Asus is one of those Asian computer manufacturers that has created good brand awareness and produces some really cool stuff. It has always been prepared to take a design risk be it devices like the original Eee notebooks to the newer Transformers and VivoTabs. In fact their range is probably the most comprehensive of any with Ultrabooks, notebooks, tablets, all-in-ones, two-in-ones, motherboards, graphics cards, monitors, projectors, audio and networking.
Is the new K004 Fonepad a large phone or a mini-tablet? I am hesitant to make such a call, as it is a very competent phone, especially for people with big fingers. But I tend to think that is a better mini-tablet with 2G/3G capability and therefore a better candidate to use with a pre-paid data card.
It is interesting on a number of counts:
- It uses an Intel Atom Z2420 1.2GHz, single core, 2 hyper-threads (emulates a dual core) and PowerVR SGX 540 400MHz graphics. It is no slouch.
- The Intel processor enables 9 hours battery life. I got five with everything switched on i.e. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and using it as a phone. Nine hours playing video should be achievable.
- As a phone, it will last 32.4 hours on 3G (all Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off) and 751 hours standby. It has 3G HSPA+ 21/5.76Mbps down/upload and 2G EDGE/GSM so it will work almost everywhere overseas.
- It has 1GB ram and 8GB storage. The OS and installed apps leave a little over 4GB free so the microSD slot (up to 32GB) is useful.
- The camera is 1.2MP front and 3MP rear for 720p recording.
- Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 3.0 (not the latest AC or BT low power version but that is OK) and you can use it as a portable hot spot.
- 7”, 1280x800 IPS screen is effective and has an outdoor brightness setting that uses a little more battery power.
- It has the usual GPS/Glonass, shock, compass, proximity, and ambient light sensors. It could be a great in-car device.
It is loaded with apps – too many to list but assume it has all the Google apps, social networking apps, and navigation. Like any Android devices, it is a Trojan for delivering advertising but you get enured to that.
It will just fit into my pants pocket but don't try to sit down - pocketability is not its strong suit. As a mini tablet, I think it is a winner.
My only minor issue is that it does not support a digitiser pen (so few tablets do) and I am growing to like that (like the Samsung Note series). A stylus allows for handwriting and drawing.
In many respects is it very similar to the Nexus 7 (also made by Asus) but the Asus fonepad has a rear camera, phone and is technically more advanced.