New 7-inch Memo Pad gives you Intel-powered Android on the cheap

The new generation of the Asus Memo Pad 7 feels better made than its predecessor and packs in an Intel processor, all at a bargain price tag.

Nic Healey

Nic Healey

Senior Editor / Australia

Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.

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Along with the Transformer Pad TF103 , the Asus Memo Pad 7 (ME176C) is one of the first of Asus' Android tablet range to feature "Intel Inside", although the company certainly showed off a few others back at CES.

I've had the new-look Asus Memo Pad 7 in the CNET Australia office for a short time and these are our early impressions of the 7-inch tablet.

Design-wise, it's a solid step up from last year's 7-inch model, which my colleague Xiomara "="" at="" the="" time"="" shortcode="link" asset-type="review" uuid="56833f14-f684-11e2-8262-0291187b029a" slug="asus-memo-pad-hd-7" link-text="described as " section="products" title="Asus Memo Pad HD 7"> . The ME176C is actually a thoroughly handsome device that looks and feels far better made than its AU$229 price tag might suggest. This latest Memo Pad 7 will set you back $149 in the US or £129 in the UK.

Nic Healey/CNET

The matte finish -- black for the model I had in the office -- has a premium feel. Its texture makes it sit well when I held it one-handed. The front has a silver trim around the bezel but other than that, the device keeps design cues to a minimum.

At 295g (10.4 ounces) and 9.6mm thick, it's quite thin and light compared to some other 7-inch tablets on the market, but we're not quite in iPad Air or Galaxy Tab S territory.

The screen has a 1,280x800-pixel resolution and a density of 216ppi, which is the same as last year's model -- something I would have liked to see an upgrade on, to be honest. It's an IPS screen, so I don't have any complaints about the colours or brightness, but HD videos from Google's Play Store or other streaming services sadly aren't going to get the justice they deserve.

Asus' ZenUI is a very heavy overlay for Android -- especially when many manufacturers seem to be paring back a little to let the Android experience shine. For the most part it's a good one, though, and not as "bloatware-ish" as others. I confess I'd still prefer more of a pure Android feel, but that's very much an individual taste.

Nic Healey/CNET

In terms of power, I'll give the Memo Pad a thumbs-up for getting a good run from its quad-core Atom Z3745 chipset, and 1GB of RAM. Animations feel slick, pages turn fast and videos run smoothly. It's a good indicator of how well Intel and Android can get along these days.

Battery-wise Asus claims a 9-hour life and there's not much I'd disagree with there. In moderate general use -- some video, a lot of browsing and app use -- I saw two days of life, which I'd regard as quite solid. Also, like last year's model, the Memo Pad has a microSD slot, expanding the 16GB of built-in storage by up to 64GB.

The real killer feature here is that price: AU$229/$149/£119 puts the Memo Pad 7 in the very affordable category. Combined with its solid features, this cheapness could make it a great second (or third) tablet for any household.