Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10 Review: One that sticks in the MeMo-ry?

Reviews Dean Quinn 16:34, 22 May 2013

We run the rule over this moderately priced and specced 10-inch slate

Rating: 
3
Typical Price: 
£250.00
Pros: 
Decent build quality, 1080p video playback via HDMI, expandable storage, HDMI-out port
Cons: 
Disappointing screen resolution, lack of latest Android version, questionable value for money
Verdict: 
Whilst not necessarily a sub-par creation, the Asus MeMo Pad 10 has nothing in its locker to make you sit up and take notice and for a little less or more outlay, Google's Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets will offer more in the way of user satisfaction...

Asus pumps out a lot of product: PCs, laptops, tablets, hybrid devices, and phablets. It also built Google's million-selling Nexus 7 and, for the most part, it isn't afraid of taking punts on untested platforms (Windows 8) and formulas (phone/tablet hybrids). 

Asus' approach to product design is definitely eccentric but that's no bad thing – it's good to see a tech company bringing new and slightly off the wall ideas and concepts to market (see the FonePad for reference if you're unsure what we're getting at here).

The latest Asus device to grace Know Your Mobile's offices is the MeMo SmartPad 10. It's not quirky, you can't stick a phone in it, and it doesn't run Windows 8. This is a traditional 10-inch Android slate through and through. It's also got a rather aggressive price tag. 

So, what's the craic? Lets find out. 

Asus MeMo Smart Pad 10 review: Design & Screen

The first thing that strikes you upon clapping eyes on the MeMo Pad 10 is the sheer size of the thing. Yes, the clue is in the name - that '10' indicates a 10-inch screen funnily enough. But, so used are we to the dinky 7 and 8-inch tabs that are currently de rigeur that the tea-tray like dimensions do startle a little.

That's not to say that it's a hefty chunk of tech though. The MeMo Smart weighs in at a respectable 580g and is very svelte indeed at just 9mm thick.

Perhaps to be expected of a 'budget' tablet, the materials used in construction have been scrimped on ever-so-slightly in order to keep costs down. It's not cheap-looking by any stretch of the imagination but it's also no Transformer Prime in this regard either. 

Overall the MeMo Pad 10 is well put together and perfectly suited to travel – our test unit spent many an hour inside our work bag and still looks as good as new. And if black's not your thing the SmartTab is also available in the following colour options: crystal white, midnight blue, and fuchsia. 

The MeMo SmartPad 10 uses a 10-1-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels, which is more or less the same setup found on Google's Nexus 7 just stretched across a larger panel, and for the price it's more than adequate with wide viewing angles and decent colour reproduction. 

You will notice slight pixilation when viewing text on web pages and certain UX elements, which does detract somewhat from the viewing experience. But that's to be expected – the MeMo SmartPad is a mid-tier tablet aimed at the masses. It's not designed to complete with the likes of Sony's Tablet Z or Google's Nexus 10. If you want HD visuals you will have to pay for it, unfortunately. 

Along the top edge of the device you have the power button with the volume rocker and 3.5mm headphone jack occupying the right side, while MicroSD and Micro HDMI ports take the left edge.

There's also a rather nice Asus logo embossed on the back which makes it feel a tad classier. The inclusion of a couple of stereo SonicMaster speakers flanking it on the far sides of the rear is nice, but their effectiveness would have been better had they been situated on the front so as to direct the sound towards the user.

Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10 review: OS & Interface

The Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10 comes with Android Jelly Bean 4.1 and is loaded with all the bells and whistles we've come to expect of Google's lovely OS - Maps, YouTube app, Drive, Chrome, Google Now, etc.

That said, there are whispers circulating that this, and all of Asus' tablet offerings are in line for an update to Android 4.2, although when exactly that will be rolled out is still unconfirmed.

Even so, with Jelly Bean at the helm you can't go far wrong and you're spoilt for choice when it comes to apps, games, books and movies with Google's Play Store.

With the UX, the Asus chaps have added a little bit of their own garnish. The notifications tray has a different look and there's a navigation lock feature sitting in the centre of the navigation bar. The former we can take or leave as it merely offers a brightness slider and some quick settings options but the latter is a godsend especially when playing games as it prevents you from accidentally jabbing the nav bar when maniacally fingering the screen during gaming sessions.

As seems to be the burgeoning trend amongst tablet makers, the MeMo Pad Smart 10 is stuffed full of pre-installed apps – some are useful, others not so much. We get why manufacturers do this – it's all about branding and differentiation – but they'd needn't bother. It's a waste of R&D and resources. Google Play offers everything you'll ever need and more when it comes to content for your Android slate. 

Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10 review: Camera & Multimedia

Cameras on tablets always seem to have been tacked on as an afterthought - it's almost as if manufacturers of slate devices know that people feel they'll look a bit daft using a massive slab to take a few snapshots and instead invest in upping specs elsewhere.

Asus definitely follows this school of thought and whilst the addition of a 5-megapixel main lens and 1.3-megapixel front-facer is to be applauded don't expect anything more than the basics out of these two.

The camera app has been treated to Asus' own graphical sheen. Key functions such as the onscreen shutter button and camcorder/camera mode toggles are vertically arranged and hug the left hand side of the screen whilst the general options of ISO, white balance, picture size and effects drawer occupy the opposite edge in a similar formation.

Talking of effects, Asus has gone so far to chuck in a few live filters that can be applied to images being captured. These span everything from the mystic-sounding 'Aura,' which makes things seem like you're looking at them through a multitude of discarded Quality Street wrappers, to 'Vampire,' which makes stuff look a bit red for reasons that are not entirely apparent.

The auto-focus does go a bit mental in certain lighting conditions and can't quite make up its mind as to what it should zone in on. The front-facer is okay for Skype and selfies although image quality isn't great and no amount of effects can change that. 

Time for the multimedia verdict then and we have to say that this device is much of a muchness on that front.

The innards, comprising an NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, have the credentials to pull off a decent performance and that's exactly what it does, never really reaching the spectacular and going about its business in a steady, workmanlike fashion.

There's not too much going on in the way of native media players but all can be handled by either something from the Google stable or third party creations of your choosing from the Play Store.

We do tip our hat at the bundling of a File Manger to allow you to easily keep installed apps and other digital ephemera in order. Plus Asus' WebStorage instant capture and upload functionality is pleasingly designed and eminently usable (other photo-syncing services are available).

Specifications

Length 263mm
Width 180mm
Thickness 9.9 mm
Weight 580g
Screen Colours 16 million
Screen Size 10.1-inches
UK Launch May 2013
Typical Price £260
Website http://uk.asus.com/Tablet/MeMO_Pad/ASUS_MeMO_Pad_Smart_10/
Camera Resolution 5-megapixel auto-focus
Camera Resolution 1.3-megapixel front-facing
Video Resolution 1080p (17fps) 720p and 480p
Flash No
Zoom Yes
Music Formats MP3/WAV/WMA/AAC
Speaker Stereo - SRS Enhancement

Disqus - noscript

Decent product I can't complain

A great device for the money. I paid about half for a one month old barely used machine but probably would not hesitate to pay the $300 out of the box. Seems like a lot for the $$$ to me.

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