Feeds
Asus FonePad

Asus FonePad: You may feel a bit of a spanner

The smartphone that thinks it’s a tablet - and a bloody good job too

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Review Do you really need a smartphone and a tablet? One overly expensive device with a screen and a battery that are both just a bit too small for comfort in this day and age to use for voice calls and cellular data, and a larger, Wi-Fi-connected gadget with a 7- or 8-inch screen for browsing the web, reading ebooks and watching movies?

Asus clearly thinks the answer to that question may be in the negative because its new FonePad is being pitched as an affordable replacement for a smartphone. The device is not, the company insists, just another 3G fondleslab.

Asus FonePad

Yes, the Asus FonePad is a bit of a handful...

Affordable? What else would you call £180 unlocked? That’s £60 less than the LG-made Nexus 4 and £70 less than a PAYG Sony Xperia SP which are my top choices for a good smartphone that won’t break the bank. An unlocked 3G Nexus 7 will set you back £240, but out of the box it has no support for voice calling and there’s no ear speaker.

Before we get into the benefits and drawbacks of living with a 7-inch tablet as a smartphone let’s take a quick shufty at what sort of hardware your hundred and eighty notes will get you.

The Gorilla Glass screen is a 1280 x 800 IPS LCD affair with a 216dpi pixel density. That’s the same density as the Nexus 7 and a darned sight higher than the iPad Mini. It can’t match the absolute clarity of similar resolution panels measuring 4.6 or 5 inches between the corners, let alone the latest 1920 x 1080 mobile displays, but I reckon it’s more than adequate for most users and uses.

Asus FonePad

...but it’s certainly not an enemy of pockets

It’s a good quality screen, too: bright and colourful - it has the usual Asus Outdoor super-bright mode and a comprehensive colour balance app called, ahem, Splendid - with robust viewing angles and good levels of contrast. It’s actually rather better than the Nexus 7’s screen, which is no mongrel.

Inside you’ll find a new single-core and hyper-threading Intel Atom Z2420 chip [PDF] clocked at 1.2GHz, a rather old PowerVR SGX540 GPU, 1GB of RAM and a 4270mAh battery. With 16GB of storage, USB On-The-Go and a Micro SD slot, finding room for files isn’t a problem.

The FonePad only supports 3G but data speeds of 21Mbps down and 5.76Mbps up are catered for, which should be sufficient for most folk. Beyond that you get single-band (2.4GHz) 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 but no NFC.

Running the show is a lightly skinned version of Android 4.1.2, but Asus has confirmed to me verbally that a 4.2 update will be rolled out at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Asus FonePad

You may feel a bit of a spanner using it as a phone, though

The Atom CPU in the FonePad is less powerful than the one used in the Motorola Razr i - the only other big-brand Intel-powered smartphone currently on the market and a device I use every day - and frankly it doesn’t make much of a case for itself in benchmark tests. The AnTuTu score of just over 9000 is well shy of what the Nexus 7 can manage, while the SunSpider browser score of 1800ms in Chrome is no excuse to ring up the grandkids, either.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
WTF happened to Pac-Man?
In his thirties and still afraid of ghosts
Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics
LightwaveRF and Arduino: Bright ideas for dim DIYers
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!
Monochrome handset ushered in modern mobile gaming era
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc
Take a look at this new NFC jewellery – why, what were you thinking of?
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Leaked photos may indicate slimmer next-generation iPad
Will iPad Air evolve into iPad Helium?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.