The ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 is the company’s latest attempt to bring us a competitively priced product at an affordable price. The 2GB RAM model featured in the video costs just $211 in the US (£199 in the UK) and packs a 2K resolution 8-inch display, a quad-core Intel Atom processor, 8MP f/2.0 rear camera and Android Lollipop, all in a device which looks and feels fantastic…
One of the biggest selling points of the ZenPad S will surely be the build quality and design. It’s a 6.6mm thin tablet with curved edges to make it palm-friendly. The glossy front panel is surrounded by a slim and attractive chrome trim, while the back is covered in a cross-hairline finish metal panel with diamond-cut edges. If there’s one part of the design that leaves anything to be desired, it’s the volume and power buttons. I can’t remember the last time I had a set of buttons give this little tactile feedback. You can barely feel them depress, let alone click. Still, that’s nit-picking. Overall it’s a good-looking device in a great form-factor that feels light and solid in-hand.
Its other big attraction is that 2K (1536 x 2048) resolution 8-inch IPS display. On first impressions, it’s not just sharp, it’s vivid too. Colors are nicely saturated and content looks great. ASUS has built in a couple of display technologies, one called Intelligent Contrast and the other called Tru2Life. They’re basically fancy marketing terms for a display which has great contrast and colors, and can boost its frame-rate to offer more natural animation.
The Intel Atom 1.8GHz quad-core chip is paired with 2GB RAM (there is a 4GB model) and 32GB of storage, which you can expand using a MicroSD card which inserts under a flimsy flap on the right edge. It also has Bluetooth 4.1, Wireless ac and a 5MP front facing camera added to its spec list, making it a pretty decent all-round mini tablet. On the software side, it runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with ASUS’ ZenUI skin on top.
Perhaps the only real downside I’ve experience in my short time with the device so far is the speed and responsiveness of the software. It ran Need for Speed with no issue whatsoever, but I saw stutter and lag when scrolling through web pages, or launching apps. It’s not a big issue, but one I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on during my next few days and weeks with the ZenPad.
So far, I see nothing to suggest this isn’t worth $200. It’s a low price for a device which — on the surface — seems decent. I’ll have my full review up within the next couple of weeks.