ASUS FonePad preview: smartphone and/or tablet

With the FonePad, ASUS has a product in the relatively new segment of very large smartphones. We tested the it to find out exactly what it offers. Is it really a 7in smartphone, or is it more akin to a tablet that you can also use to call people with?

When you say ASUS and 7in devices, the first thing that comes to mind is the Nexus 7, the tablet that ASUS together with Google released last year. The FonePad is the same size and costs about as much as the Nexus 7. On our website it's listed for an average price of £235.

The size of the screen and the sticker price are the only two things those two have in common, however. That's obvious right when you take it out of the box. The FonePad is constructed out of aluminium instead of plastic, and in our opinion looks better than the Nexus 7. At the top there's a plastic strip that has a two-fold function. It allows the various antennas to receive a proper signal, but you can also remove it in order to access the slots for the microSD and SIM cards. The FonePad has 16GB of internal storage, of which a little more than half is available from the start. Putting a microSD card in the smartphone is therefore not such a bad idea.

On the back there's a 3-megapixel camera without flash, which you shouldn't expect too much from. The camera on the front is 1.2 MP, enough for video calling. The only connectors on the FonePad are a Micro USB port for charging the phone and connecting it to a computer, and a headphone jack. They're both located on the bottom of the FonePad. On the left side there's the power switch along with volume buttons. These are the only physical buttons. There's a speaker grille above the screen, which indicates you can indeed hold the 7in phone against your ear.

This is not the first very large phone on the market, however. The first 7in Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Galaxy Tab 2 from last year and the more recent Galaxy Note 8.0 could do the same. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 also functions as a phone, but you can't hold it against your ear and instead need to use a headset. You can read the rest of ASUS FonePad preview on Hardware.info.