ASUS MeMO Pad 7 Review: Still Delighting?

Introduction

Okay, so it has been in the market for a couple of months. And its successor, the MeMO Pad HD 7 has been available for a couple of weeks already. With that, the original MeMO Pad 7 has already prepared itself to live in the shadows. However, it should not be a reason that the price-conscious segment of the market will not see the tablet as a good buy. And with a Php 5,995 price tag on many stores (they have lowered it from the original Php 6,995), it can help keep the good-byes for now.

Packaging

ASUS MeMOPad Box

The MeMO Pad 7 comes in a simple flat box that features the unit, the name, and the brand logo on the design. Inside you will find the unit, a USB Cable which also serves as the charging cable, the charger itself, a USB On-the-Go cable, a user manual, and the warranty card. Not much frill can be found.

The Unit

ASUS MeMOPad

The unit measures 196.2 x 119.2 x 11.2 mm, weighs 358g, and features an all-plastic construction, which is common for budget tablets like this one. For a tablet its size, it’s not that light, yet it feels solid to hold. No creaks can be felt when held. The front features a typical soda lime glass which is fingerprint-savvy yet relatively scratch-resistant. On the back, you will find it pleasing that it sports a matte, diamond-patterned cover which provide ample grip and smudge protection. However, not much on the back can be seen, since the only things visible there are the ASUS logo at the center and the speaker at the bottom. And for those who are wondering, yes. It does not have a rear-facing camera. However, the back should still be a selling asset for the tablet, as it is available in three colors, which are black, pink, and white.

Moving to the right side of the unit, there you will find nothing, since it is left entirely blank. Moving clockwise to the bottom, the micro-USB port and the micro SD Card slot can be seen, and yes, quite clearly, since neither features a cover, so it is quite prone to dust build-up over time. Nevertheless, the way it was positioned was excellent, and the holes for them were rather streamlined into the shape of the body. The left side is crowded with the volume rocker and the power button, and finally, the top sports the 3.5 mm jack and the microphone — the one and only in the device.

Internals

To get things done, it features a WonderMedia WM8950 SoC (System-on-a-Chip) from VIA, which houses a 1 GHz single-core ARM Cortex A9 processor core. Its main rival, the Acer Iconia B1-A71, features a 1.2 GHz dual-core MediaTek MT8317T SoC. This processor clock on the MeMO Pad is relatively slow, and looking at it being a single-core unit, there should have been a consideration to increase clock rates. To be fair enough, however, the MeMO Pad features 1GB of LPDDR3 RAM, whereas its rival only features a 512MB LPDDR3 RAM. For storage, you get a 16GB internal memory, and is expandable further with up to 32GB Micro SD card which can be inserted to the slot located at the bottom. This is one advantage of the MeMO Pad over the Iconia, since it only features an 8GB internal storage. In addition to the inbuilt storage, ASUS also offers you an additional 5GB Cloud Storage for free, which should be enough to put this into consideration if you are seeking additional storage spaces, aside from your SkyDrive and Google Drive accounts.

Operating System

ASUS MeMOPad Screenshot

The MeMO Pad 7 runs Google’s Android 4.1.1, and has some nifty ASUS added widgets, but essentially, it looks very much like a Nexus on build. It may not run version 4.2, but this should suffice for most, especially considering that 4.2 has some issues on its own, and the 4.1 is still rather impeccable. Using it is mostly turned up a smooth experience, and many will find it pleasing that the company has restrained itself from putting in too much bloatware, unlike other brands out there. I was lucky enough to have gotten an update whilst having it connected to the network available on my classmate’s house, which provided some optimizations to the device.

Connectivity

For connectivity, the MeMO Pad 7 offers nothing more than a 802.11 b/g/n connectivity module, which only transmits in 2.4 GHz network frequencies. Yes, you will not find a GPS receiver installed. Not even a Bluetooth is present, and should have been considered, considering that inter-connectivity is one of the purposes of the buying public in gadgets like these. One thing quite peculiar, however, is that the data usage option in the settings is still available. This could have been omitted, since there’s no 3G module embedded. Well, it could be used for monitoring WiFi data. Anyway, for hardware connectivity, there’s the 3.5 mm audio port, and a Micro-USB v2.0 port, which is used for data transfers. Fortunately enough, you will find it appealing that it supports USB On-the-Go (OTG), and there’s a cable supplied for that, meaning, you can attach external drives like flash drives and even keyboards and mice in it. And finally, there’s the Micro-SD card slot, which can support up to 32GB cards.

