My first go at Android GO – Vastking KingPad Z10
Android Go on a budget device makes perfect sense right? A light version of the OS provides all necessary functionality without taxing the system too much. Vastking KingPad Z10 falls within the budget realms of Android tablets with a price tag of $130 [$113.99 on AmazonUS, and $20 off on their page while promotion lasts]. Can this tablet take the advantage of the lightweight system? I’m going to find out, as this is the first time I have an Android Go device in my hands.
Vastking KingPad Z10
Out of the box, Vastking KingPad Z10 reveals no thrill approach to what’s in the box. A 10.1″ slate, a charging cable and the UK plug to charge it up. As I’m flooded with chargers already, the 2A power brick gets ignored straight away.
Let’s focus on the Vastking KingPad Z10 itself. At the back, metal covered with a toned grey colour which increases grip. It would look great if not got the first cut corner – a screen covered with plastic instead of glass. Personally, it’s a big no-no for me, as I hate screen protectors and if you want to keep the display’s surface scratch-free, you will need to use one.
Moving on, I/O feels alright. USB-C on offer to charge it up, which is nice to see on a budget device, nice clickable volume and power buttons, a corner 3.5mm jack and a MicroSD slot to increase the built-in 32GB storage. There are two stereo speakers at the bottom of the slate and two cameras to cater to your inner photographer and Zoom professional.
Does Android Go make it go fast?
Vastking KingPad Z10 is a 2nd device I tested that comes with a quad-core CPU clocked at 768-1300Mhz. DragonTouch NotePad K10(review) came with a similar CPU, but with the full version of Android instead. It gives me a pretty good baseline to see if Android Go makes a difference in the device’s performance.
Despite the lighter operating system, Android Go isn’t making Vastking KingPad Z10 faster. The tablet takes its time to do things. Menus do feel sluggish and some patience is required to make things work. Coming from a fast as heck Xiaomi Mi 11 (review) with a 120Hz display, this feels tough to look at. I’m pretty sure 2GB of RAM isn’t helping either. At this point, I’m not sure who to blame, a rather low spec of the tablet or poor performance gains of Android Go. After all, it was made for devices that don’t come loaded with the latest tech.
Network options are limited to 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2. A little bit of digging reveals that the screen isn’t 1080p as advertised, it’s 1280×800. It’s a serviceable screen and surprisingly bright considering the price point.
I dare to think, what would it be like if Vastking KingPad Z10 was loaded with a fully-fledged version of the Android11.
I had bad experiences with cheap tablets and their cameras in the past, so I tapped the camera app with hesitance. The front-facing sensor is a 2MP while the back camera has 8MP and it comes with a dedicated flash.
Unlike the DragonTouch NotePad K10 tablet, the camera is serviceable. You can’t expect miracles from a 2MP sensor, but the image isn’t complete garbage and as far as the budget sensors go, you could do much worse. For video calls, it will do ok, and the build-in microphone and speakers aren’t terrible providing they are not covered with your hands.
It’s not a camera for selfies that’s for sure as images are washed out often overexposed in strong light, for any decent pictures you have to check the main shooter located at the back.
I’m pleased to say that the camera lives up to its budget price. Pictures are nicely saturated, with the tendency to overexpose parts on a bright day. The images can give you a nice depth of view despite a pretty basic lens configuration.
HDR filter tends to make things worse and I got better results without it on a sunny day. You won’t win any photography awards with this camera, but pictures captured are usable. It’s all I can ask for.
The videos lack settings with a single resolution offered 0.9MP 1280×720 at 24fps. The exposure compensation is on slow side but despite shooting my sample clips on a sunny day against bright backgrounds, when the camera caught up with the light levels, the image was properly exposed. The colours are ok, but this is a 720p video – there is nothing to write home about.
Vastking KingPad Z10 is not a gaming tablet. In fact, anything fancier than a casual game and the experience won’t be fun. It will keep your fingers busy with all the candy cushes of this world.
There are fun games that won’t melt the tablet, so I decided to give it a go. First was the Hades Star, a strategy/economic game to pass the time. The game has pretty visuals but it’s not demanding to CPUs. You will have a great time running your space empire.
Stepping up, Don’t Starve was my 2nd choice. An action-adventure that benefits from a large screen and is a joy to spend time with. The game takes some time to load but runs well. It breaks just about 24fps for a decent experience.
The last game was Minecraft. A title is well known to anyone. Despite the blocky graphics, the 3D environments do take a fair amount of processing power and you have to scale down the settings to min to keep the framerate of Vastking KingPad Z10 somewhat playable. It’s not the game you want to play on this tablet, that’s for sure.
Every day use
Running Tasker revealed that Android Go disables some of the more fancy features due to the “tasking nature of the feature”. This won’t stop you from using the tablet in a normal way, if you are looking to use the panel for automation – Android Go may not be for you. Thankfully, the tablet isn’t loaded with bloatware and the Android version is kept close to stock. That’s probably one of the biggest redeeming qualities of the budget tablets I had my hands on.
If you have the patience, it will get the stuff done as long as you stick to one task at a time. Charging is another sore thumb. The battery is 6000mAh, but the charging port lacks modern charging interfaces. Expect the charging cycles in excess of 4-5h. The battery will carry you through most of the day.
At $130-ish – it’s not the most expensive tablet, but there are few things I find hard to overcome. The biggest deal for me is the plastic display. It’s a portable device so the durability of the screen is more important than anything else. At this price point, you could consider a bigger phone like Xiaomi Redmi Note 9, which outpaces the Vastking KingPad Z10 [$113.99 on AmazonUS, and $20 off on their page while promotion lasts] in any benchmark as long as you are happy to settle for smaller screen size. If you are patient and looking for an inexpensive slate to cover your basic use, you have my blessing. Have you used Android Go? Let me know what’s your take on this Reddit thread.