Asus is trying to convince the world that we need a 7-inch tablet that’s also a phone. Do we?
Asus Fonepad – what is it?
Forget the name. Yes, you can make phone calls, but it’s really a 7-inch 3G-enabled Android tablet. More to the point, it’s a very cheap 3G-enabled tablet, with a UK price of just £165. That’s dirt cheap.
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The following is not a review, but our first impressions of the product based on a short time using it. Pricing and availability is tentative and subject to change.
Asus Fonepad – what are the three things you need to know?
- The phone bit is nonsense but it doesn’t matter
Asus’ insistence that this is an actual phone and tablet combined, and not just a tablet, is baffling. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0 makes calls too, but at least Samsung has the good sense to not make it a key feature.
- It’s got a decent screen for a cheap tablet
We’ve seen a couple of iffy screens on tablets at MWC 2013, particularly cheaper ones. The Fonepad, however, doesn’t fall into this trap. It has a Nexus 7 matching 1,280 x 800 resolution, is bright and colourful and the viewing angles are very good.
- It’s super cheap
This point bears repeating. At a starting price of £169, it’s the cheapest 3G-enabled we’ve seen – a 3G version of the Google Nexus 7 costs £239. A 3G-enabled iPad mini, meanwhile, will set you back at least £269 – i.e. £200 more.
Which? expert view – a great, cheap 3G tablet
Asus maintains people will use the Fonepad with a Bluetooth headset to make calls, despite showing people holding it to their ear in promo videos. This is nonsense, but thankfully the product itself makes a good deal more sense than the Asus marketing team. It has all the ingredients to form a good, cheap tablet – good screen, nice design and nippy speed – and Asus claims up to 10 hours of web browsing battery life. If this latter claim holds up, this could be a corking and very good value 3G tablet.
Andy Vandervell, deputy technology editor
MWC 2013 FAQ
What is MWC 2013?
MWC is short for Mobile World Congress – it’s the main annual mobile tech trade show, where the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, Nokia and many more come to launch their new smartphones and tablets.
Why does Which? attend?
It gives us an insight into what’s coming in the year ahead, so we can ensure we’re testing the right products in the right way. We also use the time to speak to technology companies to ensure they’re listening to consumer needs.