Asus Memo Pad Smart 10 Review

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Beyond the hordes of Android tablets currently on the market today, only a select few get attention. This is either because said tablet is very cheap or very powerful, in which the two rarely find a middle ground. It’s easy to assume that a $500 tablet should is better than a $200 tablet, and for the most part, that assumption would be correct. On the other side of that, many seem to assume that a cheaper tablet, below the $300 price point couldn’t possibly be good enough to suit one’s needs. Especially when it comes to 10 inch tablets. This is where that assumption is wrong.

Enter the Asus Memo Pad 10. A tablet that’s both powerful and affordable, but isn’t claiming to be anything it’s not. The tablet itself finds its way into a sea of competition, so is the Asus Memo Pad 10 worth the purchase? In this review, we’ll put it through its paces and see what this budget tablet that lacks “budget” specs is all about.

The Good
  • Great price point
  • Tegra 3 running the show means the tablet will age gracefully
  • Fairly stock Android experience
The Bad
  • No keyboard dock option
  • Some may find more value in other, similar tablets

Hardware

We're going to try to hammer in this point as much as possible: This is a budget tablet. Budget. If you'd like us the illustrate the word, we will. Asus is specifically aiming at this market, and has done so with a set of specifications that fall in line with said market. Because of this, you won't find us complaining about a lack of certain specifications. The Asus Memo Pad is what it is. And It's pretty darn great for what it is.

The tablet rocks a 10.1 inch 1280 x 800 display, which used to be the standard for many tablets until the wave of 1080p and higher displays began to ship on phones and tablets. Still, the resolution of the screen performs serviceably. If you're a sucker for a high PPI count, you won't find one here, as the Memo Pad only has 149.45 pixels per inch, yet is still clear and crisp.

Fueling the tablet is the NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-core CPU and it's accompanied by 1 GB of RAM. This combination allows for a smooth experience across the board, and you'll also be able to take advantage of the NVIDIA TegraZone store, which showcases applications and games that have been specifically optimized for the powerful CPU.

While we're still waiting for the first NVIDIA Tegra 4 devices to ship, the NVIDIA Tegra 3 is hardly something to scoff at. It's a powerful SoC, and this tablet simply wouldn't be as good without it.

Of course, there's more to the tablet than a screen and a CPU. The Memo Pad also offers a 5 megapixel rear facing camera, 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, dual speakers, micro SD Card slot, micro HDMI port, and micro USB port. The Micro USB port is a very welcomed addition, as the likes of the Transformer, Prime, and Infinity all had proprietary charging ports. The proprietary ports were  included due to the optional keyboard dock -- Something the Asus Memo Pad Smart 10 lacks.

 

Design

The design of the tablet is, well, that of a 10 inch tablet. Nothing really special here, but we're not expecting leaps and bounds in the design department from a budget tablet, or any tablet, these days.

The Memo Pad's design is simple and to the point. The plastic backing may not be everyone's favorite choice of material, but it feels fine in the hands. If you're looking for an Infinity Pad-like quality materials, then get the Infinity Pad. Simple as that.

The Asus Memo Pad Smart 10 comes in white, blue, and pink.

Build Quality

The tablet itself is sturdier than one might think. It may be mainly comprised of glass and plastic, but that's good enough to make it a sturdy piece of hardware. Ask Samsung. That, and you won't feel nearly as bad if the plastic gets scratched in comparison to something that has a metal casing.

We didn't go to extreme lengths to test the tablet's durability, as we had no desire to drop it. Nonetheless, we'd expect the Memo Pad to handle quite a few tumbles in its lifetime.

Software

Running on Android 4.1.1, the Memo Pad 10 runs as fairly stock Android experience. You'll find some customized applications from Asus, along with some widgets, but the Android OS remains largely intact.

Asus pre-installs a handful of applications for the tablet that you may or may not use. Either way, you can disable a majority of these applications in the settings. Some you can't.

In addition to the customized applications, Asus also threw in a chunk of widgets into the Memo Pad. You'll be able to find simple weather and clock widgets, but also some nifty widgets you don't normally find on tablets, like a task manager.

Like we said above, there may be a little Asus flavor thrown in, but the software experience on the Memo Pad leaves Android intact, and we're pretty happy to see that.

 

Web Browser, Multimedia And Camera

Camera

The Asus Memo Pad Smart 10 ships with a 5 megapixel camera on the back and a 1.2 megapixel shooter on the front.  Tablet photography is hardly our favorite past time, but the addition of cameras on this tablet is welcomed -- Even if the photos aren't the best we've seen.

For a 5 megapixel camera on a tablet, photos come out decently enough on the Memo Pad. With the right lighting conditions, you'll be able to get some nice and crisp photos.

 

 

Call Quality And Battery Life

The Memo Pad 10 claims to get 8.5 hours on a single charge, and while it's come close a few times, I've yet to achieve this. I've managed to squeeze out 6-7 hours on the tablet with moderate usage, and luckily, there wasn't a drastic drop in juice when playing graphic-intensive Tegra Zone games.

Overall, you'll be able to squeeze out at least 6 hours of battery life on the Memo Pad 10, and likely more.

The Final Take

The Asus Memo Pad Smart 10 strikes a fine balance of power and price. The NVIDIA Tegra 3 really is the star of the show, and Tegra Zone allows users to take full advantage of the CPU on board the tablet.

While the specifications aren't up to snuff with the tablets we're seeing ship today, it's easy to see that the Memo Pad 10 wasn't made to woo you with bleeding edge specs. It's an affordable, yet capable tablet, and that's all it needs to be. The market needs and option like this, and that's why this tablet exists.

The Asus Memo Pad Smart 10 is ideal for either a first time tablet buyer, or someone looking for an affordable tablet that isn't the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. It's easily one of the most affordable 10 inch Android tablets around.

At $299, the Asus Memo Pad Smart hits a nice price point for those who are hardly interested in throwing another $200 on something like the iPad. Sure, for $399 you can get a Nexus 10, but some people just want a tablet that isn't a piece of crap and will suit their needs. The Memo Pad fits that bill quite well.

 

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