Asus has shined in every smartphone budget segment with its Zenfone series, and with Zenpad tablets, it is giving a new life to its original Asus Fonepad series. They have launched 2 tablets namely the Asus ZenPad 7.0 (Z370CG), priced at Rs. 11,999 and the Asus ZenPad 8.0 (Z380KL) is priced at Rs. 14,999.
The great addition to this new series is uniquely developed a premium cover for its tablets which they call an ‘Audio Cover’. More on that in a while.
We were able to get our hands onto Asus Zenpad 8.0 for past two weeks, and the following is our experience with this premium tablet.
Asus ZenPad 8.0 Review
As the name suggests, ZenPad 8.0 has an 8-inch display. It’s a big tab with rounded edges and its body is made of good quality plastic. The metallic ring running through the top edge makes ZenPad look premium.
Asus is consistently shelling out devices with good hardware, and sturdy built, that feels good to hold. The buttons are placed at locations which are easily accessible by our fingers and they give a good tactile feedback.
The back cover is in two parts, and one of them is removable. This removable back cover has a nice texture that provides extra grip and premium feel to hold Zenpad.
The 8-inch IPS capacitive touchscreen is with a resolution of 1280 * 800 pixels which hardly offers give 189 ppi. Surprisingly too low, given the fact that nowadays each and every tablet/smartphone has more than 250 ppi.
Even with such low ppi, the display looks quite good thanks to the overall glossiness on the screen. Vivid colors light’s up the screen and you would instantly get over the fact that it has low pixels packed per inch.
It’s quite bright and you can see each and every color at virtually any angles.
Performance – Gaming, Browsing, Benchmarks
The Asus ZenPad 8.0 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 610 octa-core processor running at 1.4 GHz with Adreno 405 @500 MHz and 2 GB RAM. Such hardware combination is good enough to get your daily tasks done smoothly and also some serious gaming is possible with ZenPad.
This tablet comes with a massive 4000 mAh Li-polymer battery which easily last for the full day even if you are using it frequent for heavy tasks. In our tests, it lasted for about two days, considering we used it for mixed activities intermittently.
We all play games on our smartphones, but the entertainment value is nowhere close to what you can experience on 8.0-inch big display. We played our favorite mobile first person shooter NOVA 3, and Asphalt 8 on this Asus ZenPad 8.0 without any lag or signs of overheating. It did got warm, but that is quite normal for longer gaming sessions. Despite being one of the heaviest games from Play store, the load times were minimal and gameplay was smooth thanks to playable frames per second.
I mostly spend my time reading or browsing on tablets, and Asus ZenPad has perfect resolution and aspect ratio for the purpose. Web pages loaded instantly and kinetic scrolling on the browser was fluent. Even at the highest zoom, text appeared sharp, making this tablet a great device for reading without any eye-strain.
Google Maps also loaded easily and navigation on built-in 3G data plan was smooth. Pinch to zoom was as smooth as the browser and Map data was populated almost instantly.
We tested the Asus ZenPad 8.0 using trusted benchmark apps and below you could see the result of those tests, which are quite good in my opinion.
Asus ZenPad 8.0 has an 8-MP rear and 2-MP front shooter which captures decent images. It captures colors well in good lighting conditions but not they are nowhere close to satisfactory when it comes to low light images.
Outdoor images are washed out when captured for objects that are very close. You can see that in the images we captured showcased below.
Tablets are not really meant for having great cameras and expect nothing more than average performance from ZenPad’s camera as well.
Audio Cover And More
The Asus audio cover might look like any other premium leather cover, but what it really makes stand out is the fact that fact that it has 6 speakers. (Yes, you heard that right!)
5 of these speakers are like mini-satellites, and one of them is a sub-woofer. The audio cover also comes embedded with additional 3450 mAh battery to produce those extra beats, that virtually no other tablet can offer.
The Audio cover fits on perfectly with your Asus ZenPad 8, and you have to replace the original back cover to mount it perfectly. You will see the connectors being used to transfer the audio from your table to speakers. This connector on the cover is also used to host the charging dongle that comes with the audio cover. Use it to play some rocking music, enjoy Dolby digital audio with movies, or our best experience was enjoying the gameplay of NOVA 3 in superb sound quality.
The Asus ZenPad Audio Cover is really loud, I mean if like you have a small room then you don’t even need another set of speakers. It’s an amazing add-on gadget for someone who likes to enjoy audio without headphones, or you want to watch movies with your friends.
With all the good things that this Audio Cover offer, the only downside is you have a shell out 3000 Rs more for this cover, which might disappoint many budget shoppers.
Android Lollipop & ZenUI
Asus ZenPad 8.0 runs on Android Lollipop 5.5, so you will surely get few new flavors of this OS ( like Android Marshmallow) in future. Like the Asus Zenfone device, this tablet also comes with all the ZenUI, and some obvious bloatware that will mostly just stay useless in the app tray for life.
e.g. There is a Mirror app that simply opens up the front cam, do you really need an app for that? You will find quite a few apps like these. Asus really needs to figure out which apps are actually useful (like AutoStart Manager or OneHand use) and simply trash the useless apps with coming versions of ZenUI.
Asus ZenPad 8.0 also comes with an OTG support, that means instead of copying all your files on the phone or SD storage you can access that data directly by connecting your flash drive. A good feature that will save your time and storage if you are using this tablet as your primary computing device.
Should You Buy ZenPad 8.0
Packed with all the amazing connectivity options you can imagine, the presence of SIM card slot makes it useful with the internet even when you are on the go. But with the price tag of Rs.14,999, I really wished it comes packed with the Audio Cover. The price difference between the 7-inch and 8-inch Zenpad is about Rs.3000, and all you get extra is extra 1-inch display.
The Mi Tab is also a great alternative in similar price with a comparatively very high-resolution display, but you won’t get 2g/3g connectivity option and definitely never going to get the Audio Cover with it.
Overall, it’s a great 8-inch tablet if you want a slightly bigger display, and great buy particularly if you want the audio features.