Just after we got back from CES, ASUS wrote to tell us that a cost reduced version of the 7-inch MeMO Pad was coming to the US. Starting at $149 for an 8GB model, the MeMO Pad features a VIA WM8950 SoC. We haven't seen the VIA name in a while but inside the SoC is a single ARM Cortex A9 CPU running at up to 1GHz and an ARM Mali-400 of unknown core configuration. The total DRAM size hasn't gone down compared to the Nexus 7, but display resolution has (1024 x 600 vs. 1280 x 800). ASUS is promising up to 140-degree max viewing angle and 350 nits max brightness for the MeMO Pad's 7-inch display.

Unlike the Nexus 7, the MeMO Pad does come with a microSD card slot to expand storage beyond its default 8/16GB configuration. The chassis looks very similar to the Nexus 7, but it is slightly thicker and does weigh a little more as well. Battery capacity hasn't been touched though. There's a 1MP front facing camera with f/2.0 lens. The MeMO Pad will ship with Android 4.1. ASUS was quick to point out that the device will ship with Google's Play Store and the US version will support Hulu Plus, Netflix and HBO Go.

Tablet Specification Comparison
  Apple iPad mini ASUS MeMO Pad (ME172V) Google Nexus 7
Dimensions 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm 196.2 x 119.2 x 11.2mm 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm
Display 7.85-inch 1024 x 768 IPS 7-inch 1024 x 600 7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS
Weight 308g (WiFi) 370g 340g (WiFi)
Processor 1GHz Apple A5 (2 x Cortex A9, PowerVR SGX543MP2)

VIA WM8950 (1GHz Cortex A9 + Mali-400)

1.3 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (T30L - 4 x Cortex A9)

Connectivity WiFi , Optional 4G LTE WiFi WiFi, Optional 3G
Memory 512MB 1GB 1GB
Storage 16GB—64GB 8GB, 16GB + microSD slot 16GB, 32GB
Battery 16.3Wh 16Wh 16Wh
Starting Price $329 $149 $199

The cost reduction in the bill of materials translates to $50 savings in retail; the MeMO Pad will start at $149 compared to $199 for the Nexus 7. While I bet the latter will still be the 7-inch Android tablet of choice for discerning consumers, the MeMO Pad will be ASUS' attempt to gain a foothold in the ultra competitive, low cost tablet market. Availability is expected in the US starting in April.

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  • Fanatical Meat - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    Don't blink or you'll miss another crappy android tablet
  • jjj - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - link

    Similar to the Lenovo offering and a bit less attractive than the Acer , all at the same 150$.
    Sadly going TN and single core is a bit too much. I would rather see a dual anything ( A9, A7 or even A5) and a 6 inch IPS screen at 150$, than this. Granted at 100-120$ TN and 1 core would become more compelling.
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 14, 2013 - link

    I wonder what process technology the VIA SoC uses. 40nm TSMC, 32nm Samsung, 28nm TSMC? Depending on that, power usage and therefore battery life could be quite interesting. But saving 50USD to get a mediocre SoC and display, worse weight and lose 8GB onboard NAND for the ability to add 32/64GB via extra cards (which also cost money) is not that attractive.
    I can get 1280x800 7" tablets with dual/quad A9 and Mali from Pipo, Ainol, Window for even less than 150USD.
    Why is Asus more expensive while offering less and reusing an already existing design?
  • jtd871 - Monday, January 14, 2013 - link

    I don't get ASUS. If they had released a functionally identical tab to the Nexus 7 and simply added (back) the uSD card expandability (from the original MeMO that was being shopped around prior to the Google deal), I might have seriously considered it for $250. Many I've talked with balked at the nexus 7 simply because it didn't have the uSD card slot. Don't offer me a budget tablet with budget hardware - offer me one that even Nexus owners will covet.
  • sabrvertigo - Monday, February 25, 2013 - link

    i hope that this kind of trendy gadget is affordable enough that i can able to purchase it within this year.

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  • lillylucas - Saturday, October 3, 2015 - link

    Thanks for another thought-provoking episode.
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