Asus ZenPad 10 Review
Convertible tablets have been all the rage since the Pixel C and iPad Pro arrived last year, and for good reason. Offering travel-friendly designs, coupled with developed app ecosystems, they’re great for both mobile productivity and entertainment.
The only downside is their fairly hefty £300-plus starting price. Which is why at first glance the Asus ZenPad 10 is a fairly enticing offer. With starting at a meagre £200 for both the tablet and keyboard dock, the ZenPad – on paper at least – offers seriously good value for money.
In real-world use, the ZenPad delivers on this promise and is a great netbook replacement. But ongoing issues with it’s software and CPU mean that, like the ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA before it, the ZenPad 10 falls slightly short of hybrid greatness.
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Asus ZenPad 10 Z300C – Design and Keyboard
Asus’ ZenPad range of tablets has a tendency to put functionality and affordability ahead of glitz when it comes to design. This trend continues with the ZenPad 10. It’s a fairly unassuming slate, split into tablet and keyboard sections.
The device isn’t going to win any design awards. The tablet section is a purely plastic affair that feels noticeably less high-end than competing devices, such as the Nvidia Shield K1.
The grey keyboard has a similarly bare-bones look and feel. Its plastic feels a little brittle, and both the tablet and keyboard section flex noticeably with even moderate pressure. This was particularly apparent when docking the tablet and keyboard.
Once I’d physically connected the two parts and paired the keyboard with the tablet over Bluetooth, my experience typing on the ZenPad 10 was mixed.
The keys have reasonable travel and feel solid compared to other tablet keyboard docks I’ve tested. The dock is also weighty enough to ensure the tablet isn’t too top-heavy – as is the case with the Pixel C – and can be comfortably used as a notebook on your lap.
However, the entire dock flexes even with moderately heavy typing, making it all too easy to hit the wrong key, or break your concentration when working. Also, I remain unconvinced by Asus’ bizarre dual-battery system. Like the Pixel C, the ZenPad’s tablet and keyboard sections are powered separately. However, unlike the Pixel C, both sections have to be charged independently using their respective micro-USB connectors.
I can’t for the life of me figure out why Asus hasn’t found a way to make it possible to pair the two batteries to boost battery life, or enable you to charge one part off the other.
Add to this the tablet’s piddly 16GB of internal storage – which, being fair, can be upgraded using the tablet’s microSD card slot – and my opening impressions of the ZenPad were underwhelming.
However, following a little more time with the device, I found myself warming to it.
The tablet may feel cheap and flex more than I’d like, but I can’t question the ZenPad’s durability. Using it as my main tablet and out-of-office word processor, the ZenPad survived a fair amount of use scratch- and chip-free. Highlights include it being accidentally bashed into a table while in my satchel, and an entirely not my fault encounter with a carpeted floor.
I’m also impressed by how well the keyboard works as an audio dock. Asus has loaded the keyboard with two impressive – by tablet standards – speakers with DTS-HD Premium Sound and Sonic Master technology.
Speakers are usually the first area to take a hit on budget devices, so the dual-speaker’s appearance on the ZenPad is impressive and to be applauded. The DTS functionality is nifty tech designed to provide a virtual – AKA fake – surround-sound experience.
It doesn’t really offer anything close to a full surround-sound experience, however – but it’s a positive nonetheless. Audio played on the ZenPad when docked displays more depth than I’d expect, and is free of the tinny quality that plagues competing tablets.
I still wouldn’t want to use the ZenPad as my primary music player, but the audio quality is more than good enough for movie and Netflix watching.
Asus ZenPad 10 Z300C – Display
The ZenPad’s 10.1-inch screen is also pretty good for movie viewing. The 1,280 x 800 resolution isn’t anything to write home about, and you’ll definitely be able to spot individual pixels on inspection. But the screen’s colour balance and vibrancy are impressive when you consider the ZenPad’s price.
The IPS panel ensures whites are reasonably clean – although they rapidly distort when viewed at an angle. The maximum brightness isn’t dazzling, but it’s good enough to ensure the screen remains legible in everything but direct sunlight. Blacks aren’t the inkiest I’ve seen, but they’re above average compared to other IPS tablets I’ve tested in this price bracket.
There also wasn’t any sign of serious backlight bleed, which has been an issue on previous Asus devices I’ve tested.
Personally, I didn’t have a problem with the standard setting, where colours are suitably vibrant, without being overcooked., But for those who want to, the Asus Splendid app makes it easy to adjust the screen’s colour temperature on the fly. It includes preset standard, blue filter and Vivid settings, plus a manual colour temperature slider control. Splendid is part of the tablet’s wider suite of Visual Master technology. Visual Master is a collection of Asus technologies designed to improve screen performance.
In the past, I’ve found Visual Master to be a mixed bag. While the colour calibration tools are great, the Tru2life and auto-sharpening tech has been poor. On other ZenPads I’ve tested, the technologies have over-sharpened videos and altered their frame rate to the point where character movements in TV shows and movies look slightly bizarre. Surprisingly, however, I didn’t experience any such issues on the ZenPad 10.
