The first Fonepad premiered in 2013, nearly a year after the game-changing Nexus 7, which Asus made for Google. The Taiwanese got another contract to work on an upgrade and they did well to keep the momentum. Padfones, Fonepads, Memo Pads and Zenfones were soon to join the Transformers in a lineup that's entirely indifferent to phones but offers an impressive variety of phablets and tablets.
The downside is it can get confusing. The original was simply called the Asus Fonepad. The Fonepad 7 succeeded it, followed by the Fonepad 7 (2014). At that point, Asus ran out of fresh naming ideas and the next generation has the model number in the official brand name. As a result, we're reviewing something a Fonepad 7 FE375CXG.
OK, a quick what's what in the Asus portfolio. Transformers are 10" convertible tablets with a detachable keyboard.
Zenfones are phablets and Padfones are hybrids: a phone and a docking station with a tablet-sized screen and battery.
And finally, the compact tablets. These come in two flavors: Memo Pads are the household version of the Nexus, compact tablets with no voice call support. The Fonepads are the ones you can make network calls on.
One of the latest additions to the series, the Fonepad 7 FE375CXG is a dual-SIM compact tablet with expandable memory, front and rear cameras and stereo speakers. It's powered by an Intel chip - these are getting more powerful with each generation and yet manage to stay affordable. The one inside the Fonepad 7 is 22nm 64-bit chipset.
The Fonepad 7 FE375CXG appears bulky but it's not much thicker or heavier than most of its natural rivals. If you're after a tablet you can make calls on, Samsung's Galaxy Tabs are perhaps the most likely alternative. But if it has to have dual-SIM support, the competition is nearly non-existent.
The Fonepad series are meant for the developing markets but should be easy to get via local retailers or official Asus distributors in Europe. Affordable, reasonably powered and capable of making calls on two SIM cards, the latest generation Fonepad 7 can get a lot of people interested.