ZTE’s 10.1-inch Windows 8 tablet hands on does not fail to impress

ZTE is not a name we are too familiar with and we generally associate them with more low to mid quality phones. As it turns out, they have plans for Windows 8 and tablets in the form of the V98, a 10.1-inch tablet running Windows 8 (x86) on a 1.8GHz Intel Atom CPU and 2GB of RAM.

And it's kind of awesome.

The ZTE V98, due out later this year, has a nice chrome finish around the edges and a metal back, yet the device is remarkably light and easy to hold (10.1 inch is quite ideal, in our opinion). The specs aren’t too shabby either as it has GSM/LTE built in, 32GB of storage (microSD expandable), and a 1366x768 TFT display.

We’re big fans of Atom processors running Windows 8 akin to the Acer W510 tablet. Performance is remarkably good as it battery life and you don’t get the limitations of RT. This device is going to China sometime in the future and there’s no word if it will head West thereafter but between the ideal size, the Atom CPU and the nice finish, we’re keeping an eye out for this one. Yeah, we’re surprised too. 

Watch the video and let us know what you think.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I am heading to China in the summer... I wonder if it will be out by then.
  • I like it
  • Kills me how people say the, RT version is so limited, but I never hear about an iPad being limited. Why is this? The number of apps the iPad has? I guess IE10 on the RT is overlooked. Hmmmm......
  • The thing is, why bother with RT if you can get low cost and great battery with a Windows 8 x86 device? What advantage is there to RT?  Because price isn't a factor. You can buy an x86 Atom Acer W510 for $499. Compare that to a Surface RT...
  • Can't play minecraft on the rt :(...yet
  • I just felt with the RT version, Microsoft could have or should have hit a homerun there. SD card slot, USB port, mini HDMI port, kickstand, and a really good web browser. It should have been a major player. I guess that lack of advertising and the huge price killed it or rather crippled its sales.
  • I agree but MS messed up the pricing of it. Price is everything right now and MS should've taken a hit if needed or they should've thrown in the KB for free. I'll get a W8 tablet in the fall maybe the new Gen will be out and the pricing will be better. I really want RT in 7 or 8" form factor though.
  • Your are definitely right about them including the keyboard. Being sold separately sucked!!!!
  • RT advantage = "free" office?
  • I don't want or need office so why should I pay for it.
  • Well then u buy to suit. All about choice
  • Free Office is exactly why I bought the RT.
  • I have to agree Daniel. I think this is what I want in a Windows tablet.
  • "Because if I'm using software that's not currently available in the Windows Store, it's going to require more than a 1.8 Ghz Atom processor."
    ...I'm not saying I personally disagree with you, but that is what people will say. It's sad to me how the tech community BY IN LARGE (I by no way mean everyone) has to have the best specs and let everyone else know why that makes them a better person/fan. It kills me when I see people recommend a MacBook Air or something similar for an older parent or kid to facebook, email, and do basic word processing.
    Outside of desktop caliber games, the rarity I'm doing something that isn't doable on an RT device is extremely low. Actually, the only program I probably do use that's unavailable is Zune for my Lumia 710. Personally, I'd love to see an RT device with a lower quality (aka less expensive in building) screen that is selling in the $249-299 range. Does that mean it has to be a 7" device, too? No idea. The reality is most people aren't watching movies at funny angles on a 10" or smaller screen nor watching in direct sunlight so I don't care about wide viewing angles...might actually be nice not to for privacy for them to be more limited... and if you want to argue that you sit by windows all day- either close the blinds or move your portable device to a different angle. I angle my 32" TV when I want the sunlight, too, all the time. Similarly, it's not like Angry Birds or any other number of popular apps are so graphically complex that I'm going to see any real difference on a lower quality 720p screen than I am on the highest quality 720p screen... kind of how a VHS doesn't look better on a plasma display over something significantly cheaper. I guess what I'm saying is build me a Kindle Fire type device with a front facing camera and call it a day. If I'm a consumer using a tablet, I'm using this device for consumption first and foremost. The odd time essay-lengthed typing is envolved (unless I'm back in college), I want a real, full sized keyboard and mouse. If I want to watch something serious in HD I'm going to take use a TV.
