Don’t be under any illusions. You don’t need to spend $300+ on a tablet, especially an Android tablet. In the post Christmas bargain hunting, I came across a terrific deal on the Asus MeMO Pad FHD 10, aka the ME302C tablet. It’s a 10-inch tablet which runs Android 4.3. As the product name suggests, this is indeed a Full HD display at 1920 x 1200. It’s better than some earlier iPads and is honestly a nice display for a cheaper tablet.
When I say deal, I will tell you that it was open box, but had a managers seal of assurance on it. Box with full contents. How much was it? It was $79, but because of the open box, it was further discounted to $70. Yes, this is what I paid and please don’t be jealous of the deal! Joking aside, this was in recent time, a $300+ tablet.
The Asus ME302C feels good in the hand. Really good actually. The grippy backing is nice and if you don’t opt for a protective case, you will enjoy holding this tablet. Weight wise, I can tell you that it feels lighter than an iPad 2, 3, and 4. Comparison wise, it’s also lighter than the Nexus 10.
With a micro SD card slot, I was able to expand the ME302C with a 64GB micro SDXC card. Ample storage which makes this a terrific multimedia device. If you compare this to tablets that don’t have the storage expansion option, this is a very good “value added” feature. It future proofs it to an extent because you can use it for a movie player at the very least in the future.
I don’t have real battery data, but I can say it’s decent. It’s not in the iPad class of battery life, but it’s solid enough to get you through a day of pretty heavy use.
The Asus FHD 10 has rear stereo speakers which are decent enough. Asus has an Audio Wizard which allows you to tweak audio settings that will provide subtle improvements to the sound.
The Asus MeMO Pad FHD 10 comes with 2GB of RAM with an 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2460 dual-core CPU. In other words, it’s going to play pretty much whatever you throw at it.
Because this is an Android tablet from Asus, they have sprinkled their own tweaks and additions to Android. This is a good thing actually. It’s not bloat and for the most part, the additions are excellent. I won’t get into a full OS review here, but there are other reviews of this tablet that run down the various features.
One somewhat unique port on the MeMO Pad FHD 10 is the microHDMI cable port. This comes in handy so you might want to look at getting the appropriate cable. To be honest, I found one such cable, 12 feet long, in the bargain bin at Staples. The box said $10, but when I went to pay, the computer said 90 cents. The teller said, “No way, this can’t be right”. Well the fact is I got the cable for less than a buck. Depending on how you have your home entertainment center, television(s), and computers arranged in your home, this means your Asus ME302C could run an app like Kodi (aka XBMC) and have yourself a nice streaming device without much hassle.
I will admit that my first app, Crossy Road, was only available from the Amazon App store. After downloading? It didn’t load at all. This was frustrating. Later, after looking around at possible issues, I manually downloaded the Crossy Road app for Android 4.3 and it loaded and played fine. I can’t explain this, but perhaps the Amazon App Store was getting the wrong version of app? It’s beyond me to be honest. My next install was “Kodi” formerly known as XBMC. I had issues and because it’s a non Arm based tablet, it turns out that XBMC isn’t quite ready for prime time. That said, I tried a few of the versions and settled on the most current version of Kodi which does work. So the first two apps didn’t go well, which had me a bit concerned. As it turns out, both issue were ironed out and ever since, there have been no issues with any of the apps that I’ve since installed.
This isn’t necessarily a criticism of the tablet itself, but even though it’s relatively new, it was near impossible to find much selection for cases or covers. The official Asus TransCover is exactly what I would have wanted, but those are seemingly sparse to find. Depending if you’re in Canada or the United States, just be aware that your selection of accessories may be limited. I have one on order from Amazon and it appears to be similar to the iPad smart cover. Even though I really enjoy holding this tablet in its pure form, I know how a drop on concrete can treat tablet glass. Asus should really look at stocking official accessories in the Canadian and United States market for a longer period of time. I don’t want to get something shipped from overseas, like in the UK, for the official folio case from Asus.
So this review should serve you some purpose. It says to me that you can trust the next 10-inch Android tablet from Asus. It’s going to give good value for the money because that is typically what Asus does. To me, Asus can build an iPad quality tablet that runs Android and costs much less money. We will be posting news on the next batch of Asus tablets coming this year. Think of the iPad and with each new generation, the specs and design improves. I would expect the same for the MeMO Pad FHD 10. The only question is what the branding or naming will be.