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.

Microsoft to acquire Nokia’s Devices and Services Division, hopes to make WP “more accessible” to people

“Together, we will redefine the boundaries of mobility.”

This some sort of promise was stated on the open letter by Steve Ballmer and Stephen Elop, Microsoft and Nokia’s CEOs, respectively.  The letter was published today, September 3, 2013, on Nokia’s page,  which gives an overview what is to happen on the company’s future. This agreement was to turn the tide on the two companies’ mobile division, so as to boost their products and services capabilities. The deal was targeted to close Q1 2014, subject to the agreements between the two companies.

For more information, click here.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra Officially Launched, Packs all the Goodies to take on the Galaxy Note

Togari

image sourced from https://www.slashgear.com/

The Xperia Z Ultra, codenamed ‘Togari’, has been officially launched today. Being the first phone to officially use the Snapdragon 800 chipset, it should come to no suprise if it tops out benchmarks for some time. The phablet features a 6.4″ Triluminous screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, good enough for a 344 pixel per inch density. The display also utilizes the proprietary OptiContrast and X-Reality technology, superseding the famed Mobile Bravia Engine. The screen size also gives the user 60% more surface to work with (maybe compared to 4.3″ to 5″ phones of late). As for those who want to use a stylus, hail! The device also allows a pencil, a pen, or a capacitive stylus to be used due to a special type of coating which Sony dubs as “Super Hard Coat ASF,” which helps the device to be more resistant to scratch and marks. For added durability, it has an IP58 certification like the smaller Xperia ZR, which allows water immersion of up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.

Design wise, it features Sony’s OmniBalance design with tempered glass back taken from the current Flagship, the Xperia Z, albeit slimmer and features a metal frame on all the sides. It runs Android 4.2.2, although features a revamped software to utilize the available power and screen dimensions. Under the hood, you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with four Krait 400 cores running at 2.2 GHz per core, 2GB of RAM, and an Adreno 330 GPU to push all those pixels. For keeping your files, there is a 16GB internal memory, expandable via a Micro SD card slot. It has 4G LTE connectivity, NFC, and HD Voice Command.

Sony’s proprietary WALKMAN player with ClearAudio+ and xLOUD enhancements come within. And should you need to snap photos or record videos, it packs a camera with an 8MP Exmor-RS sensor that can record 1080p video and supports HDR for both stills and movies. Be reminded, however, that low-light pictures are somewhat of a no-go because of the absence of a LED Flash. Oh, by the way, it sports a 3,000 mAh battery, which should be enough to juice up your daily grind.

Sony markets this phone as the slimmest 1080p smartphone at 6.5 mm, although I just don’t know if you can bear the hefty 212g weight. Color palette is the same as the Z, coming in black, white, and purple. Expected release is Q3 2013; however, exact details are unknown.

ASUS launches Z87 line-up, introduces innovation and technological improvements to products

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The event may well be an exclusive one, but surely it has officially opened to everyone the era of more powerful, more reliable, and more connected computing. Last Wednesday, ASUS Philippines has finally launched its line-up of motherboards based on the Intel “Lynx Point” Chipset to seat the much-awaited 4th Generation Intel Core Processors (codename “Haswell”) in the socket LGA1150. Yes, that means your processors based on the LGA1156/1155 cannot be installed here, but it should be a noteworthy upgrade to those using older PC’s as “Haswell” is an entirely new architecture (the “tock” in Intel’s tick-tock, see here), only retaining the 22nm manufacturing process, 3D Trigate transistors, 14-stage pipeline, 64 KB (32 KB Instruction + 32 KB Data) L1 cache and 256 KB L2 cache per core, and the dual-channel memory controller. Along with it is a new power-saving system which improve power usage and responsiveness, such as deeper sleep states with faster boot and resume times. Also, the integrated HD 4×00 series (HD 4600 on desktop variants) has 20 execution units (vs 16 maximum for HD 4000 IvB and 12 for the HD 3000 SB) offers up to 60 percent faster performance. For overclockability, memory frequency support has been increased to 3000+ MHz. And the the voltage regulator has been transferred from the motherboard to the CPU. Imagine all these residing on a motherboard that supports all these features on a more reliable package that also offers a few nifty extras. And all these provided by a company with a solid and award-winning reputation which many trust. Ladies and gentlemen, the ASUS motherboard line-up for your 4th Generation Intel Processors.

The ASUS Series Motherboards

Z87-DELUXE

The Z87-Deluxe

Z87-PRO

The Z87-Pro

The ASUS series motherboards have been a complete redesign, featuring a new color scheme of black and gold (previous: black/blue/white) which symbolize an insistence on delivering the highest standards of innovation, performance, and reliability, a Dual Intelligent Processors IV with improved TPU and EPU for faster performance and better power-saving features, DIGI+ Power Control, and Fan Xpert 2, which can all be activated with one click of the mouse to ensure real-time performance optimization, better energy efficiency, precise digital power control, and detailed case fan management for reduced noise and improved cooling. When users are away from the PC, the design intelligently shifts to Away Mode, allowing customers to download and stream content or backup data with minimal power draw, and the exclusive 4-Way Optimization fully readies PCs for better gaming, entertainment, productivity, and all other uses.

