Asus Memo Pad FHD 10 review: Comfy design and useful features at a fair price

Hardware
The Asus Memo Pad FHD 10 houses a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2460 dual-core CPU, PowerVR SGX 544MP single-core GPU, 2GB of RAM, and comes with either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

Other features on the tablet include a G-Sensor, ambient light sensor, E-compass, gyroscope, and Bluetooth 3.0.

Performance
Considering its starting price, one of the tablet's most impressive features is its 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution IPS screen. It's not the highest or sharpest resolution available on a 10-inch tablet, but HD content still looks sharp, and its wide viewing angles are great. In addition to wearing its high resolution well, the screen mostly responds quickly and accurately to touch.

Tested spec Asus Memo Pad FHD 10 Google Nexus 10 Toshiba Excite Pure Asus Transformer Tab Infinity TF700
Maximum brightness IPS mode (Super IPS) 287 cd/m2 368 cd/m2 284 cd/m2 422 cd/m2 (644 cd/m2)
Maximum black level, IPS mode (Super IPS) .22 cd/m2 0.44 cd/m2 0.06 cd/m2 0.34 cd/m2 (0.53 cd/m2)
Contrast ratio 1,304:1 836:1 47,33:1 1,241:1 (1,215:1)

The smaller Memo Pad, the HD 7 , has an impressive range of color that easily outperformed Google's Nexus 7, but the same can't be said for the larger Memo Pad. The FHD 10's color gamut is comparable with the Google Nexus 10's, but it still has a leg up thanks to its included calibration software, Asus Splendid.

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Gaming performance was good but larger games took their sweet time to load. Josh Miller/CNET

The tablet performed without a hitch the majority of the time, but it wasn't without the occasional bug; apps sometimes randomly crashed, and accessing apps that were in the process of being downloaded via the drop-down menu gave an error, as seen below. In comparison with the Google Nexus 10, the Memo Pad FHD 10 was dramatically slower at loading larger apps.

The tablet consistently had a difficult time unlocking after being asleep for some time; power button response time lagged, and my swipes to unlock the screen were sometimes unrecognized or ignored.

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This error message appeared when I tried to access downloading apps from the pull-down menu. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

Gaming performance was fast for simple mobile games; Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and Riptide GP all ran smoothly. Larger, graphics-heavy games ran smoothly, too -- after they eventually loaded. Large games suffered from the previously mentioned long load times, but otherwise performed well during gameplay.

3DMark (Normal)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

N.O.V.A. 3 Level 1 load time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance))

Both cameras on the tablet were decent for what they are but -- like most cameras on a tablet -- they're not a huge selling point. The 5-megapixel rear camera takes relatively sharp photos and is impressively fast to autofocus and expose each frame.

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The 5-megapixel rear camera offers a variety of different settings. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

For both photos and videos, you can manually choose what you want to focus on by using the touch screen -- even during filming. Low-light photos were grainy, but when taking photos in a well-lit environment, the rear camera was able to capture some sharp detail -- albeit a wee bit washed out. The front-facing camera isn't very sharp but still manages to well-expose photos and get the job done for video conferencing.

Conclusion
The Asus Memo Pad FHD 10 is a remarkably comfortable tablet with enough features to justify its price tag. It doesn't boast the most high-end specs, but compared with other tablets in it price range, its sharp screen, multimedia-enhancing features, useful floating dock, and comfortable, lightweight design make it a contender for best 10-inch budget tablet.

The most impressive 10-inch tablets are speedy powerhouses with razor-sharp screens, sleek designs, and -- unfortunately for some shoppers -- large price tags. The Google Nexus 10 is one of the best tablets in its category, but costs $80 more for a sharper screen, faster performance, thinner design, and consistent Android OS updates.

The Toshiba Excite Pure is another reasonably priced Android slate at $300, but it has a lower-resolution screen, is bigger, and has just as many -- if not more -- performance hangups as the Memo Pad FHD 10. If you're strapped for cash or don't need the best of the best, the 10-inch Asus slate is a worthy, low-priced alternative.

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