Yesterday Asus launched the FonePad in India for Rs 15,999, which is the first Intel powered Android tablet. Interestingly, Asus decided to call it a phablet as the 7-inch tablet can also make voice calls over a regular 2G or 3G network. I spent some time with the FonePad at the launch event and here are our first impressions. Also Read - Asus FonePad 7 vs Google Nexus 7(2013) : The battle for the 7-inch tabs
[nggallery id=240] Also Read - Asus FonePad 7 hands-on and first impressions
The FonePad looks every bit a premium product, unlike many plasticky tablets that come our way on a daily basis. It feels solid and sturdy with no creaking sound when we held it tightly. They say looks can be deceptive and the metallic panel on the back feels like plastic with metallic plating or finish on top of it. Nevertheless, it achieves its aim of making the tablet feel and look pretty and premium.
In terms of core hardware specifications, the front of the FonePad has a 7-inch HD IPS display with 1280×800 pixels resolution. Above the display is a 1.2-megapixel secondary camera, which can be used for voice calling over 3G networks. Though the seven-incher is fine to look at, Asus could have reduced the bezel size from the top and bottom of the display to either have a larger display or a smaller overall footprint. The display looks pretty sharp for a tablet at its price and has decent viewing angles. However, it is a finger print magnet and we were left cleaning smudges after handling it for a few minutes. Also, it does not have Gorilla Glass protection on top, which could make it susceptible to scratches and cracks.
Like I mentioned earlier, the back has what seems like a plastic casing with a metallic finish on top. The edges have a gentle curve that provide a nice grip despite the tablets big footprint. The back also houses a 3-megapixel camera that can shoot videos at 720p resolution and the speaker grill at the bottom. It has a non-user replaceable 4,270mAh battery, which Asus claims can provide up to 9.9 hours of continuous HD video playback, which is two hours more than the Nexus 7.
The top part on the back holds a detachable panel to put in SIM card and microSD card. The sides have volume rocker and power on/off keys. The top edge has been kept clean while the bottom has a micro USB port and a 3.5mm jack.
The FonePad is the first Android tablet to be powered by Intel’s Lexington Z2420 chipset that features a 1.2GHz Intel Atom processor and a PowerVR GC540 GPU. It is paired with 1GB of RAM and comes with 8GB of internal storage. There is a microSD card slot that can accommodate up to 32GB of additional storage. It runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.1 and Asus says it will be updated to Android 4.2 but isn’t committing on updates beyond that.
Overall, the Asus FonePad seems to be a well-built 7-inch tablet with an ergonomic design and a good feature set. It has been priced smartly and certainly has an edge over cheaper tablets from Micromax, HCL as well as something like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2.
However, these are just my first impressions after using the FonePad briefly. Watch this space for our complete review.