ASUS ZenPad 7.0 Z370C is the latest tablet we’ve tested, a model that was announced at Computex 2015, with the ZenPad S 8.0, that we also reviewed recently. The ZenPad 7.0 is an affordable slate with a 7 inch screen and interchangeable backs. It’s priced at $150 on Amazon and measures 8.7 mm in thickness.
The product weighs 272 grams and has the same waistline as the Nexus 7 2013, but it’s 18 grams lighter. It also looks a bit like a Nexus 7 from the front. The ASUS affordable device has big bezels, a case made of plastic and good grip. It’s easy to use with one hand and portrait-oriented. The slate is comfy and has soft touch sides, while the main portion of the back is a plastic material made to imitate a sort of hardened leather.
Upfront we find the sensors, front camera, a big speaker and a big logo below the screen, while at the back there’s the main camera and removable back cover. That one is an interchangeable cover actually, that can be replaced with the ASUS Audio Cover, with 6 speakers, of which one is a subwoofer. There’s also the Powercase option, with 14 hours of functioning offered by an extra battery.
Below the back cover you’ll notice the microSD card slot, tucked away towards the side. At the top of the device rests the audio jack, while the bottom hosts the microphone and microUSB. There’s nothing on the left side, while the right incorporates the Power and volume buttons, all of them with good feedback. This product comes in black, white or Aurora Metallic and according to ASUS it’s inspired by fashion.
It’s a pretty solid device, that has some other accessories to customize its looks, like the ZenClutch, a fashion cover. Or there’s the the ZenCase, a colourful series of cases. Overall, this is an OK design for an affordable tablet, not too thick and customizable luckily. Now let’s see what the innards of the product are. So, we’re getting a 7 inch IPS LCD screen here that’s LED backlit and offers a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, while inside the slate there’s a quad core 64 bit Intel Atom x3 C3200 processor, clocked at up to 900 MHz, according to CPU-Z.
The GPU is a Mali 450 MP4 and RAM is available in 2 or 1 GB versions, depending on the model purchased. Storage is at 8 or 16 GB and that microSD card slot expands it with up to 128 GB. Then there’s 5 GB of ASUS WebStorage in the cloud, or 100 GB of Google Drive storage for 2 years. The camera at the back is a 5 MP unit, while the one upfront has a 0.3 MP resolution and as far as connectivity goes, there’s microUSB, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Miracast and GPS.
The sensors list is rich and includes a G Sensor, E compass, light sensor, Hall sensor, while the Others section offers a front speaker. ZenPad 7.0 makes use of a 13 Wh Li-Po battery, that on paper provides 8 hours of 720p playback with brightness at 100 nits. In our test, that involves HD video playback in a loop with WiFi on and brightness at 200 LUX, we got to 4 hours and 32 minutes, which is underwhelming even for an affordable tablet.
It’s actually almost the lowest playback time achieved in all of our tests, but it surpasses the Evolio Go Fun 3G and its 4 hours and 22 minutes. We scored lower than the 7 hours of playback from the Nexus 7 2013 or the 6 hours and 50 minutes of the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 and the Chuwi Vi8’s 5 hours and 58 minutes. PCMark, a test that simulates continuous usage came back with a result of 4 hours and 19 minutes for this model, which feels let’s say reasonable.
It beats the Evolio Go Fun 3G’s 2 hours and 34 minutes, or the Chuwi Vi8’s 3 hours and 29 minutes, but it scores less than the ZenPad S 8.0 (4 hours and 59 minutes) or the Nokia N1 (7 hours). The charge is reasonable at least, with 2 hours and 16 minutes necessary to juice up the tablet. It’s faster than the Xiaomi Mi Pad, that required 2 hours and 30 minutes or the Chuwi Vi8 and its 2 hours and 58 minutes, plus the ZenPad S 8.0 with 3 hours and 24 minutes.
