When it comes to phablet, or tablet, ASUS is the company that came out these products often, even more often than a smartphone. Hence, it's not surprising to know that it is the No.1 manufacturer selling tablet in Malaysia. ASUS recently has added a new edition in the Fonepad family, which features 8" display for the first time.
The Key Specifications...
- 8" WXGA (1,280 x 800) IPS display
- 1.33 GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3530 64-bit processor
- 1 GB RAM
- 8 GB internal storage
- Micro SD card slot
- 5 MP rear camera with 720p video recording
- 2 MP front camera
- 15.2 Wh battery
- Android 4.4 KitKat with ZenUI
Handling is Good, an 8" Tablet though
ASUS categorizes the Fonepad 8 as a phablet instead tablet, there's a reason behind of it. Besides having dual SIM slots for making phone calls and sending SMS, the Fonepad 8 has good handling despite having an 8" display.
Well it all thanks to the high screen-to-body ratio and narrow bezels. Without both, the handling of the Fonepad 8 won't be good.
Looking at the back of the phablet, you'll see there's texture to provide better grip when holding. Just as usual there will be Intel logo at the bottom of the device.
Looking at the left side of the phablet, there's a flap covering the two SIM slots and Micro SD card slot.
The right side of the phablet has a volume rocker and power button just as usual. Both actually placing nearly back of the phablet, which enhances your pressing experience.
However, there's a gap at the side of it, which allows dust to enter and you'll see under the glass that covers the screen.
Average Display with Vivid Colors
The Fonepad 8 sports an 8" WXGA (1,280 x 800) IPS display with anti-fingerprint coating. With ASUS Splendid software, you are able to adjust the screen color temperature and more.
The display is visible at outdoor and viewing angle has been a disadvantage in the Fonepad series, but this time the Fonepad 8 manages to perform well. Although the resolution is not so high, but it's good enough for reading text on browser and watching video, it won't be as good as device with 1080p display if you used to watching video on such high resolution display.
64-bit Processor is Good, but 1 GB RAM is a Downside
Powering the Fonepad 8 is a 1.33 GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3530 64-bit processor with 1 GB of RAM. Looking at the processor, it should be okay for normal operating without any major lag. However, after using the device, it's far behind the expectation.
Doing some simple task or playing games is not a big deal on the Fonepad 8. The device appears to have lagging here and there, and you need to keep clearing the RAM in order to use it with lesser hiccup. The processing package may not be the one to blame, maybe it's because ZenUI lacks of optimization, which we will talk about it next.
Quadrant Standard - 12,309
AnTuTu Benchmark - 37,626
ASUS ZenUI - Disappointment
The Fonepad 8 is running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat with ASUS ZenUI on top. Just as we said previously, there are hiccups and lagging here and there. The processor seems not efficient enough to handle the task, but we often check the amount of RAM being used even though we just opened a few apps that only require light memory, and it shows that the available RAM always less than 200 MB.
By judging from the available RAM, it seems that the ZenUI lacks of optimization. ASUS may solve it by doubled up the RAM, but the price of Fonepad 8 will go up too.
With that, the only solution for ASUS is to optimize the ZenUI on top of Android 4.4 KitKat or even later Android version. Additionally, there's no way to switch the runtime from Dalvik to ART.
ZenUI has nice looking app icons and it feels simple. With the latest ASUS Launcher update, you are able to change the icons look and even more transitions are added.
Different apps have different color schemes, the reason behind it is because for easy recognizing and use the app you want. The color of notification bar will change depends on what app you are using.
Much like ZenFone, there's a button to clear all apps in the recent apps screen. Overall ZenUI is nice and simple, but ASUS need to work more on optimizing the system.
Average Camera Without PixelMaster Tech
The Fonepad 8 packs a 5 MP rear camera and 2 MP front camera, for this time there's no LED flash and PixelMaster technology.
The camera quality is average without much disappointments, it's because we don't expect much on its camera performance. Noise is noticeable even in extremely good lighting condition, but it doesn't affect the quality of the image. If you are the one who just upload photos to social media, the Fonepad 8 did just good enough.
Battery Life is Good
Battery should be the only thing to praise about the Fonepad 8, it has a pretty good battery standby with 2% of battery consumption for 10 hours standby.
With average usage like watching videos and browsing web, you should easily go through 1 day of battery life.
The ASUS Fonepad 8 is priced at RM 699, you can get it from ASUS Malaysia online store here. So is it worth to buy, well it's all up to you. The Fonepad 8 is capable of slotting two SIM cards and making phone calls or text messages like a phone, plus it has good handling. The only downside is the device appears hiccups frequently, but fingercross ASUS will fix it in future software update.
- Nice handling
- Good battery life
- Disappointing user experience
- Imperfect built
Written by: Charles