ASUS' new Fonepads are solid tablets, but still awkward for making calls

ASUS' new Fonepad 7 and 8 are sleek, well-built Android tablets equipped with 3G connectivity and dual SIM slots, along with a speaker and mic. Whether making calls on a gigantic slate is something you're into is another question, but if you're at all interested in a tablet that can pull double duty as your handset, ASUS' products are the best ones you could ask for. And they work quite well as tablets, too.

Announced at Computex in Taiwan earlier today, the Fonepad 7 and 8 are updates to last year's Fonepad 7 -- both sport 64-bit Intel processors for improved power, efficiency and speed. It's impossible to draw conclusions about a tablet's performance based on a few minutes of use, but basic Android 4.4 (KitKat) navigation on both Fonepads felt as smooth as you'd expect. On the 1,280 x 800 IPS display, colors are extremely crisp and vivid as well.

The larger Fonepad 8 is definitely the more premium of the two, with a dimpled texture on the back as opposed to the Fonepad 7's simple rubberized finish. The bezels are extremely narrow, which makes gripping the tabs with one hand relatively easy. At a show full of run-of-the-mill Android tablets, these two definitely stand out.

While both devices are quite thin and light, there's no getting around it: Holding a 7- or 8-inch slab up to your face to make calls will never feel natural. If you mostly communicate via text -- or if you're content to use the speakerphone -- this won't be a huge problem, but the Fonepads' size is definitely not ideal for lengthy calls.

Fortunately, both tablets have much more going for them than just the phone functionality; they're attractive, with premium specs to boot, and dual front speakers make them ideal for streaming music and watching movies. ASUS is the master of multifunctional devices -- seriously, check out this phone-laptop hybrid also unveiled at the show -- and the Fonepads are high-quality, if unexciting, Android tablets.