Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 Review

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Introduction and Design

Introduction


They might not have a strong backing in the smartphone arena, but hot damn, Asus is increasingly becoming a top contender in the Android tablet space. Already notable for its high-end models, like its Padfone and Transformer lines, Asus knows what it takes to become a formidable figure. At the same time, though, they’ve made great strides in the entry-level market too, which is evident by its partnership with Google for its Nexus 7 line. Taking the bull by its horns, Asus is doing things all by itself this time around with the MeMo Pad HD 7 – something that won’t be forgotten because of its super low list price of $150.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • User Manual
  • Warranty Card

Design


In the back of our mind, we weren’t expecting the design of the MeMo Pad HD 7 to be extraordinary, especially taking into consideration its low price. Regardless of that, we can’t help but remind ourselves about its similarities to the first generation Nexus 7 more than anything else. It might not be the skinniest or lightest 7-incher out there, but it still proves to be easy on the hands when held – though, its build quality is a bit sketchy, seeing that its seams creak as we grasp it. Even though this all-plastic tablet might look bland, it’s nice that it’s available in other bright colors to give consumers some variety. Still, we can’t take our mind away from its overall cheapo feel.



Don’t think for a moment that the Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 is skimping out on the goods due to its super affordable cost! In addition to finding all the usual culprits around its trim, like its power button, volume control, 3.5mm headset jack, microUSB port, speaker grill, and microphone, we also find a handy dandy microSD card slot, front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera, and a 5-megapixel rear snapper.





Display


It’s not as dazzling as the new screen on the Nexus 7, but the 7-inch LED backlit 1280 x 800 IPS display of the MeMo Pad HD 7 is pleasing enough with its quality. Visually, it produces enough details to make fine text in the web browser more than legible to the eye from a normal distance. However, it exhibits just a bit of distortion at certain viewing angles – albeit, it’s never too distracting quite frankly. Colors also have a warmer tone to them! Thanks to its good brightness output, it doesn’t wash out too much when viewed outdoors with the sun present. Overall, it’s a pleasant looking display that does justice to the price point.




Interface and Functionality


A valiant effort on Asus’ part indeed, but the customized Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean experience on the MeMo Pad HD 7 doesn’t necessarily break any new ground from the company’s previous offerings. Indeed, there’s a deep level of customization, which is expected from all Android devices, but it’s nice that Asus also provides different homescreen layouts according to the user’s preference – like work, entertainment, or Asus’ standard mode. Furthermore, the multi-tasking experience is strengthened by the diverse availability of “floating” apps and widgets, which are essentially layered on top of whatever we’re doing. Yeah, the experience might not be as comprehensive as other things, but does it really need to be when we factor in its target audience and price point?


All of the standard organizer apps for Android are on tap with this, as well as the all-encompassing functionality that’s accessible with Google Now. In addition, Asus throws in some additional things, like its own branded Asus To-Do and SuperNote Lite apps, which help to diversify its offerings.


Being a 7-inch tablet, the portrait style on-screen keyboard layout is easy on the thumbs, as we have no issue in encompassing all buttons. On top of that, it helps that it’s very responsive to the touch and offers a good auto-correct feature to keep us moving at a steady pace. However, the landscape option feels more cramped, which in turn makes us to more cautious with our rate.



Processor and Memory


Powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz CPU coupled with 1GB of RAM, it delivers an ample amount of responsiveness with its operations – though, it’s nowhere as buttery smooth as we’d like. Nevertheless, it’s able to execute basic tasks with minimal fluff, but some jitteriness and choppiness is seen with other tasks that are more processor intensive. All in all, its performance is admirable for a budget offering, which is better than some other entrants in the space we’ve seen recently.


