A fantastic budget compact tablet, the Asus Memo Pad 7 gives you more bang for your buck than the Tesco Hudl.
Comparisons between the Asus Memo Pad 7 and the identically priced Tesco Hudl are inevitable. However, while Asus can’t quite boast Tesco’s marketing clout or retail presence, its history of building top-quality Android tablets stands it in good stead.
Asus’ budget baby strikes all the right notes. It’s much lighter than the Hudl; in fact, at 326g, it’s the fourth-lightest tablet in this Labs. It’s also slimmer than the Hudl, at 10.3mm, and it’s better-looking, too, with the plastic back panel boasting a coloured metallic finish, broken only by a small, silver Asus logo. Our review unit came in a bright, lipstick red, but there are plenty more sober colours to choose from.
The Memo Pad 7 is comfortable to hold, the back panel curving up softly towards the edges, and a quick glance around the tablet’s edges reveals there’s memory expansion on offer in the shape of a microSD slot, in addition to the usual 3.5mm audio jack and micro-USB charging point. In terms of core hardware, this 7in Asus is generously equipped. Running the show is a quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3745, supported by 1GB of RAM, with graphical grunt handled by the CPU’s integrated Intel HD Graphics.
This line-up smashes the Hudl halfway into next week when it comes to performance, netting a time of 638ms time in SunSpider and Geekbench 3 single- and multi-core scores of 772 and 2,427 respectively. The Hudl achieved a time of 1,367ms in SunSpider and Geekbench scores of 487 and 1,393 respectively – a long, long way behind. It’s a dominant performance, which continues in the battery test, where the Memo Pad 7 lasted 9hrs 25mins to the Hudl’s rather disappointing time of 6hrs 37mins.
The Memo Pad 7 also makes for a powerful handheld gaming device. In the onscreen GFXBench T-Rex HD test, we measured an average frame rate of 27fps – the highest score in this I.abs. Consequently, demanding games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne run superbly, even with the quality settings ramped all the way up. It’s worth noting, however, that not all games and apps arc compatible with the Intel hardware.
Hardware performance is all well and good, but if a tablet’s screen isn’t up to scratch then all the expensive hardware in the world won’t save it from mediocrity. And it’s in screen quality that the Memo Pad 7 lags behind. The display isn’t bad by any means, but with a maximum brightness of 303cd/m2 and contrast ratio of 721:1, its 800 x 1,280 IPS panel is its weakest suit. Here, the Tesco Hudl has it well and truly whipped: it’s brighter at its maximum setting -342cd/m2 – and significandy sharper, with a resolution of 900 x 1,440 delivering a pixel density of 243ppi.
The Memo Pad 7*s 2-megapixel rear camera is no great shakes, either, producing smeary, over-compressed snaps, and with no autofocus, shots are often extremely blurry as well.
The 0.3-megapixel front camera is terrible, and video is both noisy and shaky thanks to a lack of image stabilisation.
The Asus Memo Pad 7 isn’t the greatest tablet in the world, nor would we expect it. Notably, the screen is dimmer than most. However, this tablet’s excellent performance, gaming capability and doughty build quality establish it as a fine choice for the discerning tablet purchaser on a budget. It’s one hell of a compact tablet bargain.