I’ve always been uncomfortable with the small size of my smartphone screen . So when the first 7-inch tablets size appeared, I considered merging my phone with a tablet to carry only one device with me.
I am a big fan of the Phablets form factor and a 7-inch phone is a device with which I can live. After a long thinking , I finally decided to proceed with a change. This summer, I exchanged my iPhone 4 for an Asus Fonepad tablet. Here is a summary of my experience during this transition.
My needs were simple. I need to run the same applications (or equivalent) than what I used on my iphone 4. Here is a list of those applications sorted by priority:
- Email that work with Exchange
- Feed reader that work with feedly (i now use gReader)
- Mobile reader for the Montreal newspaper “La Presse”
- Mobile player for french canadian TV (Tou.tv)
- Voice recorder (i now use smart voice recorder)
- Google Maps
- TuneIn Radio
- Podcast player (i now use gReader)
- Book reader (I now use Google Play to read epub and PDF)
- Rdio player
- Safari To Go
It was mandatory to obtain a tablet with 3G data. For the phone feature, I was ready to try Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) services such as Skype or Line2. Obviously, since I had an ipone 4, I evaluated the purchase of the iPad mini but when I saw the price (around $550), I decided it was too expensive. After evaluating all my options, I decided to opt for the Google tablet as I feel the price was fair (around $300).
So in June, I bought a Google Nexus 7 tablet with 3G data. As I live in Canada and I need a phone number in the 514 area, I subscribe to the Line2 service and start testing VOIP. During my tests, I discovered that the services provided by Line2 was correct even if the reach of 3G data is not equivalent as the reach of mobile phone. For example, I could hardly received phone calls when I was in the basement of my house. Those were constraints that I could live with.
Unfortunately, because of the design of the tablet, there was a problem that I could not tolerate. Since the speaker and the microphone were side by side, the microphone recorded the sound of the speaker which created a very unpleasant echo for the caller. All the people who were calling me experienced the echo and all were uncomfortable. Despite the fact that I enjoyed a lot my experience with Google Nexus 7, I had to consider another option. So, I canceled my subscription with Line2 and I sold my Nexus 7.
By doing some research over the web, I discovered that ASUS is offering an almost identical clone of the Nexus 7 that include a mobile phone. This tablet is the ASUS Fonepad and bought it for 270 dollars through a reseller who import them from Japan. I now have the best of both worlds, a real mobile phone and a 7-inch tablet . It’s been almost 2 months since I used this new tablet and I could not be more happier.
From now on, I plan to use only phablets and I’ll probably change my device every year. In this regard, the new 6-inch ASUS Fonepad Note seems like a promising device.