Just when you think tablets are passé, Asus manages to wow with the Zenpad 8.0 priced at Rs 15K. Hassan M Kamal tests it
ASUS ZenPad 8.0 (Z380KL)
Rating: 8 /10
Design: We are impressed with the strong build of the Zenpad 8.0 (Z380KL). The entire body, despite being made of plastic, feels strong. A metallic rim at the front, around the display, adds to the wow factor. The volume rockers and the power button is placed at the right, while the USB port and the audio jack are on the top edge of the device. The back cover, also made of plastic, protrudes out of the surface, but despite that, removing the backcover is a painful task. And if not careful, you may hurt yourself or damage the device. The SIM card and memory card slots are placed at the back inside the cover, along with a small port that attaches itself with the Zenpad Audio Cover CA81, that is available for an extra 3K above the base price, Rs 14,999. The Zenpad 8.0 is also heavy at 353g and with the audio cover, it gets heavier by 255g.
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Display: The Zenpad 8.0 gets a 1280x800 WXGA display with a resolution of just 213ppi, which is a downer for an 8-inch screen. Despite this, the display works for movie-viewing or reading; the pixels become visible only at a close distance. The device also gets Corning Gorilla Glass protection, which is tough. It survived our pin-scratch test.
Hardware: The Zenpad 8.0 runs Qualcomm MSM8929 SoC with a 64-bit 1.36GHZ octa core processor. Though it performed without any glitches, we couldn’t find any mention of the same SoC on Qualcomm’s website. And unlike what’s been written about, we doubt it’s the Qualcomm 615. the built-m GPU is Adreno 405. Fortunately, we didn’t find any heating issue, and if it’s there, the backcover does a good job of shielding users from it. The device’s built-in speaker works well during video chats, so does the Asus audio cover that supports DTS-HD (a codec for lossless audio, used for surround sound in Blu-Ray discs).
However, we didn’t find much difference between the built-in speakers and the 5.1 sound of the audio cover except that the audio cover was louder. The audio quality, however, improved when playing high definition video. We didn’t like the cover because the stand mode affects the viewing angle (until placed on a higher surface). The built-in storage is 16Gb out of which around 11 GB is available for users, whereas the RAM stands at 2GB. It also supports external storage up to 64GB.
OS and USER INTERFACE: The device runs a 32-bit Android 5.0.2 OS despite having a CPU with a 64-bit processor. However, this didn’t affect the performance. The UI is same as in most Asus mobile devices. We found many useless pre-installed apps (most which were removed/disabled by us). Our advice? Install the Google Now Launcher, you will be happier.
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Camera: The device gets 2MP front and an 8Mp back camera. The pictures appear a bit overexposed and washed out; however, both cameras are okay if your need doesn’t go further video chats. There’s no flash in the rear camera.
Connectivity: The Zenpad 8.0 supports, 2G, 3G and 4G data connectivity, which is useful to stay connected in the move. It also gets Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi (b/g/n), supports Miracast wireless display, and includes G-sensor, E-Compass, hall sensor and supports GPS using proximity and light sensors.
Battery: The Zenpad 8.0 gets a 4,000 mAh Li-ion polymer battery which Asus promises to give 6-hour battery life. We are satisfied with the battery performance as on different occasions it gave us more than 10 hours of a workout that included reading, watching movies and gaming.
The guide verdict: Though, the display leaves you wanting more, Asus impressed us with the Zenpad 8.0. We recommend the base model for offering great build quality, decent performance and 4G connectivity for 15k
7.1 / 10
DISPLAY: 8-inch 1280x800 (WXGA), 213ppi
PROCESSOR: 1.36GHz octa core Qualcomm 8929
MEMORY: 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, expandable up to 64GB
CAMERA: 2MP (front), 8MP (rear), no flash
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G and 4G (no calling facility)
Price: Rs 14,999 onwards