  • +1000000000000000000000000000000000
  • Well said
  • Nailed it.
  • The advantage to RT is that there are no desktop applications other than what comes with the device, that is perfect for a consumption device. Take your Windows 8 desktop or laptop, you now have to worry about backup or image restore to get back to what you had in case a complete reset was required. With RT it's easy, documents are sync'd to the cloud, home network or SD Card, all settings are sync'd to the cloud, all Apps are registered so you know what you've downloaded. Any issues with the device and you just do a factory reset, login with your email account and everything is ready, just install the apps you had before. It would be even less work if any updates for Office and the OS were applied to the restore image. With the desktop for management, Office and Flash support all that is missing are more quality apps and little better price point, RT would be perfect.
  • That is EXACTLY how my Asus Vivotab Windows 8 tablet works. All my settings synced to the cloud etc etc. Looks identical to the RT tablets BUT l can also run all x86 apps (VLC etc), AND it is faster, 9 hour battery life, it runs on Intel Atom. All for $500 !!!!    And you dont have to run desktop apps if you dont want too. Your choice.
    RT is a subset of the full Win8 tablet experience. No advantages.
  • RT has less malware? x86 would need an anti-virus hence slowing down the dual core CPU. not to mention free office with the RT. i would have expected someone that covers this stuff to have figured that out....
  • Typing this on my Asus Vivotab Smart Win 8 tablet.
    No malware issues, no performane issues (in fact, very fast/smooth - Atom MUCH faster than Tegra3 with same battery life). Flexibility to pop on any x86 app l want to etc.
    Still running my free full Office 2013 preview (one day will need to move over to the $90 subs, or $15 employee program offer).
    It really is Win Win.
    p.s. 64Gb, so better deal than this ZTE.
  • In addition to all other reasons mentioned, I specifically got the RT because I did NOT want a PC. I don't want to manage and cleanup a full version of windows OS, worry about anti-virus, services, more patches, more bugs and complexity.
    Full version of windows has a tendency to grow from the inside and collect junk that get attached to OS. Just open up the list of programs from a 2 year old PC, and look at all the little non sense add-on and patches in there. Next thing you know they eventually start slowing your PC (or should I say tablet), and you need to look at "auto start" programs, registry to cleanup junk, and all the rest of the fun ....
    I highly respect the RT, which promises me almost zero maintenance. Two yours from now I should be able to grab my RT off my coffee table, flick up and start using it, and still get the same experience as day one, because the experience and performance is locked down by MS. And that gentlemen, has value to me.
  • No virus or malware. Sandboxed. Microsoft Store gets all the revenue from apps.
  • Let me illustrate my dillema. RT would do just fine, but it misses Java or abandoned Silverlight. Why Java? Because of my bank, as it does not have an app for W(P)8 and only God knows if it ever will. Why Silverlight? Because of my Windows Home Server 2011 where all my personal data is stored. Unfortunately RT does not support any of them. So buying RT would be nice, but partially useless. That's why I am seriously considering an x86 edition tablet. And as for iPad. Same story as Win RT.
  • Has java taken care of their security issues yet.
  • yes, it's the apps. without the x86 apps, the number of quality metro apps matters. What ie10 have to do with it? the ipad has a browser too. does ie10 do omething safari can't?
  • Yes and its called flash :)
  • Can you fit Windows8 somehow in 32GB? In Surface Pro Windows takes 45GB. And after few OS updates Windows takes even more...
  • Windows 8 32-bit only requires 20GB of storage space.
  • Although that is perhaps a valid argument for RT, less installed space so more storage available? Not a great argument but a valid one.
  • Why there isn't any Atom-based W8 tablet with a higher-res display? 
  • Maybe the atom processor can't handle all the pixels?
  • I think its an atom limitation
