Smaller tablets seem like they are here to stay and if you are looking for a budget buy they are not a bad place to cast your eye. The Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C, for example, seems like a snip at £120, as long as it does enough to justify owning it, of course.
Certainly Asus has got things right in the looks and usability departments. The MeMO Pad 7 ME176C, which updates the previous MeMO Pad 7 HD model, comes in five colours. We have to say the yellow is stunning, and Asus makes a range of colour-matching covers with built-in stand to help emphasise your selection.
There aren’t a lot of ports and connectors here, but what you get is well placed. So the volume rocker and on/off switch are on the right edge, where both are easy to use one handed. Power and headset slots are on the top edge, and there’s an unprotected micro SD card slot on the left edge. A hinged cover would have been nice – it would have stopped there being a small black scar on the yellow casing and protected the card too.
The screen is a key component, of course, and at seven inches it is the smallest you’ll get in a tablet. The resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels is good enough to deliver readable text if you want to look at websites, email, ebooks or anything else that uses the written word. We particularly like the Splendid app – it lets you change colour saturation and hue using sliders.
This is a relatively small and light tablet. Its 295g nestles nicely in a dainty bag, and while it is a bit thick at 9.6mm that’s not really a big deal. We’d like a bit less screen bezel all round.
There’s a quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM keeping us going. The combination performed well for us. Battery life is quite good too. We usually got through a day on a charge, with a power boost in the morning to get us ready for the day ahead.
The five-megapixel main and two-megapixel front cameras are not exactly ground breaking, and photo quality is far from great. But there are some nice camera features to play with.
Android 4.4 is skinned with the Asus ZenUI. As ever, the skin won’t appeal to everyone, but it does lend a nice ‘flat’ look to icons. There are lots of pre-installed apps, though, and this reduces the 16GB of installed memory to just 11GB. If cash is tight then the Asus MeMO Pad 7 ME176C might be a good buy and will probably be a reliable tablet.
For reviews of the latest tablets and smartphones to be released, make sure to check out the new issue of Android Magazine.