Asus Memo Pad HD7 – Better buy than the Nexus 7
After the cheaper Asus Memo Pad ME172, now we are writing about the refreshed and quiet better Asus Memo Pad HD7. We say better because the HD7 features a quad core processor, 1280 x 800 IPS display and a rear camera of 5 Megapixels. Asus also included GPS and Bluetooth which were missing on the ME172. However, the most important thing on this Jelly Bean powered tablet is its price! Currently, this is the absolute best buy on the market!
We want to be honest and give you only correct information and be as objective as possible. We think that Asus is without any doubt one of the best tablet manufacturers on the market. Why? Well, let’s just say that the tablets they were offering for the past 2 years are enough to realize why we appreciate Asus so much. Starting with the amazing and innovative Eee Pad Transformer TF101 which in its time was the 2nd tablet bestseller in the world, then its successors like the Prime and Infinity models. There is also the affordable TF300T model which was also a very popular Tegra 3 tablet. There are also many other interesting models but to keep things short, you probably understand how Asus is doing a very good job in the tablet market.
The influence Asus has on the tablet market has also been noticed by Google, so that their partnership resulted in one of the most popular 7 inch Android tablets in the world – Google Nexus 7. Moreover, Google didn’t change its mind, so they built the new Nexus 7 again together with Asus. However, to go back to the main character of this text, the Memo Pad HD7. If we were to compare it with a trending 7 inch tablet, we would compare it to the old Nexus 7, and without any exaggeration, we must say that you get more for an even better price. Hard to believe? Read our review and you will see how the Memo Pad HD7 beats the old Nexus 7.
The Memo Pad HD7 can’t really be compared to the ME172 which is largely inferior to the new Asus tablet. It features a Cortex-A7 1.2 GHz quad core processor, PowerVR SGX544 GPU on the MediaTek MTK 8125 chipset.
The amount of RAM is the same as on the ME172 so that you get 1GB of RAM. The internal storage is 8 or 16 GB. If you need more storage, there is also a microSD slot for up to 32 GB of external storage. The display is IPS with 1280 x 800 screen resolution. There is also a 5 Megapixel camera at the back with 1080p video recording. A quick summary of its features is available in the table below, compared to the features of the Nexus 7 (2012).
Comparison with Nexus 7
Package contents and design
The Asus Memo Pad HD7 comes in a dark package. Except the front side, everything is in black. What can be seen immediately is that the tablet comes in several different colors for the back side – white, black, green and pink. The contents of the package are usual for a tablet at this price. There is a charger, micro USB cable, and user’s manual. With its design and shape, this tablet reminds us a lot at the Google Nexus 7. However, to be precise, the Memo Pad HD7 is 1.7mm shorter, and 0.3 mm thicker than the Google tablet. It is also 38 g lighter. In fact, these two tablets are quiet similar.
What surprised us at the very start is the somehow strange connection of the back and front side. The back side of the tablet is about 1mm wider which can be felt when going over it with your finger. We are not sure why this is the case, but what we can say is that we don’t like it. On the left side of the tablet is a microSD slot, at the right power and volume buttons and at the top microphone, microUSB port and handset jack.
The back of the tablet is made of glossy plastic, which might leave some scratches over time. The camera is placed centered at the top, beneath it is the Asus logo while at the very end you can find the tablet’s stereo speakers.
While the the Nexus 7 is a Google device, the Memo Pad HD7 is Asus only. That means that Jelly Bean 4.2.1 is not the stock version like on the Nexus 7, but has the Asus WaveShare user interface. However, there is not so much of a difference between the two, only a couple of changes which we will address in the next couple of sentences.
On the main screen you can find the usual stuff seen on Asus tablets. There is a Google Search bar at the top with voice search option, a weather widget with clock below it. Further down is an e-mail widget with the number of unread messages. Ever since Ice Cream Sandwich putting one icon over another creates a folder which can be placed in a Dock which can have up to 7 icons.
The App drawer stayed the same like on the Stock user interface. The background is black with 5 columns and 7 rows for icons. There are Apps and Widgets tabs at the top and a Play Store shortcut. One additional thing that can’t be found on the stock version is the sorting of applications by name, recent used and newest.
