Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG review: Talk-worthy

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG review: Talk-worthy

GSMArena team,
13 February 2015.

Introduction

The first Fonepad premiered in 2013, nearly a year after the
game-changing Nexus 7, which Asus made for Google. The Taiwanese got
another contract to work on an upgrade and they did well to keep the
momentum. Padfones, Fonepads, Memo Pads and Zenfones were soon to join
the Transformers in a lineup that’s entirely indifferent to phones but
offers an impressive variety of phablets and tablets.

The downside is it can get confusing. The original was simply called
the Asus Fonepad. The Fonepad 7 succeeded it, followed by the Fonepad 7
(2104). At that point, Asus ran out of fresh naming ideas and the next
generation has the model number in the official brand name. As a result,
we’re reviewing something a Fonepad 7 FE375CXG.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG press images

OK, a quick what’s what in the Asus portfolio. Transformers are 10″ convertible tablets with a detachable keyboard.

Zenfones are tablets and Padfones hybrids: a phone and a docking station with a tablet-sized screen and battery.

And finally, the compact tablets. These come in two flavors: Memo
Pads are the household version of the Nexus, compact tablets with no
voice call support. The Fonepads are the ones you can make network calls
on.

One of the latest additions to the series, the Fonepad 7 FE375CXG is a
dual-SIM compact tablet with expandable memory, front and rear cameras
and stereo speakers. It’s powered by an Intel chip – these are getting
more powerful with each generation and yet manage to stay affordable.
The one inside the Fonepad 7 is 22nm 64-bit chipset.

Key features

  • 7″ IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, 216ppi, oleophobic coating
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Asus UI
  • 1.3GHz quad-core CPU; PowerVR G6430 GPU; 1GB RAM; Intel Atom Z3530 chipset
  • 2MP camera with 720p video recording; 0.3MP front-facing unit
  • 8 or 16 GB of built-in memory; microSD card slot
  • Dual SIM connectivity with dual-standby; quad-band GSM and 3G support
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS, microUSB 2.0 with OTG support
  • Stereo speakers
  • 15Wh Li-Po battery

Main disadvantages

  • Low-res cameras
  • Reflective screen struggles both indoors and outdoors
  • Unimpressive screen to surface ratio
  • No wired TV-out option, no IR port

The Fonepad 7 FE375CXG appears bulky but it’s not much thicker or
heavier than most of its natural rivals. If you’re after a tablet you
can make calls on, Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs are perhaps the most likely
alternative. But if it has to have dual-SIM support, the competition is
nearly non-existent.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG live pictures

The Fonepad series are meant for the developing markets but should be
easy to get via local retailers or official Asus distributors in
Europe. Affordable, reasonably powered and capable of making calls on
two SIM cards, the latest generation Fonepad 7 can get a lot of people
interested.

page 2

The Fonepad 7 FE375CXG came in a standard retail box, which contains
the device, an A/C adapter and a microUSB cable. Pretty standard
equipment for a compact tablet, so no worries but headphones would’ve
definitely made sense in a tablet capable of making and receiving calls.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG retail box

Design and handling

The Fonepad 7 FE375CXG looks a lot like previous models in the series
and isn’t much different from the Memo Pads either. The choice of paint
jobs is pretty similar too, Gold replacing the blue option of the
previous generation.

What’s instantly noticeable about the Fonepad 7 FE375CXG are the
front stereo speakers. Those have inevitably added a bit of space top
and bottom of the screen. The tablet is still reasonably compact, but
the screen to surface ratio is hardly spectacular.

At 194.3 x 108.9 x 9.8mm, the Fonepad 7 weighs a hefty 300g. The
footprint is acceptable, especially considering it’s a very affordable
device. After all, it was never meant to fit in pockets so the added
thickness and weight won’t matter in a bag or backpack.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

The tablet is made of mostly matte plastic, a dark brushed ASUS logo
looking good on white over at the back. A slim silver frame around the
front goes well with the silver grilles of the front stereo speakers.

The silver frame and grilles

The rear looks nice in white, no gloss whatsoever but not enough grip
either. It’s not a big deal in a compact and overall comfortable to
hold seven-incher. 299g of weight are perfectly acceptable and being a
centimeter thick, the device can be held firmly in single and
double-handed use.

Handling the Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

The Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG is an easy one to slip in a bag and carry
around without hassle. Compact 7″ tablets are the outdoor type and
dual-SIM support means this particular one doesn’t belong in the living
room. Those calls are always better taken with headphones, of course.

Controls

The front of the Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG features a pair of stereo
speakers either side of a 7″ HD display. The top speaker doubles as an
earpiece, flanked by a couple of sensors and the VGA front cam.

Stereo speakers are welcome

There are no keys below the display, just the second speaker grille and an ASUS logo.

