Asus ZenPad 8.0 Express Review: Yes, you will need to buy the audio cover

Asus Zenpad 8 is an ideal tablet for those looking to consume entertainment and read books on the go

Rating: 3 out of 5
Written by Shruti Dhapola | Updated: October 9, 2015 9:29 pm
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The Asus ZenPad 8.0 is a voice-calling tablet with a removable 5.1 audio channel case. The tablet is priced at Rs 14,999 with the audio case it costs Rs 17,999. So this makes the positioning of the ZenPad 8.0 clearly that of a multimedia tablet. So it is about a bigger screen, than phablets, and better audio. And, like other Asus tablets in recent times it will come with calling capabilities.

But does the ZenPad prove to be a multimedia hero? Here’s what we thought after using it.

Watch Video: Asus ZenPad 8.0 Review 

Asus Zenpad 8.0

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ZenPad 8.0 comes with a pinkish-gold back cover with a pattern and Asus logo. The ZenPad 8.0 is not a particularly heavy tablet, although when you are removing the back cover to attach the audio case, the build quality of the plastic rear panel doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence. The audio case has a magnetic strip and is pretty easy to attach to the tablet.

In terms of design, the ZenPad 8.0 might not be anything revolutionary, but with the audio-case on, it looks good and compact. However, the screen is prone to smudges and gets dirty quite quickly, so we suggest getting some sort of cover or screen guard for this tablet is a must.

Specs: 8.0-inch WXGA (1280×800) screen | Qualcomm Snapdragon 610 processor | 2GB RAM | 16GB storage expandable to 128GB | 8MP rear camera, 2mp front camera | 4000 mAh battery | Android 5.0 OS with ZenUI 2.0

Price: Rs 14,999

What is good?

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The practicality of a tablet depends on what the user wants to use it for. As someone who reads a lot on a tablet, and would like to make use of the big screen space for typing, the ZenPad 8.0 is a decent option.

Asus has pre-loaded the Kindle reading app on the tablet and it just made it easier for me to get my library onto the tablet. Even with the brightness at less than 50 per cent, reading my ebooks was quite a pleasant experience, even though this tab doesn’t have quite the same resolution as my iPad.

The other strong point is the battery. It will easily last you a day and more, even if you’re constantly watching movies on this, gaming, or listening to music which is what I did. If you’re looking for a voice-calling tablet as your second smartphone, battery is an important point, and I would say ZenPad delivers a solid performance in this area.
In terms of benchmark tests, the tablet does not score very high, but it works fairly smoothly, except when you try some heavy duty gaming. More on that later. Like I said, the bigger screen works well for browsing, reading and even watching movies, though this is not an HD screen.

What is not that good?

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As I have noted earlier, the tablet is not meant for heavy duty gaming, so don’t expect to run Asphalt 8 on this. Anyway, the lack of an HD resolution make the experience anything but enjoyable.

Asus has loaded this with a front and rear camera. I’m not one of those people who use their tablet to take pictures and the ZenPad does nothing to change my perception around that. With the front camera, which I used for a Skype call with a friend, my face just appeared stretched, in the landscape mode. The rear camera is 8MP, but it does not deliver anything special.

The audio is also rather weak on this tablet. For voice-calls, I could barely hear what the other person was saying, even though for them my voice was perfectly clear. When listening to audio playback, we had to crank up the volume.

Special Mention

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The audio casebook is a neatly designed accessory and I would suggest that you get it, if you buy the tablet. This is because of the poor audio playback on the tablet. The audio casebook helps, especially if you are watching a movie. If you want a tablet for better multimedia experience, this audiocase is a good accessory.

Should you buy it ?

If you’re looking for a tablet to watch movies on, and make voice-calls as well, the Asus ZenPad will do and it’s not too expensive. At Rs 14,999 Asus is offering the same screen resolution that the budget Samsung Tab 4 does, but with more storage on board.

However, given the audio quality, I would say an audio case is a must for this and with that the price goes up to Rs 17,999, which is on the higher side for this tablet. Other options on the list are the Lenovo Tab A8-50, which has the same screen resolution and will cost around Rs 16,900. Or just go for the 7-inch version of the same tab that comes for Rs 3,000 less with the cover.

Given the mid-budget pricing and specs along with voice-calling feature, the Asus ZenPad 8.0 can be added to your list, if you wish to go shopping for a tablet, this festive season.

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