Asus FonePad coming in June, 7 inch phablet for under $400

Are phones too small for you? Well hold onto those jacket pockets, because here’s one that will be lucky to fit: a seven inch tablet that also works as a phone.

Announced at Mobile World Congress in Spain this year, Asus is seeing fit to release a 7 inch phone-equipped tablet called the “FonePad,” a product that has a similar name but is distinctly different from the “PadFone” which is a phone that sits in a tablet.

Different from that product, the FonePad is a small handheld tablet – we say small because it’s smaller than an iPad and marginally smaller than the iPad Mini – with Google’s Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” working as the operating system, as well as 8GB storage, microSD slot, and 1GB RAM.

The 7 inch screen also features the HD resolution of 1280×800 which is also an IPS panel, with ten fingers of multitouch possible here.

The Galaxy S4 is a big phone, but the Asus Fonepad is a bigger phone.

On first glance, the FonePad reminds us of the Google Nexus 7 which was built by Asus too, but it’s when you look at the insides of the FonePad you see how different it is, and with an Intel processor, this is vastly different.

Rather than go with the Tegra or Snapdragon chips we normally see, the Asus FonePad runs with a 1.2GHz Intel Atom processor, effectively making it both fast and battery optimised, similar to the Atom processor used in the Windows 8 tablets we’ve been seeing of late.

Multimedia is handled with a front 1.2 megapixel camera and a 3 megapixel module on the back, which is one thing that makes it distinct for the Australian release, as we hear European models went without the back camera.

Being a phone, you’ll find 3G voice and data here, and since it has so much in common with a tablet, there’s also Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n.

The specs are about right for a seven inch tablet, but being that it has a phone in it – a really big usable phone – makes it compete in both sections, and with a price of $329 for an 8GB phone slash tablet, that’s not bad. Move the storage up to 32GB and the price becomes $399 with a faster 1.6GHz processor.

We’ll have thoughts on how this phone/tablet/phablet stacks up in the coming days, we just might need bigger pockets to test it properly.