Update: The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 is now listed in our best tablet of the year ranking.
While Apple’s iPad range has been a big seller since its inception in 2010, Android tablets have failed to achieve the same commercial success, despite Google’s early enthusiasm for the concept.
Asus ZenPad 3S 10 Full Specification, Features, Price, Release Date And Review
It’s also got fairly beefy specs on the inside, with power supplied by a MediaTek hexa-core chipset and 4GB of RAM, while a 5900mAh battery is on hand to keep things ticking over.
Asus ZenPad 3S 10 price
- The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 costs £300/$300
- Not currently available in Australia and no word on a release date there
Couple that with a mid-range price of $300 (£300, around AU$515), which is well under what you’d pay for a recent Apple slate, and it starts to look like Asus could be on to a winner.
Design and display
- Thinner than an iPad at 5.8mm thick
- Premium, Apple-inspired design
- Slightly creaky build
There’s 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 recent 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 rivals.
If you can overlook the cheeky way Asus has copied Apple’s concept, there’s a lot to like here from a purely physical perspective – this is one handsome tablet. The metal casing has elegant, diamond-cut bezels on the corners, while the edges have a gentle curve to them which makes it comfortable to hold.
This is flanked by two capacitive buttons for back and multitasking, which illuminate briefly when you interact with the screen or any of the buttons.
On the top edge, there’s a 3.5mm headphone socket, which can output audio in Hi-Res, while the bottom is home to a USB Type-C port and two “NXP Amp powered speakers”.
Like so much else, the positioning of these speakers calls to mind an iPad – but in this case we wish Asus had revised things a little, as it’s far too easy to cover one of the speaker grilles with your palm when you’re holding the device.
Front-facing speakers – one at each end of the device – would have been better, although that may have prevented Asus from achieving a thickness of just 5.8mm, which makes it thinner than the iPad Pro 9.7. The ZenPad 3S 10 is also incredibly lightweight for a tablet of these proportions, tipping the scales at around 430g.
You can even hear the panel moving and pushing against the internal frame, which gives the impression that it’s slightly hollow inside. The microSD card slot – which is found on the top-left edge and lets you expand beyond the tablet’s 32GB of memory – rattled quite noticeably on our review unit, too.
The tablet’s IPS screen is perhaps its crowning glory, delivering pin-sharp definition, superb color replication and striking contrast – thanks in part to Asus’ own VisualMaster technology.
It’s still possible to pick out individual pixels despite the QHD resolution, but that’s not unusual on tablets of this size and doesn’t impact the visual spectacle.
Viewing angles are rock-solid and you can tinker with how the screen looks via the preinstalled “Splendid” application, which offers a blue light filter option not entirely dissimilar to Apple’s Night Shift mode. This reduces the display’s blue light emission by up to 30%, which supposedly stops it keeping you awake when used late at night.
- 5900mAh battery offers mediocre life
- Supports fast charging, but doesn’t come with a fast charger
The ZenPad 3S 10’s 5900mAh battery offers decent stamina but doesn’t really challenge the iPad Air 2 when it comes to staying power.
Asus quotes up to 10 hours of active battery life, a very optimistic figure which is possible only if you’re being particularly frugal when it comes to usage. During our usual video test – in which we stream a HD movie for 90 minutes with screen brightness and volume both set to maximum – the ZenPad 3S 10 lost around 30% of its battery.
Thankfully, because Asus has included USB Type-C support with this slate, you can benefit from faster charging times via Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 standard – provided you use a certified 18W power supply, which isn’t included.
- Poor quality cameras and no LED flash
- Feature-packed camera app
The debate regarding the usefulness of a camera on a tablet device continues to rage, but most manufacturers include them regardless. The story isn’t all that different with the ZenPad 3S 10; it has an 8MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, and neither is capable of taking a decent photo.
The front-facing snapper gets a free pass purely because it comes in handy for making video calls and the like, but the rear-facing camera is woeful.
There’s no LED flash, so shooting in low-light is a no-no, but even when conditions are perfect the resultant images are dull, lifeless and certainly not anything you’d want to print off and show to friends and family.
In terms of video, the ZenPad 3S 10 can record in up to 1080p, but the quality is just as bad as the still images. In short, don’t bother using this device for image or video capture – chances are, your smartphone is going to give far superior results.