Asus has also worked to ensure the ZenPad’s screen is good for productivity by adding Active Pen support. This means that if you splurge on one of Asus’ optional styluses, it will be possible to scribble notes or digitally paint on the ZenPad – although, given the screen’s low resolution, I wouldn’t recommend using it for artwork.
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Asus Zenpad 10 Review
While you could spend 500 or more on a topnotch Android tablet, doing so is hardly necessary given the many great budget options available. The Asus ZenPad 10 is a great example of a budget Android tablet that still manages to pack in a ton of functionality at a rock-bottom price.
For those that don’t like shelling out a fortune on mobile hardware, it could be a surprise of the pleasant variety.
Layout and Aesthetics
Like many of its tablet brethren, the Asus ZenPad 10 is protected by a hard plastic shell with a faux leather texture. The 1280×800 pixel IPS LCD boasts a 72 screen-to-body ratio and is surrounded by a metal Band that gives this device an upscale look.
Just 7.9 millimeters thick and weighing in at 510 grams, it’s as slight a device as you’ll find in this price range.
Firepower, Storage Battery Life
Under the hood, the ZenPad 10 rocks the capable Intel Atom x3-C3200 quad-core processor, a Mali-450 MP4 GPU and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. On-board flash memory of up to 32GB is augmented by 5GB worth of Asus Webstorage and 100GB of Google Drive space.
The included microSD slot can tack on another 64GB. This particular ZenPad’s 18Wh battery is good for 8 hours on one charge.
Networking and Exterior Hardware
While the ZenPad 10 isn’t available on any mobile carriers, it boasts Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS, GLONASS and Miracast. There’s also a Micro USB port, a standard audio jack, stereo speakers, a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front-facing webcam.
Most importantly, this ZenPad pairs with the Asus Audio Dock keyboard and the Z Stylus. As such, it’s both a productivity machine and an artistic scratchpad depending on your interests.
Operating System, UI Apps
The ZenPad 10 runs Android 5.0 aka Lollipop and masks the default look of said OS with the ZenUI environment. Thanks to the vaunted Asus VisualMaster suite of image enhancement tools, this ZenPad delivers far greater visual performance than you’d expect from a 1280×800 screen.
Besides a few “bloatware” apps that some might want to delete, the ZenPad 10 keeps the useless software to a minimum.
Pros Cons to Consider
The ZenPad 10 is a great deal given its price. When combined with the Audio Dock keyboard, it’s practically a laptop replacement. Internal components are fine and the build quality is impressive.
The only problem is that it doesn’t offer dedicated mobile carrier service. However, the fact that Wi-Fi is cheap, usually free and damn-near ubiquitous nowadays makes that one major downside less of an issue.
The reality is that there are better entertainment and productivity tablets out there in the iOS, Android and Windows worlds. What the ZenPad 10 has going for it is that it manages to do a little of everything very well for a price that’s hard to beat.
If you’re a middle-of-the-road tablet user that wants a versatile machine for a variety of scenarios, the ZenPad 10 is tough to ignore.
Asus ZenPad 10 Z301ML: Everything you need to know
The Asus ZenPad 10 Z301ML is a new Android tablet that was announced during Computex 2017 in Taiwan. Its main features are a reasonable price, Android 7.0 Nougat and an optional keyboard dock. LTE is included as well.
While this is not a high-end tablet it offers a couple of improvements compared to previous ZenPads. The design hasn’t changed much but we’re getting a kind of cloth texture on the back. Other highlights are a USB Typ C port and DTS-HD-Premium speakers.
Asus ZenPad 10 Z301ML Design
The design of the Asus ZenPad 10 Z301ML is very similar to previous generations. While the body is completely made out of plastic it does not feel cheap. In fact, the build quality is quite nice and thanks to the fabrics texture on the back it feels very nice. Obviously, an aluminum body would have been nice, but that is not something we can expect from inexpensive devices.
With 8.95 millimeters it is not the thinnest tablet out there. The weight is alright at 490 grams though.
Around the 10.1-inch display are quite big black bezels with the Asus logo in the upper left corner. The front camera offers a resolution of 2 megapixels. On the sides, we’re getting volume rockers and a power button. You can charge it with the USB Typ C port and there is a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.
On the bottom of the device is room for a microSD card and a nano SIM card. On the back, Asus is giving us a 5-megapixel camera without a LED flash. They call it Pixel Master Camera.
Display and Hardware
As the name suggests, the Asus ZenPad 10 Z301ML has a 10.1-inch IPS display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The resolution is quite low though, on the panel we’re getting 1280 x 800 pixel only. While I think an HD-resolution is fine for 8-inch tablets the pixel density is pretty low on 10.1-inches.
I already took a closer look at the tablet during Computex 2017 in Taipei. All aspects of the display like color, brightness and viewing angles are very good. But as I said, the pixel density is really low. If you’re used to a high-resolution display of your smartphone you might not be happy with this.