Notifications are the same like on any other Android tablet or smartphone. One change is that Asus changed its background color to purple. At the top there is the date and time, below that 7 Quick toggle shortcuts, screen brightness and a clear all notifications. Task switcher is as usual and enables you to close recently used applications.
App Backup is an application that serves to backup your apps or data in case of a factory reset. All the data is stored in a special folder on the phone or a micro SD card so it won’t get erased by a factory reset.
AppLocker is another application that can be found on the Memo Pad tablet. As the name says, it enables you to lock any application on your tablet to prevent other users from accessing it. The process is easy, you select the app you would like to lock, set a password and don’t worry about anyone accessing your data, photos or anything else you wouldn’t like them to.
Asus Story automatically creates albums from your photos. You can combine them, and even add text.
Asus Studio is an alternative to the standard Gallery application. It stores all the photos on your tablet sorted by folders. You can also sort photos by date, location or predefined albums.
Audio Wizard is a simple applications which lets you choose between 7 predefined sound profiles.
Buddy Buzz exists as a widget and you can connect social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
File Manager is an Asus application for managing files and folders on your Memo Pad tablet. There are also shortcuts to Pictures, Camera, Music and Download folders, and you can search folders by name, create new folders, etc.
MyBitCast is an application for note taking though writing, photographing or by voice. A good thing with this application is that is stores all notes on the Asus Web Storage automatically so you can easily access them wherever you are.
MyLibrary Lite serves for viewing all your books and magazines in ePub or PDF.
WebStorage is the cloud service from Asus which gives you 5GB of storage for your files. An interesting extra is that you can’t only view your Office files, but also edit them online. By long pressing on a Word or Excell file will open up a browser through which you can edit your files. Very useful.
When you look at the price at which this tablet is sold, you can’t expect a build of top quality. Besides the weird back side that is wider, the tablet feels very comfortable in one hand. The build quality is not amazing but also not bad, it is somewhere in the middle. Moreover, with a little more than 300 g it is very light and easy to hold and use.
The quality of the Memo Pad HD7 display is amazing. IPS screen type is great and users love it. With a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 everything looks very sharp with a decent 216 ppi. Text and pictures are sharp, colors are full of contrast and viewing angles are high. Such a great display on a $149 tablet – yes, is is possible.
We were also very satisfied with the performance offered by the quad core Cortex A7 processor. In performance comparison to the Nexus 7, it is on the same level. Some results were better, some equal and some worse than on the Nexus 7 which in overall shows that they are almost equal. In real life, the Memo Pad HD7 is a very lively device and provides a very nice user experience. There is a slight advantage of the stock version of the Nexus 7, but both tablets are very fast. Surfing the web is excellent, apps run smoothly and there are no delays or sluggishness in scrolling or zooming web pages.
Battery life was also tested. The test scenario included a frequent internet usage, surfing the web and maximum screen brightness. The result was 6 hours and 15 minutes. A pretty decent result given the $149 you need to spend for this tablet.
The 5 Megapixel camera is pretty good. Photos taken by it are very good, however, there happened to be some noise in it. On the other side, 1080p video surprised us positively with lots of details and a 29.970 fps frame rate which ensures a high quality video. Conclusion – a very good camera able to record everything you find interesting or important.
It is not very often that we can so surely recommend a tablet. The Memo Pad HD7 is really amazing. Asus did what almost nobody can do right now, provide so much quality at such a price! You will for sure have a hard time finding a tablet that provides so much at a price tag of $149. The performance is almost the same as in the Google Nexus 7, but what is stunning is that it is also cheaper than the Google tablet. The screen quality is definitely a surprise and we are glad to see such screen quality in such an affordable tablet. Another advantage compared to the Nexus 7 is that you can expand memory by a microSD card if the internal storage is not enough for you.
Of course, you can’t expect a tablet to be perfect, especially not at this price tag. One thing we didn’t like on this tablet is the not so good build quality and the width of the back side. Besides that, everything was well beyond our expectations. The battery is very good, the camera, too. Simply said, if you are not willing to spend more than $200 for the new Nexus 7, or you are not sure whether to buy the old Nexus 7, consider buying this tablet. It is as good as the old Nexus 7 and is even cheaper. In our opinion, there is not even close a better option at this price, at least not for now.