Evolio Go Fun 3G does charge faster, at 1 hour and 48 minutes. There are dedicated settings for power saving here, like Ultra Saving Mode, that limits performance and connectivity, or the Optimized Mode and finally the Custom Mode, that lets you reduce brightness and set push notifications to on or off. There’s also the Auto Start Manager, that lets you say which apps are allowed to run from the start.
Overall, the battery underwhelms and only the Power Case can save it. As far as the audio aspect is concerned, we’ve got a front speaker here that’s pretty big and offers DTS HD technology. ASUS also promises 360 degree surround for headphones and Sonic Master technology. Their music player is the typical ASUS one, with a Sleep Timer included and options for the equalizer: volume, bass, treble and dialog enhance.
5 custom channels also await you and one can select the stock Android EQ if the ASUS one doesn’t cut it. Once we put the speaker to the test, we heard an OK volume, clear sound, OK bass, good high notes and crisp sound with no distortion. Audio Wizard has its own app, with a small visualizer and the following modes: Movie, Music, Gaming, Vocal and Smart, each of them felt at the push of a button.
We used a decibelmeter to test that speaker and came back with 84.4 dBA at the back and 85.6 dBA upfront, which is very good for a tablet. We beat the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 and its puny 79.3 dBA or the Xiaomi MiPad’s 83.3 dBA. Nokia N1 bested us though with 89.8 dBA, while the Galaxy Tab A 9.7 reached 87.7 dBA. Overall, the acoustics are good, so nothing to object here.
The display on this device is a 7 incher, with an IPS LCD panel and LED backlight, offering a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution and 10 finger multitouch support. There’s Gorilla Glass 1 protection in the mix and an anti fingerprint layer applied to the product. ZenPad 7.0 has full lamination technology and also Tru2Life tech, borrowed from TV sets apparently.
178 degree view angles are promised by ASUS and there’s a Bluelight Filter here, that protects the eyes of the users. The gallery serves as the video player here and it doesn’t come with any special options. The viewing experience brought us a pretty clear image, a bit of oversaturation and not a very high brightness. View angles are quite wide and the contrast is not so good.
Pixels are of the RGB Stripe kind and then we did a luxmeter test and measures 274 LUX units, which is not very good. At least we beat models like the Chuwi Vi8 (153 LUX), ZenPad S 8.0 (257 LUX) and LG G Pad 8.3 (260 LUX). Obviously, there are quite a few tablets brighter than this one: Xiaomi Mi Pad (310 LUX), Nokia N1 (355 LUX) and Nexus 7 2013 (500 LUX).
So, overall brightness is weak and now let’s see the special Settings for the screen. You can tweak brightness, font and screen color mode (with a color temperature slider, balanced mode, blue light filter and a hue and saturation slider). In spite of the screen being unimpressive, when it comes to games and video playback it handles the tasks OK.
The camera setup here includes a 5 MP back shooter and a front 0.3 MP unit, with PixelMaster technology in the mix. Don’t expect much from the main camera, with its F/2.0 aperture. The camera app is not fast to open and options here are the following: ISO, white balance, exposure, resolution (5 MP in 4:3 or 4 MP in 16:9), focus mode and touch focus. The camera only shoots HD video and the photo capture modes are these: Auto, HDR, Beautification, Night, Depth of field, Effect, Selfie, GIF, Panorama, Miniature, Smart Remove, All Smiles, Slow Motion and Time Lapse.
The actual pictures (we’ve taken just a few indoors to check quality) were yellow-ish, slightly blurry and not very detailed. The camera remains OK for the random Facebook pictures and it’s reasonable for the price of the device. Editing is done with options like filters, frames and special face tweak functions. We tested the game Riptide GP2 on the tablet for 15 minutes and reached a temperature of 43 degrees Celsius, which is kind of hot, but there’s no danger of overheating here.
