ASUS Malaysia: FonePad (Intel Atom processor) Media Event

Asus FonePad (ME371MG), the Intel Atom Z2420 (code name Lexington) powered 7-inch tablet with phone and 3G functionality is finally launched by Asus Malaysia on yesterday at JW Marriot, Kuala Lumpur. The product detail was introduced by two main speakers, Mr. Prakash Mallya (Country Manger, INTEL Malaysia & Singapore) and Mr. Tony Lai (Product Manager, ASUSTeK Computer Inc).

The device comes with price tag of RM 849, it will be available from Friday 12th April 2013 at the local IT retailers and Pikom PC Fair, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. At the front, it looks pretty much like Asus best seller tablet, the Nexus 7. Few differences on FonePad compares to Nexus 7 are:

i) lack of NFC (Near field communication)
ii) equipped with rear 3-megapixel camera
iii) expandable storage with microSD card slot
iv) Single-core 1.2GHz Intel® Atom™ Z2420 instead of Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU
v) phone call ability and cheaper price compares to Nexus 7 3G

Just as any other 7-inch tablet, the Asus FonePad is easy to hold, comfortable to fit on palm. Metallic finish design back panel but without textured grip as nexus 7 (dotted pattern back) that gives extra tactility. Power button on top with volume rocker below it, tiny hole below should be the noise canceling mic.

The HTC One X alike diamond cut camera ring on the 3MP rear camera. Great idea on designing the both microSim and microSD slots hidden in a same area, instead of one each as Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. The design make easier for user to access those card by simply push out the separated panel, eliminate the harsh on using fingernail to hook out those rubber or plastic (ex: HTC Butterfly, Galaxy Tab 2 and Sony Xperia Z).

Bottom of the metal back panel which consist of SonicMaster speaker, 3.5mm headphone socket and microUSB One that i’m holding above is a Champagne Gold color 8GB FonePad unit and Asus do has a variant of 16GB version (but without camera) that was not mentioned in the event.

The 1.2 GHz single-core Intel Atom Z2420 (with support for hyperthreading) chipset, i was told the processor was designed and built in our very own country at Intel Penang, Malaysia. Mr. Prakash Mallya mentioned, Intel making big commitment and invested huge investment in to smatphone/tablet market. Currently there are already 9 phones (ex: Motorola RAZR i, Acer Liquid C1, ZTE Grand X IN) powered by Intel Atom chipset that produced from different manufactures in nine months’ time.

Big difference between Intel Atom with current existing system on chip (SoC) on market, “Atom competes with existing SoCs developed for the smartphone and tablet market from companies like Texas instruments, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Samsung.[3] Unlike these companies, which use ARM-based CPUs designed from the beginning to consume very low power, Intel has adapted the x86 based Atom line CPU developed for low power usage in netbooks, to even lower power usage.” (Source: Atom (system on chip))

FonePad unit taken on video above is a pre-production unit, where there is lag on camera launching, it should perform better on final product. Since the Asus FonePad is a direct compete with Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, you can see head to head comparison between these two products (ex: power consumption, overall performance and gaming performance) through out slideshow as image below.

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