The idea of combining a smartphone with a tablet isn't a new one (see: the Asus FonePad), but it's also a product that hasn't been attempted a number of times.
There's a reason for that.
It simply isn't practical. Most people aren't so desperate to consolidate their mobile devices that they're willing to hold a (at least) 7-inch slab against the sides of their heads when they make a phone call. Regardless, Huawei has taken another swing at the smartphone/tablet with its recent MediaPad 7 Vogue (priced at $300), but unfortunately its whacky concept isn't the device's only flaw.
The Vogue's design just might be its greatest strength (though everything is relative here). It's not super sleek and sexy, but it's also not ugly; the silver and white mix of colors on the device's back is easy enough on the eye. And while it's a little on the heavy side for a 7-inch tablet at 335 grams, it's not overwhelming. If anything, the weight is simply a byproduct of solid construction.
Measuring 9.5mm thick, the Vogue is actually a little thinner than, say, the Google Nexus 7, which is 10.45 mm thick, so it's definitely not too clunky. In fact, the device is generally comfortable to hold (just not against your face), even one-handed, and the buttons are nice and chunky and stick out far enough for easy pressing. That was more than I could say about the annoying low-profile controls of the Nexus 7, which were flush with the curved side of the device and were not raised enough to be pushed comfortably.
The only downside to the design of the Vogue is the bezel, which is so thick that it borders on goofy. A slimmer bezel -- which, in turn, would have allowed for a slightly more compact bezel -- would have given the device a more premium look.
The display on the Vogue is just plain bad, no two ways about it. The 7-inch, 1024 x 600 display lacks sharpness to the point that it looks almost looks like it's out of focus at times. It's also not terribly difficult to see individual pixels on the screen, even when it's not all that close to your face. The brightness isn't awful, but even when it's cranked up to its maximum, it's unlikely to impress.
Above all though, the biggest issue with the display is its color saturation, or lack thereof. Colors look painfully bland, so much so that they look washed out. I was shocked, for example, to see how noticeably different Temple Run 2 looked on the Vogue compared to how it looked on the Samsung Galaxy S IV's Super AMOLED display; it was almost like the colors on the Vogue had been filled in with weak pastels or watercolors, they looked so faded.
It also doesn't help that the screen sensitivity is sorely lacking. It typically took me at least three or four taps on an application link on the home screen before one of them finally registered.
Aside from the earpiece located at the very top of the device above the display, button and port location on the Vogue is pretty much what you would expect. The power button and volume rocker adorn the upper right edge, while a single cover conceals the SIM and microSD card ports on the lower right. That just leaves the micro USB charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, and a small rear-firing speaker on the back located directly below the device's 3.1-megapixel camera.
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