Asus ZenPad 8.0 (Z380KL) Review
- IPS Display
- Interchangeable back case
- Qualcomm CPU!
- Awesome battery life
- Speaker & Earpiece share the same output
- Very low fps on intense 3D rendering (probably not optimized)
Our Asus ZenPad journey continues. This time, we have a device that is one inch larger than it’s previous siblings and on this one, we are going to break free from the Intel CPU line-up. And that is probably the reason why the ZenPad 8.0 was not announced together with the ZenPad 7.0 series. But let’s see if one inch can leave an impact in our lives.
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You could probably not tell any difference between the Asus ZenPad 8.0 and the Asus ZenPad 7.0 in terms of looks. Obviously, the size is the first thing you will notice among others. The layer finishing uses the same NCVM (Non Conductive Vapor Metallization) materials that give it the metal finishing but without actually using metal.
The back case is replaceable just like that of the Asus ZenPad 7.0. That means, the Asus ZenPad 8.0 also fully complies to Asus’ Luxury On Your Terms tagline in which you will be able to customize it to your preferred look. It has the same clutch look and feel but the case is slightly bigger and wouldn’t be interchangeable with the Asus ZenPad 7.0 cases. Which got me into thinking why. Asus could have made the back case that compliments some design features as well as fitting on all devices in the series. Now if we have the full line-up of accessories for the Asus ZenPad 7.0 and suddenly decided to upgrade to Asus ZenPad 8.0, it’s a whole new story altogether. Maybe Asus could look into this in the future given that they are the experts when it comes to innovation.
Now let’s remove the cover and unleash what is under the hood. A tad like it’s little sibling, we spot a microSD slot and a single SIM slot but this time they are located nearer to the rear camera. It also has the same 10-pin connector like the one in the Asus ZenPad 7.0 which means there will be additional functional accessories for this device too. Who knows we might be lucky to get a 7.1 instead of the 5.1 this time? wink
Externally, we have the buttons on the right side for power and volume. The USB and the 3.5mm jack is located at the top of the device. In the front facade, the speaker and the front facing camera gracefully dons the glossy panel. I have to give the merits here, Asus keep things simple and elegant which makes it easy to fall in love with their products. One more thing you would have noticed here, which is the missing Intel logo at the back of the device. Let’s move on to the specifications to find the obvious answers.
|CPU:||Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8929 Octa-Core, 64bit @ 1.21GHz|
|Display:||8″ LED Backlight WXGA (1280×800) IPS|
|Storage:||16GB Internal Storage + microSD slot|
Rear: 8MPx with PixelMaster
|OS:||Android 5.0.2 Lollipop|
So this time around we have a match between Intel’s Atom X3 versus the Qualcomm Snapdragon. Both are rendering 1280 x 800 with the assistance of 2GB of DDR3 RAMs on the same OS. So how does the Qualcomm fare against it’s rival?
Oh,and btw, it does have LTE too in case you’re wondering!
But of course I had my bets on the Qualcomm Snapdragon. We clocked a whopping 2.3K extra compared to the Asus ZenPad 7.0. The 2GB RAM did it’s job fairly with the CPU. One thing to note is that the Asus ZenPad 8.0 comes with a Adreno 405 GPU which was not really doing it’s job that well. I’m not entirely sure if it was because of the lack of OS optimization or if I had a “lemon” GPU. On the project Anarchy rendering in Antutu, I was barely exceeding 5fps on the earlier frames where the number of polygons are the highest. After a while, it stabilizes and I managed to reach up to 15fps tops. If I could identify what was the cause or perhaps test a few more units, I guess this score can be pushed even higher.
The battery on the Asus ZenPad 8.0 is really forgiving. I left the device unused in standby mode without power saving for 7 days and I still had 50% in it! I thought it would have dried out completely by then but it did not. Now I regret not enabling the power saver mode, for which perhaps the figures would have been even awesomer! On wake up after 7 days, there were about 30 apps that needed update, an OTA to be applied and a multi-farious-fund of notification awaiting actions. And that is the little drop that you are seeing just below! Amazing!
The multi-tasking on the Asus ZenPad 8.0 also seems a lot smoother than the Asus ZenPad 7.0. But that’s no surprise because Qualcomm has been in the Android line for far too long compared to Intel and I do expect this kind of optimization. Basically, this device rocks it’s socks! Also, unlike the little brother, the Asus ZenPad 8.0 has a better screen rotation redraw which was a problem I stated in the past review.
The extra one inch adds up about 78g to the device weighing in a total of 350g compared to 272g on the Asus ZenPad 7.0. The interchangeable covers will give the device a profile of it’s own but since I don’t have the accessories at my disposal right now, I can’t really comment on that. Although Malaysian sets do come with ONE free additional case just like the Asus ZenPad 7.0 did just so you don’t miss out in the feature that it readily offers already.
One thing that is definite is that the Asus ZenPad 8.0 feels less comfortable to hold compared to the Asus ZenPad 7.0. I have huge palms and I like to hold the device from the back spanning my palm across the sides. While my palm can span the 8 inches but after holding it for sometime, it gets really tiring and you have to switch it to book-hold position. The Asus ZenPad 7.0 on the other hand feels much comfortable for longer hours. But maybe if the Asus ZenPad 8.0 starts rolling in with accessories just like its little sibling, things will be different but for now, holding the Asus ZenPad 7.0 feels much better.
The IPS is beautiful. It also has the same Visual Master package that includes Tru2Life which is a blessing Asus has added to their ZenPad series. Prolonged hours of reading and watching videos is not a problem at all. Top it off with the TruVivivd and Bluelight Filter, the device’s technology itself is worth the money spent on this device! Asus excels in this part of their devices really.
Now the speaker, just like the Asus ZenPad 7.0 uses the same front speaker for both the main output and earpiece. It’s loud enough for you to use but again, I’d prefer these two speakers to be separate. So one request to Asus would be to have the Audio Cover for this gadget as well, then I’ll be a happy camper. Then again, Asus has also incorporated the DTS-HD into the audio counterpart of this device so all is not that bad. For now, I’ll be using earphones with the tablet to get the best out of it.
The camera has Asus’ signature PixelMaster technology that you would find in most Asus products. The camera did perform slightly better than the Asus ZenPad 7.0’s camera although I was told it shares the same chip (to be confirmed). I find the images with the Asus ZenPad 8.0 less grainy and posterized. Note that I don’t take extensive photo samples but rather automatic setup so you can tell how the sensor itself is optimized for automated images. Photography is a huge subject and the purpose of my reviews are just to show you what you will be getting out of the box.
The Asus ZenPad 8.0 is also shipped with Android Lollipop 5.0.2 bundled with Asus’ signature ZenUI to add that additional punch to the UI. All apps from the ZenUI are loaded as well. This just completes the device.
The Asus ZenPad 8.0 comes in 16GB internal storage with SD card support up to 64GB for your data storage pleasures. There is also the same 5GB Asus WebStorage and 100GB storage from Google, so this is just a steal! Grab it the moment you see it in the market – which is going to be happening beginning next week (28/09/2015) onwards.