I’m going to start this review with the statement that I’m not a tablet person. I tried pretty expensive tablets before (Asus Prime, Lenovo Yoga). Each time the tablet would stay with me for a couple of months and I’d flog it online. Thanks to Vankyo, I got my hands on Vankyo MatrixPad S10 – a $99.99 tablet. It’s a budget option.
Some bells and some whistles
This tablet costs about a quarter of what I paid before for a device of that type. It’s clear to me, some corners will be shaved, some bells and whistles are not be present. The question is – will it matter? I took a quick glance over the box, looking for the list of features. Vankyo MatrixPad S10 doesn’t list specifics, which is usually a hint that components inside are considered average.
It boasts 10.1 inch IPS panel, quad-core CPU of unknown kind and Google Play services inside. Perhaps the marketing department has very little to work with. Let’s open the box and take a closer look at the tablet in question after all this is a Vankyo MatrixPad S10 review.
Vankyo MatrixPad S10 – close up
Inside a box, a pleasant surprise. The tablet feels nice to the touch and it’s surprisingly thin. It’s also very light. This could be my personal impression as all the previous slates came with metal bodies which added extra weight to it. Frankly speaking, I think I prefer a decent plastic and the total weight reduction over the premium metal shell.
In terms of I/O, there is not much to write home about. There are 2 speakers, a micro SD card slot, 3.5mm jack, 2 cameras and standard button controls for volume and power. A very nice inclusion on Vankyo part is USB-C port for charging. I like that! I don’t expect USB3.1 port but I love the fact Vankyo MatrixPad S10 has USB-C to charge it. So far the impressions are positive.
It feels more expensive in hands than the price would suggest. Clearly we came a long way!
First corners cut
WiFi is limited to 2.4GHz band. Ouch! I’m particularly affected as that band is pretty clogged in my house. The 10.1 inch IPS panel is, in fact, 1280×720, but it looks decent and I’m not going to hold it against it. I only wish the screen was a tad brighter. Operating it at full brightness outdoor in the sunny weather was not too comfortable, and I had to seek shade.
Frankly speaking, I rather have a 5GHz option than FHD screen. It’s not the end of the world, 2.4GHz can still max out my broadband speed. I’m being picky.
The front-facing camera is another corner cut. While I like the central placements of both cameras, the front-facing camera suffers from dropped frames in photo mode. For some reason, the issue isn’t present in video mode. I tested this with a 3rd party camera app as well. This is a firmware issue – a shame as the hardware is more than capable, judging by how smooth the video preview is.
The front-facing camera is cheap. The main camera is nothing to write home about either, but serviceable. The pictures are what you would expect from a tablet at this price. These will look ok as long as there is enough light for the sensor. The main camera has the tendency to oversaturate red colour which you will see in the video. I’m not a fan of tablet photography, therefore personally I’m not that bothered by this. I use Xiaomi Mi9 (review) to take my pictures and this is hard to beat.
Last corner cut is probably the CPU itself. The tablet doesn’t feel slow, but some applications take longer to load which means the CPU could use some more horsepower. If you set your games right, you will still enjoy some of them. Just don’t be demanding. I had a good experience on Minecraft at 6 chunks loading distance. Same goes doe a couple of other games like Don’t Starve or Bomb Hunters.
Back to positives
There is no bloat! Other than FM Radio app and Sound Recorder – there are no games, no “you must have this app” no shortcuts to download the extra apps, no stupid things. Just pure stock android apps. Vankyo MatrixPad S10 deserves praise for this. If I wanted to install some silly apps, I know how to use Google Play Store.
Stereo speakers are actually OK. Placed at the bottom of the tablet, loud enough to please your ears with portable grade audio. The same goes for the microphone. It’s decent. I sounded clear in my recordings so it should work well for video conversations.
The screen despite being 720p doesn’t feel bad. The brightness is satisfying, the viewing angles are great as you would expect from the ISP panel, and colours seem close to the truth. There is a factory-fitted screen protector as well. I’m not a fan of these, so I had mine removed but I consider it a bonus anyone that feels like they need one. Granted it’s not a 1080p panel but frankly speaking, I don’t watch films on tablets so it would never bother me. Your experience may vary. It’s enough to enjoy a YouTube video or two and if you really keen on Slo-Mo Guys and 4K footage – you can always cast it to a TV.
It’s a pretty decent deal for $99. I have been looking at other panels for an interactive DIY dashboard, but at that price, I could consider wall mounting the tablet in the kiosk mode. It would look better than a DIY solution and it wouldn’t be that much more expensive. On top of that, if you have kids – I’m pretty sure I know which tablet would you rather leave them with – a Vankyo MatrixPad S10 or a high end £400-600 slate! Tempted? Let me know in this Reddit thread.