With Tablets getting more competitive, its really getting hard to find your perfect companion tablet. Until now there isn’t much to choose from if you want an “iPad Class” tablet experience, but one challenger for this is ASUS.
Revamping their tablet lineup with their ZenPad lineup, the have set the ZenPad S 8.0 as their premium tablet to compete with the iPad Mini. Fortunately we got to review the ZenPad S 8.0 and here is our points on the review.
Here is the specifications of the ZenPad S 8.0
ASUS Zenpad S 8 Z580CA specs:
- 2.3Ghz Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core 64-bit processor
- PowerVR G6430 GPU
- 4GB of RAM DDR3L
- 8-inch QXGA panel with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 2048 x 1536 (2k) resolution
- 64GB of storage with Micro SD Card Expansion
- 8-megapixel rear camera with PixelMaster Technology
- 5-megapixel front camera with PixelMaster Technology
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, GLONASS, Miracast Ready
- 15.2Wh Li-polymer battery
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
ASUS learning from their success of their ZenFone, they provided the ZenPad S 8 with the same specifications of their flagship ZenFone. Being the only 4GB RAM tablet in the market today, it made it clear that ZenPad S 8 is up for serious game play.
As from the previous ZenPad 7 review, the design looks like a clutch bag. But the S 8 is their thinnest tablet at 6.6mm and 298g light, more premium materials are used such as a metal back cover. Our ZenPad is white where there isn’t any hairline finish pattern, but on the black you will see a diamond cut finish pattern.
Edges of the tablet are rounded instead of squarish, this made the Zenpad S 8.0 more comfortable to hold. Although it can’t be held properly with one hand, it made it more possible to hold and better to juggle around from hand to hand.
Overall the tablet is light and we appreciate the metal and leather-like accent on the bottom which feels more premium. It’s the complete opposite of an iPad where a single piece of metal makes it beautiful, here in the ZenPad the elegant finish of metal and leather feel materials made it stand out.
Something that other manufacturers forget is the display, most of the times an IPS screen is just sufficient enough to call it clear. Fortunately it’s not the same case here, ASUS is generous enough to provide a 2K resolution IPS Panel screen. Colors are accurate and spot on, viewing even plain white backgrounds didn’t show any discoloration or yellowish hue. We appreciate as well the one glass solution which ASUS calls TruVivid Technology, this gives the ZenPad a more transparent glass display and making it less reflective against the outdoor.
What we like the most is the brightness, at around 380 cd/m2 m (unit to measure brightness) its at par with the iPad Mini 3 making it one of the brightest display we’ve seen on an Android Tablet.
Interesting enough, ASUS promotes the ZenPad S 8.0 having special capabilities of blur free motion video. With a help of their proprietary technology called ASUS VisualMaster they have the Tru2Life+ technology to deliver better details in anything in the display like Text, Photos, Movies and even games.
True enough, playing videos on the ZenPad was definitely delightful. Due to the Blur free motion technology its able to play videos similar to high end TVs. The 60fps interpolation gives better movie experience by making it more smooth, sometimes its even unbelievable especially in fast action scenes. A very nice addition of feature especially for movie junkies. Just in case you don’t want it, you can easily disable it in the settings.
Hitting a 46 thousand mark in the AnTuTu Benchmark wasn’t a problem at all. Having similar specifications as the ZenFone 2 ZE551ML, the ZenPad S 8.0 is definitely capable of today’s demanding applications, especially with the 4GB RAM. But something with the ZenPad S 8.0 is quite unique, everything is just snappy, fast and satisfying. We rarely encounter any hiccups, only when loading massive notifications along with loading up high definition videos to play.
On the gaming department, its really nice to play top of the line games like NBA 2k16 no problem. Same goes to Asphalt 8, Real Racing 3, Need For Speed most wanted and the experience is much better using a wireless gamepad.
With the Free Blur Motion feature is on we were able to watch 2 full movies (Around 5 hours) with the audio speakers on. Definitely not bad considering the quality of the audio is sufficient for personal usage. But on a regular basis, the ZenPad provides long battery life averaging around 15 hours of normal use for us. Standby is also impressive of only around 10-15% is used in a day, so we can use the ZenPad around 2-3 days on light usage.
Since ZenPad is catered more on the fashionable people because of its style, ASUS partnered it with a free ZenCluth. The ZenClutch is a premium accessory of protecting the tablet and making it look like a clutch bag. The nice leather-like finish texture of the ZenClutch is very appreciative and definitely feels premium, though our color is white so you have to be really careful as it gets dirty easily. Still we appreciate ZenClutch as a bundle worth Php2,000 as per ASUS.
Stylus by Belkin (Not the original stylus of ZenPad S 8)
We used our current Belkin Stylus which snugs fit to the tablet, unfortunately the ZenPad S 8 has a stylus but not available in the Philippines. Hopefully ASUS can at least sell it separately which is a good thing to have like the iPad Pro having the Pencil.
Fortunately with the 2 audio speakers of the ZenPad, videos are more enjoyable. But despite the tweaking of audio using the Audio Wizard and 3rd party software, we are still…looking for some “umph” in the speakers. Though once you plug it in to an headphone or speaker system, it can easily deliver clear and good quality sound.
We rarely take photos using a tablet, but for this test here are our sample shots. Overall the camera is decent but taking shots in dim / night conditions will definitely plague you with noise in photos. With the 8mp camera resolution and 2K screen, viewing the realtime camera feed on the tablet gives you the wrong impression of the camera is bad, but now worries once you have viewed in actual or transferred to a laptop the photos of the tablet.
Auto Mode HDR Mode HDR Mode Darth Vader USB available in Globe Gen3 Stores for Php800. 16GB in Capacity and seriously cute. Night Mode Auto Mode Auto Mode
Perhaps the only deal breaker for the ZenPad is the lack of Mobile Data connectivity and stylus. Since the ZenPad is compatible with a precision point stylus which they offer called Z stylus, we quite don’t understand why ASUS Philippines skipped this accessory. So just in case you want to have your own, the stylus is around 2,500 online.
Overall having a 2K screen tablet is fantastic, you can juggle more chats, notifications and even options as there are more space to run around. Plus with the fast processor and 4GB RAM, its definitely enjoyable to do and play in the ZenPad S 8.0. Priced at Php16,995 the ZenPad S 8.0 isn’t expensive enough as other flagship competitors, but it punches the iPad by being the only 4GB RAM tablet and having an wonderful display.