The Fonepad 7 only has two physical controls – the volume rocker and
the power/lock key – placed almost at the back of the right-hand side.
They are big enough and the location actually makes sense when you’re
simply holding the device. If you need to press them all at once or in
combination (while snapping screenshots) there’s a greater risk of
letting the device slip out of your hands.

The right side has the only two controls

On the left there is a huge plastic cap covering the two micro-SIM
compartments and the microSD slot. All three of them are hot-swappable.

The three slots on the left

The microUSB port is at the top of the Fonepad 7, while 3.5mm audio jack and the microphone are over at the bottom.

The microUSB at the top • the audio port and the mic at the bottom

The 2MP fixed-focus camera lens is the only thing of note at the back.

The 2MP rear camera

page 3

Display

The Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG packs a 7″ IPS display of 1280 x 800px resolution for a pretty average 216ppi.

The Asus Fonepad 7 screen

We’ve grabbed a picture of the display matrix under a microscope and
it revealed a standard RGB arrangement, not that we expected something
else.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

In our display test, the Fonepad 7 FE375CXG posted surprisingly good
contrast numbers for its class. Blacks were fairly deep at 50%
brightness, and retained their low level at 100%. The whites’
illumination was low at both levels, however, but that still resulted in
adequate contrast numbers.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG 0.1 83 835 0.36 348 973
Asus Memo Pad 7 ME572C 0.15 155 1023 0.6 668 1114
Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9 0.13 126 974 0.53 502 955
Apple iPad mini 0.25 208 838 0.51 458 812
Apple iPad mini 2 0.2 167 835 0.56 450 804
LG G Pad 7.0 0.1 98 946 0.45 404 898
Asus Google Nexus 7 0.25 244 954 0.36 327 908
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 0 221 0 398

Unfortunately, the good contrast was spoiled by the
highly reflective screen of the Fonepad 7 FE375CXG. With a sunlight
ratio of just below 1.2, the screen of the Fonepad 7 is near illegible
outdoors even at maximum screen brightness. It also tends to get easily
smudged, which doesn’t help either.

The highly reflective screen can potentially be an issue even
indoors. Screen looks pretty washed out under artificial light as well.
You won’t get to enjoy the otherwise excellent contrast even in a
moderately lit home or office. Disappointing indeed.

Battery life

The battery in the Fonepad 7 FE375CXG is the same 3950mAh unit as in the previous Fonepad models and Memo Pad 7 slates.

The Fonepad 7 showed excellent longevity in the web browsing routine
lasting 12 hours and it managed to last 17 hours and then some on 3G
talks. Video playback turned out more taxing on the battery, but a hair
short of 10 hours is a very respectable score nonetheless.

Unfortunately, the dual-SIM 3G standby was a real sucker on the
battery juice – the Fonepad 7 wouldn’t last a day on standby with a full
battery. Then we popped out one SIM card and the Fonepad 7 managed to
live for two and a half days on 3G standby. This is probably some issue
with the software optimization as it is nowhere near the promised 316
hours. Hopefully Asus releases a fix soon.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

So, with just one SIM card the Fonepad 7 achieved a total endurance
rating of 37 hours, which means you can count day and a half if you do
an hour each of calling, web browsing and video playback daily.

Disappointing indeed.

Our proprietary score also includes a standby battery draw test,
which is not featured in our battery test scorecard but is calculated in
the total endurance rating.

Our battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you want to learn more about it.

Connectivity

The dual-SIM (dual standby) Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG has quad-band GSM
and 3G support. Download speeds can potentially go up to 42.2Mbps with
upload of up to 5.76Mbps over a 3G network.

There is also Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP.

The device has an on-board GPS/GLONASS chip.

The microUSB port has USB On-The-Go support, so you can plug USB
flash drives and connect a mouse or keyboard. There’s DLNA TV output and
a dedicated app but no wired TV-out.

The Fonepad 7 has pre-intalled apps too for quick file and media
sharing, including pairing with a PC or laptop and quick exchange of
files with simple drag and drop. There is no IR blaster and NFC support
though.

page 4

Android KitKat with Zen UI

The Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat with a large
range of customizations from Asus. The company has opted for a light
overall look and the proprietary applications have a consistent
interface. Check it out in the brief video below.

The interface features the traditional Android lockscreen, showing
the time and date alongside weather information. There’s a few shortcuts
to the camera, email app, and web browser, alongside a Google Now
shortcut from the bottom.

On the right side, there’s a look at the latest reminders from Asus’
What’s Next application, which shows upcoming events, reminders, weather
info, and more. You can also choose from a selection of third-party and
Android widgets, scrollable across the top half of the screen.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

The standard lockscreen

Beyond the lockscreen is the Android homescreen with four
customizable shortcuts docked at the bottom. Despite the ample space
available, you cannot add more icons beyond these four, but there is
folder support.

