Look and feel
Although its plastic finish belies its budget price, the Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 is a solidly built lightweight device that can take a knock or two.
Ease of Use
The MeMO Pad HD 7’s seven-inch screen is perfectly responsive and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean runs well.
We were highly impressed to see dual cameras on the MeMO Pad HD 7 considering that low price, plus a variety of useful software.
A quad-core processor beats every other budget tablet bar the Nexus 7, and can handle all of your apps, games and HD content.
The Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 is incredibly portable thanks to its ten-hour battery life, one of the best efforts we’ve seen on a tablet.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,8/8/2013 1:18:04 PM
Ease of use
Fantastic battery life
Screen could be brighter
Asus teamed up with Google once again for the impressive-looking Nexus 7 2 tablet, which boasts the world’s highest resolution seven-inch screen for around £200. However, on the side Asus has also been working on the MeMO Pad HD 7, another seven-incher that packs similar quad-core performance, front and rear-facing cameras and a scaled-back HD screen for just £120. That’s an incredible price for the specs and features on offer.
Splash of colour
The Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 looks like most other seven-inch tablets from the front, including the original Nexus 7. The glossy black bezel picks up fingerprints like a boss, but provides enough space to comfortably clutch the tablet, with only a tiny Asus logo breaking up the design. However, flip over the MeMO Pad HD 7 and your eyeballs will be treated to a feast of vibrancy. Our review tablet came in green, but you can bag yourself one in white, blue, pink and gray also. We have to admit the green was a little too close to Exorcist green for our liking, but the pink and blue models look fantastic.
The plastic finish isn’t a patch on the Nexus 7’s rubber backing, and hints at the tablet’s budget roots, but at the same time it’s solidly constructed and can take some punishment. The power and volume buttons are tucked away at the back, which can make them a little difficult to find at first, but you soon get used to the slightly awkward positioning. A micro USB port can be used to charge the tablet or swap files, and a microSD memory card slot expands the 16GB of storage.
Some people may prefer nine to ten inch tablets such as Apple’s iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, but we find that seven inches feels just about perfect. You can comfortably clutch it one-handed when rammed on the commuter train, and the screen is still big enough to enjoy a movie. At 302g, the MeMO Pad 7 is light enough to hold for hours without aching your arm.
While the Nexus 7 2 has gone crazy with a full 1920 x 1200 resolution, the MeMO Pad HD 7 opts for a more restrained 1280 x 800 panel. That’s the same as the original Nexus 7 tablet and Kindle Fire HD, and is only marginally beaten by the Barnes & Noble Nook HD.
You still get a great HD viewing experience, however. Images are sharp and clean, with no pixellation or roughness to speak of. Colours are realistically reproduced on the default screen settings and you can even enhance colours to make them really stand out using Asus’ ‘Splendid’ app. Our only complaint is that the screen could be brighter, as harsh sunlight glares back off the display and makes it difficult to enjoy movies or play games.
The MeMO Pad HD 7 also comes packing dual stereo speakers, housed around the back of the device. They’re surprisingly powerful for tablet speakers, with good all-round audio quality, and they definitely do the job if you’re listening to music at your desk or relaxing with a movie.
Of course, none of this media magnificence is much use if the tablet dies half an hour after unplugging it. Good thing then that the MeMO Pad HD 7 keeps going for ages – in fact, we managed ten whole hours of video streaming on top brightness, an effort equalled by few other tablets. Only the iPad Mini has shown similar stamina in recent times.
The MeMO Pad HD 7 also packs a punchy 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which can blaze through apps and browse the internet without any pesky stuttering or other issues. HD movies also play with buttery smoothness, and we tried downloading some of the latest games from Google Play, which played with perfect frame rates. The MeMO Pad 7 should be able to keep up for the foreseeable future, all the more impressive given this tablet’s £120 pricetag.
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean also runs smoothly and looks great, with only minimal tweaking by Asus. You get a selection of pre-installed apps that are lovingly referred to as ‘bloatware’ in the industry, which some people will enjoy and some people will want to immediately delete to free up some storage space. These include lots of Asus’ own apps such as ‘Asus Story’ (an interactive digital photo album) and ‘Asus Studio’ (a photo editing tool with lots of filters and basic tools).
You get the usual great selection of widgets too, for decorating your desktops, while the notification bar has been customised by Asus to include plenty of helpful settings, including brightness/volume adjustment and quick access to your Wi-Fi settings.
Most seven-inch tablets forgo a rear-facing camera to cut costs, but the MeMO Pad HD 7 comes with two cameras, a rear-facing five-megapixel effort as well as a basic front-facer for video chats. That’s the same specs as the more expensive Nexus 7 2, which further highlights the excellent value on offer.
Although taking shots with a tablet still seems unnatural, at least wielding a seven-incher while organising your family into order isn’t too uncomfortable. The rear camera takes decent shots, which look reasonably crisp when viewed back on a TV. You get plenty of tools and settings too – you can shoot in HDR mode, add funky effects that distort or enhance colours, and take panorama photos. You can also shoot 1080p high definition video.
The likes of Google, Amazon and Barnes & Noble have released some excellent budget tablets in the past twelve months, but the Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 has truly smashed its way onto the scene offering incredible value for money. Just £130 nets you a quad-core device with a crisp and colourful screen, dual cameras and incredible battery life.