ASUS is making a big push to disrupt the Android smartphone and tablet markets with its latest lineup of devices. Everyone’s talking about the ZenFone 2, and plenty more will be talking about the ZenPad 8.0 pretty soon. Along with a bunch of cases — including the battery boosting Power Case — I was sent the low-end Z380C model which costs just $240 in the US and just £120 in the UK. Although its spec list isn’t quite as awe-inspiring as the ZenPad 8.0 Z580, it still seems great value for money.
The 8-inch tablet has a 16:9 ratio which makes it narrow enough to hold comfortably in one hand, and lends itself to media consumption. The modular design means you can swap out rear shells easily, which includes the featured Power Case which ASUS claims can get you an extra 16 hours of battery. As for specs, the Z380 isn’t exactly packing tons of flagship features, but you wouldn’t expect it to for the price. Its IPS display has a resolution of 1280×800, giving it a pixel density of 188ppi. It’s powered by a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom processor with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage (expandable up to 64GB). There’s a 5MP camera on the back, a 2MP front facing camera and a front-firing mono speaker boosted by DTS HD Premium sound.
First impressions are generally good. I like the design a lot. The neat chrome trim around the edges helps add a little refinement to its aesthetic, and the ability to swap rear cases means you can make it match your style. I think ZENUI will divide opinions in the same way TouchWiz does on Samsung devices. The prevalence of round icons and bright colors could turn people off. But it does have its upsides. ASUS’ custom software warns you about apps consuming lots of memory in the background and can switch them off to help performance and battery life. I have to say, the performance does seem a little sluggish on initial use and the screen isn’t the sharpest, but it’s okay. I had have no qualms dropping 120 of my British pounds on this.
I’ll be bringing you my full review at some point in the future. If you have a little more money to spend, and want a more powerful tablet, the Z580AC was recently announced and packs in 4GB RAM, USB Type-C and a 2048×1536 resolution screen for $299 USD.