ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 Review (Updated 8/21/13)

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While building the latest version of FlightMap which targets 7 inch tablets I learned that there are several different aspect ratios for 7 inch tablets. This made supporting them that much more difficult as they would be harder to test. I did my best with the Android simulator but that thing is so slow and I can’t actually use google maps in it so I needed to find another tablet to test with. After the disaster that was the ASUS MeMO Pad ME172V I was a little hesitant to pick up another Asus MeMO Pad. The specs looked really good though and most other reviewers said it has the same screen as the original Nexus 7 (2012) so I decided to try them again.

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The packaging of the new MeMO Pad HD is quite nice. It has a flip top that opens directly to the tablet. Underneath the tablet is some documentation, the charger, and the mini usb cable. The charger is the same as the Nexus 7 and previous MeMO tablet but the mini usb cable is noticeably beefier.

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The tablet weighs 0.66 lb (302g) which is slightly heavier than the Nexus 7. The strange thing is that it actually feels lighter.  I think it has to do with how dense the Nexus 7 is. This thing feels a little little lighter because there is more space in the case. That’s what I think anyway 🙂

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The 7″ 1280×800 screen is actually quite clear and crisp. Colors are well represented and it responds really well to the touch. Asus includes some software to tweak the display to how you like it which is a really nice touch.  While the Nexus 7 screen is way better than this it is still a very nice screen. Text is very crisp and clear and browsing the web is a pleasant experience.

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The wifi and gps are working fine on mine. I’m not noticing any range issues with this tablet. It has a micro sd slot that will work with up to 32g which is huge. That alone makes this a good buy at just $150.

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The front and rear cameras are OK at best. Not bad for Skype calls or Google hangouts but I wouldn’t use either to take important photos. It will capture that moment quite well in good lighting and passable in poorer lighting. Here’s a few example shots from the Asus MeMO Pad HD. I tried to take as similar shots as I could to the ones in the Nexus 7 review.

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Performance wise, this tablet is quite good under most tasks. It has a Quad-Core, 1.2 GHz processor with a separate GPU and 1 GB of ram. This really helps this tablet multitask well. I have had no performance issues to note and I’ve been extremely surprised by this tablet. The only place where you may find issues is if you are a gamer. While the more casual games work fine the more graphically intensive ones struggle to keep up.

On the software side it’s running a fairly vanilla Android 4.2. It arrived with 4.1 but updated immediately to 4.2. Asus has added a few small customizations. The notification drawer has been redone with some extra quick settings and a more iPad like center screen half screen width. I’m not so sure I’m a fan of it but it works. I would have preferred the stock android notification and quick settings from 4.2. UPDATE: It turns out that Asus provides a “customizations” option in the Android settings where you can turn off the Asus notification drawer and go back to stock Jelly Bean. It’s nice that they added that. They have also added some quick applications. They float over top of the active app which is a nice feature. It does allow you to do things like check that web page quickly or do a quick calculation without having to exit and go to another app. UPDATE: It turns out that you can also edit these quick apps and any existing widget can be used. This is a really nice feature! Asus has also packed the tablet with some extra applications. Some of it is bloat wear but others may find some of it useful. A nice note taking app and a picture editor and stuff. I’ve disabled most of it through the app manager.

FlightMap works flawlessly on the device. While not as crisp and clear as the Nexus 7 this is still a great tablet for FlightMap. If you are on a budget and the Nexus 7 is out of your price range this is an excellent option. It as a fantastic screen, decent performance, and a nearly stock experience.

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I have had no quality issues with this tablet. The screen responds great and I’ve not seen any dead pixels or anything. I really like the white back as it will make it easy to know my wife’s tablet from mine 🙂 It does have one little quirk and that’s where the bottom of the tablet meets the top. The bottom casing sticks out a little bit all the way around. It’s not uncomfortable or sharp or anything and is obviously how they designed it but it is a little strange.

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All in all I’m giving this tablet a 4 out of 5. The build materials are not as nice as the Nexus 7 and it does feel a little cheap but it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart. If you’re looking for a smaller tablet that runs FlightMap extremely well and are on a budget then look no farther than the new MeMO Pad HD. This is how you make a quality budget tablet.

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