Santa came a little early this past holiday season when Asus sent me their Zenpad 8 to try out. I’m not a stranger to Asus because I use one of their phones and I was quite willing to be pleasantly surprised by the pad.
I must warn you all that I’m no techie so if you’re looking for details about what’s inside the thing, all the stuff about performance and benchmarking, then this review isn’t for and you’re better off checking the Asus website or any number of reviews the net will throw up for the Zenpad 8.
The closest I’ve ever come to using anything remotely tablet sized so far is a Kindle so this review is from the view point of someone who loves good food, likes movies, films, browsing the net, is a photographer but is not into games and gaming.
Let me start by sharing the basic specifications of the Asus Zenpad 8 that I’m familiar with. As the name suggests, this is an 8-inch 1280×800 pixel screen tablet with an Octa-Core Snapdragon processor and 4000mAh battery. The version sent to me is Obsidian Black with 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage space which is extendable to 128GB. It also sports a 2Mp front camera with a 140 degree selfie panorama, and an 8MP rear camera with an aperture of f/2.0 and manual mode support. This tablet has a sleek look to it and a nicely finished appearance.
Asus also sent me the Audio Cover, which is normally sold separately as an accessory. The Audio Cover has 5.1 Surround Sound Channel Speakers and fits in place of the detachable back cover of the tablet. The Audio Cover not only provides really a good sound experience but also acts as a folio case and as a stand for the tablet. This Audio Cover can be charged separately or along with the tablet which means that with the tablet’s 4,000mAh battery, you can use it for more than a day without having to charge it again. This makes for excellent film watching or music experience.
I found the tablet and the Zenpad interface pretty easy to use probably because I’m already very familiar with it. Doing things like checking mail, using my social media, browsing the net (especially heavily visual sites like Pinterest or Instagram )or catching up on Skyping is definitely better on a larger screen than my 5 inch phone screen. With the Audio Cover doubling up as a stand, it’s great to be able to carry the tablet into my kitchen should I need to refer to a recipe while cooking something new.
This tablet supports USB OTG so you can connect it to external storage devices which is great to watch movies on, but it is with the sound quality that the Zenpad 8 provides that is worth mentioning, but the Audio Cover is a must for the experience. It’s a pretty good media device but would have been a lot better with a full HD screen. It also comes with calling capability which means you can make phone calls but this is something I wouldn’t use this tablet for because it’s a little too large to be comfortable to hold up to my ear.
This ZenPad is quite light and a convenient enough size to carry around and will easily slip in a small bag. If you’re using the Audio Cover with the tablet, then it does become a little heavier to carry around but not all that much.
One thing that appealed to the book worm in me is that the Zenpad 8 comes pre-loaded with the Kindle app so that makes it easy to download books. It also comes with a “Blue Light Filter” which is supposed to reduce eye fatigue during reading. My daughter has taken custody of our Kindle and I’ve been considering getting another one for some time now. Given that this tablet makes for quite comfortable reading I’ll be moving my e-book collection to it for now.
You might notice that I’m mentioning photography and the Asus Fonepad 8’s camera capability last of all. This is for two reasons, the first of which is that this tablet doesn’t take particularly great photographs or even selfies though sometimes it does a decent job in adequate light. It is however alright for other applications like Skyping.
The second reason is that this isn’t an issue for me simply because I don’t see a camera as being a desirable feature in a tablet. If I wanted to take photographs on the go, I would rather use my phone (also an Asus) which is smaller, handier to carry around and takes pretty good pictures as you can see on my Instagram account. If I really wanted excellent photographs, you would find me with my DSLR and not a tablet.
That said, the Fonepad comes with the good camera software that is used in the Asus smartphones.
Overall, I’d say the Asus Zenpad 8 is attractive looking tablet with lasting battery life and a good multimedia device with pretty good sound quality if you use the Audio Cover. It’s worth looking at if these features appeal to you.
Disclaimer : This review was done on request from Asus. Due judgement has been applied and I have done my best to remain objective and unbiased while writing this review. This review is my personal opinion so please exercise your own discretion.