Asus Memo Pad HD 7 review

Asus follows its Nexus successes with another tiny for the budget market

Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 review
It's a shiny, colourful Nexus 7

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The Google Play store is now widely stocked, with all the popular apps and games you could want. However there remains a dearth of tablet apps, a space where Google has struggled to engage developers, especially when you compare it to the wealth of high-quality apps made for the iPad.

Seven-inch tablets suffer much less though, as many phone apps still work brilliantly at this smaller tablet screen size. With the popularity of the Nexus 7, many apps have been optimised for this screen size too.

Asus Memo Pad HD 7 review

There is a category for tablet apps in the Play Store and all the top pick lists can be viewed as 'apps designed for tablets', so things are improving rapidly.

Other app stores are also available for Android devices and the HD 7 is no exception, but in general they offer limited exclusive apps and are often more useful for finding good deals..

Since this is an Android device, all of Google's apps are available including GMail, Google+ and Google Maps, all of which work well. The one app that doesn't work well (though it's not Google's fault) is Maps Navigation - Google's satellite navigation solution.

The MediaTek chipset in the HD 7 is well known for having GPS issues and Asus does not seem to have solved them. It took over five minutes to get a GPS lock on the first attempt and around one full minute thereafter.

Using the HD 7 as a sat nav when driving around presents some interesting challenges. The GPS occasionally loses your position. It is usable, but only just. It's possible this could be fixed in a software update, but it's hard to know for sure.

Battery life and benchmarking

Despite having a fairly small 15Wh battery capacity, Asus has managed to endow the Memo Pad HD 7 with decent endurance. In constant use, the tablet is easily capable of seven hours' screen time, which is excellent at the budget end of the market.

Asus Memo Pad HD 7 review

This only tells part of the story however, as there are some serious weaknesses in terms of battery performance. The system should do well in standby, but it doesn't. The tablet was often out of juice having been left idle overnight, and it seems the Wi-Fi signal is to blame. When used without a wireless connection, idle drain is negligible, but with wireless connected it's a different story.

Despite their promise, the various power saving modes made very little difference. So overall I got a very mixed picture. But despite its lower capacity battery, it does feel like a tablet you can use all day with few issues.

It makes a good companion on a long haul flight and easily provides enough viewing time for two or three films. Thanks to its standard micro USB port, charging the tablet is easy: it accepts any standard cable and is fast to charge for a tablet. The only slight worry is that charging and using the Memo Pad HD 7 simultaneously does make it get quite hot.