ASUS' MeMO Pad 7 gets a new chic look, lighter body and sharper screen

It's IFA, so of course ASUS is going to launch a new tablet. This time it's a new MeMO Pad 7 (ME572C) that not only sports a different Intel Atom chip (the 64-bit quad-core Z3560 that clocks up to 1.83GHz), but also has a new chic look that's "inspired by clutch bags and wallets," as well as a screen upgrade to a whopping 1,920 x 1,200 resolution (323 ppi) -- a nice jump from the predecessor's 1,280 x 800 panel. The new Android 4.4 tablet is also thinner at 8.3mm and slimmer at 269 grams, thanks to its fiberglass body, duralumin frame and slim screen bezels. Other features include 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of internal storage, up to 64GB of microSD expansion, up to 16GB of free cloud storage, dual speakers and 5MP/2MP cameras.

Come late Q3 or early Q4, the new MeMO Pad 7 will be available starting from €199 (about $260) with red, gold and black color options; and there will also be an LTE version (ME572CL) if you don't mind paying a bit more.

Just by looking at the device, you know ASUS is trying to make it appeal to a more serious consumer -- the easy, rounded corners of the old MeMO Pad 7 have been replaced by sharp edges. The square shape, mix of plastic and glass and tiered back panel are true to the clutch-bag design the company's aiming for. A wealth of bezel above and below the display -- which can get seriously bright if you need it to -- isn't unattractive, but perhaps could've been reduced if the tablet were just a little thicker. Nevertheless we appreciate how light the thing is and how comfortable it is to hold with one hand.

Cycling through the app drawer produced no discernible lag, but some crept in while rapidly fingering through the home screen carousel. How the Intel processor holds up against more intensive tasks is yet to be seen. The tablet looks great despite a lack of premium materials, and an improvement in specs is welcome. Whether it has the performance a serious consumer might demand, however, is another matter.