  • It's a false limitation put in by Intel so that you buy a more expensive Core series processor instead.  The same with the 2GB RAM limit.
    Intel are shooting themselves in the foot, Atom could compete with ARM, but they are restricting it to the point where users have to choose between low-res & low-memory (Atom) or poor battery life (Core).
    They should be pushing and prioritising Atom for mobile platforms, not Core processors.  This is just obvious.
  • The ASUS VivoTab Smart is on sale on amazon now for less than $500 with almost identical specs. I bought the VivoTab RT because of the keyboard dock though.. Love it!
  • Got a Asus Vivotab Smart this weekend and it's really good.
    64gb memory with expandable sd card and NFC.
    Speakers are pretty weak, but that's my only real complaint so far
    Saw Engadget review and tracked one down
    This configuration with the Asus and this new ZTE seem like the real sweet spot as windows goes tablet
  • I see no USB port. Otherwise it looks cool. I reckon they could sell millions of 'em.
  • Looking nice in the picture...
  • So it does not have a USB port, that makes it worthless to me.I use the USB port on my RT all the time
  • Thats exactly what turned me off. How can you make a Windows 8 tablet without usb port. Sorry i meant how dare they make a windows 8 tablet without usb port, that should be a requirement for making windows 8 tablet.
  • the HP ElitePad is almost identical, with 64gb. It also has optional docks & sleeves with extra battery pack. Its available now.
  • Like it
  • Agree totally. I find myself not really needing apps because I can get streaming video via flash from all the major websites...ESPN, HBO, Amazon.
  • No full size usb = No interest,plus I'm loving my Surface RT too much.
  • I want one with lte
  • Is it me or does it look like an old iPhone connection in that first picture?
  • Honestly... Getting a little bit of a 1st Gen iPad feel, but that's just from the pictures. I would proudly own one of these babies
  • I like it because we will be seeing some low priced WIN8 tablets....
  • Atom still has a left a bad taste from the last generation Windows 7 tablets. Might perform well in Modern UI, but with only 2GB of RAM you will probably have to make compromises with speed in Desktop. IDK, maybe the newer genrations are better, but I still would't get an Atom for my x86 machine.
  • few things for me to consider this over my surface rt - a step up with ram to 4gb at least, it needs a higher res screen, and it needs a usb port. without those its no better better really than my rt. and dont give me it can run full programs because once you get things going on it its gonna bottle neck slow down. my surface zooms with everything it does. i look at it this way, untill i can easily with no lag whats so ever run a program like sony vegas then a tablet with full windows is useless to me. ill stick to my rt thank you.
  • ok to add something that might make my thoughts more clear ill put it this way,
    i would rather have something that does what its suppose to do really well instead of having something that does its job only halfway. and i currently feel these full pc tablets only do there jobs halfway with current tech. at least with the tech these mfg are willing to use. so yes untill the next leap is done in specs im perfectly fine with my rt.
  • 1) Anyone who buys a Windows 8 tablet with 32GB should be banned from showing up in any forum since they will promptly show up and whine. That leaves little left for the programs you are supposedly opening up as possibilities. It also means you are almost compelled to load documents, etc., from a SD card once applications are installed. I have yet to see a case where SD performance is any better than middling to poor. You are alsomstill stuck with the fact that you need to do one of a couple work arounds to get files to show up in libraries, or any apps that use the library system.
    2) The Atom processors are still the dogs of the Intel world. If people wish to convince themselves the performance isn't that bad, that is up to them.  I have yet to see an Atom processor worth the time or money. Again, people buying such stuff should be banned from showing up and whining that they can't run Photoshop, they had to purchase Office, Office runs slow, they can't run this or that game, etc., etc....
    3) Perhaps the author might consider that titles do matter.  Saying something does not fail to impress is more accurately stated as something impresses. Why make english any more of a challenge for people?