Asus ZenPad S3 10: Google Books PDF Test

The Asus ZenPad S3 10 is a new 9.7-inch iPad clone from Asus. It has a hexacore MediaTek CPU, slim design, light weight, and build quality that is world-class.

I stopped by B&H Photo last week to see something else – that turned out not to be on display – and was surprised to find this tablet out for fondling (despite their website listing at the time saying it wasn’t on display in-store and all sales were online only!).

Of course, I wanted to try the Google Books PDF Test in it. But B&H’s network wasn’t having any of that:

So the most I could do was stream PDFs:

Although that was disappointing, the tablet was not. That hexacore MediaTek chip screams!

This was the gray model:

And it’s really slim:

I like the Asus skin more than I like Samsung’s. The way Asus does things is clean and bright:

I get the chance to use both almost every day — a friend has an S7 phone – so I’ve been able to compare the two in action. The way Asus does the Settings panel (no picture of it in this post) is clean and sensible.

Here’s the About Tablet:

Asus has an unfortunate reputation of releasing tablets and abandoning them.  This really needs to get an update to Android 7.x and its split-screen feature.

I was very impresed by the tablet and returned this week to paw at it some more.  I was surprised on two counts.  First, they had the silver model on display:

The second surprise was that B&H’s network was now open to leting me download Google Books PDFs from my Google Drive! And install SmartQ Reader from the Play Store:

But then things got a bit weird and I don’t know why. SmartQ Reader was refusing to read internal storage:

I had to take a detour into the file manager and choose each PDF to open, like so:

I hope this gets fixed, one way or another.

Behold:

But we’re not limited to photos. Below are three videos I took using a borrowed Asus MeMoPad 7. In all the excitement, however, I stupidly held it in Portrait orientation.  Also, I forgot to change the SmartQ Reader setting to Fit Height.  Still, these give an good indication of the tablet’s speed:

Asus and Samsung are the only ones left doing Android tablets this size.  The Android tablet market seems to have imploded.  Best Buy has craptabs. Staples recently kicked out even Samsung’s tablets. It seems Android users are content using phones and buying a Kindle Fire tablet. It increasingly looks like anyone wanting an iPad-sized tablet will wind up with … an iPad!

As for this tablet, it felt like greased lightning to me.  It’s amazing that its speed and hardware quality are just US$299. Samsung will have to do something very special with its upcoming 9.7-inch Tab S3 to justify its inevitable US$499 price.

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