After the success of the Nexus 7 tablet co-developed by ASUS and Google and launched last summer, ASUS has announced two new 7-inch tablets in early 2013 addressed to the customers with limited budgets: MemoPad and FonePad.
What’s even more interesting is that the three 7-inch tablet in ASUS’ portfolio (if it is to include the Nexus 7, too) are aiming at different customer categories, from the ones interesting in acquiring cheap tablets, to those wanting a premium product, but also not forgetting about those who want a permanent 3G connection.
Therefore, if you are interested in purchasing a good but affordable tablet and you don’t know what to choose, then we’d suggest you to have a look at the ASUS Fonepad vs Nexus 7 vs ASUS MemoPad comparison which will highlight the goods and the bats of each of the three tablets.
Of course, there are also 7-inch tablets in the low-budget segment, so if for some reason the ASUS products are not your thing, you will also find other interesting alternatives in this article.
But let’s cut the chit chat and have a look at the technical specifications and other features of the ASUS Fonepad, Nexus 7 and ASUS MemoPad. Here we go.
The ASUS Fonepad comes with a 7-inch display with a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels and is powered by a single-core 1 GHz Intel Atom Z2420 processor, helped by a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. ASUS FonePad also comes with 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage expandable using microSD cards, and a 4,270 mAh battery.
ASUS FonePad comes with WiFi and 3G and measures 196.4 x 120 x 10.4 mm while wheing 340 grams. The new tablet of the Taiwanese brand runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box.
On the other hand the ASUS MemoPad has a single-core 1 GHz VIA WM8950 with Mali 400 graphics processing unit. It comes with 8 or 16 GB of internal storage, 1 GB of RAM, WiFi capabilities, and the same 4,270 mAh battery (also fitted inside the FonePad). ASUS MemoPad is 196.2 mm tall, 119 mm wide and 11.2 mm thick and has a weight of 370 grams, while coming pre-loaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The display is a 7-inch unit with 1,024 x 600 pixels resolution.
Least, but not last the Nexus 7 has a 1,280 x 800 pixels 7-inch screen and is underpinned by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chipset with four Cortex A9 cores at 1.2 GHz, ULP GeForce GPU, and 1 GB of RAM. There are two internal storage options 16 and 32 GB, and also two connectivity options WiFi-only and WiFi + cellular.
Nexus 7 has a 4,325 mAh battery, measures 198.5x120x10.5 mm, weighs 340 grams and is upgradable to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
ASUS FonePad, ASUS MemoPad and Nexus 7 are pretty similar in terms of design, especially when it comes to the front panel, which is not odd at all, considering that they are made by the same company, have 7-inch displays and their dimensions only differ by several millimeters. MemoPad is 30 grams heavier than the other two, that’s about 10% which will probably be insignificant on the long run.
The main difference between the three slates is the back lid. The Nexus 7 is by far the most elegant of the three, while it’s very easy to hold it in one hand because of the textured plastic back that provides great grip. MemoPad comes with a cheaper-looking textured plastic back lid, while ASUS FonePad has a different recipe with smooth brushed aluminium back. Fonepad also has a different-colored flap in the low end of the device, which hides the SIM card and the microSD.
ASUS Fonepad and Nexus 7 come with IPS LCD displays sized 7 inches diagonally and the same resolution of 800 x 1280 pixels. Besides the resolution the displays stand out with their natural colors and good viewing angles, courtesy of the IPS technology.
The display is ASUS MemoPad’s weak spot with a lame TN panel with 1,024 x 600 pixels resolution. This will basically mean narrower viewing angles and less details on the screen because of the small resolution, things you will notice especially when text is displayed in the browser or in a document.
The biggest differences between the three tablets are their technical specifications. Nexus 7 is undoubtedly the most powerful of the three, with an Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset that accommodates a quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A9 CPU and ULP Geforce GPU. These hardware specs are good enough to allow you to run any multimedia content currently available in Google Play Store.
Meanwhile, ASUS MemoPad bets on a less common hardware solution: a VIA WM8950 chipset with 1 GHz single-core CPU. Hopefully, it will be just fine for regular usage like web browsing, video playback and games like Angry Birds, but if you want to play let’s say Need for Speed Most Wanted it might not run smooth enough.
