We go in-depth with the ASUS Fonepad 8 (FE380CG)
Today we’ll be reviewing ASUS’ Fonepad 8. If you’re not familiar with the product line, the Fonepad series of tablets combine the big screen viewing properties of a tablet with the call and messaging functions of a normal smartphone. The Fonepaad 8 (FE380CG) is ASUS’ latest entry into the series, and sports a brand spanking new Intel Atom processor that’s part of the Moorefield architecture which promises to deliver good performance and battery life.
ASUS Fonepad 8 FE380CG
- 1.33GHz 64-bit Intel Atom Z3530 quad-core processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 8-inch WXGA IPS display, 1280 x 800 resolution
- 16GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
- 5-megapixel rear camera
- 2-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Miracast support
- Android 4.4 KitKat with ZenUI
- 15.2Wh li-polymer battery
- Php 11,995
Premium design and feel
Much like most of ASUS’ other devices, the FonePad 8 uses a primarily plastic body. The corners of the device are curved and the back is textured to provide users with a stable grip while using the tablet. Our review unit sports a very nice looking gold color which should endear it to people looking for a fashionable tablet.
Most of the ports and controls for the FonePad 8 are clustered around the upper right side of the tablet. On the right you’ll see the volume control and the power button, while the USB port and 3.5mm jack are located on the top. Flipping the phone over, you’ll see the camera module on the back.
The FonePad 8, as it name suggests is a tablet that can be used as a phone. The two micro SIM slots are hidden by a flap on the left side of the device, which also hides the microSD card slot. Like its name suggests, the FonePad 8 can send SMS messages as well as make phone calls.
While the tablet is able to take calls via the earpiece on the front, you really look silly doing it since the thing is so big. It might be a good idea to use either headphones or a Bluetooth headset when using the device.
The 8-inch WXGA display is effectively pushing out HD resolutions, which is a bit of a letdown, considering its size. The good news is that we weren’t able to pick out individual pixels with the display. Even better, the overall display quality was good, with excellent color reproduction all around.
A brand new Atom
We’ve never hesitated to point out the problems of Intel’s previous crop of Atom processors in terms of overall performance and thermal signature. One of the major pain points of the Zenfone 5 was that the processor wasn’t performing on par to the mid-range offerings of Qualcomm and MediaTek, and generated far too much heat to do the battery much good.
Thankfully, Intel has managed to solve most of the performance issues that their previous crop of processors had beginning with Moorefield. The FonePad 8 scored high points in AnTuTu and managed to run Real Racing 3 without a hitch and more importantly, it’s capable of running the game for extended periods of time without heating up significantly. That’s a stark contrast between the lagtastic performance of the Zenfone 5 utilizing the previous generation of Intel’s chips, and is a good snapshot into the eventual performance of the Zenfone 2 when it arrives in the PH. The FonePad 8 uses the lowest tier processor of the Moorefield family, and the Zenfone 2 is expected to utilize faster variants of the Moorefield architecture.
Tablets aren’t the ideal devices to take photos with, and the FonePad 8 is no exception. The 5-megapixel rear camera, while equipped with a number of shooting modes, isn’t the best camera in the world. Photos taken with it isn’t the best, even with moderate amounts of light available. Use the camera on the FonePad 8 as a last resort.
Battery life that can match the iPad
We were pleasantly surprised to see just how far the battery of the FonePad 8 could go – with our standard movie loop test (where we run a movie over and over until the tablet conks out, 50% brightness, WiFi on) the FonePad 8 managed to run for 10 1/2 hours on a single charge. That’s more than enough to get you through the day with moderate use, but like with anything battery related, your mileage may vary.
Verdict: A really good tablet that you can use to call and text
The ASUS FonePad 8 is a fairly powerful tablet that has enough grunt in it to be able to run almost of the apps you want smoothly. Its camera isn’t the best, but then again you’re not buying a tablet of its camera anyway. It might be a bit expensive at Php 11,995 but considering what you’re getting, the FonePad 8 is a very good buy.