The Bottom Line
Aug 5 2013 - With a surprisingly low $149 price tag, the ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 is a budget tablet that actually doesn't skimp. In effect, it offers an experience close to that of the original Nexus 7 at a lower price. It features a very nice 7-inch display, good battery life and even a high resolution back camera. There are a number of compromises made to the tablet though including performance that lags in some tasks, especially gaming, and its still image quality is much less than many more expensive tablets that have similar resolution camera.
- Well Priced
- Surprisingly Good Display
- High Resolution Back Camera
- Sluggish Performance At Times
- Screen Has Glare Issues
- Still Image Quality Leaves Much To Be Desired
- 1.2GHz MediaTek MT8125 (Cortex-A7) Quad Core Processor
- 1GB Memory
- 16GB Storage
- 7" WXGA (1280x800) Multitouch Display
- 1.2 Megapixel Front Camera, 5.0 Megapixel Rear Camera
- PowerVR SGX 544MP1 Graphics
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth v4.0
- micro-USB, micro-SD Slot, 3.5mm Audio Jack
- 7.8" x 4.7" x .44" @ .66 lbs.
- Android 4.2
Review - ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7
Aug 5 2013 - ASUS is no stranger to the tablet market. They have been producing their Transformer series for some time and they also manufacture the Nexus 7 for Googlel. The MeMO Pad lineup is the company's low cost option and the MeMO Pad HD 7 is a relatively feature rich tablet with some very basic designs. It looks like most other tablets with a black bordered glass front and a back plastic case that can be found in white, blue, green and pink. All versions are glossy except for the blue version that uses a matte surface. It doesn't have the same premium level feel as other ASUS tablets but it is fairly well built. It is very light with just two thirds of a pound in weight making it one of the lightest but it does have a fairly thick profile of .44-inches.
Powering the ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 is a 1.2GHz MediaTek processor that uses the Cortex-A7 design from ARM but features four instead of a more typical two cores common in the budget class of tablets. This may seem like it should give it more performance but the lower Cortex-A7 holds it back a bit so that it is not as fast as many of the slightly more expensive tablets like the Nexus 7 or even the ;Kindle Fire HD. It will be fine enough for those that will primarily be using the tablet for media watching or browsing the web but it will be held back if you want to use it for mobile gaming as well.
Where the ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 certainly does not feel like a budget class tablet is the display. The 7-inch display uses a nice IPS technology screen that provides it with a good color and nice viewing angles. The resolution is a fairly typical 1280x800 resolution found in many Android tablets in this price range but it certainly does not have the same level of detail and clarity that is found on the newly redesigned Nexus 7 with its super high 1920x1200 display. One thing to be aware of is that the glossy front panel does not appear to have that same level of anti-reflective quality as some other tablets. This did make it a bit more difficult to use in areas that would produce a fair amount of glare and reflections such as outdoors.
Cameras are typically an afterthought for the budget class tablet market but ASUS offers a surprisingly high resolution five megapixel back camera to go along with the 1.2 megapixel front camera. There is no flash and there are still many compromises to the camera. For instance, it is not good in low light like many tablet cameras but even with bright light, colors don't always seem very vibrant. Video from the back camera can do a high bit rate 1080p high definition video with reasonably good quality. The only problem is that fast motion can cause focusing and blurring of the image.
The battery for the ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 is a fairly typical 15WHr capacity rating which is common for this size range. In looping video playback, the tablet was able to run for just over ten hours. This is quite good for a tablet of this size and is attributed to the lower power requirements of the Cortex-A7 processor that it uses. It still doesn't reach the amazing twelve hours that the Apple iPad Mini can achieve but that tablet is over twice the cost of this one.
On the software front, the MeMO Pad HD 7 ships with a version of the Android 4.2 operating system. This is fairly reasonably but it is a bit disappointing as the new Google Nexus 7 which launched around the same time comes with a newer 4.3 version that while looks very similar does add some profiles, improved Bluetooth peripheral support and improved software support for things like high resolution streaming. It also features the various ASUS software and skins that can be found over the stock Android interface. This is either something users will like for streamlining adjusting settings or disruptive for the sheer number of tools installed.
Pricing for the MeMO Pad HD 7 is an amazing low $149. While there are less expensive tablets out there, they tend to sacrifice the screen performance and build quality. The biggest competition from its price point is going to come from the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch which often is discounted to around $180 and can be found as low as $159 on occasion. It offers a much sturdier tablet that includes improved wireless networking features and slightly better performance but a very different operating system geared towards Amazon's services. The next step up would be the new Google Nexus 7 that is certainly much more expensive at $229 but offers a thinner profile, better performance, a very high resolution screen and better networking.