For the FonePad, ASUS has chosen an Intel Atom Z2420 solution with 1.2 GHz single-core processor, a unit launched earlier this year at CES 2013. The guys at Intel are still behind their rivals at Nvidia or Qualcomm, and the company’s main problem is that its processing solutions are real battery hogs.
ASUS FonePad, ASUS MemoPad, and Nexus 7 come with 1 GB of RAM and at least 16 GB of internal storage (the MemoPad also has an 8 GB variant), and the first two of them also have support for microSD cards.
Apparently all three ASUS tablets look almost the same, but their hardware platforms are fundamentally different.
Of course, all three tablets come with WiFi support, but the things are a bit different when it comes to mobile data connections. ASUS Fonepad is by far the best choice when it comes to connectivity, as it comes with 3G support by default (there is no WiFi-only version available), but it also comes with phone functionality.
Nexus 7 is available in both WiFi-only and WiFi + 3G variants, but the latter one is about 40% more expensive than the standard model, while MemoPad doesn’t come with optional 3G.
As well, FonePad and Nexus 7 come with GPS and Bluetooth, while the MemoPad only has a Bluetooth module.
There are some differences when it comes to software, as well: MemoPad and FonePad are running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, while Nexus 7 was launched with the same OS, but it recently received the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean update. Even though the differences between Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 are not radical, those who want to share the tablet with the members of the family might want to choose the Nexus 7, as the new Android 4.2 allows the user to create several accounts, each with specific apps and settings.
FonePad and MemoPad are using the same Li-Ion 4,270 mAh, while the Nexus 7 bets on a 4,325 mAh battery with similar technology. ASUS claims that FonePad and Nexus 7 have a battery life of up to 9 hours of multimedia playback, while MemoPad can only stay awake through 7 hours of video playback.
ASUS FonePad, ASUS MemoPad, and Nexus 7 are aiming at the affordable 7-inch tablet segment, but they are addressed to various types of customers. Therefore, the cheapest Nexus 7 has a price of €249 for the WiFi-only 16 GB model, while the WiFi + cellular variant, the most expensive one, costs €349.
ASUS MemoPad has already hit several retailers and it has a price tag of €169. Meanwhile, ASUS FonePad will hit the European market sometime in April at a price of €219 for the WiFi + 3G with 16 GB of storage model, but we shouldn’t forget that it also comes with phone functionality.
Of course, ASUS is not the only tablet maker that competes on the low-budget 7-inch tablet segment. At MWC 2013, HP has announced Slate 7, its first Android-powered tablet, which will have a price tag of €149, and provides a display similar to the one of MemoPad, but a more powerful hardware platform: dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor clocked at 1.6 GHz.
The folks at Lenovo are also in the low-budget 7-inch tablet business, with its A1000 model that packs a display similar to MemoPad’s and Slate 7’s and MTK chipset with dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, a tablet that will probably have a price around €149.
Acer Iconia B1 will apparently be the one of the cheapest 7-inch tablet coming from an established manufacturer, with a price of €120. The technical specifications are modest, though: dual-core 1.2 GHz Mediatek CPU, 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage.
There are a lot of interesting terminals on the affordable 7-inch tablet segment, and the competition will get even tougher as the slate makers will continue to launch such products. The three tablets introduced by ASUS are covering the needs of several types of users with limited budgets.
Therefore, if don’t want to spend more than €169 on a tablet, then ASUS MemoPad is one of the best solutions, because it has quality construction and a decent-enough hardware platform.
If you are looking for a cheap tablet with 3G support, then ASUS PadFone is the ideal solution, not to mention it comes with phone functionality and it should fit the bill at €219.
Least, but not last, if you want a tablet that it’s no more than €199 but it has premium design and high-end performance, but you don’t care about 3G, then Nexus 7 has no rival on the segment.
As I was mentioning above, if for some reason you don’t like any of the three ASUS tablets, there are a lot of affordable 7-inch tablets out there for you.