There are preloaded Asus and Google folders, which contain a
selection of applications from the respective companies – custom Asus
apps in one, default Google apps in the other.

Rotating the tablet in landscape orientation will shift the shortcut
dock to the right, while the on-screen contextual buttons remain at the
bottom.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

Folder options and landscape orientation on the homescreens

A pinch zoom lets you rearrange your homescreens, as well as select a
default homescreen and add additional ones – up to nine total. Unlike
on other launchers, this interface is not integrated with the widget/app
menu.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

You can have a total of nine homescreen panes

There is an elegant notification area that only takes up as much
space as there are notifications, rather than wasting the whole screen.
Removing notifications is done with a sideways swipe or through the
‘Clear all’ button. Notifications can be expanded through the usual
two-finger swipe.

You can access quick toggles and brightness slider from this
interface as well – dragging down on the left side of the notification
area will open up your notifications, while the right side will show
your toggles. A two-finger swipe will also open your quick toggles. You
can, of course, also customize which toggles appear as shortcuts, and
holding down on a toggle will take you to the relevant menu in the
settings.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

Notification area

The task switcher is accessed with the on-screen contextual button.
You get a thumbnail of the app along with its icon, and you can swipe
apps to the side to close them. Unfortunately, there’s no ‘Kill all’ for
when you have a large number of apps open.

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

Task switcher

Google Now is available everywhere with an upward swipe from the Home
key. If you don’t like the Zen launcher, you can always revert to
Google’s vanilla one.

page 5

Performance

Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG is powered by the Intel Atom Z3530 chipset,
which translates into a quad-core 1.3GHz 64-bit processor, PowerVR G6430
GPU and 1GB of RAM. We’ve seen this particular GPU in iPhone 5s, iPad
mini 2 and mini 3 and it is indeed quite capable. Here is hoping the 1GB
RAM would be enough to handle the common tasks and pressure.

Let’s check the Intel processor performance first. We ran the
Geekbench 3 test and the Fonepad 7 FE375CXG finished last. This was to
be expected though as its processor is clocked at 1.3GHz – lower than
the 1.86GHz MeMO Pad 7 models, or the 2+ GHz Xperia Tablet Z3 Compact
and Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9. The Apple’s dual-core Cyclone is an exception
here, but we already knew it does outstandingly in every way.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Apple iPad mini 3
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G

We continue the benchmarks with the latest AnTuTu 5, which also tests
graphics and memory. The Fonepad FE375CXG scored the same as the Asus
MeMO Pad 7 ME176C, which runs on a faster processor and similar
resolution. The newer MeMO Pad 7 ME572C does better because it offers
not only faster CPU, but double the RAM.

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

    42505

  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C

    41856

  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C

    33735

  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

    33446

The BaseMark OS II test gauges not only the CPU, GPU and memory
performance, but web and system as well. The Fonepad 7 fell to the
bottom of our chart.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Apple iPad mini 3
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G

The CPU single and multi-core breakdowns from the BaseMark OS II
brought us to similar conclusions as the GeekBench 3 test – the Fonepad
7’s processor is the least performing unless it is compared to a single
Cortex-A7 core, which is weaker.

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

    10413

  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG

The PowerVR G6430 GPU is probably what makes the Fonepad 7 worth
buying – we’ve seen it doing great on the iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2 and
mini 3, and we are sure it will run blazing fast on a sub-1080p
resolution.

Indeed the onscreen performance turned out great with the Asus
Fonepad 7 being very close to the Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9. Sure, the Nvidia
Kepler GPU is way better, but it runs on a Retina resolution, which
takes its tool. In the end of the day – a modern 3D game would run
equally smooth on both devices.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Apple iPad mini 3
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Apple iPad mini 3
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)

Doing the offscreen benchmarks, which run at 1080p resolution, shows
the PowerVR G6430 is still quite capable of handling on its own.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Apple iPad mini 3
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Apple iPad mini 3
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G

Finally, we tested the web browsing performance of the Fonepad 7. It
does OK on both the JavaScript Kraken and the compound BrowserMark 2.1
and will do for occasional web surfing, but the performance is somewhat
behind the curve.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Apple iPad mini 3
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G

    20366

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Exynos)
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C
  • Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME572C
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
  • Asus Fonepad 7 FE375CXG
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G

Asus Fonepad FE375CXG isn’t acing benchmarks nor is providing a
flagship performance. But it wasn’t meant to be that kind of device. It
handles well the Android OS, will do OK with some power-hungry
productivity tasks and will surprise you when running a heavy-duty 3D
games. For a device priced at about €180 or less, we are definitely fine
with all of these.

 – GSMArena.com

via Blogger http://ift.tt/1vre4jr

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