The demand for voice calling tablets has been on the rise in the past year. Several Indian brands as well as international ones are thus introducing tablets with voice calling features. Some of them that have already made their entry into the market include Samsung, Lenovo, Micromax and Karbonn.This year Asus followed similar footsteps by introducing its new and better Asus Fonepad. They had already had their own phablet but this new version is a more refreshed one with better features and suited for the Indian market.
The newer version of Asus Fonepad 7 is a dual-sim tablet which comes from the Taiwanese tablet makers and with their competitive pricing strategies and good performance tablets; Asus is surely expected to make an impact in the Indian market. Making a price comparison with other tablets with similar features like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Neo available at Rs. 12,840, the Asus Fonepad has been priced at a similar range of Rs 12,999. Moreover, the Samsung tablet is a single SIM device while Asus offers a dual-SIM tablet provided you’re willing to shell out a few hundreds more.
By now, Asus has already had 3 generations of its tablets starting from the Fonepad tablet that supported voice-calling and was announced at the MWC in 2013; it was followed by the second gen Fonepad featuring 3G whose launch was announced at the IFA 2103 and the most recent one being the 3rd gen dual-SIM Fonepad once again announced at MWC this year. The recent version also features an Intel processor and 3G support.
The tablet is said to have been designed on the similar lines as the Nexus 7 which is why a lot of comparisons are drawn between the two. Its 3G support and memory card slot gives it a winning streak while the Nexus would give you access to the latest OS updates from Google not requiring you to wait for Asus to launch it’s the OS updates.
Features of the new Asus Fonepad 7 do not differ much from its first gen model in terms of design. It isn’t a sleek or slimly designed tablet but it’s relatively light and easy to hold in one hand. It has the same plastic body which may be disappointing for many who prefer to have a better finish and quality. Moreover, while the older version had brushed aluminium back, the present one is all-plastic, presumably to cut down its costs and offer the tablet at a much more competitive price range. The Fonepad 7 had front facing dual speakers which are found missing in the newer Fonepad 7 dual-SIM variant which is another let-down.
The Fonepad and Fonepad 7 had its charging slots at the bottom panel but the dual-SIM version has it placed on the top panel along with a 3.5 mm audio jack and a charging port. The microphone is placed at the bottom panel and the dual SIM slots are located alongside the microSD card slot on the right panel beneath a plastic flap
The biggest noticeable upgrade that one can find in the new Asus Fonepad 7 is the dual sim feature and the software up gradation to Android 4.3 JellyBean out-of-the-box.
On starting up, the Fonepad greets you with 7 customary home screens which can be customised and edited as per your preference including widgets, shortcuts and whatever fits. It also features the ‘floating apps’ similar to that of ‘multi-window’ Samsung interfacing.These include many utility apps like the stopwatch, memo, calculator, countdown timer, browser and video player. The base of the tablet houses the 6 anchored apps and the centre lays the Android app drawer which will you zoom into the 6 x 3 app grids on the tablet.
Asus has added an extra row for numbers on the keypad instead of the typical alternating keys of the QWERTY keyboard and therefore the keyboard is slightly larger in size occupying about half of the screen space in portrait mode. The keys are well sized and easy to type while predictive texting is more or less accurate.
The google widget is primarily text and image based but you can also use it to talk in Siri-style with your vocal commands. Moreover, its 3G data connection allows you to connect to the internet and use Google even when you’re on the move.
Overall the Fonepad 7 Dual-SIM is fluid and responsive in performance offers a pleasant experience for use as a tablet.
The new Asus tablet is empowered by the Intel dual-core ‘Clover Trail+’ Atom 1.2GHz Z2520 processor similar to that of the second generation Fonepad. It also features a 1GB RAM and 8GB inbuilt storage. Asus also offers a free Cloud storage feature of 16GB for one year.
TheFonepad 7 Dual-SIM does not come with a flash feature like its previous gen counterparts but it has a 1.2MP front camera along with a 5MP rear camera which performs reasonably well even in low light conditions. Not much has been changed in its default camera app features. Its shooting modes include single shot, panorama, and beauty face, smile shot and night mode. The rear camera protrudes outwards which makes it prone to scratches.
Overall theFonepad 7 dual-SIM will be a great buy if you’re looking for a budget tablet with good features and performance but as a smartphone alone its uses will be very restricted. Using your Bluetooth headset while you keep your tablet protected in the bag can make voice calling easier. With its pricing and quality, the Asus tablet definitely stands out and it’s expected to make a good impact in the highly competitive tablet market.
There are some cons in the phone such as a lack of dual speakers in the front section and the fact that the phone cannot be used for making calls like a smartphone. The camera also does not have a flash which can make low light photography difficult.
However, the good battery life and keyboard features are what make this phone worth a buy.