There's nothing outstandingly good about the Asus Memo Pad HD 7, but neither is there anything outstandingly bad. This is a budget tablet that actually exceeds our expectations in many ways. It's keenly priced and very capable.

We liked

For a device in this market segment, the Memo Pad HD 7 has an excellent screen. It's sharp and a pleasure to use. As an added bonus, it's extremely responsive to the touch.

Audio through the built-in speakers and headphones is loud and reasonably clear, making this a great tablet for watching movies on and listening to music.

Asus provides a genuinely useful set of software enhancements on top of Android 4.2.1. The tweaks to the notification drawer are particularly useful.

We disliked

The camera is a pretty poor effort from Asus and it's questionable whether there's any value in including it at this price at all. If it took more usable shots, then we would applaud its inclusion, but in its current state, it's a camera of extremely last resort.

The microSD card slot is awkwardly positioned and we were worried that cards could become lost too easily. While it's nice to have expandable storage, the HD 7 needs a better implementation.

Material quality on the back of the Memo Pad HD 7 is highly questionable and in some ways unpleasant. Asus has provided some exciting colour choices, but we would prefer a higher quality plain back.

Verdict

As a budget tablet, the Memo Pad HD 7 perfectly fits the bill. It's fast enough, has all the features you'd expect and a particularly vibrant screen. It's keenly priced and generally offers an excellent user experience. It's also light enough to use comfortably for extended periods.

There's no 3G or 4G version of the HD 7 available, so if accessing the internet on the move is a priority, the Asus FonePad is probably the most viable option, despite its lack of camera and slightly inferior performance and audio/visual quality.

If you already own a small tablet then the HD 7 is unlikely to appeal, but for people dipping their toes into the market for the first time, this is a very credible option.

It won't cost you that much more for the far superior new Nexus 7, but that price difference represents more than 50% of the price of the HD 7, so Asus has managed to find a niche here, and it has filled it rather well.