tablets

Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10 Tablet Review

Bargain 10" tablet looks to carve out entry-level niche.

April 01, 2013
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Introduction

Meet the Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10, a bargain tablet released by Asus. While the Nexus 7 has dominated the bargain Android market for a long time now, Asus seems to be gunning for the crowd who wants a bigger tablet for less. Coming in at a full $100 less than the Nexus 10, it's not hard to see how Asus plans to take on the reigning champions of Android.

Design & Usability

The form factor of the MeMo Pad Smart 10 lends itself well to being held in the landscape position, as the edges and back of the device are rounded so it doesn't dig into your hand uncomfortably. The tablet is fairly light overall, though holding it in one hand can get tiresome after a long while.

Controlling your tablet does take some direction, as Android can be a bit mystifying if it's your first tablet. Not to worry though, as you will pick it up in no time! Basic controls are what they seem like they should be: tapping your finger will "click" something, swiping your finger will turn pages or homescreens, and pinching your fingers in or out will zoom where applicable. For this particular tablet, the app drawer (where all of your apps are displayed) is the six square dots in the top right of your screen. Once open, you can swipe through the entire list of your apps, and even some widgets which can be added to your homescreen by holding down your finger on their icon, then releasing when it's at a place that fits your liking.

On the bottom of the screen are app-agnostic controls, meaning they will always be there no matter what. On the left side of that black bar on the bottom of your screen are three icons: a back arrow, a house (for homescreen), and two rectangles that show you all of your recently-used apps. If you want to change your tablet's settings, tapping the clock and then tapping the gear icon will open up your settings menu.

Connectivity options are quite limited on the MeMo Pad in comparison to other tablets, as it only sports an 802.11n wireless card, Bluetooth, and that's about it. For physical media, however, it does have the ever-popular microSD card slot, which allows you to expand your storage. If you'd like to export video to a TV or monitor, there's also a microHDMI port.

For those of you not familiar with Android, now's a good time to tell you that it's much easier to transfer files back and forth with the MeMo Pad than it would be for a tablet on iOS. Assuming you have a Windows PC, all you have to do is plug the tablet into the computer using the USB cable in the box, and your computer will recognize the tablet as a drive that can have files dragged and dropped right into whatever folder you want them in. If you have a Mac, you'll have to download the Android File Transfer utility, but once you run that, it works very much in the same way as it does on the PC.

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Performance

Taking a measuring tape to the bezel will tell you that the screen of the is 5.375" x 8.5625", with a resolution of 800 x 1280. If you were to do the math out, you'd find out that the pixel density is 149 pixels per inch (PPI). Given that this tablet is meant to undercut others in price, it's not surprising that Asus would skimp in some areas to make cost, but the is probably not meant to lure enthusiasts, but rather people who only need a basic tablet.

Like most Android tablets not called the Nexus 7, the MeMo Pad has a terrible color gamut. With undersaturated reds and greens, and wildly shifted blues, this tablet is not exactly a high performer as far as color is concerned. Contrast isn't exactly all that great either, as it has a high black level and comparatively dim peak brightness.

Due to its high reflectivity and somewhat uninspiring backlight, using this tablet outdoors is probably not something you're going to want to do. Because the backlight won't be able to overpower ambient light very well, the image will look washed-out and dim; definitely not something you'll want to take to the beach.

The MeMo Pad is able to play video or read eBooks for anywhere between 5 and 6 hours, depending on your settings. This is a fairly average battery life, and it's quite common among non-flagship tablets, so this isn't a knock on the MeMo Pad's performance. It should be enough to watch movies and play games on if you're about to take a flight, just be sure to charge the battery all teh way before heading out.

Conclusion

Yes, it's a very inexpensive tablet, but it's that way for a reason: it has outdated hardware, and its performance is about where you'd expect for that kind of tablet. It's a great buy for those who just want a basic tablet to put their files on, but it's something that gadget geeks and enthusiasts will definitely avoid, as the latest generation of tablets from the heavy hitters is just around the corner.

While in theory this tablet could be a hit among those who don’t need bells and whistles, it’s possible that the Nexus 10 is still too close in price (only $100 more), as it runs circles around the Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10. If you’ve got $400 to spend, the gulf between the two tablets is enormous.

In its defense, it does have a microSD card slot, so if you're a media hound (or have a lot of saved files), you can expand your storage quite easily. Additionally, if you're not looking for the latest and greatest and just want something to read or browse the web on, this could work in a pinch—it's obviously meant to undercut the high end in price, and the hardware works well enough.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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