Asus MeMo Pad 7 HDAt first sight the Asus MeMo Pad 7 HD isn’t much of a prospect.

It is a budget-price 7-inch Android tablet. Experience says most cheap Androids are horrible. Worse, the review model came with a hot pink plastic case.

None of this says “quality experience”.

Yet once you get past those uninspiring first impressions, you are left with a respectable tablet. The MeMo Pad 7 HD delivers a lot of bang for not many bucks. It is on sale in New Zealand for $250. At that price it is great value for money.

What’s good?

Cheap Androids often have poor screens. The display on the MeMo Pad 7 HD is surprisingly good. There are only 1280 by 800 pixels which is a last generation specification, but the screen is bright and sharp.

That makes it easy to read in most conditions — although not bright sunlight. The screen works best with high contrast designs such as black text on white backgrounds. Devices at twice the price have worse screens.

You wouldn’t expect mobile wireless at this price, but Asus hasn’t skimped on the Wi-Fi. The MeMo Pad 7 HD supports 2.4 and 5GHz 802.11b/g/n.

The performance is impressive. We could talk about the chip — for the record it’s a a quad-core 1.2GHz MediaTek MT8125 processor with 1GB Ram — but what’s more important is that it handles most applications and web apps with headroom to spare. While you wouldn’t want this device for high-end gaming or media production, it’s good enough for everyday work.

What’s not so good?

The built quality is tacky, bordering on negligent.

And the sound is barely acceptable. The speakers are, well, tinny. You wouldn’t want to play music on them. In fact, you wouldn’t want anyone else to play music within earshot.

Despite the letters HD in its name, the MeMo Pad 7 isn’t a great multimedia device.

The price is right

While $250 or thereabouts isn’t a throw-away price, it is low enough for cash-strapped parents to send it off to school with their little darlings knowing that the family won’t go hungry if it needs replacing. Consider giving the device to employees or youngsters who won’t or can’t treat technology with kid gloves.

Say I found myself away on business with, say a dead laptop. I could see myself walking into a local store and picking up one of these to carry on working while the computer is fixed.

If you need a tablet and you’re on a tight budget this has to go to the top of your list. The MeMo Pad 7 HD isn’t going to set the world alight, but it’s good value.

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