Moving on from the ASUS MemoPad HD7

When I received the iPad 2 three years ago, it initially addressed all my tablet needs and was dangerously close to achieving the holy grail of tech (convergence - where one device was used for all tasks). However, it was clear that the then-expensive Apple device wasn't suitable for casual outings. Unlike affluent tech users, I don't like the idea of keeping my iPad 2 in my backpack during trips to the beach. Moreover, the iPad 2 was too good a productive device for just casually reading Web of Spider-Man comic books, watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, perusing EPUBs or just surfing the Internet. Thus, I purchased a what online tech sites back in 2013 called the "sleeper hit of the year": the ASUS MemoPad HD7.

 
 

Roughly two years later, I'm packing the MemoPad HD7 for storage and switching over to an Android 5.1-powered Sony Xperia C3 and a Windows 10-upgraded HP Stream 8. The MemoPad HD7 wasn't perfect and maybe it would have lasted longer if I hadn't purchased a refurbished product rather than a Mainland China release that required Framaroot to install Google Play.

The MemoPad HD7, though underpowered compared to the iPad 2 and struggled with large PDFs, was great for reading comic books using Perfect Viewer, watching movies using VLC, reading news via apps and just browsing in general. It was a brick and felt disposable at times but it became my primary entertainment device. It was a thick tablet compared to Samsung's later Galaxy Tab releases but the audio was fine and the 7" form factor made it more travel-friendly than the iPad 2 (you can slip it into your khakis easily).

 
 


The 7" MemoPad HD7 next to a 4.5" Lumia 925, 8" HP Stream 8, 5.5" Sony Xperia C3 and the 9.7" IPad 2.


Arguably the greatest flaw in the MemoPad HD7 was the user - I'm working in China where Google Play is blocked and without VPN couldn't update the apps. The second obvious flaw of the MemoPad HD7 was it was stuck at Android 4.2, which is a far cry from the popular KitKat and the controversial but newer 5.x (Lollipop). However, it was neither of the two flaws that finally made me switch to the Xperia C3 and HP Stream 8 - the touch screen started to go bonkers and would randomly start launching apps and navigating across screens. The device is still fine in all other aspects but became unusable due to the touch screen.

 
 


Android 4.2 Settings screen. Android 4.2 is still seen in many devices today.

Note:
What caused the sudden glitch in the touch screen software or hardware? There are no cracks on the screen and the back cover, though smudged, is undamaged, as is the circuit board. It could be the lack of updates that did it but it's more likely caused by the daily rigors of use, though I didn't dunk it into water or throw it against the wall. Still, another reason is that my MemoPad HD7's refurbished origins may have finally caught up with it.

To be fair to the MemoPad HD7, its cheap price made me less worried about it than the iPad 2 or even my Lumia 925 and yet it survived my daily abuse. The battery life is still pretty good and I regret having to finally power it off (the touch screen glitch is really bad). As I tinker around with the 2014 Stream 8 I upgraded to Windows 10, I keep missing the MemoPad HD7's reliability and simplicity. Although the Stream 8 has the advantage of regular Windows updates and a more spacious screen, I truly doubt it can match the MemoPad HD7's battery life, portability and usability.


 
 


MemoPad HD7 Home Screen. Bye MemoPad HD7! You've been great!

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