The Republic of Gamers (RoG) Series

Maximus VI Extreme with OC Panel for ultimate Z87 overclocking power

The RoG Maximus VI Extreme with the OC Panel

Maximus VI Hero Z87 ATX gaming motherboard, the newest ROG family member

The Maximus VI Hero, the newest RoG Family Member

The previous iterations of the RoG Maximus line have been successful, packing technologies and innovations that many enthusiasts and gamers alike desire. As such the sixth generation of the Maximus has packed more into these motherboards, with variants that cater to various preferences of high-end PC users. The Maximus VI Extreme, Formula, and Gene has been there, and a new variant, named Hero, was introduced to address the huge gap between the Gene and Formula. All Maximus boards feature 60A BlackWing Chokes, NexFET MOSFETs, 10K Black Japanese Solid Capacitors, an All-digital Extreme Engine Digi+ III for precise and stable power delivery, 2nd generation T-Topology DRAM for higher memory frequencies under full load, one-click 4-Way Optimization for instant performance tuning, an upgraded RoG UEFI BIOS, which provides user-friendly yet deep modification of PC settings and a SSD Secure Erase for easy data deletion and SSD performance restoration without the compatibility worries created by third-party software. All motherboards also feature the RAMDisk technology, which allows users to convert up to 80% of the available RAM to a ultra-fast data storage with data rates in excess of 10,000MB/s — over 20-times faster than SATA SSD. The heatsinks also have more surface area and are ceramic-coated to add maximisation to the surface area available to the heatsink, while providing better cooling properties. As for the Maximus VI Extreme, a RoG OC Panel also come with the package. The panel, which can either be handheld or mounted into the chassis using a provided 5.25″ bracket, provides live readings of the system, and allows users to fine tune their system to the best performance suited to their tastes. The Maximus VI Extreme will continue with the E-ATX form factor. The Hero will be an ATX, and the Gene will be an mATX, and all feature an mPCI-e WiFi+Bluetooth 4.0 Module with an attachment for an NGFF connection for you mSATA SSD’s.

The TUF Series

PR ASUS TUF Sabertooth Z87

The Z87 Sabertooth

PR ASUS TUF Gryphon Z87 with Gryphon Armor Kit installed

The Z87 Gryphon

The Z87 series have undergone a revamp as well, and a new motherboard joins the family as well. The previous generations of the TUF series have proven their reliability. The new Z87 Sabertooth and the mATX Z87 Gryphon, sets the bar even higher. The two motherboards showcase progressions in the reliability of the  TUF series, such as 10K Black Metallic capacitors and highly survivable chokes and MOSFETs, providing customers long-lasting hardware for intense use in harsh conditions. The motherboards also feature proprietary-designed thermal features to enhance cooling, stability, and reliability. The armor kit, optional in the Gryphon, provides improvements to cooling and dust protection as well. Supporting it at the back of the motherboard is a TUF Fortifier, which is a metal slab designed to provide additional cooling and prevent the PCB from bending when carrying huge coolers and Graphics Cards. The Thermal Armor with Flow Valves is an improvement over the previous thermal armour. Dual fans (located at the center of the board and the back I/O) direct heat away from critical components using smart thermal shunt channeling, and the new Flow Valve allows customers to regulate airflow to make the most of their cooling system of choice. When Flow Valve is closed, it focuses powerful airflow on heatpipes to accelerate passive heat removal, maximizing the efficiency of a CPU liquid cooling kit. For air-based dissipation, opening the valve allows full airflow from a CPU cooler, working together with the Thermal Armor shunt design and included dual fans to enhance cooling performance. Flow Valve signifies another TUF Series innovation that responds to community feedback and accommodates a wider range of cooling systems. The Thermal Radar 2 provides users real-time temperature readings intelligently. In addition to board-embedded sensors, ASUS bundles three thermistor cables with Sabertooth Z87 so users can manually verify heat levels for the graphics card, hard drives, DRAM and other critical components. Thermal Radar 2 comes with a user-friendly utility that enables detailed fan speed adjustments as well as one-click fan performance tuning for optimal cooling in every scenario. Lastly, the Dust Defenders protect more I/O ports than Z77 offerings to ensure maximum longevity of the motherboard through mitigating the adverse effects of dust to peripheral contacts such as those on memory slots, PCI-e slots, and S-ATA ports.

More Connectivity with NFC Express

NFC Express

As Near-field Communication (NFC) becomes commonplace, ASUS has also recognized the opportunity to make desktops as connection-rich as mobile devices. Also on the show was the ASUS NFC Express, a USB 3.0 powered device which lets your desktop perform NFC functions using your desktop. Pairing your system on an NFC-enabled device gives you options to perform NFC functions such as file transfers, mobile device back-ups and more. The included dongle also lets you save one user profile so that when you log into your PC, you can use your mobile device instead of typing long arrays of characters. What’s more, the device also features 2 USB 3.0 ports for additional storage or peripherals.

So. For those who want an upgrade that’s worthwhile to acquire yet pocket-friendly, ASUS may have what you exactly need. You simply have to pick and tinkle your senses.

*Disclaimer: images and parts of the article are sourced from ASUS Philippines, to assure accuracy of information to be published herein.

For pricing of the new motherboards in the Philippines, see the attached document. AVAILABILITY

ASUS Philippines to officially launch Z87 Motherboard Line-up

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The 4th Generation Intel Core Processors, and its companion, the Z87 Chipset has finally arrived. And now, it’s hitting the Philippine shores. As such, ASUS Philippines has prepared a welcome party for it, as they launch their slew of Z87 motherboards that cater to various levels of PC enthusiasts. Also to be launched at the event are the evolution of the famed ASUS motherboard technologies such as the Dual Intelligent Processors IV, which features an improved TPU and EPU for the best power efficiency and performance of the system, and the RoG Series Motherboards which incorporate improved cooling and connectivity features, among others. The event will be an exclusive one, but if you really long to see the Z87, here are some pictures for you to drool on. Enjoy. 🙂

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