Being the creator of Google's first own-brand tablet, the Nexus 7, Asus has a strong track record in the miniature tablet space. For this reason, when the Memo Pad HD 7 was unveiled several months ago it bristled with potential, being what appeared to be the spiritual successor to the Nexus 7, offering quad-core performance and the latest version of Android for a mere £129.
However, having taken so long to actually arrive in the UK, this potential has been severely diminished thanks to the arrival of Google's Nexus 7 2. Also built by Asus, the Nexus 7 2 directly targets the same market as the Memo Pad HD 7, offering on-paper top-end performance for a still reasonable £200. This, combined with the future-proof assurance of the Nexus brand, which means the device will always get Android updates first, has left many wondering what incentive there is to buy the Memo Pad HD 7.
Design and build
Visually the Memo Pad is fairly similar to the original 197x120x10.5mm Nexus 7, featuring the same slightly rounded edges and measuring in at an equivalent 199x121x10.8mm. In fact, outside of the luminescent pink finish on our review unit, the only real design difference between the two is the Memo Pad chassis' smooth finish. Where the original Nexus had a textured back plate attached to smooth sides, the Memo Pad has a smooth polycarbonate chassis that wraps around the sides.
This means that in hand the Memo Pad feels more plastic and as a consequence cheaper than the original Nexus 7. That said, the Memo Pad is still very comfortable in hand, with its shrunken-down measurements and 302g weight making it incredibly travel friendly and ideally sized for use on the go.
We were also fairly impressed with the Memo Pad's build quality. Despite feeling slightly cheaper than we'd like, the tablet proved a lot tougher than we expected, with its chassis surviving an accidental spill onto a London pavement mark-free.
Next: Display and software.