ASUS Fonepad Android tablet

The 7in ASUS Fonepad adds smartphone calling capabilities to a traditional tablet form factor

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews (2)
  • Buy Now 6
  • Broadband Plans
ASUS Fonepad
  • ASUS Fonepad
  • ASUS Fonepad
  • ASUS Fonepad
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5
  • User Rating

    4.00 / 5 (of 2 Reviews)

Pros

  • Almost stock Android UI
  • Good battery life
  • microSD card slot

Cons

  • Too large to use as a phone
  • No 4G connectivity
  • Poor cameras

Bottom Line

The ASUS Fonepad is a reasonable tablet overall but it's just too large to be used effectively as a smartphone and also lacks 4G connectivity.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 6 stores)

  • HS-101 Deep Impact Bass Crystal Clear Voice Not... 25.99
  • HS-101 PC Headset With Deep Impact Bass 26.49
See all prices

ASUS has never been short of a wacky idea and its latest device challenges the definition of a tablet. The 7in Fonepad adds smartphone calling capabilities to a traditional tablet form factor. It's a reasonable tablet overall but is just too large to be used effectively as a smartphone and also lacks 4G connectivity.

A Nexus 7 with calling capabilities?

The Fonepad swaps the leather-like backing on the Nexus 7 for a classier looking metallic finish.

The Fonepad has borrowed plenty from the Google Nexus 7, which is hardly a surprise since ASUS also manufactures that device. The Fonepad weighs the same (340g) and has almost identical dimensions. The only real difference is the ASUS branding on the front, and a rear camera, the latter of which is not available on the Nexus 7.

The other major design difference between these devices is on the back. The Fonepad swaps the leather-like backing on the Nexus 7 for a classier looking metallic finish that comes in grey or gold colours. It might be better looking than the Nexus 7, but the surface does make the Fonepad a little slippery to hold, especially when you're using the device with one hand.

The Fonepad weighs the same as the Nexus 7 and has almost identical dimensions.
The Fonepad weighs the same as the Nexus 7 and has almost identical dimensions.

The speaker on the back produces poor quality, tinny sound.

The Fonepad feels reasonably well constructed. It creaks a little when you apply pressure to the back case but the rest of the tablet feels well built. The edges curve inwards from the back of the tablet to the front and this makes the body comfortable to hold and use, even single-handedly.

There's not too many ports and buttons on the Fonepad. You'll find a micro-USB port for charging and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom, and a power/lock screen and volume buttons on the left side. These controls provide decent tactility but their position on the curved edge of the Fonepad does make them a little hard to access at times, particularly when you're holding the tablet with one hand. There's also a speaker on the back, but it produces poor quality, tinny sound.

The Fonepad has a metallic finish on the back that comes in grey or gold colours.
The Fonepad has a metallic finish on the back that comes in grey or gold colours.

The ASUS Fonepad uses the same display as the Nexus 7. The IPS screen has a resolution of 1280x800 and a pixel density of 216ppi. It doesn't display very deep blacks and it lacks the vibrant colours of many tablet displays we've seen, though viewing angles are good. Although the screen is fine for most uses, we can't help but feel it will quickly be left behind in the coming months given that the Nexus 7 is likely to be upgraded with an improved display.

The Fonepad's IPS screen has a resolution of 1280x800 and a pixel density of 216ppi.
The Fonepad's IPS screen has a resolution of 1280x800 and a pixel density of 216ppi.

Jelly Bean with an ASUS touch

The lock screen, home screens and app drawer are almost identical to stock Android.

The ASUS Fonepad runs the 4.1 Jelly Bean version of Google's Android operating system. It's largely a vanilla version of the interface, though ASUS has added a few of its own touches and many of them actually add to the user experience.

The lock screen, home screens and the app drawer are almost identical to the stock version of Android, save for the screen indicators on the home page. The main changes have been made in the notifications pull down. ASUS has added a range of customisable quick toggles including Wi-Fi, mobile data, Bluetooth and sound, along with a brightness adjustment with auto toggle, and the ability to switch between normal and outdoor modes. The latter pushes the brightness to combat increased sunlight outdoors.

The lock screen, home screens and the app drawer are almost identical to the stock version of Android.
The lock screen, home screens and the app drawer are almost identical to the stock version of Android.

A range of small apps can be opened over the top of regular apps.

There's also the ability to capture and immediately edit any screenshots by holding the recent apps key, along with an AudioWizard equaliser with music, movies and games sound presets. However, the latter only works with the built-in speaker and not with wired or wireless headphones.

ASUS has also included a range of small apps that can be opened on-top of regular apps. They're accessible by tapping a fourth on-screen button in the dock and consist of a video player, to do list, stopwatch, sticky memo, email, dictionary, countdown timer, calendar, calculator and a mini browser. We opened up to five of these without any issues and you can easily resize the windows, or quickly open the full app if you need to.

ASUS has added a range of customisable quick toggles in the notification pulldown.
ASUS has added a range of customisable quick toggles in the notification pulldown.

