ASUS is no stranger to making tablets, the ZenPad 8.0 (Z380KL) is 8 inches and is a stylish grab and go device. The back is removable so you can attach different colors and a bunch of different accessories like an external battery pack and a DTS speaker case. We’re going to take a look at the tablet as well as these accessories.
Design – It’s Good Looking
ASUS knows how to make a good looking tablet, the 2nd generation 2013 Google Nexus 7 is an absolute beauty and still one of my favorite 7 inch. The ZenPad 8.0 doesn’t have the same sleek lines and soft touch finish, but that’s not to say that it’s not a nice looking tablet. The panel is clear and good quality the back has an extra panel which you can remove and replace with a new color or texture. Design wise this detail makes it a very fashion forward device, and this isn’t something unexpected at this price point.
The front of the tablet has a metal frame, which makes it seem more durable even though the frame and back of the device at plastic. The power and volume buttons are on the right hand side of the device while the USB and headphone jack are at the top. To access the SIM card slot as well as the Micro USB you’ll have to take off the back panel. While we’re on the back you have a 8MP camera in the upper left hand corner. The ZenPad 8.0 is 8.5mm thick and 350 grams which is pretty reasonable as far as tablets go. I haven’t had any issues with it feeling too heavy after 20 minutes of use, any longer and i’d want it to have a stand or rest it on something.
Display – Good Quality Panel
The display is usually what gives away a low cost tablet, the 1280 x 800 IPS panel the ZenPad 8.0 doesn’t look budget. It’s got Tru2Life technology which gives clear crisp colors, half decent viewing angles and you can bump up the brightness enough to see what’s going on when you’re outdoors. It doesn’t have what it takes to watch a movie in direct sunlight, but you’ll need AMOLED and for that you’re going to have to pay.
While I do think that the use of a good quality panel does makeup for lot of thing, it would have been better if the display had been Full HD because if you look for it the lack of detail does shot. The pixel density is only 189 which does fit the price point.
Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8929 Octa-Core, 64bit @ 1.21GHz
8″ LED Backlight WXGA (1280×800) IPS
16GB Internal Storage + microSD slot
Android 5.0.2 Lollipop
The ZenPad 8.0 was capable of multitasking no problem, you could switch between apps and not have anything restart on you. When playing games like Asphalt 8 Airborn I didn’t see a single hitch but the tablet did heat up on the top left after a few rounds around the track.
We ran it through the benchmarking paces and came up with scores that were average and expected with the Snapdragon 615 processor. We ran Skype for call quality and it worked, the speaker was weak but the call sound was good.
We have a very mid range processor in the ZenPad 8.0, but that doesn’t mean the performance is weak, the scores just won’t be winning any battles.
AnTuTu 29 747
GFX Bench Manhattan
- Onscreen569 Frames (9.2 Fps)
- Offscreen298 Frames (4.8 Fps)
- Onscreen1123 Frames (20.1 Fps)
- Offscreen684 Frames (12.2 Fps)
GeekBench scored 590 in single core performance and 2127 in multicore performance.
Software – ZenUI
If you’ve used an ASUS Zenfone you’ll be familiar with the ZenUI, it’s actually quite a sleek iteration of Android 5.0, having said that Lollipop does have some layout adjustments which make better use of the screen real estate.
The notification bar is well thought out, the ASUS iterations on email, calendar and some other apps aren’t bad either. I can’t say how useful I find them though but for how many apps that I’ll never open they’ve included there are somethings that do allow for a highly personal experience. Splendid allows you to control the exact look, feel and color temperature of your display. SuperNote is great for complex note taking and the Audio Wizard let’s you take charge of the DTS Sound.
I have to say for as useful as some of the apps are, there is too much bloatware on the system. Period. What is even more disappointing is that you can’t install all of them. It makes the tablet feel cheap and it decreases the overall experience and takes up valuable space that you could be doing other stuff with.
Powered by a 4,000mAh battery you’ll get about 12 hours of videoplay back and web-surfing out of this tablet. Putting your SIM card in drains that battery a tad quicker, but you’ll be able to get through the day absolutely no problem. If you add on the battery slice you can get an additional 5 hours of video playback or websufing.
I have never been a fan of using a tablet for it’s camera, but every-time I’m out at some spot I see someone using a tablet to take photos. On the rear we’ve got an 8MP shooter and for video chat you’ve got 2MP on the front. Don’t expect much out of that 2MP shooter, it blows out badly the second you’ve got some back-light so don’t expect to be able to use it to take Selfies.
I took the camera for a spin and you can see that it can’t deal with bright backgrounds very well, but if you check out the video review I shot, you can see that what it displayed isn’t as good as the actual photo taken. So there element of surprise when you look at the photo and realize it isn’t a total disaster.
For taking video you have 1080p on the rear and 720 on the front, the video quality isn’t good, I wouldn’t recommend it since the focus is too active. (check out the video review for sample footage).
Audio Cover & Power Case – Accessories
The Audio Cover requires no pairing and connects directly to the tablet via a set of connector pins which take charge of the DTS-tuned speaker. The audio cover does at quite a bit of bulk to the tablet, the speaker and battery that go with it make it feel a bit more like a thin notebook than tablet. The finish of the case feels premium even though it is plastic, like the back that looks like leather the case has a similar texutrized feel. There is even a magnetic sensor that unlocks the tablet when you flip it open.