Inside the new ZenPad 10 runs a 1.3GHz MediaTek Mt8735Q quad-core processor. We’re also getting 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Asus might be offering 3GB of memory and up to 64GB storage in the future.
The battery has a capacity of 4670mAh and is said to last up to 13 hours. I’m not sure if this really is the case in the real world. But if it’s 10 hours then it’ll be fine.
As I said, Asus is offering the tablet with 4G LTE as a standard. Other technical features are Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS.
|Android 7.0 Nougat|
|10.1-inch IPS with 1280 x 800|
|1.3GHz MediaTek MT8735W quad-core|
|16GB, 32GB, 64GB|
|2GB or 3GB|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2|
|USB Typ C|
|No fingerprint sensor|
|251.77 x 172.17 x 8.95 mm|
Android 7.0 Nougat and ZenUI
Asus is shipping the ZenPad 10 Z301ML with Googles latest Android 7.0 Nougat. As usual, there’s the so called ZenUI running on top of it. This is Asus’s own interface that customizes Android quite a bit. I like the design but it might take some time to get used to all the features.
Where to buy the Asus ZenPad 10 Z301ML
I’m very sure that the Asus ZenPad 10 Z301ML will be available almost worldwide. You can buy it right now in Europe starting at 249 euros without the keyboard. It should be available in the United States, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Japan and other countries soon.
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Why choose the Asus ZenPad 10 tablet
During your daily travels, a laptop PC can be cumbersome, whether you’re commuting, on vacation or in a cafe. Opting for a tablet can be a good compromise.
This is why Asus created the ZenPad 10 tablet, a stylish 10.1 inch tablet with 1280 x 800 pixels that you can easily carry around without it being cumbersome. Its design is both simple and modern and will appeal to everyone, young and not so young. With this tablet, you will surf the internet, play games or watch videos comfortably.
If you are wondering which tablet you should choose, you can start by discovering the advantages of the Asus ZenPad 10 tablet in this article!
Asus ZenPad 10 tablet: optimal image quality
Treat yourself to a video experience beyond expectations with the HDTV system! The ZenPad 10 incorporates Asus VisualMaster technology combining hardware and software to optimize all screen parameters (contrast, sharpness, colors, clarity and brightness. ), so that you can enjoy unparalleled picture quality.
The intelligent contrast enhancement system analyzes and optimizes every pixel in the image. details come out of the shadows and from the brightly lit parts of the image reproducing the original glow of the panorama where you took the picture. As for gaming, the Mali 450 MP4 chip allows you to launch all the games from the Play Store without suffering from any slowdowns whatsoever.
Experience a Cleaner, more immersive sound with your Asus tablet
As for the audio, the ZenPad 10 incorporates DTS Headphone: X technology which offers virtual 7.1 surround sound directly into your headphones.
As far as the speakers go, the ZenPad 10 has DTS-HD Premium sound which offers 24-bit audio quality at 96 kHz and at a rate of 24 Mbit / s. You will immediately be immersed in the videos or music that you are enjoying on your tablet.
Add a Mobile Dock keyboard to your Asus ZenPad 10 tablet
If you need to use your tablet as a laptop PC, you can add the Mobile Dock, an easy to use Bluetooth keyboard that allows you to type/interface quickly and easily to vastly increase your productivity. With a connection range of up to 10 meters all in soft-touch leather, you can type text comfortably without having to be hooked up to the tablet.
ZenClutch foldable protective case for your Asus tablet
In order to better protect the tablet, you can use ZenClutch with a unique and foldable design. The soft microfiber interior of ZenClutch will protect your ZenPad 10 from drops and scratches and allow you to position it perfectly for watching videos or writing emails. It, also, has a convenient stylus pen holder.
Take the best pictures with the PixelMaster camera
Another strong point of the ZenPad 10, the PixelMaster camera allows you to take superb high resolution photos. To achieve ever finer and more brilliant image quality, the PixelMaster camera mixes different software technologies and optical hardware to always find the best settings and produce the best shots.
intuitive Zen UI interface
Its Asus Zen UI interface offers over 1000 additional features, greatly improving the basic Android interface. Everything has been designed so that the user of the ZenPad 10 offers you an intuitive experience free of unnecessary added actions to facilitate accessing your information and entertainment.
An Asus tablet with power, storage and autonomy
The 2 GB of integrated RAM allows most applications to open and run smoothly and 10 hours of autonomy with a full recharge in about 2 ½ hours. The mid-range ZenPad 10 tablet stands up well even when compared high-end tablets (ex. iPad or Galaxy Tab). You can also increase its storage capacity thanks to an integrated micro SD port.
In terms of value, for 200 euros you can have a tablet packed with cutting-edge multimedia technology, a very good sound system and large enough to watch your series, play your favorite games or surf the web comfortably.
And even if this tablet will soon celebrate its 5 year anniversary, it is clear that it is still as popular as ever with “pad addicts”. So don’t wait any longer and let yourself be carried away by its simplicity and exceptional design.