Asus Fonepad 7 – The gentle giant

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Out of the box and ready for action, it is evident that this handset is (just) small enough to categorise as a smartphone, yet is too big be used comfortably with one hand, making the Fonepad 7 worthy of the name. In comparison with previous versions this handset is smaller and lighter but is still a bit chunky for our taste. It seems Asus are catering for those individuals who cannot quite afford top-of-the-range phablets. The internal specs in the 2015 (with the FE171CG appellation) release may be a bit of a disappointment, but who cares? It’s what’s on the on the outside that counts right? Wait, what?

It’s a little bit like finding a beautiful oyster with an ugly pearl inside. The Fonepad is quite pretty to look at with its glossy, mirror-like screen with the silver edging around it. The back has a super convenient textured matte finish to keep it from ice-skating over the top of your desk. It looks pretty sweet for the most part.

Fonepad 7 2015 SlantPartly sunny

It runs quite smoothly during excessive browsing and a bit of gameplay, but while charging it started to lag while typing. When we decided to move a bit faster, when scrolling or typing, the Fonepad disagreed and decided to lag yet again. Having a few apps running makes the CPU start to heat up a bit, but not enough to burn down the house, at least.

With a dual-SIM slot, it will minimise the hassle of maintaining work and your personal life. The dual-SIM slots are located on the side of the phone for easy access and efficiency,

The 7-inch screen has a resolution of 1024×600 and is quite spectacular and sharp. Streaming video looks quite beautiful on the full lamination IPS-display screen, which is a plus. Considering that our eyes are so used to staring at mostly HD screens (mostly), this one is definitely not bad at all with vibrant colours and sharp display.
[blockquote] Asus FonePad 7 2015Display: 7-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
Chipset/CPU: Intel Atom Z2520/ Dual-core 1.2GHz (1GB RAM)
Storage: 8GB (microSD up to 64GB)
Camera: 5 MP (2592 х 1944) autofocus / 2MP (front)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po battery
Operating system: Android 4.4 (KitKat)
SIM card: Dual SIM (Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)
Features: Oleophobic coating
Dimensions: 196mm x 110.6 x 7.9
[/blockquote] The Fone-cone of shame

The internal specs of this phablet are not as exciting, or impressive for that matter. Intel’s Atom Z2520 is running the show and the Fonepad we had for review also featured 1GB of RAM and 8GB internal storage space. For such a humongous body, one would expect an equally humongous inside. Obviously not.

On the back it has a 5MP camera without a flash and on the front a 2MP for snapping those selfless selfies. But there was a problem with our testing. On entering the camera app, we realised that the camera specs weren’t the only sad factor. The autofocus for the rear camera didn’t want to… well… focus. After a while playing around with the settings it seemed that the rear camera was set in Macro mode or the lens was busted – the odd clicking noise in our review unit seems to indicate the latter. Either way, it was not capable of taking a regular picture, just shots of blobs. Fuzzy blobs. Not that it would matter. Just use the almost-equally-as-good front camera.

Only half a bag of gold

It is loaded with Android 4.4, and no updates for the 2015 Fonepad 7 have been finalised yet. There is a collection of Asus bloatware, but not enough to be onerous, and all of the Google standards that Android users tolerate, if not enjoy. Facebook and Kindle are pre-installed but Twitter is missing in action. Strange.

The Fonepad 7 will not empty your pockets to a massive extent. For a nominal price (relative to other 7-inch phones, we guess – they’re not final yet) the Fonepad 7 could be a good deal considering the mediocre specs on this gentle giant. But who needs nice insides when the outside is so sexy? Oh and did we mention that it will be available in white, gold, black and red?

Verdict

We could be Negative Nellies and point out the inferior specs and the fact that the charging port (Mini-USB) is at the top of the phone (which might irritate some people…) but we definitely have to take the good stuff into account as well when considering this device. The Fonepad 7 has a cool, sleek design and features a capable screen. Overall, the apps run smoothly, and even streaming is great considering the 1.2GHz dual-core processor. Asus was definitely trying to cut costs on this one, but so what? It’s bound to be affordable, in the R1,800 to R3,000 range.

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