Reviewing the ZTE ZPAD 10

Unless you're doing 'work', a lot of what we 'consume' on our devices these days don't really need to be done on a laptop or desktop.  Scrolling through social media, watching videos, can be done on a phone - but a phone sometimes is a tad small for what some people want.

A tablet is that nice middleground of devices 

Today's review of an economical option - the ZTE ZPAD 10.  This is available to purchase from Telus for $264CAD.

As I've always said, Android is about ... 'options', and not everybody needs a screaming fast device, so something with decent specs for some recreation, relaxing media use and a long battery.

This comes really close - and I do have to start the review off with mentioning that I am really used to the higher end spec, so I do have to sort of unpack myself from that frame of mind.  Hope that's evident.

Let's dive in.

Okay, so for the narrative part.  Let's look over the specs that $265 can get you:

  • 10.1" @ 2000x1200
  • Qualcomm 2GHz x4 + 1.8GHz x4
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB storage + microSD
  • 5MP selfie / 8MP rear came
  • 7250mAh

So the RAM is not great, but even more unimpressive is the storage.  Even with the microSD it's a super small amount of space - so installing many apps will not be really an option that I can live with.

What is good is the battery on it that is huge.

Let's go through it.  

As noted in the original unboxing was that it was interesting the sticker they put over the display shows a very little bezel, but then you take it off and a fairly large bezel is revealed.

But that's okay I guess, gives you a place for your thumb when you hold it.

Going around the device, if you put the camera at the 'top' in landscape mode, you have power and volume up at the top left.  Typically, when you want to rotate it to portrait, you tend to do it so those controls would be on the right - but then you'll find the USB-C connector at the 'top' then of the device.  Which I find odd.

(speaking of the USB-C port, I found it especially unsettling that you couldn't use it with an HDMI port adapter to use a big screen or other accessories like a keyboard/mouse)

Also around the device is an LTE SIM card slot if you want to pay more money to your internet provider! :D

The 10" size is a not too large for it to feel unwieldy in the hand.

Booting up the device you're met with Android 11 in a very blank style, almost like a basic AOSP version.

Which is nice that there's no extra special skin to slow down or worry about drawing elements, but then it also means there's not special features to it.  No special software, no neat features to help differentiate it from any other device out there.

Literally, you'd pick this device because it's an inexpensive option.

Well, there was something I noticed, that I have to admit that I've not seen in a device in a LOOONG time - a notification LED.

Right by the camera lens.  Yeah, I saw it and was confused at first about what the light meant.

The performance of it is not terrible.  Everything is slow.  Not painfully slow, it is responsive, but it's just not snappy like I would expect on my Pixel. 

3GB of RAM makes switching between apps or loading up a new one a bit sluggish.

So, you're not going to want to run a bunch of big apps on it.  Not that you'll have much space for the apps either. 

I was surprised that I could install PUBG, but to run it and any of the extra map features was not possible as it just was so slow.

That being said, I've been able to run some basic games but more importantly watching YouTube or reading the web.

For me, it would be a device I would probably not want to grab first.  But as the device that's on the coffee table while I want to catch up on my reading, or control the devices in Google Home.

I can see how users of a certain demographic, where the use case is pretty minimal, that this would fit perfectly in for them.

Because the best feature is that it has a whopper of a battery. Helps that the device isn't that terribly bright, isn't QuadHD or 4K, so it's not having to light up a lot of pixels, and limited power means it's using minimal power. It's been a week and it's about 50% left.  Mind you, I didn't use it for a lot of heavy duty items after some initial testing.

Now, watch some videos and it'll go down for sure.

Speaking of watching videos, it was nice that the device has stereo speakers and they did sound good for what I was using it for.

I was somewhat disappointed that there wasn't any sort of accessories for the tablet, like a stand, or a folio case.  Couple that with the fact that I can't use the USB-C port for the ability to use a mouse and keyboard, let alone an external monitor... sigh.  I guess I'm asking for too much out of a sub $300 tablet.

To prop it up I ended up putting one of those sticky metal discs on it and used my IMstick accessory to keep it propped over to my side while I watch.

Overall, this is specific to a certain demographic that will be happy with it as they don't need to spend way more and get more device than they need.