The specs of the Asus MeMO Pad 7 LTE are hardly eye-popping, but they’re still solid. Powered by an upgraded – compared to the last MeMO Pad 7 model – Intel Atom quad core processor that clocks in at 1.3 GHz, the tablet also sports 16 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM. Admittedly, the latter is a bit of a weak point as far as on-paper specs are concerned.
In reality, however, the tablet performs just fine. Multitasking worked well since there was so little slowdown when launching multiple apps or switching between them, and web browsing was smooth and efficient for the most part.
In our tests, AT&T’s 4G LTE speeds left something to be desired at times, but that’s more of an issue with the carrier than with the device itself, and they will also vary quite a bit depending on your location.
The only noticeable performance issue was that the tablet would heat up a bit during intensive or extended use.
The 4G version of the MeMO Pad 7 runs Google Android 4.4 KitKat, a slightly out-of-date version as Android 5.1 Lollipop is the most current. That said, about 40% of all Android devices still run KitKat, so this model is hardly obsolete.
Asus’ Android skin, ZenUI, is unobtrusive to a point, but it’s not completely ideal. Aesthetic elements of Google’s standard user interface remain intact, and for the most part whatever you don’t like can usually be disabled; for example, Asus’ calendar app, What’s Next, can be removed from your lock screen if you want to avoid clutter.
Certain organizational aspects are altered, however — namely, the notifications/quick settings tray. Instead of being able to swipe down anywhere from the top of the screen to see both the quick settings (WiFi, Bluetooth, auto-rotate, etc.) and notifications at the same time, there are two different pull-down menus. Swiping down from the left of the top of the screen accesses the notifications, while swiping down from the right pulls down the quick settings. It’s an unnecessary, inconvenient breakdown of what should be easily accessible facets of the OS.
As for the preloaded software, Android comes with a suite of apps for web browsing, email, personal information management… all the basics are covered.
However, there’s a fair amount of bloatware — Yellow Pages app, anyone? — so be prepared to have those take up some space (while they can be disabled, they can never be completely removed). That said, the one nice inclusion is AT&T’s home screen widget that very clearly tracks data usage over the course of the billing cycle; it’s a particularly useful feature on a tablet what’s defining feature is its 4G LTE connectivity.
Although the quality of the MeMO Pad 7 LTE’s front- and rear-facing cameras themselves is mediocre at best – graininess in even slightly low lighting abounds, while the sharpness of 2- and 5-megapixel cameras is about as disappointing as you would expect — the camera software is actually quite good. It offers a fair amount of options, allowing users to tinker with white balance, ISO, exposure, and focus settings. There are even different shooting options, like anti-shake and burst shot mode. Top that off with a suite of photo effects (negative, edge detect, grayscale, sepia, etc.) and you have a surprisingly decent camera software suite.
The battery life of the MeMO Pad 7 LTE is tremendous. The battery holds a charge during standby exceptionally well, so periodic usage over the course of entire week on a single charge is entirely possible. But even if you really push the tablet’s longevity to its limits, you’ll probably still get a good day or two out of it before you need to charge it again.
Here is a rather impressive hard number to put the tablet’s battery life into context: starting from a full charge and with the brightness up to maximum, I was able to stream video – via the tablet’s 4G LTE connection! – for a continuous (save for the times it stopped to buffer) 6:11:52 before it finally kicked the bucket. Granted, as previously mentioned, the device was pretty warm by the end of it, but it was nonetheless a very impressive performance.