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Asus ZenPad 3S 10 unboxing and first look review

Asus ZenPad 3S 10 unboxing: Asus dropped a stunning new tablet at IFA 2016 and we got ahold of a UK model of this media-centric slate to see what it comes with in the box.

The box continues the long-standing trend of understated, minimalist black packaging from Asus, with a soft touch finish card and next to no information or imagery except for the product name, which is both embossed and foiled with a copper finish on the lid.

The lid is magnetically attached to the side of the box, which ups the premium factor just that little bit and lifts to reveal the tablet itself front and centre. The new ZenPad brings the same premium fit and finish to the table as its most notable rivals in the likes of the iPad and Huawei MediaPad M3.

From the button placement, the tablet is intended to be used in portrait most of the time, with a decidedly Samsung-like hardware home button doubling as a fingerprint sensor, sandwiched between capacitive back and multitasking keys.

The aluminium back looks clean and includes nice details like textured metal hardware controls and a diamond-cut chamfered edge, as well as a bead-blasted satin finish. There’s also an 8-megapixel rear-facing snapper (without a flash) in the top left corner if the desire to snap with your slate grabs you (and we strongly hope that it doesn’t), and along the base you’ll find dual speaker grilles either side of a reversible Type-C USB port.

For a tablet putting media first, and one that promises excellent sound from its dual DTS HD-certified drivers, we would have liked the configuration to be geared towards landscape use, as if you actually intend on watching full-screen video with the integrated speakers, sound is only going to be piped out of the left or the right at any one time. It’s not as pretty, but the iPad Pro gets around this by placing a grille under which sits a driver in each corner.

Thankfully if you’re planning on plugging in some high-quality cans, there’s a standard 3.5mm headphone jack along the top edge and what’s more, this is one of the few tablets on the market boasting Hi-Res Audio support, so you can listen to high fidelity music, compression-free.

Underneath the tablet is an intriguing piece of card, whose use was at first a mystery. On closer inspection, the embossed instructions revealed that Asus has included a foldable stand to set your tablet on for hands-free viewing. It doesn’t look like a particularly hardy stand, but it’s an appreciated extra that we’ve not seen from the competition.

Beneath the stand, you’ll find the standard gamut of quick-start and warranty information and what remains is the power adapter and USB to Type-C USB lead. As the tablet comes in white and black, it’s unclear whether the black version features a colour-matched power adapter, or if both skews receive the white option.

The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 is available now for around £390. Stay tuned for a full review coming soon.

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