Friday, 24 October 2014

PB REVIEW: ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7

I had the opportunity to try out the ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7.

Yvonne says I'm a bit of a geek, so I will keep this technical bit short and get on with something a little more interesting to read ;)

It is an Android tablet with a 7" screen, it has a 5MP camera (and a 1.2MP front camera). It's lightweight at 300g. It has Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean). It has a quad core 1.2 GHz processor, 1GB memory and comes with 8GB or 16 GB storage options. 


I regularly use a 7" Android tablet so it was interesting using the MeMO Pad. I found it to be lightweight and easy to hold, although not especially thin. If you normally use an iPad you would probably find the screen rather small, but you would soon find it is comfortable to use for extended periods.

It comes in a variety of colours to suit your personal style. The case has a slightly cheap feeling to it as it is just plastic, with plastic buttons, but it does mean it is nice and lightweight.

The MeMO Pad doesn't have a sim card slot, so you will only be able to access the internet via WiFi. This isn't much of a problem with so many places offering free WiFi (coffee shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, etc).

One thing that I noticed was a lack of light sensor. Normally a tablet's screen will brighten and dim depending on the brightness of where you are using it. This helps make it more visible in well lit areas and saves battery & prevents an overly bright screen in a less well lit area. Unfortunately this tablet doesn't have this feature and you must manually adjust the brightness.

The Memo Pad has no flash, which means indoor photo's can be a little disappointing. The main camera overall wasn't bad, at 5 MP it's fairly average for phones and tablets. The auto focus was a little slow as was the time from pressing to take a picture until it took it. This does mean that action shots will be below average.



I liked that the USB charging/data socket was at the top. Often they are at the bottom and it makes it awkward to use while charging - you can easily damage the cable by leaning it on yourself. But this tablet has it at the top which, although seems rather insignificant, does make a difference when you use it while charging.

I was pleased to see the tablet has a Micro SD socket, giving you up to 64GB of extra space. It surprises me how fast 16 GB can fill up so I wish mine had this. I did notice that it doesn't have a cover of any sort over the socket, so it would be a good idea to always have a micro SD card it - just to prevent dirt and damage.

I was surprised how much I like the keyboard. Asus have made it much nicer to use than the standard Android keyboard. The keys seem much easier to hit, the word prediction seems to do well and gives a whole row of suggestions as you type.

I used the 'launcher' (the main interface that you see when you turn it on and when you arent using an app). It seemed fairly average, it had 5 screens to swipe between, giving plenty of space for shortcuts to your favourite apps and games and space for widgets, too. It was nice and responsive with no delays. I wasn't too keen on the notification drawer. This is the thing you swipe down to see notifications, such as the ones telling you that you have an email. Asus's customisation of this was a rather large pull down drawer that just didn't feel right. It did have some useful shortcuts on it, to turn Bluetooth on and off etc, but seemed a little too big for when you just want to see what a notification says. There was an option to switch it off, which I did, and then it felt like "normal" Android.

If you don't like the way the launcher looks then there are many other choices in the Google Play Store so it's no problem to make it more to your own taste.

There were some power management options which help the battery last longer, but I found it lasted well anyway. I am used to charging my phone and tablet everyday and this tablet seemed to last well between charges.

I played a number of 2d and 3d games as well as using various apps. I found games ran smoothly; rarely, if ever, slowing down or going jumpy. All the top games on the Play Store worked well. All the apps I tried ran well, too.


Browsing the internet was fine, too. Sites loaded and displayed quickly. I used both Chrome and Firefox on it and they both worked marvellously. I tried YouTube and found videos played smoothly, even the HD ones at full screen.

The touchscreen worked well - I tapped, the tablet responded. The tablet remained responsive to my taps and I never found myself wondering if I was waiting for something to happen or if an app was waiting for me.

I was pleased to see it wasn't overloaded with initial apps. Sometimes tablets and phones have dozens of apps that come preinstalled, with no way to uninstall. The MeMo pad didn't have many, just a few to get you started. 

Being an Android tablet means that you get all the usual Google apps such as Gmail. You obviously get Google's Play Store giving you access to 1000's and 1000's of apps and games. You can opt for other sources of apps, too; such as Amazon's app market, App Brain, Slide Me or F Droid.

Overall I would definitely recommend this tablet. It is much cheaper than the iPad Mini and many other Android tablets, too. It isn't the fastest and doesn't have the most memory but I would say it is more than adequate for 90% of users.

The Asus MeMo Pad can be found in various online retailers including Amazon for about £109


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