During last month Asus presented its most recent Android device to the world: the FonePad. This is a device that seeks to combine all the features of a Smartphone with the best features of a 7-inch tablet with a very interesting price tag.
The official presentation of the FonePad in Portugal was in Lisbon, with the Tejo river in the background.
This new Asus device wasn’t built or produced by a whim, on the other hand, it was a result of a study, made by Asus which asked customers what did they use their Smartphones for, on a daily basis. The results were surprising, and they showed that, on average, the majority of the customers used their Smartphones mostly to perform online searches. This result was followed by the time spent on social networks, listening to music and playing. Using the smartphone to make voice calls appeared lower on the results lists in fifth place.
Given these results Asus tried to bring the best of what you can find in a 7-inch tablet and add the smartphone capabilities to it in order to give the customers everything they get to use in daily basis as give them the best user experience possible.
The FonePad presents itself as an attractive and compact device with a metallic design. It can be held easily by one hand due to its weight, just 340g, and the fact that it is only 10.4mm thick. When you hold it you feel that it is of solid build and also resistant.
All the processing capabilities rely on the most recent Intel processor, the Atom Z2420, capable of speeds up to 1.2GHz. According to Asus this is the right processor in order to significantly improve the capabilities of the FonePad, better balancing the performance and battery consumption.
Still lingering on hardware, the PowerVR SGX540, is the one responsible for making sure every graphic is optimally presented to the user. Asus assures the users that this Intel processor combined with this graphic processor are capable of a performance 3 times greater in 2D environments and 2 times greater in 3D environments than most of the devices available in the market at this time.
In order to be able to make these performance improvements noticeable to users, Asus put an IPS HD screen on the FonePad with 10 multi touch points and 1280×800 resolution. This screen has the capability of presenting pictures and text with great contrast, color and sharpness while guaranteeing great viewing angles.
When it comes to connectivity, the FonePad is limited to 3G and a 4G version is still unspoken of. Given that this is a device that seeks to join the best of the Smartphone with the best of the Tablet it is a shame that 4G has been forgotten because this denies the users a faster and more stable connection to the Internet.
Even with 3G the users can easily access the Internet and make calls using only one data plan, reducing the conventional costs of using one Smartphone and one Tablet. Still about connectivity the FonePad has Bluetooth, Wireless and GPS capabilities.
And since this device is supposed to excel as a Smartphone as well Asus didn’t want to let their users down when it came to voice calls, and as such they decided to put not one, but two microphones in the FonePad in order to be able to reduce background noise when in call. This is a very nice addition when you take into account the price tag of the device.
Bearing in mind the low cost of this device we all know Asus would have to make some cuts, and indeed they did. The FonePad has frontal and rear cameras, the frontal camera has 1.2MP, which is enough for video calls and conferences, but the rear camera has only 3MP which is not enough for the common user nowadays. Even tough the rear camera has only 3MP it is capable of recording in 720p and has a AutoFocus functionality, so it is not as bad as it looks.
In order to fully enjoy the media capabilities of the device Asus not only provided a good screen but they also bet on great audio quality. If in Asus’s flagships we have had great sound quality the FonePad also has that great sound capability provided by SonicMaster technology (which is also used in the PadFone) and MaxxAudi 3 processing, by Waves.
If the FonePad doesn’t disappoint Hardware wise, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to software either. It has Jelly Bean (4.1.2) out of the box as well as a few proprietary applications that actually add value to the device, like SuperNote.
Asus has been making a huge improvement when it comes to proprietary applications and preinstalled software, unlike other brands. The FonePad is another proof of that, it has the latest OS version and all four proprietary applications have real use for the users.
The FonePad brings another news when it comes to applications; it now has the ability to run applications in windowed mode, like the Note 10.1. And like the Note as well it has an application launch bar that with all the applications that are able to run in windowed mode.
The FonePad is already available in several countries, including Portugal, and the VersaSleeve, which accompanies the FonePad is also available. The FonePad has a price tag of 249€ here in Portugal (very close to the Nexus 7) and the Sleeve comes with a price tag of 24.90€.
Preview by: João Mateus @ Android Emotions