The web browser has a trending area, showing what’s most searched on the web at a certain time and the browser is sadly not very fast. The keyboard is comfy, features a numeric row and Swype is also here. We also did some benchmarks, comparing the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 to the Allview Viva H7s, LG G Pad 8.3 and Nexus 7 2013. This is battle between an Intel Atom x3 plus 2 GB of RAM, versus a MediaTek MT8382 and 1 GB of RAM, versus a Snapdragon 600 and 2 GB of RAM and finally a Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2 GB of RAM.
These are the results:
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 7328
LG G Pad 8.3: 12047
Nexus 7 2013: 4758
Allview Viva H7s: 5553
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 20903
LG G Pad 8.3: 21816
Nexus 7 2013: 20056
Allview Viva H7s: 15273
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 59.3 FPS
LG G Pad 8.3: 59.2 FPS
Nexus 7 2013: 58.6 FPS
Allview Viva H7s: 43.7 FPS
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 1293
LG G Pad 8.3: 2505
Nexus 7 2013: 1593
Allview Viva H7s: 1691
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 5604
LG G Pad 8.3: 9456
Nexus 7 2013: 7185
Allview Viva H7s: 2782
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 352/1017
LG G Pad 8.3: 544/1571
Nexus 7 2013: 575/1753
Allview Viva H7s: 345/1063
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: X
LG G Pad 8.3: 786
Nexus 7 2013: 850
Allview Viva H7s: X
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 21/19 Mbps
LG G Pad 8.3: X
Nexus 7 2013: X
Allview Viva H7s: 22/17 Mbps
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 786
LG G Pad 8.3: 2679
Nexus 7 2013: 2095
Allview Viva H7s: 667
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 2250
LG G Pad 8.3: 1000
Nexus 7 2013: X
Allview Viva H7s: 1282
ASUS ZenPad 7.0: 8805
LG G Pad 8.3: 9000
Nexus 7 2013: 8300
Allview Viva H7s: X
This model wins 2 out of 11 tests and it’s quite weak in the benchmarks. Aside from that it also has a few bugs and suffers from lag. For example it remains stuck in landscape, even when turned in portrait, the Power button won’t respond sometimes and once or twice the device had to be reset since it had a black screen, at least our test unit did that.
In spite of that games like Riptide GP2 and Ski Safari 2 run OK on it. The OS here is Android 5.0.2 with Zen UI on top and basically all the things I said about the ZenPad S 8.0 also apply here. We’ve got a ton of options, Settings and functions, plus apps. The UI is flat and colorful, plus minimalistic and filled with useful widgets, like the boost one, tasks and SuperNote.
Once you keep the screen pressed you’ll access the menu that lets you edit widgets, pages, wallpapers, scroll effects, icon packs, launcher fonts, settings and preferences. Multitasking is done via a carousel, that also offers an option for screen pinning. The dropdown area features notifications and Quick Settings shown as big bubbles. Settings here are Zen Motion, that lets you draw letters on the lockscreen to open apps , ASUS Cover options and ASUS Custom Settings. There’s also Easy Mode, Security features and Zen UI update.
The list of preinstalled apps includes a ton of bloatware, just like the ZenPad S 8.0. Apps are matched into folders automatically and pretty well I might add. Here’s the list:
Do It Later
Auto Start Manager
As you can see the list is very long and there’s a lot of bloatware. And now it’s time for the verdict.
Here are the Pros:
OK camera for the price
runs games OK
And the Cons:
buggy and laggy
battery is a letdown
gets a bit hot
ASUS ZenPad 7.0 gets from us an 8.7 out of 10 for design, an 8.5 for hardware and a 7.5 for OS and UI, on account of bug, lags and bloatware. There’s also a 10 for the price. The average is 8.67 out of 10 here and this one decent looking tablet, with nice accessories. If you can get it with a bundle of those covers, it’s well worth it, but without those, it’s not very tempting, even for this price.
It remains good for casual gaming and “casual productivity”, if we can call it that.