Mario Cardinal

"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" – Marcel Proust

My new phone is a 7-inch tablet

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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. 

asus-fonepad1I 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 (
  • 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
  • Pluralsight
  • Hootsuite
  • Twitter
  • OneNote
  • Lync2013

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.


Author: mariocardinal

I am the co-founder of To-Do Studio, a software publisher offering online collective workspaces extended with automated guides. As an experimenter and an entrepreneur, I like to seize opportunities that emerge from the unexpected. Since 2004 (15 years in a row), I am a recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award. MVP status is awarded to credible technology experts who have shown a deep commitment to innovation, passion about technology and a strong community spirit. An experienced DevOps and Scrum practitioner, I have spent nearly 30 years designing large-scale information systems. I am the author of the book "Executable Specifications with Scrum" and the host of the Visual Studio Talk Show, a podcast about software architecture.

One thought on “My new phone is a 7-inch tablet

  1. Pingback: Experiment with a new mobile OS every year | Mario Cardinal

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