ASUS ZenPad 3S 10

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ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 Hands-On With Z Stylus & First Impressions

ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 Hands-On With Z Stylus & First Impressions

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.

Video tech reviewer and tech blogger. I have a huge interest in the latest tech, tablets, laptops, mobiles, drones, and even e-scooters. Active in the tech community since 2008 days of the Omnia i900 Windows phone., founder from way back.


  1. Chris, do you know which technology this pen is based on? I just picked up it’s older tinnier 8″ cousin and am struggling to get the Z stylus in Europe. I have looked, and haven’t found any good answers.


  2. Any word if/when the ASUS ZenPad 3 8.0 (Z581KL) will be released to the US market? Trying desperately to justify a tablet upgrade, but the market has been rather stagnant.

    Although the ASUS ZenPad S 8 recently got a manual update to 6.0 Marshmallow, I’d be incredibly disappointed if i went and picked up the previous model knowing the 3 might be right around the corner.

    Talk me into waiting?? Thanks, yer nice.

  3. I want to review the 10 plus

  4. Thanks, isn’t often see the “premium” brands here. Have you played with the Samsung Tab S2 and can compare? That seems hard to beat and we enjoy it.
    I don’t put chicken on my pizza and won’t ever buy Apple.

    • Maybe better than the Tab S2, it’s faster than the Exynos version according to my Antutu score. And i think it’s thinner. I had a Tab S2 for a few days, so have used one before.

  5. Hey Chris i found an interesting laptop on gearbest with a core i7, 4gb ram and a 128gb ssd for 580$

    • I’m way over spending, thousands out each month and only hundreds in 🙁 I can’t buy this one to review sorry. Otherwise I’m running myself into the ground (Already am!)

      • And here’s me thinking you won the power ball lotto!

      • Do you want to part with any old ASUS tablets that you have already reviewed and no longer use, or do you just get some of these on a temporary basis? I need a retina display. Probably should just opt for the budget Z580C. =\

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