Asus’ latest 7-inch slate may not be the most exciting product to come out of IFA this year, but it is a very solid tablet, both in terms of specs and how it feels in the hand. The device features a fashion-conscious design and a thin, solid feeling profile. Read on as Gizmag goes hands-on with Asus’ latest version of its 7-inch slate.

The design of the Memo Pad 7 (ME572C) is perhaps its most alluring feature. Taking obvious inspiration from women’s clutch handbags, the tablet boasts stylish looks. It’s available in three colors (Rose Champagne, Gentle Black and Burgundy Red) and offers a mix of matte and glossy finishes. Despite its inspiration, the design isn’t overly feminine, and at only 8.3 mm (0.33 in) thick and 279 g (0.6 lb), it feels premium, lightweight and solid in the hand.

The device’s IPS display features a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200, giving it a solid 323 pixels per inch. There’s also a 64-bit quad core Intel Atom processor on board, clocked at 1.83 GHz. The device runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Asus’ Zen UI overlay. We’re not overly fond of the overall look of the overlay, but in our brief testing performance was quick and smooth throughout.

You’ll want to note that while the tablet’s chip is capable of 64-bit processing, the current version of Android doesn’t support the tech. We’ll have to wait until the upcoming Android L release to get our 64-bit fix on Google’s platform.

The MemoPad 7’s speakers are positioned on the right and left edges of the tablet, meaning that the audio is projected out to the sides. If you’re using the device on your lap, then this is potentially preferable to having the them on the back of the slate, but we still prefer front-facing speakers. The audio sounded reasonably loud in the Asus media lounge at IFA, with quality roughly on par with similarly priced 7-inch slates.

Perhaps the most obvious product to compare with the Memo Pad 7 is Asus' (and Google's) own 2013 Nexus 7 tablet. The products share the same display resolution, with a similar form factor. On balance, we’d have to say that we prefer the Nexus device’s stock version of Android to Asus’ treatment of the OS. However, in terms of design, the new Asus slate definitely holds its own, and while the stylings won’t appeal to everyone, they’re sure to win it some fans.

In terms of other specs, the Memo Pad 7 packs 2 GB RAM and 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, with 5 GB Asus WebStorage, and an additional 11 GB for a year. There’s also a microSD card reader, 5 MP and 2 MP cameras on the front and back of the slate, and an LTE version of the tablet will be available.

Asus has yet to announce a release date for the Memo Pad 7, but an Asus representative at IFA did reveal that the slate will retail for £179 (around US$288) and up in the UK. There’s no word yet on US pricing or release.

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