The Asus ZenPad 8.0 (Z380C) is in stores in the US, as the cheapest 8-inch Android tablet from Asus in 2015, with an official MSRP of $149. I thought the price was important to point out since I’ve seen a few listings today where this tablet is retailing for $229. But really, the price should not be more than $149:
After all, the 8-inch Asus ZenPad S 8.0 (Z580C) tablet with retina resolution that we wrote about yesterday only costs $199, just to put things into perspective.
In brief – this particular Asus ZenPad 8.0 (Z380C) is an 8-inch Android 5.0 Lollipop tablet with 1280 x 800 HD resolution, the new quad-core Intel Atom x3-C3200 processor, and 1GB of RAM. It is the successor to the outgoing model Asus MeMO Pad 8 (ME181C), introduced last year.
Most of the specs are acceptable for its category, in the entry level 8-inch Android tablet segment. I just hope people won’t find it to be a somewhat underpowered based on the way owners expect to use an 8-inch Android tablet.
It has the sleek new Zen-design of the Asus ZenPad series which is distinctive to say the least. In addition to Android 5.0, it comes with the user interface ZenUI which basically offers a lot of features and adjustments of the settings. The ZenUI is one of its strong points I would say.
The 8-inch screen with 1280 x 800 resolution is of a good quality with IPS panel, 10-point multi-touch support, and Gorilla Glass. Storage on this model is 16GB, with support for microSD cards up to 64GB, and 5GB worth of free cloud storage from Asus for the lifespan of the device.
The cameras are a 2MP front camera and a 5MP rear camera, but just a single front speaker, though it has DTS-HD Premium Sound at least. But no stereo speakers then.
Asus ZenPad 8.0 (Z380C) offers basic single-band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. But it does have sensors like GPS, GLONASS, g-sensor, e-compass, light sensors, and hall sensor. It also has a micro-USB 2.0 port and a 3.5mm audio combo jack. The battery life is 8 hours.
It has a weight of 350 grams and a thickness of 8.5 mm, which is about 10% behind the average of an 8-inch Android tablet in Q3 2015.
The color options of the Asus ZenPad 8.0 are black, white, and gold aka “Aurora Metallic.” The tablet has some feisty accessories like Zen Clutch, which is a way of snapping a differently colored purse looking back cover onto it.
The Zen Case is also a replaceable back cover, but without the purse fold. So it’s similar to what we used to see a lot of on smartphones a couple of years ago.
Something more practical would be the Power Case which also snaps onto the back of the tablet, but also brings with it some extra 7 hours of battery life, theoretically extending the battery life up to 15 hours in total. That’s just the kind of thinking we need in the tablet industry.
And then finally for the audio enthusiast, there’s the Audio Cover with 6 speakers and 5.1-channel surround sound. That’s a pretty clever invention too.
– Tom Bowen