Quadrant StandardAnTuTuGLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD)Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Asus MeMo Pad HD 73895116181533 / 14 fps1416 / 452
Google Nexus 7 20135854197864556 / 40 fps1571 / 692
Lenovo IdeaTab A100073112772396 / 3.5 fps1307 / 417


Offered in 8GB and 16GB capacities, it’s undoubtedly elementary by today’s standards, but despite that, it’s wonderful to know that it’s boasting a microSD card slot to complement its tally.

Internet and Connectivity


Combining its prudent screen resolution with its fine processing power, the web browsing experience of the Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 is what we’d expect – nothing short of good. Pages load quickly, navigational controls are responsive, and rendering is instant on the fly, so there’s nothing much to not like about the experience.


Positioned as an entry-level model, the Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 is stuffed with only the bare essential connectivity features – like aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. Sorry folks, there’s no NFC with this one!



Camera


Running the camera app, we’re surprised to find an eclectic showing from Asus, as it boasts more shooting modes and manual controls than some higher-end tablets. Heck, in addition to the usual crop, like exposure adjustment, special effects, burst mode, and ISO settings, it also lays claim to some other things we wouldn’t particularly find on an entry-level model – such as time lapse interval, panoramic, and self-timer. Needless to say, there are a lot of icons taking up the UI, but snapping shots can be easily done by pressing on the corresponding shutter keys, or tapping the screen with its touch focus.


Usually, it’s some sort of cheap camera sensor that’s grafted onto these basic Android tablets, but with this, its 5-megapixel camera puts out some fine results of its own. It won’t replace our smartphones as our first choice for snapping things on the fly, but holy smokes, the MeMo Pad HD 7 delivers some enticing looking snapshots. Outdoors where lighting it plentiful, it has a decent balance with its average details and rich color reproduction. However, its quality becomes significantly more speckled and soft under low lighting conditions. As a whole, it does an admirable job for most things – just don’t expect it to replace your smartphone as your daily snapper of choice.


Equally as appealing is its 1080p video recording quality, which is good by tablet standards. Again, the same elements persist here with video capture that we find with still images – like its modest details and vibrant color reproduction. There’s a subtle amount of noise, which isn’t terrible under plentiful lighting, but it becomes more apparent with low lighting situations. Digital zoom is on board with this, which is nice, but don’t expect anything fantastic.

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Multimedia


There’s nothing out of the ordinary with its music player, since it’s just the usual Google Play Music app that’s preloaded on the tablet. In testing out its audio quality, its peak volume output is rather weak – and it doesn’t help that it’s a bit reserved with its overall quality. No doubt, it drowns out under noisy environments.


Out of the box, the tablet supports videos encoded in DivX, H.264, and MPEG-4, but not those that are in XviD format. The experience is good and all, but we wouldn’t say that it’s downright impressive. At the end of the day, it gets the job done by playing high definition videos smoothly – and without sluggishness!




Battery


In real world usage, the Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 churns out a respectable 1.5 days of battery life from its battery – a tally that’s more on the average side of things. Somewhat impressive on its own, but unlikely something consumers will find practical, it achieves a standby time of 13 days.

Conclusion


There’s no arguing about the notoriety and prestige surrounding the newest version of the Google Nexus 7, as it reigns supreme in the 7-inch category, but the Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 is an equally impressive offering on its own. For beginners, it has the advantage in price with its ridiculously low cost of $150, which is a cool $80 less than the Nexus 7. Additionally, it doesn’t skimp out in its set of features too, since it sees its own useful Android experience, boasts a rear camera, and it’s offered in variety of colors. Aesthetically, it’s a cheap looking and feeling tablet, but that doesn’t dissuade us from the obvious – it simply all comes together in the end and just works! If pricing is a concern to you, then this should be on your list, but if not, we’d still recommend the Nexus 7.

Software version of reviewed unit:
Android version: 4.2.1
Build number: ME173X_US_user_4.2.2.91525_20130711
Kernel version: 3.4.5


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Pros

  • Extremely affordable pricing
  • Packs both front & rear cameras
  • Variety in its color scheme

Cons

  • Cheap construction

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

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