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Asus Memo Pad 7 LTE review: Cheap and bare-bones, with fast LTE

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MSRP: $174.99
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The Good The Asus Memo Pad 7 LTE is an affordably priced tablet with 4G LTE capabilities. Performance is consistently smooth, and it has a microSD card slot.

The Bad The construction feels uninspired and plastic-y, as if it just arrived from 2011. Screen brightness is too dim for bright environments. It ships with just Android 4.4.

The Bottom Line Though its build quality feels dated, the Asus Memo Pad 7 LTE provides a cheap no-frills Android experience with the perk of speedy Internet access on the go.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.3 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7

Review Sections

If you want to add a tablet to your data plan for as little money possible, the Asus Memo Pad 7 LTE is a good way to do it. Running on AT&T's network, the 7-inch tablet is free with a two-year contract, $8.75 per month over 20 monthly installments, or $175 if purchased outright.

As a run-of-the-mill budget tablet, the Memo Pad 7 LTE offers only the basics. Its design is undistinguished, and its specs are barely average. Yet for casual use, the simple slate still manages to satisfy. Performance is consistently smooth for most tasks and -- surprisingly -- the annoying bugginess that tends to plague cheap tablets is nominal. Add Internet access on the go and you've got yourself an enticing option for frugal AT&T customers.

The Asus Memo Pad 7 LTE is a dirt cheap way to add a tablet to your AT&T plan. However, it's not the greatest model out there, and if you have the $200 to spend, there are a few tablets that -- feature-wise -- offer more bang for your buck.

Design

The 7-inch Asus sports a typical, unadorned tablet design. Weighing in at 10.5 ounces (300g) with a 0.39-inch (9.8mm) thickness, the Memo Pad 7 LTE is comparatively hefty, but it doesn't feel that way when holding it for long periods of time.

The rounded corners and curved edges make it comfortable to hold in both landscape and portrait orientation. Meanwhile, the plastic back panel dons a smooth, matte finish that feels pleasant against your fingertips.

Small but chunky dimensions. Josh Miller/CNET

In the center of its chunky top and bottom bezels, you'll find the two front-facing speakers. The top edge houses a Micro-USB port, with the headphone jack is located on the bottom. The volume rocker and power button are located on the right edge, and the SIM and microSD card slots on the left.

Admittedly, the stout, broad-bezeled tablet looks slightly dated, however, if you're looking at price -- not design -- its homely form is forgivable.

In a weird move, the volume rocker is positioned above the power button. Josh Miller/CNET

Features

Like most budget tablets, the Asus Memo Pad 7 LTE doesn't tout many extras. Aside from some included software, it's pretty bare-bones.

Running Android 4.4 KitKat, the Memo Pad 7 features Asus' Zen user interface. The UI is only a slight modification of the Android OS. The most notable difference is the two pull-down menu options; if you swipe down from the left side, a menu with shortcuts appears; if you swipe down from the right, you get a notifications menu.

asusmemopad7screenshot.jpg
A tale of two menus. Screenshot by Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The Memo Pad 7 LTE comes preloaded with a few apps to get you started, like Google's full suite, including Gmail and Drive, as well as Asus's own apps, which include screen calibration software and an elaborate battery-saving app.

Hardware

The Asus Memo Pad LTE 7 houses a 1.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom CPU, Imagination Technologies PowerVR G6430, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal memory that's expandable up to 64GB via the microSD card slot.

Other features include 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

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