Review | ASUS Zenpad 8.0

By Issy Goode - 18:30

If there's one thing I've never really understood, it's tablets. I'm a big fan of the old pen and paper, or failing that just a simple laptop. At university I was satisfied with a book rather than a kindle, and a well designed, sturdy notebook with good quality paper rather than a tablet to tap away on. But in fact, I can really see the benefits of having a tablet at university.


I was recently sent ASUS's brand new Zenpad 8.0 and after playing on it for quite a while during my first evening of receiving it, it peaked my interest. I thought about how convenient it would have been to have a tablet whilst I was in lectures. I could have typed up all my notes there and then rather than having to stack up old notebooks, unorgranised random pieces of paper and folder after folder. Whilst a pen and paper is still, and will always be, a favourite of mine - the Zenpad makes sense.

Now I'm no technology expert so you won't be getting a technologically informed review. Just as I have always done with similar products I've shared on this here blog, I'm not going to pretend I know what I'm talking about, this is a layman's review!



So, setting up was so quick and easy. With everything at hand like your Wi-Fi password and your serial number you can easily set your tablet up in a couple of minutes. There's plenty already on the ZenPad to get your started such as google docs in which you can tap up work on the go without an internet connection - useful for commuters or for journeys back home in the holidays. You can create notepads and to do lists, and can link your Kindle account and even your PC to the ZenPad. There's plenty of Apps you can add to your tablet too - one of the most useful ones I've been using on my tablet is Hootsuite. I tried to connect this up on my phone but just couldn't get along with it - the tablet makes it a lot easier to use! It also comes with ASUS WebStorage which is a useful place to upload any notes and access on your computer.

Getting used to typing on the ZenPad is a bit of a struggle. I've written up a fair few blog posts on it now, including this one. But I don't yet feel confident enough to compose and post it straight from the ZenPad. Instead, whilst watching TV I get typing away on the tablet and then edit the posts on my laptop. It's a little tricky to get your cursor in the correct place on some occasions, but there are things that have been done to try and make it easier.

For example when on a webpage if you click on a link or within a part of the text it will zoom in and open up something like the screenshot to the left in order for you to be precise with where you're clicking. This comes in really handy when blogging - it also makes up for the small screen size. I like working using things like blogger on a browser as opposed to the app and this makes it just that little bit easier to use!

My favourite part of the ZenPad has to be it's design. I find it sleek and professional. The cases are interchangeable and I was sent both the white and the silver case that you can see in the images above. I find the white case makes it an aesthetically pleasing product but the silver is pushing on the tacky side in my opinion - but that's a personal preference more than anything! As you can see in the top photo it's a slim product, weighing only 317g and not even a cm in width. In fact it's about the same thickness as my iPhone 5c.

It's not as fast as an up to date iPhone or android phone but it doesn't lag. The screen resolution is good and all the settings are easy and simple to adjust. This is the 16gb version of the ZenPad 8.0 which is more than enough room for what I'll use it for. It's not as quick to charge as an iPhone - but then again we know how long they last too! From a flat battery it takes under 2 hours to charge to 100% but I've managed to go quite a few days without needing to charge it again. My max was 5 days with between 1-3+ hours use a day. I've taken it to work with me a couple of times and it's so lightweight that it's easy to carry to and fro. It's nice to take it out during my lunch and set some notes down for blog posts or schedule some tweets. After using it for a little while it can begin to lag a little like a lot of tablets, phones and even laptops, and sometimes it can begin to get hot which I feel contributes to the lag. It's not a long wait it's just sometimes a delayed response to the action you've taken, it's easily resolved by switching it off and on again but obviously this isn't something you want to keep having to do. So far this has only occurred a couple of times for me.

It's available in sizes from 7-10 inches and I think whilst I quite like the size personally, others may like a slightly larger screen. The speakers are really good quality and it's good to snuggle up in bed with whilst watching a film instead of having a laptop on top of you. It would come in handy during hangovers as it's compact enough to curl up under the covers with. You can hide yourself from daylight and other human beings and instead, indulge in hours of Netflix. The sound quality is good for playing music whilst you get ready for a night out with access to all sorts of music apps including youtube and spotify.

The camera has been a little bit of a disappointment. Considering that it is a tablet I wasn't expecting anything grand and in all honesty, I would never buy a tablet for the purpose of taking photos. Photos from iPhones are only really good to look at on an iPhone - once printed you can often see the bad quality up close and personal, but on instagram all is well. The same goes for the ZenPad. An example can be seen below - two photos taken about 5 minutes apart. Neither of a high quality but they don't look too bad...it's only when you get these up on the big screen that the flaws in the quality show. The ZenPad has a 2mp front camera and a 5mp rear camera whilst the iPhone boasts an 8mp rear camera - but if you look at the below photos the ZenPad isn't doing too bad in comparison.


In all honesty I would recommend this tablet - the pros of it are:
  • It looks good
  • It's affordable
  • It has a good battery life
  • It's lightweight
  • It has good speakers
  • Runs games & videos well in good quality
  • Interchangable cases
  • Good screen resolution 
The cons:
  • The camera - which is a bit obvious anyway
  • The lag with long usage
  • The screen size may be an issue for some hence why it's available in other sizes! 
  • The cases are hard to take off 
  • It can be tough to type on 

I can't imagine every lecturer would be over the moon if you brought this tablet to class but in a large lecture room it would be good for making notes - provided you can concentrate and not play games or scroll through Instagram. In a small seminar they may turn their nose up at it, but it's whatever works for you. I feel it would have come in really handy for me at university, especially on the occasions when I didn't have a copy of the text or poem - in those cases I could have just got the ZenPad out and not have felt like such a lemon. 
MissIsGoode

*I was sent the ASUS Zenpad 8.0, a Z380 zen case and the Zenpad power case in return for this review

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