A while ago Asus launched the FonePad tablet series on the market, which are specially designed for users who also wanted to give up the smartphone and wished for a single pocket device to satisfy both those needs.
Asus 7 inch FonePad was a success and it was only fair that the company came up with its predecessor FonePad FE170CG (2014 model), the latest version which we tested.
We will further discuss the tablet’s specifications and performances, as well as its pros and cons.
Ever since opening the product’s wrapping box the low-cost feat is obvious. For some odd reasons Asus wanted to make this product as cheap as possible, so they didn’t include a data cable in the pack, while the charger is simple with a fixed cable which is usually used by no-name products.
Design and screen
FonePad 7 FE170 has fair looks, the gadget’s frame is pretty thin and its shape is ergonomic. Although it’s a 7 inch tablet, it is small compared to other tablets and also lighter.
Unfortunately the materials used in its manufacturing are not the highest quality; the plastic seems brittle and easily damaged.
The screen does not indicate this is an upgraded model; it is a simple LCD which does not come close to the performances of an IPS or an AMOLED.
Viewing angles are acceptable, whereas the brightness is mediocre and the colour display, even aided by the app from Asus will not please everyone, especially because the screen resolution is 1024 x 600 pixels.
Its greatest detriment is however the fact that Asus FonePad FE170CG has a screen that strongly reflects light and even with its brightness set at the highest level it won’t meet the requirements when used in very bright environments.
Asus has not invested a lot in this matter either. They have taken an Intel solution, namely the Z2520 processor and 1 GB Ram ( DDR2 .. ) . The PowerVB SGX544 MP2 graphic processor has a limited video performance and the internal memory remained at the 8 Gb limit. Fairly speaking this is an average tablet seeing its performances. Designed for communication, internet and possibly Office, this gadget will hardly withstand complex programmes or elaborate games.
After using it a bit we have noticed some issues (freezing or lag) when there were more than 2-3 apps running in the background or when we wanted to quickly open a complex web page.
Connectivity and other features
The phone function remains this tablet’s main advantage, but apart from the 3G connection we also get Gps, Bluetooth as well as a micro-SD card slot which allows up to 64 Gb memory.
A lesser aspect is the lack of 4G feature , which is not to be forgotten, especially when talking about a 2014 generation tablet coming from such a famous brand. After all, we do want speed and fast access to our data, don’t we?
The main web camera is only 2 Mp so it’s of very little use although we would have hoped for the front camera to be more than just a 0.3 Mp one, markedly for a tablet designed for communication, yet we remained unsatisfied.
Asus FonePad FE170CG video review
Android and apps
Most of the apps stayed the same, but there have been some improvements nonetheless.
On the Home screen we have a pack of apps by Asus in the left-hand side and the Google one on the right, granting the user fast access to Youtube or Gmail.
The Note app from Asus is very interesting and besides it we get a Movie Editor as well as some tools for screen and sound settings and its very own File Manager.
Power Saver allows us to manage the tablet’s resources according to our needs and the Ultra Saving mode proves its efficiency by boosting FonePad 7’s autonomy by even 40%.
The operating system has nowadays been upgraded to Android KitKat 4.4 so we get a stable and secure OS which can be loaded on the tablet.
Asus FonePad 2014’s Autonomy
The screen’s reduced brightness teamed up with Intel’s processor usage grant its operation for longer periods of time. The battery has a capacity of 3950 mAh which is really good considering the gadget’s diagonal.
We managed to use it an entire day: watching videos, Skype conversations and other such activities. However issues arise whenever we activate the 3G (we use the tab in phone mode) because its autonomy drops significantly and more certain than not this is when we need to conserve energy and the Power Saver option comes in handy.
We hardly know how to conclude. Lately the price has become the law and so as not to lose sales most manufacturers prefer to launch average to mediocre products which can compete with better products cost-wise. Asus FonePad FE170 is one of those products.
It is a 7 inch brand tab, with a pleasant design, with phone functions, 3G, Bluetooth and Gps which is very cheap. This might well be the only upside of this gadget: its extremely low price will surely make it popular.
Objectively speaking we can state that the tablet is not for the more pretentious users which count on the fact that this model is an Asus by name.
Its mediocre display, its 2013 specifications and the lack of accessories reveal FonePad’s true nature which we might add it’s below expectations. It is up to you to decide whether cheap is good.