The Asus Fonepad was announced alongside the third-gen Asus Padfone Infinity at the MWC show in Barcelona and T3 was there to take a closer look.
While the Padfone is a product that want a phone first and a tablet second, the Fonepad is aimed at those who want a tablet with the ability to make phone calls. Yep, that's right. You can make phone calls by holding the 7-inch tablet up to your ear, drawing inevitable Trigger Happy TV comparisons. While it might be an unusual approach, the £179 price tag can't be ignored.
Asus Fonepad: Size and build
The Android 4.1-toting tablet weighs in at 340g, so it's fairly sleek and the 10.4mm profile means that it's not the slimmest 7-incher around but it's certainly not too chunky. It doesn't quite have the premium looks of the iPad Mini, but it may prove to be a rival to the brand's own Google Nexus 7.
The Fonepad sports a Metallic finish and will be available in either 'titanium grey' or 'champagne gold'.
Asus Fonepad: Features
The tab/phone hybrid packs built-in 3G along with a noise-cancelling digital microphone, or you can use an optional Bluetooth headset if you don't want to look quite so ridiculous.
According to Asus, the Fonepad will give you up to nine hours of battery life - obvisouly that's something we'll be putting to the test as soon as we can get our hands on a full review sample. The device is powered by an Intel Atom Z2420 chip, which has been designed specifically to offer low power consumption.
While the US model will include a rear-facing 3MP camera, the UK version will only have a front-facing cam. We're not sure it's wise to omit the camera on a device that hopes to be a replacement for your phone, seeing as smartphones cameras are such an important selling point nowadays. You'll have to make do with a 1.2MP front-facing snapper.
The UK version will have 16GB of on-board storage, along with a micro SD slot for an extra 32GB.
Asus Fonepad: Screen
The 7-inch screen uses IPS tech for a wide 178-degree viewing angle, along with a respectable 1280x800-pixel resolution. The screen looked reasonable enough, although it didn't quite have the vibrancy of more expensive tabs like the iPad Mini.
Asus Fonepad: Verdict
At first glance, the Fonepad looks like a fairly standard 7-inch tab that's unlikley to worry the likes of the iPad Mini or take sales away from the device's Nexus 7 stable mate. And while, the ability to make voice calls is an interesting inclusion, we can't really see many people actually using the device as a phone. However, the £179 price tag is hard to ignore. Stay tuned for a full review.
Asus Fonepad release date: Mid-April 2013
Asus Fonepad price: £179