The voice-calling tablet segment is growing with a number of launches from both Indian and international manufacturers such as Samsung, Micromax, Lenovo, and Karbonn.
Asus, following suit, has now launched a refreshed version of its popular Fonepad 7 tablet in a dual-SIM avatar dubbed Fonepad 7 Dual SIM for the Indian market. The Taiwanese tablet maker clearly seems determined to get some market share in India.
Following the strategy, Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM has been launched at a price of Rs. 12,999, similar to Samsung's new Galaxy Tab3 Neo tablet which is currently retailing at Rs. 12,740 and is a single SIM device.
It's worth pointing out that the Asus Fonepad tablet line-up now has three generations: the first iteration of the Fonepad tablet with voice-calling support was announced at MWC last year, while the second generation was announced at IFA in 2013, featuring 3G support and lastly, the third generation unveiled at MWC this year.
As the name suggests, the Fonepad 7 Dual SIM tablet supports dual-SIM functionality. Much like the original Fonepad, the new Fonepad 7 Dual SIM comes with an Intel processor, supports voice-calling and in addition, comes with 3G support.
The new Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM tablet takes some of its design cues from the original Fonepad. Sadly, the Taiwanese maker has again chosen an all-plastic body for the new Fonepad 7 Dual SIM tablet, which is a disappointed compared to the original Fonepad, which featured a brushed aluminium finish at the back.
The first noticeable thing about the Fonepad 7 Dual SIM is it looks rather similar to the Fonepad 7, especially from the front, except that the latter featured dual front speakers. In fact, we were disappointed to find them missing from the new Fonepad 7 variant.
You will find the power/ lock screen and volume rocker buttons located on the right side (in portrait mode) of the Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM embedded within the plastic part, again, similar to the Fonepad 7 (second generation). Both the SIM slots accompanied by the microSD card slot are beneath a plastic flap on the right panel. The Fonepad 7 Dual SIM takes two Micro-SIMs.
The top panel houses the 3.5mm audio jack and the charging port, while the microphone is placed on the bottom panel. Notably, the charging slot on the Fonepad and Fonepad 7 tablets were located on the bottom panel.
Unlike the original Fonepad, the camera lens on the Fonepad 7 Dual SIM tablet does not protrudes out and also misses a flash. We finally see the rear camera flush against the back panel, which can protect the camera lens from scratches.
The Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM packs a 5-megapixel rear autofocus camera. Also onboard is a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera.
In our limited testing, the rear camera performed reasonably well in good light conditions, while missed details in low-light situations. The camera interface on the Fonepad 7 Dual SIM tablet is simple and it seems that Asus has not applied many tweaks to the default camera app. Some of the shooting modes on the Fonepad 7 Dual SIM camera app include single shot, panorama, beauty face, smile shot and night mode.
The Fonepad 7 Dual SIM runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box; while the Fonepad 7 was based on Android 4.2.2 and the original Fonepad 7 ran Android 4.1.2. It is an incremental increase in the Android software version.
Asus' floating apps are back with the Fonepad 7 Dual SIM, which are much like the Samsung 'multi-window' and Sony 'small apps' interfaces. The floating apps on the new Fonepad 7 include utility apps such as calculator, countdown timer, stick memo, stopwatch, browser and video player.
The new Asus Fonepad 7 is powered by a dual-core Intel 'Clover Trail+' Atom Z2520 processor, the same chipset that powers the Fonepad 7 (second generation), clocked at 1.2GHz alongside 1GB of RAM.
There is 8GB of inbuilt storage, while Asus is also offering 16GB Asus WebStorage cloud storage for one-year.
Overall, the two biggest upgrades in the Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM are Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and the dual-SIM support. Stay tuned for a detailed review on NDTV Gadgets.
Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM in pictures