Creative ZiiO 10in review
Cheap, but not cheerful; a dull, resistive touchscreen puts paid to a promising budget tablet
Review Date: 1 Jun 2011
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £167 (£200 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Creative has not one but two tablet models available for purchase, and they're both dirt cheap. We reviewed the Creative ZiiO 7in a while back, and this larger model, with a 10in 1,024 x 600 screen, is almost as reasonable. It will set you back a mere £200 – a full £199 less than the cheapest iPad 2.
Despite the low price, the ZiiO doesn't look bad. It comes in a subtly sparkling matte-charcoal plastic case, with the ZiiO logo etched tastefully in the bottom right corner below the screen.
Inside, though, the ZiiO has clearly been built to a budget. The 1GHz Creative ZiiLabs ZMS-08 CPU is an old single-core design, and it's backed up by a mere 8GB of storage (though this can be supplemented thanks to a full-size SD card slot).
Such mediocre hardware yields predictably poor performance, with a generally laggy feel to menus and browsing operations. The ZiiO’s SunSpider score of 8,158ms isn't as quick as recent dual-core Honeycomb-based tablets, and its BBC desktop homepage load time of nine seconds is again slow. A score of 2,219 in the Android-specific Quadrant benchmark wasn’t bad, though, and the ZiiO proved perfectly capable of playing most current games smoothly.
The processor isn't the only place corners have been cut. There's no 3G option, and battery life is well below average, managing just 6hrs 53mins in our video loop test. The system software is behind the times too – a Creative-modified, but smartphone-oriented version of Android 2.2. There’s no access to the Android Market, and Creative's ZiiO Space service is no substitute.
The biggest disappointment, however, is the screen. Image quality leaves an awful lot to be desired, with viewing angles so poor you must take care to hold the tablet directly head-on – tip it even slightly away from the perpendicular and the image fades rapidly from view. It’s very drab too, reaching just 157cd/m2 at maximum brightness, while colours have a noticeably yellow cast to them.
Worse, the ZiiO's touch controls are implemented with cheap resistive technology. It responded poorly to our prods and pokes (the navigation and multimedia controls below the screen are particularly frustrating), and it doesn't support multitouch, so you can't pinch to zoom.
The ZiiIO’s one distinctive feature is support for Creative’s Bluetooth-based APT-X wireless audio codec, which connects to a variety of the firm's wireless headphones and speakers.
Overall, though, the ZiiO 10in is simply unpleasant to use, making it a poor choice despite the low price. If you’re looking for a bargain basement tablet, we’d recommend the Advent Vega instead, or Creative's own ZiiO 7in at a now very cheap £150.
Author: Jonathan Bray
The contrast between this review and the one for the 7" is confusing. You say 9 seconds to load up the BBC homepage is slow, but on the 7" it is 'a decent 9 seconds'.
And you complain about the cheap resistive screen, but the 7" review says that this isn't a problem. Is it really a different screen?
Just wondering. I'm obviously not going to buy either!
By Kovno on 1 Jun 2011
Kovno - the screen on the 10in is indeed worse than the one on the 7in. It's less responsive, and the touch buttons below the screen are terrible.
You make a good point about the speed comments, though. This is due to the timing of the first review. Since it was written, the iPad 2 and a clutch of Honeycomb-based tablets have appeared, all of which have moved the performance of tablets on considerably.
Back then, nine seconds was decent, comparatively speaking, though a little slower than the first iPad. Nowadays, four and five second times are the norm. Put simply, nine seconds isn't as impressive as it once was.
By JonBray on 1 Jun 2011
Why do these manufacturers bother?
Quite honestly I don't know why so many manufacturers throw out sub-standard products, do they simply not test them on anyone other than the team that creates them?
Surely there is little demand for the aged resistive touchscreen and the lack of an Android Store renders this pretty much useless - especially considering you can purchase a much better un-branded capacitive tablet on Amazon for a lot less than this.
Needless to say I, along with dare I say 100% of PC Pro's readers won't be buying this.
By jhITsolutions on 1 Jun 2011
still has a place, I think; it tends to work better with stylus input, which can be useful in a business environment, but I can't see why you'd put it on a device going in against not just the iPad, but other Android 2.2 devices positioned in the consumer space - the Vega leaps to mind - that are better spec'ed for the same money.
By nichomach0 on 2 Jun 2011
Creative's ZiiLabs Android 3.2 tablets looks much more promising: http://asia.cnet.com/crave/creatives-ziilabs-intro
By EmilynT on 13 Sep 2011
Quote from Creative:
"I apologise for all the frustrations and inconvenience that you have experienced due to the faulty ZiiO tablets. We apologise as we are unable to provide you a refund."
Basically, they will continue to send you unuseable products under warranty rather than refund!
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