Performance is best described as adequate rather than outstanding.

ASUS has preloaded plenty of apps on the Fonepad. There's a file manager, a MyLibrary books app, the Zinio magazine reader, To Do List, SuperNote Lite and Sticky Memo apps, along with a sound recorder. Perhaps the best inclusions are App Locker, which allows you to protect selected apps with a password, and Block List, which allows you to block selected phone numbers from calling you. There's also the ASUS WebStorage app, which offers one year of unlimited cloud storage and works similarly to the popular Dropbox service.

The ASUS Fonepad has reasonable specifications for a 7in Android tablet but performance is best described as adequate rather than outstanding. The 1.2GHz single-core Intel Atom Z2420 processor and 1GB of RAM keeps most apps performing with a minimum of fuss, though we did experience some annoying lag when swiping through home screens and opening the app launcher.

None

While the Fonepad is a capable enough tablet, we feel it borders on ridiculous to use as a phone. Both the incoming and outgoing audio quality for voice calls have no issues, but using the Fonepad to make calls just feels plain awkward. You can of course always use the Fonepad with a Bluetooth headset but ASUS is actually promoting the fact that you don't have to use one.

Good battery life but no 4G

The ASUS Fonepad sold in Australia has a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera that doubles as a 720p video recorder and a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera for selfies and video calls. The cameras are about what you would expect from a tablet, that being not great. However, the front-facing camera does the job for video calling in apps like Skype, Tango and Snapchat.

A photo we captured with the ASUS Fonepad (click to enlarge).
A photo we captured with the ASUS Fonepad (click to enlarge).

We managed around eight hours of battery life on most occasions.

The ASUS Fonepad only comes with 8GB of internal memory so if you do decide to use the camera a lot you won't have much room to store your media. However, there's a microSD card slot to expand the 8GB of onboard memory, a feature that's not available on the Nexus 7 and one that's a welcome addition here.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Fonepad is its 4270mAh battery. The company says it will power the Fonepad for up to nine hours and in our experience it wasn't far off this figure. We managed around eight hours of battery life on most occasions, though we do consider ourselves heavy users. More sporadic users may get closer to a full day of use before needing to recharge.

The micro SIM card and microSD card slots are hidden behind a removable plastic panel on the back of the Fonepad.
The micro SIM card and microSD card slots are hidden behind a removable plastic panel on the back of the Fonepad.

One reason for the Fonepad's decent battery life is its lack of 4G connectivity. The tablet uses the standard 3G network for data and works on Telstra, Optus and Vodafone in Australia.

Keep in mind that there is also three "power profiles" available use on the ASUS Fonepad — ultra-saving, optimised, and customised. We ran all our tests in optimised mode, which is the default setting. You should be able to push better battery life out of the Fonepad using the ultra-saving mode.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

angel c.

1

I have one but very hard to find the compatibility of headseat\earphone. I'm just wondering if the accessories are available on the stores here in hongkong.. :( so far quiet good enough,though speakers and camera are nit good enough in outdoor...

Ray G

2

@angel c. My Fonepad works perfectly with HTC headset/earphones.

John

3

@Ray G: Does the internal mic work when using earphones? It doesn't in my fonepad (so basically, no audio input while headphones are plugged in), and I'm wondering if I got a faulty unit.

nick

4

I have some problem..b4 it was updated i can use it but now if i turn on my video it automatically turns off and restart again..hope this can be resolved as soon as possible.. God bless!

JAM

5

i have problem in skype ...when i turn on my CAM the skype will automatically logout and need to login again anybody know what is the problem?

Blair

6

I can't tether my fonepad with my iphone 5 but can tether my sister's iphone 4s. I have same issue with my skype as well. Can you help me with this?

khalil bernal

7

Need help in installing tango, the frame or box that the verification can not be seen on the display....

KISHOR

8

i wish to connect to LCD PROJECTOR? IS IT POSSIBLE

babak

9

It's always hang when I want to make a call, screen goes to black and until the other side of call finishes the call FonePad keeps hang on black screen. If I choose a suspicion contact to make a call the FonePad immediately lock the screen and I have no option to end the call. Also when someone call me, after I answer the call it's no way to end the call because only things I can see during the conversation is black screen...

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the Good Gear Guide comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

JMN

3.5

1

Pros
price
Cons
not popular in south Asia. accessorizes are not available.
• • •

Good one. and happy :)

Rene

4.0

2

Pros
The price, what it can do, it's basically a tablet that you can also call with!
Cons
The size (you kind of look silly with the phone at your ear) and the fact that a normal headset (with microphone) doesn't work.
• • •

I think it's brilliant, but I have to confess, I hardly use the phone, mostly the tablet (but it beats having to bring a phone as well!). The size is a downer as a phone but a plus compared to the size of the screen of a phone. Ah, one thing, I use the European version, camera on front and back.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare broadband and save

Powered by

Need Help? Call 1300 123 935

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?