The backside of the Fonepad looks quite different to the dotted rubber of the Nexus 7. It has a metal rear cover which comes in two colours. It feels like a premium device. Overall build quality is just as good. The Fonepad is pretty thin and light making it easy to hold in one hand.
The Fonepad has a 7in IPS display with a resolution of 1280 by 800 and is powered by a dual core Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM. The tablet runs running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean well enough, although we did notice some lag when scrolling.
The Fonepad will be available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB models. There's a microSD card slot for expansion. Also included is 5GB of Asus WebStorage, free for life.
Cameras are pretty low spec at 3Mp rear and 1.3Mp front facing. This isn't great considering most users rely on their smartphone's camera for day to day snaps.
Asus has loaded the Fonepad with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is almost the latest version. However, it's not vanilla Android. The interface is similar to that of Asus' Transformer Pad range of tablets – good looking. Everything is where you would expect it to be and there's an extra button alongside the usual back, home and menu. This extra button is for Floating Apps, which is a bit like having windows on your PC desktop.
Apart from looking a bit stupid by holding a 7in tablet to your face to have a phone call, we see another issue if you're planning to have one device to be your smartphone and tablet. At 7in the Fonepad is a small tablet and a huge phone, it's not really pocket-sized which means you'll need to carry it around in bag and this is going to make it difficult to know when you're being called or have received a text message or similar notification.
What it does do is solve the problem of having to spend shed loads of money to be able to own a decent smartphone and tablet. At £179 we can see this as a viable option for those wanting this hybrid offering.