Hands-On with the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 171 Tablet
We already reported on the announcement of the MeMO, but today we had the chance to go hands-on with the device. You’d expect it to be nothing more than a 7” version of the Prime – but you’d be wrong. The MeMO, as the name implies, is designed to enable easy use as a note-taking device. As such it includes somewhat large bezels on the right and left (when held in landscape mode) to provide an easy grip. There’s also a stylus. Yes, that’s right – a stylus. It may seem old-fashioned, but it works with bundled software to make hand writing simple.
You don’t have to rely on the stylus, however. Choose to ignore it and you have an attractive 7” Android tablet. Though the version we looked at was running Honeycomb, ASUS plans to ship MeMO tablets with Ice Cream Sandwich. We also had the opportunity to use a Prime running ICS after we checked out the MeMO, and though we could not run benchmarks, first impressions told us that web browsing in ICS is much snappier even when the same hardware is available.
Unlike other 7” tablets, the MeMO 171 isn’t asking users to sacrifice resolution to obtain a smaller size. The MeMO is to ship with a 1280x800 display, the same resolution as the current Transformer Prime. It’s also bestowed with an IPS display. This gives the tablet a substantial hardware advantage over the small tablet competition we’ve seen so far.
Speaking of hardware advantages, the MeMO 171 is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm 1.2 GHz processor. The reason for this is compatibility with mobile carriers. We were told that the Qualcomm version will be usable as a mobile phone (though ASUS is still working with North American carriers – none are planning to offer offical MeMO support yet).
Because sticking 7” tablet to your face would be a bit ridiculous there will also be a small handset and media control that can be paired with the tablet. ASUS did not have a functional version to display, however – perhaps indicating that the kinks aren’t worked out just yet.
Overall, the MeMO looks like a promising tablet. It is sleek, fast and small. However, pricing is not yet available. I’m hoping for $299 to $349. While this is in essence a smaller version of the Prime, it is packing a stylus and potential mobile network support – things that can really ramp up a device’s price.
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