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Asus Fonepad 7 LTE video review: 7 inch tablet works as a phone is good but not great

Starting at £199, it does seem a little overpriced, particularly compared with Asus's own impressive £120 Asus MemoPad 7. However, that model does lack the SIM-card slot so there's no 3G/4G connectivity or ability to make phone calls and send texts.

The Asus FonePad 7 LTE comes in just black or white. We tested the black unit of the Fonepad, which has a slightly sparkly, textured finish on its plastic back. Unfortunately, we think it looks cheap and quite tacky.

According to Asus, the Fonepad's display has an anti-fingerprint coating, but during our testing we found that smudges and fingerprints showed up more than we'd like them to on the reflective screen.

The overall design and build of the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE is solid and reasonably attractive, though the bezels around the display are a little thick for our liking.

It's a great size overall, measuring 198 x 120mm, but it's thicker than many rival tablets at 10.5mm.

It also feels heavy, at 333g compared with the 295g of the Memo Pad 7, though that's only two grams heavier than the larger 7.9in iPad mini.

Additionally, if you're planning on using the Fonepad 7 to make phone calls without using the speakerphone functionality or plugging in headphones, you've got to hold that huge device up to your ear. Not only does it look very silly, it's also extremely uncomfortable, especially if you're a bit of a chatterbox – a Bluetooth headset or headphones with a built-in mic will be a good investment.

The Asus Fonepad 7 LTE has a 7in HD display with a 1280 x 800 resolution IPS panel, making a 216ppi pixel density just like its Memo Pad 7 sibling. It's a bit disappointing when you compared that with the Nexus 7's 323ppi display, and even the Tesco Hudl's 243ppi. However, we found the screen to be bright enough and crisp enough to comfortably enjoy watching movies, browsing the web and viewing photographs.

Inside the Asus Fonepad is a 2x2 Intel Atom Multi-core Z2560 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, and paired with 1GB of RAM. That's not quite as impressive as the MemoPad 7's Quad-core 1.86GHz 64-bit processor, but it's still pretty good for a tablet of this price.

We still found that the Fonepad 7 LTE coped with most tasks we threw at it, launching apps quickly on most occasions, even the Camera app.

You'll get the option of either 8GB or 16GB internal memory, but it's not a decision you'll need to take too seriously, as there's a microSD slot for adding up to an extra 64GB storage if you need it. The Nexus 7 doesn't have the option of adding storage via microSD, so this is a real selling point for the Fonepad 7 LTE.

Dual front-facing speakers on the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE are a real boon, meaning better sound than most tablets, which tend to have a lone speaker situated on the back instead. It'll mean a better experience while watching movies, for example, and is ideal for taking or making calls over loudspeaker.

The Asus Fonepad 7 LTE has rear- and front-facing cameras. The rear-facing camera is 5Mp like the Memo Pad 7 and iPad mini, and produces surprisingly reasonable results.

The Fonepad is capable of capturing video at 1080p, and we were really pleased with the videos we captured using the device. On the front of the Fonepad 7 LTE is a 1.2Mp camera, ideal for video calls, with 720p video recording.

We're pleased to see that Asus has given the Fonepad 7 LTE an Android 4.4 KitKat update complete with the new Asus ZenUI that we loved on the Memo Pad 7. We particularly like the What's Next and Do It Later apps that Asus provides.A

We were quite impressed by the battery life of the Fonepad 7 LTE during our testing. Asus says that it'll last for 11.5 hours of constant use, or 735 hours in standby.

There's also the Power Saver app to help conserve battery life even more, providing 'Smart Saving' options that you can customise to suit your preferences.

For anyone looking for a 7in tablet that can make phone calls, the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE is certainly worth a look.

If you're just looking for a 7in tablet, you'll find better elsewhere. We really liked Asus's £120 Memo Pad 7, and we also love the Nexus 7. 

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