Camera and Multimedia

Okay, so for image-savvy people here, you might get disappointed to know that all you can find here is a 1MP front-facing snapper, which should be good enough for video calls and not much. Or you can count some selfies in. This is still quite better than the Acer competition, since this tablet’s camera can do videos of 1280 x 720p resolutions, unlike the rival, which only has a VGA front-facing camera with 640 x 480p resolutions. Well, you should not get too disappointed with this. For a budget tablet, you must not expect anything fancier. Looking at the picture samples by notebookcheck.net, you can see that the picture quality is rather disappointing, with colors that deviate far from the original, and a high amount of noise.

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Input and Controls

This is one of ASUS’ strongest suits in their devices so far, and the MeMO Pad 7 is no exception. The touch input in the device is fairly fast and utterly accurate. And the gyro-sensor on the device is rather quick in its senses. The buttons on the side also has good pressure points. However, rotating the tablet from portrait to landscape and vice versa is not as quick as it gets, since it may require your patience and about three to four seconds of your time before it switches to your desired orientation. As for the keyboard, you’d get a mix of emotions. On portrait mode, it is fine enough to type, with the exception of the backspace button quite hard to access, having it positioned beside the spacebar. On landscape, it is rather hard to type when holding the tablet. You might need to put the tablet down before you can type quite comfortably, although we can consider it a given on tablets. The keys also need a fair amount of room for the fingers in landscape mode. Over-all you’d get decent control on the MeMO Pad 7, possibly even up to par with higher-priced gadgets available.

Display

Don’t expect FHD resolutions and IPS-LCD image quality here. The device offers a 7″ 1024×600 TN LCD, with about 177 ppi density, which is marginally higher than on the display found in the iPad Mini. The maximum brightness for the screen is 300 cd/m², which is about 50% better than the Acer Iconia B1, according to notebookcheck.net. Colors are fairly good, and contrast ratio is good, with the exception of the blacks, which could have been better. It is also impossible to use the tablet under direct sunlight, since nothing is virtually visible. Also, viewing angles are limited. And oh, you’d get a fingerprint-savvy screen, which means the screen will get greasy in no time, and you’d have to have a cleaning cloth with you often. Otherwise, you’d get a little more than of what you’d expect in a budget tablet.

Speaker

The mono speaker provide a rather loud and clear sound, and you even get an application which lets you suit the sound output of the tablet to your liking. However, there is a lack in low tones, and the high notes suffer from minor detail loss. On watching movies or videos, it should suffice on your needs, having to hear important details.

Performance

Okay, so I did not put the unit to any benchmarks, but for those hoping to see some benchmarks, you can refer to notebookcheck.net’s review here. However, I was able to test various applications, like games and such. First up, the device can handle pretty much uses that I demanded from it. However, noting that it only houses a single-core processor, lag is very apparent. For example, when trying to load the rather popular game Temple Run 2, it does suffer lag, and it may take a minute before you can load the game. However, the run itself was by no means laggy, and gameplay is smooth. On another game entitled Fruit Pop, it does do fine, except that after finishing a round in the game, it stutters, and you don’t get to enjoy the emotions of the remaining fruits. To negate the processor being a killjoy, the G-sensor and the touchscreen assure you tons of gaming fun. Care to play 2Fuse in it?

Battery and Power

ASUS has packed the MeMO Pad 7 with a single-cell, 16 Wh/4720 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery, and promised a 7-Hr. runtime for the battery. With the screen brightness set at 75%, I was able to score a couple of minutes plus on 5 hours of usage on web browsing. Playing Fruit Pop with the same brightness setting, I was able to enjoy for about three hours or so before the battery went out. For charging, the company provides with a 10-watt charger, which is sufficient enough for the energy requirements of the device.

Temperature

Using the MeMO Pad will make it human body-warm, which is about 37 degrees Celsius, and not more. As for the charging block, it got a couple degrees warmer, but not hot enough to be lethal or whatsoever.

Final Thoughts

So. Finally, the ASUS marque has been made accessible to the public, aside from the motherboards, graphics cards, and other products that they sell. And they have provided a better alternative to Cherry Mobile and other budget tablets, since the little extra that you pay for the MeMO Pad will get you a definitely better tablet. Sure do, you can get a dual-core tablet on other brands at a slightly lower price, but then again, will it last you long enough? You can check competitors like Acer and HP, since they are offering tablets on the similar budgets, but then again, choosing is a matter of personal taste. And I’d like the white for a speak on personality, if I’d have one.

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