Is it a stretch to claim that the Asus-made Google Nexus 7 revolutionized Android tablets? While there were plenty of brand-name budget Android tablet before the Nexus 7 (the Amazon Kindle Fire and Lenovo IdeaPad A1 come to mind), none offered the same combination of price and performance as the Asus and Google tablet.
Now at Computex Taipei, Asus is looking to do that again by announcing another, less expensive, Android tablet: the Asus MeMo Pad HD 7, which is going to start at a scant $130.
For that, users will get Android 4.2, a 1.2 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A7 CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 1280 x 800 IPS display, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing digicam, and 8GB of storage, which is nearly identical to the original $199 Nexus 7. The MeMo Pad one-ups the older Android tablet with a 5-megapixel rear shooter and a microSD card slot.
Asus Chairman Jonney Shih claimed that this model is aimed at emerging markets, which does not include the U.S. But emerged markets won’t be left out. A 16GB unit is scheduled to arrive in Q3 for $150.
During a hands-on session at Computex, TabletPCReview found something big the Nexus 7 has over the new MeMo Pad, and that’s stock Android. While Asus did not identify the custom UI overlay, it’s definitely present, and it cheapens the already cheap tablet.
In fact, the glossy plastic build of the pink, green, and white MeMo Pads also lends to the budget feel. It’s very similar to the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 in that regard. Oddly, the dark slate unit has a textured back, which is much preferable.
The Asus MeMo Pad HD 7’s display is also reminiscient of the IdeaPad A1, and that’s not a good thing. The prototype we tested looked fuzzy and washed out, belying the HD in its name. Though to be fair, this was under the harsh lights of the Computex show floor.
On a positive note, it performed well in casual testing, and Asus is lending its reputable SonicMaster audio branding to the stereo speakers, so TPCR won’t complain too loudly.
The Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 is expected to begin shipping in July. It will have competition in another recent budget Android tablet, the HP Slate 7, and of course, the Nexus 7.
Looking for something a little bigger? Don’t miss our Asus MeMo Pad FHD 10 Hands-On Preview from Computex.