Nowadays, everybody is talking about the latest and greatest, most powerful tablet, smartphone or smartwatch released by a few top few prestigious companies that deal in the IT business. But what about the other devices? The not so powerful ones, the ones aimed at the general user, with a decent design, mid-level components and enough performance to allow browsing the Internet, listening to music while away from home or checking-in on your favourite social-media network? Well, we've just received one of those devices, which has some interesting highlights, namely the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 Z370C. Want to know what we're talking about? Read this review to find out:
Unboxing the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 (Z370C)
The ASUS ZenPad 7.0 comes in a standard cardboard box, about the size of the tablet itself and featuring a picture of the tablet on top. Rip the warranty voiding seals, open the lid and on top of everything, as usual, you'll see the ZenPad 7.0 resting quietly. Below the tablet, you'll find the power adapter, the data transfer and charging USB cable and the usual paperwork - the Warranty Card and the User Guide.
The first thing that stands out on a tablet is its display. ASUS went for a 7 inch backlit LED IPS WXGA display with this tablet, scaled at a resolution of 1280x800 pixels and with a 72% screen-to-body ratio. The display panel is protected by the Gorilla Glass technology.
For the 7.0 iteration of the ASUS ZenPad, the manufacturer chose the Intel Atom x3-C3200, a quad-core 64bit CPU, as the main powering unit of this device. The CPU is paired with an ARM Mali-450 MP4 graphics chip.
This tablet can be purchased with either 1GB or 2GB of RAM memory, a choice which also has an impact on the storage space available, offering 8 GB and respectively 16 GB of storage space. It's worth mentioning that you can also find it in 32 GB versions, depending on the region you're living in. Our test unit was equipped with 2GB of RAM memory and 32GB of storage space. The storage space can also be expanded by use of a microSD memory card of up to 128 GB.
The ZenPad 7.0 Z370C has no 3G or 4G option available, so the only Internet connectivity is reached only via the built-in Wi-Fi adapter, capable of handling the 802.11 b/g/n protocols. A Bluetooth 4.0 chip is also present.
The physical dimensions of this tablet are 189 mm in Length, 110.9 mm in Width and 8.7 mm in Height. This us 7.4 inches in Length, 4.4 inches in Width and 0.34 inches in Height. The device weighs only 272 grams or 9 .6 ounces.
The battery has a rating of 13Wh and ASUS promises 8 hours of life from this battery. We'll put this statement to the test later, in the benchmarks section of this review.
The Z370C comes with Android 5.0.2 preinstalled, customized by ASUS by adding the ZenUI on top of the operating system.
On to the image-capture chapter, the Asus ZenPad 7.0 comes in two versions, depending on the photo and video cameras installed:
- 5 MP rear photo camera with Auto Focus, face detection and flash and 0.3 MP VGA front camera;
- 8 MP rear photo camera with Auto Focus, face detection and flash and 2 MP front camera.
None of the versions offer HDR photography or image stabilization. It's worth mentioning that our test device was equipped with the lesser quality cameras, namely the 5 MP rear camera (capable of shooting photos at a resolution of 2592x1944 pixels and 720p videos) and the 0.3 MP front camera.
Also present are the microUSB charging and data transfer port, the 3.5 mm audio jack and the GPS module.
The full list of hardware specifications can be consulted on the ASUS official website: ASUS ZenPad 7.0 Z370C Hardware Specifications.
Using the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 Z370C
The design of this tablet is nothing out of the ordinary, following the classic straight lines and conservative details that ASUS has accustomed us with.
On the front face of the device, you'll find the DTS HD sound speaker on top and the front-facing camera to its right side, while the bottom side of the display is dominated by the silver logo of the manufacturer.
The back side shows the replaceable back cover, with the rear-facing camera on the top-left corner. To the right of the back side there is a fixed vertical stripe that is part of the tablet's body, used for holding the back cover in place and bearing the ASUS logo on the center.
The left edge of the device lacks any buttons or connectors, to allow the use of the Audio Cover. The Audio Cover, when mounted on the tablet, holds the device on its side, resting on the left edge.
The top edge of the device houses the 3.5 jack audio connector, the bottom edge is home to the microUSB charging and data transfer port and the microphone, while the volume buttons and power switch of the device are found on the right edge.
Overall, the tablet is impressively ergonomic, all the buttons are smartly positioned and easily accessible, while the edges offer a nice grip. The back cover has a fine diagonal texture embossed on it, which is also nice to the touch. The connectors are easily accessible, though they aren't protected in any way from dust or water drops.
If you ask us about the display of this tablet, the colours are a bit washed out and the image feels just a tad flat, but all-in-all, the screen offers a good quality image with enough contrast.
One thing we've liked about the ZenPad 7.0 is the amount of storage space available. 32 GB of storage space is quite rarely found in entry-level tablets even these days, but this may also be a result of the devices found in our region of the world. Users living in other countries may not be so lucky and might have to make do with the 16GB or even 8 GB of storage space. The upside is the available microSD slot that can be used to complement the storage space offered by the device.
The photo and video cameras installed on this tablet are of pretty poor quality and feel like they're there just to put the check mark on the specifications. In both cases, the picture quality is not even average and suffers from image noise and unwanted artifacts. It can be used, though, for a quick snap of something important that you need to remind yourself of later or a quick video conversation with a friend.
It is clear from the start that this is an entry-level device and it should not be compared to other devices with higher specs. On the other hand, devices like this usually don't need too much power to run. We'll see more about that in the benchmarks section.