For the price, the ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 9.7-inch tablet has some impressive hardware driving it. Using a hexa-core MediaTek MT8176 chipset that clocks speeds up to 2.1GHz, it features snappy performance. The 4GB of RAM is quite widespread in higher-end tablets, making multitasking a breeze. The 2048×1536 IPS LCD display is sharp and CNET.com have clarified the colors as more lifelike in comparison to the heavy blacks and rich colors of the Samsung shows that produces an almost too dramatic image.
The design is very like that of this iPad Guru 9.7 with regard to shape and its adoption of the 4:3 aspect ratio, but based on Amazon reviewers, unlike the iPad Pro 9.7 the quality control is not the best, with many getting faulty devices upon birth. It has diamond-cut borders and metal casing give the Zenpad 3S 10 a tasteful look and the fingerprint scanner, which doubles as the home button, is super responsive. It’s capacitive buttons on each side of your home screen/fingerprint scanner — one for rear and the other for multitasking. The speakers are on the border of the display, with a potential to obstruct them when holding on the display, which may be somewhat annoying.
But they are otherwise loud and remarkable, and ASUS have use an NXP Smart AMP to drive the speakers. It uses USB-C and its charging allows for your 5900mAh battery to charge complete in around 2.5 hours. The battery life is approximately 10 hours according to ASUS, which is more than sufficient for most users.
The camera quality is quite poor, with all the 8MP camera along with 5MP front camera
underperforming. The rear camera also does not include an LED flash, meaning you cannot take shots in low light at all. It is able to shoot movies in 1080p, but this is allegedly also quite poor. The PowerVR GX6250 allows it to operate high-end games with overall ease, therefore it well suited to those who like playing demanding games. It makes use of Android 6.0 and unfortunately comes with quite a bit of bloatware that cannot be removed. The 64GB built-in storage is greater than sufficient for the price and it could be expanded to 128GB using its included microSD slot.
Asus is obviously of the opinion that if you can not beat’em you need to combine Celtics because its most recent background is a dead ringer for your iPad Guru 9.7 and also the iPad 9.7.
It’s also got pretty beefy specs on the inside, with power provided with a MediaTek hexa-core chipset and 4GB of RAM, while a 5,900mAh battery is available to keep things ticking over.
The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 launched at #300/$300
The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 landed using a mid-sized launch price of $300 (#300, around AU$515), which is well under what you’d pay for a recent Apple slate.
This was a great price, but this was back in 2016 and while it has since dropped it has not done so by much, with shops still charging around $270/270. It’s also nowhere near as widely available as it once was.
That places it at a somewhat tricky position since the newest iPad 9.7 isn’t vastly more expensive, and additionally, there are options like the Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 competing for your cash, so the ZenPad 3S 10 wants to be more than just an inexpensive imitation to be noticed.
Layout and screen
There is no getting around it – the ZenPad 3S 10 really does look an awful lot like an iPad.
The ZenPad 3S 10 ignores the widescreen aspect ratio so beloved by Android tablet makers — as Samsung also did with the old Galaxy Tab S2 — and follows Apple’s lead by adopting a 4:3 display, which naturally makes the 3S 10 stand out from many of its Google-based competitions.
If you can overlook the cheeky way Asus has copied Apple’s concept, there’s a lot to like here from a purely physical standpoint — this is just one handsome tablet computer. The metallic casing has tasteful, diamond-cut bezels on the corners, although the edges have a gentle curve to them making it comfortable to hold.
The quantity and power buttons are located on the top-right corner of this device (assuming you’re holding it in portrait orientation) along with the only other physical input signal is the home button, which also doubles as a surprisingly quick and accurate fingerprint scanner.
This is flanked by two-wheeled buttons for multitasking and back, which illuminate briefly when you interact with the screen or any of the buttons.
On the top edge, there is a 3.5millimeter headphone socket, which can output audio in Hi-Res, whereas the bottom is home to a USB Type-C port and 2″ NXP Amp powered speakers”.
Like so much else, the positioning of the speakers must obey an iPad — however, in this instance we wish Asus had revised matters a little, as it’s way too simple to cover one of the speaker grilles together with your hands when you’re holding the device.
Front-facing speakers — one at each end of the device — could have been better, even though that could have prevented Asus from attaining a depth of just 5.8mm, making it thinner than the iPad Pro 9.7 or perhaps the newer iPad Guru 11. The ZenPad 3S 10 can be amazingly lightweight for a tablet of these proportions, tipping the scales at approximately 430g.
1 component of Apple’s layout which Asus sadly hasn’t been able to replicate is overall build quality; whereas the ZenPad 3S 10 appears and feels like a premium device — and, to be fair, it’s — there’s a notable flex on the back panel once you apply pressure with a finger.
You may even listen to the panel pushing and moving against the inner framework, which gives the impression that it’s slightly hollow inside. The MicroSD card slot machine — which is found on the top-left border and allows you to extend past the tablet’s 32GB of memory rattled quite noticeably on our review unit, too.
The tablet’s IPS display is perhaps its crowning glory, delivering pin-sharp definition, brilliant colour replication and striking contrast — thanks in part to Asus’ own VisualMaster technology.
It’s still possible to select out individual pixels despite the QHD resolution, but that is not uncommon on tablets of this size and does not impact the visual spectacle.
Viewing angles are laborious and you also can tinker with how the screen looks through the preinstalled”Splendid” application, which offers a blue light filter alternative not entirely dissimilar to Apple’s Night Shift mode. This reduces the display’s blue light emission up to 30%, which allegedly stops it keeping you awake when used late at night.