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Asus ZenPad S 8.0 hands-on, first impressions

As Asus Philippines is set to launch the ZenPad in the country next week, we managed to ship in a unit to review from the US where it’s already available in several stores (via Galleon.ph).

Asus already has a couple of Android tablets/phablets in its line-up — the FonePad, Nexus 7, MeMo Pad, and Transformer Pad — but their success with the ZenFone series have prompted Asus to use the same formula to create the new ZenPad series.

The ZenPad series has 3 different models — the ZenPad C which is the entry-level tablet, the ZenPad S 7.0 which is the 7-inch model and the ZenPad S 8.0 which is the more premium 8-inch model.

Our review unit is a member of the ZenPad S 8.0 series with a configuration that matches the high-end ZenFone 2 with 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage and an Intel Atom Z3580.

The starting configuration uses an Intel Atom Z3530 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM and 32GB storage which is the configuration of our own unit.

Of the 3 models of the ZenPad, the ZenPad S 8.0 has the more premium design and better hardware profile. It’s also the thinnest of all tablets from Asus at only 6.6mm. It’s so thin the 3.5mm audio port opens halfway to the back side.

The back panel has a signature aluminum alloy material that covers around 80% of the area with a subtle criss-cross pattern while the remaining 20% is covered with a faux-leather material. There’s a flap cover that provides access to a microSD card expansion slot.

The 3:4 aspect ratio of the tablet is similar to the iPad Mini giving it a larger width that’s much harder to hold with one hand. The faux-leather area of the back side has enough texture to provide ample grip when help with the left hand.

It’s interesting to note that while the official specification of the Asus ZenPad points to a USB Type-C interface, the one that we have still uses the regular micro-USB port. Also, we note that this variant of the ZenPad S 8.0 uses a 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera, as opposed to the 8MP and 5MP combo as specified by Asus.

Perhaps, the slight changes in specs configuration depends on which variant of the line-up you have. That means the higher-end variants 4GB/64GB might still use the 8MP and 5MP combo as as well as the USB Type-C as promised by Asus.

The front panel is completely covered with Gorilla Glass 3 in black shade and silver trimming. There are two front speakers at the top and bottom with a large Asus logo at the bottom end.

The IPS panel is bright and well-saturated, images are clear and crisp and resolution is more than enough to match that of the iPad Mini 2.

The tablet comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box customized with Zen UI. There was a small update after we connected the device to the local WiFi.

Despite the high pixel count, navigation and transitions are smooth and snappy. There are additional pre-install apps like SuperNote, Audio Manager, Auto Start Manager and Kids Mode.

Varying configurations can surprise you so you will have to be more careful when picking a variant. The game changing offer of the ZenPad S 8.0 is the option for 4GB of RAM.

ASUS Zenpad S 8 (Z580C) specs:
7.85-inch IPS display @ 2048 x 1536 pixels
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Intel Atom x3-C3200 1.33GHz quad-core processor
PowerVR G6430 GPU
32GB internal storage
up to 128GB via microSD card
100GB of Google Drive space for 2 years
Bluetooth 4.1
WiFi 802.11ac
5MP rear camera
2MP front-facing camera
3950mAh Li-Ion battery
Android 5.1 Lollipop
298 grams (weight)
203.2 x 134.5 x 6.6 mm (dimensions)

With a starting price tag of $199 (as listed in the US, not including state sale taxes), the ZenPad S is looking to create the same vibrant reception as the ZenFone line.

It goes without saying that the ZenPad S 8.0 is the best-looking tablet Asus has ever made and befitting of being the successor to the MeMo Pad series.

We got the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 in the US via Galleon.ph {see listing here} which took a little under 2 weeks to arrive.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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10 Responses

  1. Ay sus! says:

    Anu bang tamang pronunciation ng asus? Eysus or ah-sus?

    • zeus says:

      Should be aah-soos since it was taken from Pegasus but you never know…

      Nikon is a Japanese brand- no brainer that it should be pronounced as nee-kon but somehow Americans (and probably other native english speakers) pronounce it as nigh-kon.

    • Headcracker says:

      yes, originally ah-soos dapat kasi galing sa Pegasus.

      Pero recently, inutos ng CEO ng Asus na ang dapat na pronounciation ngayon ay Ey-soos.

  2. William C says:

    The potential deal-breaker is the battery… with a 3950 mAh battery, it’s @60% that of the ipad mini and the MIpad, those devices excels when it comes to battery life… Would be interesting to see if the Zenpad can keep up with those in real life use (not Video loop).

    The original Tab S with an almost similarly sized battery was hailed as having 11 hours of battery life (video looping test), but my real life usage is a real disappointment , it seems to drop 5% for every few minutes of use, and last maybe 3-4 hours max just doing light top medium computing tasks (browsing via Wifi, music, some casual games …), so it is a disappointment that Asus didn’t at least include a 5000 or more mAh battery in there…

    The 4GB RAM variant is interesting though, Tablets needs more RAM, as you are more prone to have more tabs open (when browsing) that with phones…

  3. Freeje says:

    Galleon only has the 16GB model.

  4. Komento says:

    Y u no sim card slot?

    • red says:

      Pag zenpad yata ay tablet lang mismo. Pag fonepad iyon ang may simcard. Fone pad 7 fe171cg ang sa akin, hirap ng touch screen. Parang old typewriter kung pumindot ako, ewan ko kung natural ito o dahil lang sa screen protector.

  5. Aqgv says:

    One of the features i am interested in is the use of the asus z stylus. Is that available here? How did it perform

  6. ethan says:

    The reason why you only a 5MP main camera and not the 8MP is because what you got there is a Zenpad S 8.0 “Z580C” w/c is a lower end version. The one you should had ordered was the “Z580CA” w/c has an 8MP main camera and a USB Type-C connector. Research pa more.

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