the tech industry nowadays, the Fonepad is sadly going to be obsolete as soon as you walk out of the store with it. That's not some pie-in-the-sky statement about progress, we really mean it: Asus showed off a Fonepad successor at Computex Taipei this year running on Intel's new low-power mobile architecture.
There's no release date or price for that one yet, but if you're really a stickler for future tech and getting the most for your money, be aware that it exists.
The only other drawback we found on the Fonepad comes from the screen: it carries with it a weird yellow-ish tinge and a rather intrusive bezel. It's also a bit too dark when compared to other tablets like the iPad Mini -- a problem it has in common with its older cousin, the Nexus 7.
This Is Weird
Don't hold this thing up to your head to take a call. If you catch any of your friends doing that sort of thing, shame them publicly. It's the only way they'll learn not to do it again.
You should definitely make calls on the Fonepad, however, just do it with your in-line mic headphones or a Bluetooth headset.
Should You Buy It?
It's weird that after over 12 months since its release to market that the Nexus 7 is still the go-to 7-inch tablet of choice. We can't recommend it highly enough. The great news for Asus in that scenario is that it's responsible for building that great device.
In the last year we've seen devices slot in underneath the Nexus 7 in Asus' tablet line-up, but none we could recommend more than the pure-Google tablet…until now.
We've long maintained that if the Nexus 7 added decent 3G/4G voice call ability and cellular gear worth writing home about, it's the best one-stop shop device for your Android needs. That's what the Fonepad is.
Not only is it a fantastic, powerful and sleek tablet with an Android skin that gets out of your way for the most part, it has a cellular antenna you can use for data and calls.