Asus ZenPad 10: Big Size And Small Price, The Good Compromise
The year 2015 saw Asus position itself as a serious player in the smartphone market, with a slew of Zenfone 2. The Taiwanese manufacturer has also split a few tablets, including this ZenPad 10. The latter does not seek to come to shake the hierarchy trusted by Apple and Samsung on the high end. It comes, on the other hand, occupy a lot of virgin offers, that of slates 10 inches below the 200 €, a declination even adding a keyboard for less than 250 €.
ZenPad 10 does not have a technical sheet to turn heads and put rather on a good quality/price ratio. It embeds a 10.1-inch IPS display with 1280 x 800 pixels and is powered by an Intel Atom x3-C3200 SoC 4-core clocked at 1.2 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and a Mali GPU 450 MP4. The internal memory of 16 GB is expandable by the addition of a microSD card and a battery of 4,890 mAh is responsible for providing the necessary energy to all. The capture of snapshots is left to the care of a modest rear sensor of 2 Mpx and a second of 0.3 Mpx front. Android, in its version 5.0 Lollipop, is at the controls, over which Asus has added its overlay ZenUI. In the connectivity register, there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but neither NFC nor SIM card slot.
The tablet alone (Z300C) was launched at 199 € but is in online stores around 160 € currently. A keyboard version also exists (ZD300C), available for a price under the 250 € mark.
At this price, the ZenPad 10 gives pride to the plastic. On the back, most of the surface consists of a slightly textured finish that is not unpleasant to the touch and provides a good grip in hand. The slices are covered with a matte plastic and a strip imitating a shiny metal. If the visual effect is clearly not that produced by a metal shell, plastics present do not suffer from any criticism and their assembly is without the false note.
The screen unlock button is located on the top edge – in landscape mode – and the volume keys are on the left. These are easily accessible both in landscape and portrait. On the other hand, the mini-jack and micro-USB jacks are placed much less intelligently. Indeed, when you hold the ZenPad both hands horizontally, the connectors fall under the palm. If you plug something in, you end up having to put your left hand a little too high and comfort of use takes a hit.
With 510 grams on the scale, the ZenPad 10 is not positioned as the lightest slates of this size, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, for example, displaying 487 g. The tablet of Asus is positioned well below the 610 g of a Nexus 10, but it will get tired pretty quickly with a one-handed grip.
The ZD300C declination of the ZenPad 10 includes a detachable keyboard. It connects in Bluetooth to the tablet, which has just housed in a magnetic housing. The physical connection between the two elements is reliable and there is no risk of seeing the tablet falling from its dock unintentionally. Once the slate and keyboard are assembled, we are left with the equivalent, in terms of proportions, to an ultraportable 10 inches. It is possible to use it on the knees without the problem.
The plastic used for the dock/keyboard is the same as the back of the ZenPad and again, the sulfur finish of any reproach. The keyboard includes a battery that is assigned to him and a pair of speakers.
The ZenPad 10 is equipped with a 10.1-inch IPS panel displaying only 1280 x 800 pixels. Thus, the resolution reaches only 149 dpi, which is problematic when you hold the tablet to about thirty centimeters of our eyes or less. The texts do not appear very well chiseled and the long readings are not very pleasant. This is the only real problem of this screen and almost the only one.
Indeed, the rest of our measurements place this ZenPad 10 among the best students in the field. We thus noted a good contrast ratio at 1290: 1 and a maximum brightness of 345 cd / m² which allow keeping a readable display, even outdoors. The colorimetry was also satisfactory, with a Delta E at 3.6 and a temperature at 7050 K.
The responsiveness is correct, without excelling, with a touch delay at 98 ms and a persistence measured at 17 ms. You can find more details in the article we have dedicated to this screen.
INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION 3/5
The ZenPad 10 is powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop, but Google’s OS does not arrive alone since it is hidden behind the overlay of Asus, ZenUI. The latter brings some aesthetic changes, but no major functional upheaval.
We find more or less the same features as on smartphones Taiwanese. Namely, the shortened gestures to trace on the screen to quickly access an application or the double tap on the screen to enter or exit from standby. The number of preinstalled applications is always too high and we still can not uninstall them completely.
The Intel x3-C3200 SoC is not the fastest we’ve seen on a tablet. The launches of applications require a little time if they are a bit greedy. Despite the 2 GB of RAM, the management of multitasking is also not very powerful and it will sometimes take a few seconds to switch from one game to another. On more basic uses, the ZenPad 10, however offers an honest service.
The video playback is comfortable on a 10.1-inch screen, but again, a higher definition would have brought a real gain. Asus’s built-in player does not decode all video formats and will have to go through a third-party application to be able to do it.
The headphone output of the ZenPad 10 offers a relatively limited power, which will limit its use to unhealthy headphones. On the other hand, it allows him to maintain a low level of distortion. The restored dynamic range is average and the crosstalk rather good.
Asus had a good idea to put its speakers in front, which allows them to not be obstructed in landscape mode. They also offer good spatialization of sound but are limited to mediums. The latter has at least the merit of not being distorted. The two speakers of the keyboard allow a significant gain in power, but the spectrum does not widen compared to those of the tablet. However, we stay on speakers more efficient than the vast majority of tablets.
ZenPad 10 will not be an essential ally of the players. Its chip Mali 450 MP4 allows to launch all the games of the Play Store, but the most demanding require sacrifices on the level of detail to remain perfectly fluids. A game like Real Racing, for example, does not show itself in its best light but does not suffer from any slowdown.
With a 2 megapixel rear sensor, we did not expect miracles. The ZenPad 10 does not create surprise and is positioned as a mediocre tablet photo. Too few details are present on the shots, even when the light conditions are ideal. The front 0.3-megapixel sensor does not raise the level and is just fine for video conferencing. The picture clearly did not seem a priority for Asus on this slate.
The battery capacity of 4 890 mAh seems a bit fair for a tablet of this format. Indeed, even with a configuration so little energy demanding, ZenPad 10 was held only 9:45 on our viSer test protocol. It’s more than 2 hours less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, which has a similar configuration, but a battery of 6,800 mAh. In practice, a basic use will overcome this ZenPad in one day. It is regrettable that the keyboard does not include a battery backup for Taiwanese slate.Tags: Asus ZenPad 10