The 7-inch Asus Fonepad is at the head of a new trend of tablet devices offering a big screen and full phone functionality along with the likes of the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. It takes expandable memory (up to 32GB), sports a 1.2GHz Intel Atom single-core processor, runs an Asus modified version of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and is extremely affordable at just £179 SIM-free.
If you’re thinking of picking one up, here are a few pointers to help get the most out of this unique device.
Tip 1: Disabling apps
Like so many other manufacturers, Asus has laden the Fonepad with a number of proprietary apps that although useful for some, may never see use by others. By disabling these unnecessary applications, you can improve the performance of the Fonepad and remove them from the apps drawer, even if they can’t be uninstalled completely.
To do so, head to the Apps section in the Settings menu – we suggest disabling only third party and Asus-made apps like BuddyBuzz, all of which you’ll find under the ‘All’ tab. Hit ‘force stop’, ‘clear cache’, ‘clear data’ and finally ‘disable’. Once you’ve OK’d the alert windows, BuddyBuzz (or whichever app you have chosen) will no longer be an accessible app on the device.
Make sure you’re not disabling an app that affects the fundamental operation of the Fonepad (such as a key part of stock Android) and understand that not apps can be disabled.
Tip 2: Asus Splendid
One app you won’t want to disable is Asus Splendid – an in depth screen calibration app unlike anything we’ve seen natively installed on an Android device before. It offers unprecedented control over colour temperature, hue and saturation and the effects are device wide, but we recommend using it explicitly for improving the look of media such as movies and games.
Tip 3: Bluetooth headset/receiver
No matter how you think you may look, actually taking a call on the Fonepad looks silly, Dom Joly silly. We can’t stress enough the necessity of connecting a wireless Bluetooth headset or receiver. Not only will it remove the risk of you talking with a 7-inch tablet pressed against your ear, but also the convenience of being able to pick up a call hands-free is a welcome bonus.
To pair a compatible accessory, make sure you have Bluetooth switched on in the Settings menu and that to set your headset or receiver is set to pairing mode. Pairing mode will vary from device to device.
Tip 4: Floating widgets
The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean user experience has been lightly modified by Asus with one handy addition being the option of floating widgets. From anywhere throughout the device, press the upward arrow in the bottom right of the screen to bring up a selection of widgets.
There are 11 widgets to choose from including a calculator, miniature web browser, stopwatch, video player and more. Each widget can be moved around the homescreen and will remain in place throughout navigation across the rest of the device. Hitting the ‘X’ in the top right will close a specific widget and in some instances there’s a full screen button that launches the full application. You can also have multiple floating widgets running at once.
Tip 5: Changing the stock keyboard
As much as we love the Asus Fonepad, we don’t love the typing experience from the stock keyboard. It behaves sluggishly and is inaccurate with regards to word prediction. Instead we recommend using a more intuitive keyboard such as SwiftKey.
Both the phone and tablet versions of the app should work on the Fonepad and offer enhanced features like SwiftKey Flow – which allows you the ability to drag your finger across the keys rather than typing. There are also enhanced correction and prediction techniques as well as simultaneous multi-language support. You can download the latest version of SwiftKey from Google Play.