It’s been a while since I looked at a 9.7″ retina tablet, everything (well almost) has shifted to the popular 2-in-1 format with tablet and attachable keyboard. Not the case with the new ASUS Zenpad 3S 10, it’s got no keyboard, not even a case/stand/ keyboard combo one like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. The new 430 gram retina tablet runs Android 6.0.1, no dual boot here, seems none of the more know brands are willing to do dual boots. Maybe not to cut into their Windows sales?
So it was the spec sheet that caught my eye, 4GB of RAM, 64GB eMMC with MicroSD slot, Hexa-core processor, fingerprint reader, active “Z Stylus” with 1024 pressure levels and palm rejection. It also has Wireless AC, BT 4.0 Quick charge 3.0 support. All housed in a thin and light premium metal unibody. Below is my unboxing video and further down first impressions and I’m impressed so far. Only two minor issues, YoUTube lags like crazy at 1440p setting and ASUS jammed on so much bloat you need a good 10-15 minutes to uninstall and disable most of it.
Findings so far:
- Just under two hours to fully charge with Quick Charge 3.0, but only a stand charger was included which takes around 4 1/2 hours.
- Very nice feel to it in hand, it’s very thin around 6.5mm and light at only 430 grams. That’s 7 grams lighter than the iPad Air 2 with the same screen.
- Premium build quality and finish.
- About 10 if not more bloatware apps preloaded by ASUS, once you connect to the internet about 5 more apps install themselves. Doesn’t ASUS have no shame?
- The screen looks great, fully laminated
- Stylus works well, accurate and with palm rejection. However futher testing is needed.
- Mortal Kombat X runs just run, very playable. Some dips in FPS now and then.
- Overall the system feels fast and fluid.
- 3.5mm audio quality is really, really good. One of the best I’ve heard for some tie on a tablet. The speakers aren’t half bad too.
- Battery life is good for around 7 hours according to PCMark, and it only has a 5900mAh battery
- Standby battery drain is great once you remove the bloatware.
- Excellent wifi speeds and range thanks to a plastic antenna strip.
- 55GB free and my 128GB Samsung MicroSD works fine.
- The fingerprint reader works just fine. No issues with it. Added level of security we don’t get on the Chinese tablets.
- 8MP rear and 5MP front cameras take uninspiring photos. Quality isn’t that great. But okay for Skype use.
- No 4G or HDMI support
Apart from the bloat and lag with the YouTube app when trying to use 1440p resolution, this is shaping up to be one of the best Android tablets I have used in 2016.