A few months back, I was on the hunt to replace my personal tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Why? Nothing was wrong with the tablet. Well, because, I am me and my fingers itch and I feel it’s time for a change. I want a new toy.
See Also : Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 User Review
I use my tablet mostly as a consumption device. I read my news feeds, I watch YouTube videos, and I browse with it. I also use them as my note taking device at work. I have long abandoned pen and notebook combination for meeting notes. I’m a huge (unpaid) advocate of Evernote and uses it religiously.
So, I’m somewhat or a light to medium heavy user of my tablet. So, battery life, while important, has not been a major issue for me as I charge my tablet every night at bedtime.
What is important though, is the size. I have grown to love and only love tablets in the 8″ screen size. Stylus or not, well that’s optional. Although it can be handy when I scribble diagrams from discussions and meeting notes.
So, I started hunting for a few options. Believe it or not, I bought 2 tablets – The Xiaomi MiPad 2 and this Asus Zenpad 8.
Let’s talk about the latter.
ASUS Zenpad 8 Specs
First up, we talk specs:-
- 8″ LED WXGA IPS display (1280 x 800)
- 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
- 16 GB internal storage (up to 64 GB expandable microSD + Free 100 GB Google Drive storage) + 2 GB RAM memory (Latest version has 32 GB storage + 3 GB memory)
- Powered by Android 5.0 “Lollipop” OS, with ASUS ZenUI theme (upgraded to Android 6.0)
- 8 megapixel rear camera; 2 megapixel front-facing camera
- 8.5 mm thin, weighing only 350 grams
- 15.2Wh Li-polymer non-removable battery (up to 10 hours battery life)
- Connectivity : 4G LTE (micro SIM), WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Available in 3 colours : Dark Gray, Pearl White, Rose Gold (Inter-changeable backplate)
- Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM 959
For more information and specifications, check out the ASUS Zenpad 8 Malaysian product page at https://www.asus.com/my/Tablets/ASUS_ZenPad_80_Z380KL/ or their Online Store at http://store.asus.com/my/category/B6809
I actually bought this online at Lazada, so I got a decent package offer that comes with a tempered glass screen protector and orange coloured backplate case.
Design and Build Quality
8.5mm thin, weighing 350 grams (which is a little heavier, I have to say) but it still fits really nicely in my hand with single hand usage.
Minimal buttons and ports – Power On/Off and volume rocker on the right, and microUSB and headphone jack at the top. That’s it!
I really like the all glass front. Somehow glass makes everything look and feel premium. Eventhough the backplate, while textured, is still well – plastic fantastic.
All in all, for the affordable price tag of RRP RM 959. But you might actually get a good deal on Lazada with shops offering bundles. You can get the newer 32 GB storage + 3 GB memory model for RM 859 (way under the official RRP pricing for the lower end model) online at Lazada!
Interchangeable Case (Backplate)
This textured back is da bomb. If you’re not a fan of cases on your tablet, then this is perfect. The texture provides a good grip when you’re using the tablet for reading or browsing, especially with one hand use.
Even if it gets dirty, you can just buy a new backplate and change it. Hahah.
But honestly, the backplate (ASUS calls them “Zen Case”) is actually marketed as a fashion accessory.
For the ladies, you can also buy Zen Clutch which disguise your tablet as an evening clutch. Check out the video below.
How ASUS has marketed this so well for the girls, I tell ya. As a non-girlie girl, even I think these accessories are cool.
The Zenpad 8 is powered by Android 6.0 OS, along with ASUS ZenUI theme / skin on top. Overall, it’s usable. Easy to navigate.
Although, their specs on the processor is rather vague (for me to comprehend), for what I use the tablet mostly, it’s OK. I don’t suppose it’ll do great if you have multiple heavy apps running. God forbid, if you want to use it for intensive mobile gaming. I don’t think the tablet can take this.
My biggest complain about the device, is the bloatware – ie, pre-installed apps on the device.
As I was updating some apps the other day, I took the opportunity to do a cleanup of inactive apps on my tablet. Then, I realised how many ASUS apps is pre-installed on the tablet. OMG! Too much!
Nevertheless, as I said earlier, my tablet is mostly a consumption device for me. So, I really don’t care for any of these apps.
These are my Top 3 most used apps – Feedly, YouTube and Chrome. Followed very closely by Gmail and Evernote. And I guess, that’s about all I use my tablet for, mostly.
Camera & Picture Quality
I bought this months ago and have been using it for awhile now. So, you’ll see this is a review of the older, lower spec variant- 16 GB storage and 2 GB RAM memory. I believe the newer version also has a slightly better camera spec.
Also, I can’t believe I’m even talking about picture quality of a tablet. But yes – Sadly, the tablet I have has only an 8 megapixel shooter at the back. Without flash as well.
As I’ve mentioned before and will repeat again, it’s really not the megapixel count that makes a smart device camera good or bad. It’s all to do with the whole camera technology, image processing software features etc.
Having said that, the Zenpad 8 doesn’t take good pictures. At all.
Sadly, the front camera is equally as shitty.
Selfie with your tablet? This 2 megapixel lens takes the shittiest grainiest photo I have ever come across since phone photography back in my Nokia phone days in 2000. Ugh.
But it’s no deal breaker for me, really. Because, I really seldom take pictures with my tablet anyways. Come on, how many of you gonna get a smacking from me for tablet photography.
Asus Malaysia Service Centre
OK. This is not something I typically cover in my gadget reviews. But because this is my personal device, I actually got to experience the support quality of Asus Malaysia’s Service Centre.
You see, with a rambunctious toddler in my house, none of my gadgets are safe if they’re within baby’s reach. So, one day, when my baby decided to flick the tablet off to the ground (it wasn’t a big throw that cracks the screen, thankfully), the ZenPad 8 screen went missing. With lines along the screen.
It was still working, just faulty screen not displaying anything. Just like I had experience something similar with my Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 before, I suspected it was the screen connectors issue internally.
Sent it in to the Asus Service Centre at Digital Mall in PJ. The CS Officers were friendly, helpful and prompt. There were a couple of people there, but not congested and I was attended to promptly. I feared having to head to the Service Centre in Low Yat in town, but luckily, the Digital Mall PJ folks were equally as professional.
I was expecting, as communicated by the CS Officer, to have the device in repair and out of commission for a whole 2 weeks. You know, they gotta run diagnostics and ensure nothing other than the screen is cracked.
Then, in 1.5 weeks later, I got the SMS that the device is ready for pickup. Yay!
Thankfully, because it’s still under warranty, the replacement was FREE!
In summary, I am thoroughly happy with the service and support of the ASUS Malaysia Service Centre. They did a great job. Kudos.
What I Like
- Interchangeable back – Zen Case, as it’s called, is a functional fashion accessory
- Affordable Pricing – For under RM 1000 for an LTE Android tablet? A bargain!
- ASUS Malaysia Service – The CS staff is helpful and professional
What I Dislike
- Bloatware – Over 3 pages of it on Play Store. Seriously?
- Thick & Heavy – Not exactly the thinnest and sleekest in the market
- Shitty Camera – Seriously, the rear or front camera is nowhere near usable
Overall, it is purely a consumption device for me. As long as it doesn’t lag too much, the display and battery life is decent, and is in a 8″ screen size, I’m good.
And the ASUS Zenpad 8 ticks all these boxes for me for a personal device. So, I’m happy to stick to it for awhile.
For more information, do check out the Asus Zenpad 8 Malaysian Product Page at https://www.asus.com/my/Tablets/ASUS_ZenPad_80_Z380KL/