The Asus ZenPad 8.0 is a solid device with brisk performance. Its beautiful screen is ideal for surfing the web and watching videos
Unlike mobile phones, it is rare to see new tablets land up on our review desk these days. For the simple reason that mobile phones with big screens are biting into tablet sales. While numerous research firms have pointed to the growing trend of big-screen phones eating away the tablets market share, my take for their (tablet) dwindling sales is that slates have a different use compared to smartphones which are required everyday to make calls and to stay in contact with others. Tablets, on the other hand, are more often used for surfing the web, watching videos, reading comics, and so on.
While we’ll just have to wait and see how the market for tablets evolves in the times to come, one thing is evident: tablet makers are innovating big time and whatever devices are being introduced in the market have unique features that could possibly lure the consumers back. Take for instance the new Asus ZenPad 8.0, a stylish piece of hardware with smart looks and features. The test-unit (Z380KL/4G) that came to us definitely looked a higher piece of equipment. This Android model has a very high resolution display, a speedy Qualcomm 8929 Octa Core processor, 16 GB of storage and an 8 megapixel camera, but sells for only Rs 17,999 with audio cover and R14,999 without audio cover. It is available in two colours— Obsidian Black and Aurora Metallic.
Will it find takers in the market place? Let us check out some of its interesting features.
Straight out of the box, it is obvious that the ZenPad 8.0 is crafted for mobility. Asus R&D folks seem to have put in considerable effort into making the ZenPad 8.0 look a pleasing device for work and entertainment. It weighs just 350 grams, includes a 8-inch IPS display with 10-finger capacitive touchscreen with a slim frame. The bezels to the left and right of the screen are relatively slim, and the edges are rounded, so the device can be easily and comfortably held in one hand. Needless to say, the device feels solid and well made.
The ZenPad 8.0 has a minimal number of physical buttons, as the standard Back, Home, and Open Apps buttons appear only on screen. There’s a volume rocker on the right side, with the power button located below it. Though I feel that this isn’t an ideal location as it’s easy to accidentally press this button when picking up the device.
In terms of hardware, the 8-inch (20.3 cm) ZenPad 8.0 comes with a Qualcomm MSM8929 64-bit Octa Core processor and 16 GB in-built memory. The device has an 8 MP auto-focus main camera that is armed with features like larger aperture, pixel master camera for brighter photos, zero shutter lag and manual mode support, and a 2 MP front camera with 140 degree selfie panorama. The backlight is easily bright enough for outdoor use, as long as the device is used in the shade.
The display is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass, a layer of protection that makes the screen much less likely to break if the tablet is ever dropped, and it also resists scratching.
The ZenPad 8.0 operates on Android v5.0 (Lollipop) operating system, offers IPS display upto 178 degrees viewing angle and comes equipped with Zen
Motion support Touch gesture providing a superior experience. Users also get 5 GB Asus web storage space for life with an additional 11 GB for the first year and 100 GB of Google Drive space for two years.
In actual usage, the ZenPad 8.0 has a beautiful screen. Its pixels are so small and tightly packed that everything looks smooth, with no sign of pixilation anywhere. Colours are bright and vivid, making photos and video look great. Asus has also gone all out for the cameras built into the ZenPad 8.0. The rear-facing one is 8 megapixels, so it’s as good as those found in many mid-range phones. Though the front one is 2 MP, it is good enough as some other tablet’s rear cameras and far better than typical front-facing cameras. Pictures clicked by me in the office as well as outside surroundings were crisp and sharp.
Overall, the Asus ZenPad 8.0 is a solid device with one of the best screens available on any mid-size tablet, much more built-in storage than similarly priced models have, performance that is good and cameras that are better than average. It is light and easy-to-carry and above all, a solid device.