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Asus Fonepad - Battery Life, Camera and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Asus Fonepad

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Asus Fonepad – Internal Speaker

The Asus Fonepad is a good, rather than great, portable movie player – although the microSD card slot is a massive bonus if a media jukebox if what you’re out for.

Asus Fonepad 10

We’d recommend using headphones or external speakers, though, as the internal speaker is fairly poor. It’s a mono setup, with the speaker grille drilled into the bottom of the tablet’s aluminium rear. The Fonepad’s speaker doesn’t get particularly loud, has no bass whatsoever and is fairly lo-fi all-round.

The headphone output is not particularly loud either, although its signal is at least clean.

Asus Fonepad – Camera

Like several low-cost tablets the Asus Fonepad has just one camera, and it’s not on its rear. There’s no ‘photo-taking’ camera, just the one for video chatting.

It’s a 1.3-megapixel sensor that sits up in the top part of the screen bezel, when the Fonepad is held portrait.

Asus Fonepad 16

TrustedReview photo maestro Andrew gets up close to the Fonepad camera

Asus hasn’t ripped the standard camera app out of the Fonepad, so you can take standalone video and photos with the front camera, but as you’d expect photo quality is poor. It can capture 720p video of reasonable quality, though, which is its main duty.

Asus Fonepad – Calling

More unexpected duties for the budget gadget - it feels strange, it feels unnatural, but the Asus Fonepad is – technically – as much a phone as a tablet. Put a phone SIM in the slot under the rear plastic flap and you can take calls and use mobile data as you would with a mobile phone.

Although Asus is happy to admit that it’s not the most convenient straight swap for a phone, suggesting you might want to use a Bluetooth headset, the Fonepad does have active noise cancellation for calls. There’s a second microphone underneath the plastic flap on the rear, which monitors ambient noise and cuts it out of the call signal to make your voice clearer in noisy environments.

Sound quality through the integrated earpiece speaker is unremarkable, with limited treble clarity, but will do the job for the occasional emergency phone call. Asus Fonepad 18

Asus Fonepad – Battery Life

As with most tablets, the Asus Fonepad gives you no access to the battery. It’s a 4,270mAh unit – which doesn’t sound all that impressive. However, battery performance is decent.

It will last for around eight and a half hours when playing video, providing all-day use and enough juice for long journeys aboard planes, trains and... cars. The battery efficiency is down to both the relatively low screen resolution and the Intel Atom CPU, which is fairly power-frugal.

Asus Fonepad 6

Asus Fonepad – Value

The Asus Fonepad isn’t a perfect device. Some may say it’s a wee bit portly, that its screen is just so-so compared to the competition and that the whole phone aspect of the tablet is a little silly. But it is stonkingly good value if a low-cost portable tablet is what you’re after.

It’s the best alternative to the Nexus 7, and while we like the Google tablet’s lack of non-removable pre-installed apps, it’s outweighed by the Fonepad’s expandable memory and 3G SIM slot. It may have some problems, but the Asus Fonepad is a fantastic package for under £200.

Verdict

A 7-inch tablet that also wants to be a phone sounds like a silly idea. But the Asus Fonepad is, in use, entirely sensible. It’s a lot like the Nexus 7, but has a metal rear, 3G and a memory card slot – and all for less cash than the 32GB Nexus 7. Its screen isn’t great and the processor doesn’t perform well in all conditions, but this is a top-notch budget tablet.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Camera 4
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Screen Quality 7
  • Usability 8
  • Value 10
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TheHulksMothersCousin

February 25, 2013, 6:09 pm

Well a tablet user with a smart watch may well use it to phone but just keep it in their backpack or briefcase. Heres the thing. The first brand to make a smartphone / tablet bundle could make a fortune if marketed well. Please dont let it be Apple.

Kasem Asawaprecha

February 28, 2013, 3:46 am

This will play havoc with phablet pricing. Generally, the five-inch phones can fetch higher prices than the four-inchers. So, how can this seven-inch tablet be cheaper than the four-inchers and still have greater battery life? I want one!

Indigo

February 28, 2013, 12:27 pm

Asus is Taiwanese not South Korean?

Katarzyna Stryjakiewicz

June 9, 2013, 9:50 pm

Hang on... It doesn't have a rear camera? How do I take photos with it? Using the front 1.2 Cam? That's not good enough...

Bubbles

August 25, 2013, 9:38 am

Mine has rear camera. It appears only those sold in Britain don't have the camera. For another ten pounds you can get one with a camera from an Italian source.

Ziggi Bearwolfe

October 20, 2013, 2:15 am

I just bought the ASUS Fonetab after having warranty problems with an Sony Xperia Arc seller :*( I'm loving the Fonetab & think I'll keep the Arc for a back up, if it's ever repaired. It's heaps better for me in my 50's than trying to use a 4.2" screen. The 7" screen makes the Fonetab much easier to type & edit documents for work. Mine has a rear 3MP camera which I also use a lot for work. I use it for basic photo editing & the resolution's fine for this. My only con I wish the rear camera was an 8MP. Battery life is excellent. I would've loved the new 6" ASUS Fonetab Note that's about to be released, as I think that's a better size. However, I couldn't be without a phone for work whilst waiting, so all round very happy with this one.

Bubbles

November 13, 2013, 2:30 am

... and it wasn't Apple. It was Samsung's new Note. My personal observation is that it is a good integration, just as you imagined. But it's tied to the Note which is a very expensive device to begin with. More should be coming.

I have the Fonepad, first generation, and I bought it with intent to last at least a year, hopefully two, and maybe three. By the time I go back into the market I hope the fonepad will have shrunk down to the new Nexis 7's smaller foot print and much, much higher resolution, and have a watch peripheral device to boot that works something like the current Note Smart watch combo. At that point, I would imagine I'm just about done, perhaps maybe opting for Google Glasses at that point as well. I know there were be new and better things on the horizon, but at this point I can't imagine any.

comfort amoah

January 8, 2014, 5:00 pm

I have asus phonepad and i really like it alot, but i had low battery and i didn't charge, the next morning i tried to charge and i saw this ? mark red colour inside where you can the the level of the battery, but its not able to charge and the phonepad is still working, i m using it now is not off, please any help?
If i turn it on they says connect your charger but if i plug its doesn't show any sign that its charging only the res questing mark inside the box. Please i don't want to loose it any help?

S.A.

February 2, 2014, 11:13 am

I don't have the rear camera,and I bought it in finland... It might be that it's just a newer version of the fonepad that has the rear camera?

peace

August 10, 2016, 9:47 am

I have bought this tablet and have used for more than 2 years until it blacked out. Before it got broken, the tablet already often lags and drains battery fast even though I just use it to read books. I went to the ASUS shop here in the Philippines, both in my province (Bacolod, Negros Occidental), and in SM North Annex, to check what is wrong on the phone. Both shops does not even bother to properly check the tablet and would just rather refer me to a third party store which fixes tablets rather than let their service center fix it. Still, I went to their service center just to check and they seem to not even try to see what is wrong with it and just plainly say that maybe the main board is broken. ASUS product and service has disappointed me. Its their product and they seem to not know how to fix it. I recommend that you don't buy this tablet and be ready to have a low-quality service if any of your ASUS device gets broken.

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