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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Performance hang-ups

The on-paper lack of performance is really only an issue when it comes to 3D gaming where, I suspect, optimisation issues also raise their ugly heads. The likes of Shadowgun, Dead Trigger and NOVA 3 run but only just, and playing an “only just running” game is no fun. The user interface, on the other hand, was always wholly fluid and 1080p video played perfectly in the stock Gallery app.

At 340g, the FonePad weighs the same as the Nexus 7 - or, to put it another way, two and a half times as much as a Sony Xperia Z. The FonePad's external dimensions are very similar to the Nexus 7 but that’s hardly surprising as they are built by the same company - Asus. The FonePad’s brushed aluminium back looks more stylish and feels more pleasant than the Nexus 7’s dimpled plastic posterior.

Benchmark Results

Asus FonePad AnTuTu

It’s a very sleek device too, the only extrusions being the slightly too small volume and power switches on the left, and the 3.5mm audio and micro USB ports on the bottom.

The SIM and memory cards live beneath a removable plastic panel at the top of the device. Every time I’ve encountered this design in the past, the panel has been a poor fit and prone to coming adrift accidentally. That’s not the case here. The cover locks firmly in place and is actually a bit of a sod to open.

When Intel first started sticking its Atom chips in smartphones there was much guffawing about the expected battery-draining power consumption but the opposite has proved to be the case. The battery life of the Razr i is among the best of any smartphone, and the FonePad repeats the trick.

I averaged two and a half days between charges despite a pretty heavy regime that involved me using the FonePad for all the tasks I’d usually split between my Razr i and Nexus 7. Looping a 720p video gave a run time of seven and a half hours, which is acceptable.

Asus FonePad Splendid app

Asus’ Splendid app (left) - and the mini apps it adds to stock Android (right)

What separates the FonePad from most other Android slates - the odd Samsung aside - is the phone dialer and SMS client, which look and work exactly as they do on any Android smartphone, just bigger.

Hold the FonePad to your ear and you are going to look like a spanner, but appearances aside it works perfectly well as a phone. I’ve hardly got the hands of a navvy but could comfortably hold it against my head even for long conversations.

Thanks to noise-cancelling dual-microphones and a decent ear speaker, call quality was more than up to snuff. There’s even a proximity sensor so it knows when you're holding the thing to your mug. The main loudspeaker is less impressive. It’s on a par with the speaker in the Nexus 7 though that’s not much of a recommendation.

Asus FonePad comms hub

BuddyBuz is Asus’ social network aggregator

The benefits of a 7-inch screen for e-reading and the like are self-evident and hardly need to be spelled out. That’s why iPad Minis and Nexus 7s sell by the shedload. Where the FonePad’s extra screen space comes into its own is when you're running messaging apps. The likes of Skype and Tango simply look better on a large screen, especially when it comes to video calls, but some over-the-top apps like WhatsApp (so called because they piggyback someone else's network) will only work on a device with a SIM card.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.