Cheap and Has a Nice Design ASUS ZenPad 10

The ZenPad 10 has a low price, a nice design, a UK keyboard, great sound, microSD support and okay battery life on its side, but it’s also slow and running old, bloated software. It can’t stand up to the best Android tablets, but at just under £200 it may well do the job. Let’s have a closer look at the Asus ZenPad 10 ZD300C.

There are two variants of the Asus ZenPad 10. The Z300C is simply the tablet, while the ZD300C reviewed here comes with the AudioDock keyboard. You can pick up the ZD300C from eBuyer for £199.97.

A Z Stylus is also available for the ZenPad 10, which you can buy from Amazon for £26.60, although we weren’t supplied one for review.

One of the best things about the ZenPad 10 is its design. It might be a plastic tablet, but it’s finished to a high standard with a metal-effect trim around the screen, smooth rounded corners and a grippy leather-effect rear on both the tablet itself and the bundled AudioDock keyboard. It looks much more expensive than it is, and it feels very well made.

The keyboard is of better quality than most Bluetooth keyboards, with a UK layout and – given the space available to it – sufficiently spaced keys. It can pair with up to eight devices, which will be useful if this is to be a family tablet, and has a wireless range of 10m. Also see: Best tablets coming in 2016.

The AudioDock must be charged separately to the tablet, which is a frustration, though it does have long battery life and we like the fact Asus has added a separate battery indicator to the keyboard to the tablet’s notification bar. If the tablet could lean back even slightly further it would be a vast improvement to usability, but the fact it doesn’t is likely due to this tablet’s weight.

At 510g on its own and nearly 1kg with the keyboard, the Asus ZenPad 10 is no lightweight machine – it’s almost as heavy as some ultraportable laptops. But it does have a generous 10.1in screen, and there’s plenty of audio hardware built in for a more immersive multimedia experience. See all Android tablet reviews.

The screen itself uses IPS tech, which is common among tablets and provides realistic colours and strong viewing angles. Asus builds in several of its own VisualMaster screen technologies, which are said to optimise contrast, sharpness, colour, clarity and brightness on this fully laminated display. We like the overall effect, but it can’t escape the fact this is a low-resolution screen. With a 1280×800-pixel WXGA resolution, the ZenPad has a low pixel density of just 149ppi. The bezels are also fairly chunky, with a screen-to-body ratio of 72 percent.

Audio, meanwhile, is excellent for a budget tablet such as the ZenPad 10, with good bass and more volume than you need. The front-facing speaker has DTS-HD Premium Sound, which allows it to create a surround sound experience. This is also a feature of the AudioDock keyboard, which adds another pair of Bluetooth speakers and can offer up to 12 hours of music playback. Audio presets and customisable settings allow you to finetune audio to your taste or the specific task at hand.