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Thursday, January 07, 2016

Asus ZenPad 8: My Gadget of Choice for my Holidays and Travels

These days technology dominates most of our travels. Well, it certainly does in my case. My gadget list includes a laptop, a phone, a portable music player, a DSLR camera and all those charging cables that always seem to send me into a tangle. But, with so many gadgets, I sometimes feel that as much as technology is a boon, it can sometimes be a pain in the wrong places. My main issues with carrying all these gadgets was the weight, the logistics and the actual running maintenance and I would dream about getting my hands on a gadget that could do all the things that my current gadgets do without giving me its problems.

ASUS ZenPad 8 Tablet Review

A lot of different products kept getting released into the market, but nothing seemed to make my cut. However, all that changed when I laid my hands on the ASUS ZenPad 8.0 Z380 KL, the latest mainstream 8 inch tablet device from ASUS. This single device has the potential to replace all my existing gadgets. Well, you might say that is a tall statement. Honestly, I thought so too till I started using it for my travels. The calling feature of the tablet, it replaced my phone. The ‘boombox’ audio cover, it replaced my music player. The crisp 8 inch HD screen running the latest Android replaced my laptop. And the rich photo and video software of the tablet ensured that I didn’t have to carry my DSLR camera. Additionally, I required only one charging cable. And the entire gadget, it slipped into the pocket of my cargo trousers. I think a traveler can’t expect a more friendly gadget than this.

Let me talk about the salient features of this tablet so that you can understand what I am saying.

Tablet Features that I Love

Awesome surround surround ASUS ZenPad 8 AudioCover

1)  Audio Cover
: I call it the ‘boom box’. I have never seen another device with this awesome feature. It’s dts-HD virtual 5.1 surround sound with sub woofers really blows my mind. With such sound, I can enjoy my music, TV shows and movies any where. Additionally, this audio cover ups the style quotient of my tablet and acts as a very useful protective cover. Oh! I forgot to mention that this audio cover gets charged when you charge the tablet.

2) Ultra – Realistic Images: This feature really surprised me. If you take a look at its specs, you will find that it has a 8MP auto-focus main camera and 2MP front camera. Now, as specs, these are pretty ordinary, but when you see the picture quality, you will be amazed at the richness of details, colour, and brightness. On deeper inspection, I found out that the tablet has a f2.0 aperture, which is why it works great in low light mode, it has zero shutter lag and manual mode support (like my DSLR camera). In addition, it has truly awesome software features like time lapse, low light mode, Slow motion, HDR, beautification and selfie panorama, which means that I get awesome pictures straight out of the camera without the need to edit them. The same holds for videos as well. And when I see these images and videos on my HD TV, I can’t wonder how such awesome content was created using this small tablet. The only thing that I miss here is a flash. But, thankfully, ASUS offers handy accessories like the ASUS Lolliflash that not only make up for this, but it offers more light and filters through its externally mounted flash device that is added to the earphone jack.

3) Stylish Tablet: Influenced by the clutch bag design, the tablet features a fashionable embossed leather pattern, clean lines, a 6 mm slim bezel and rounded edges that offer a more comfortable grip and ergonomic holding position. I feel this feature makes it look like a super premium product even though I know it costs only a small percentage when compared to those premium and expensive tablets available in the market. The tablet that I own is of ‘leather black’ colour. As a man, I prefer this colour as it goes well with my different clothing. But, in case you want additional colours, I think you can find white, aurora metallic, blue and orange colours to match your outfit.

4) Interchangeable Add-Ons: The ASUS ZenPad 8 is the world’s first tablet with interchangeable add-ons to enhance the sound and the battery life. This is a very helpful feature and that will be appreciated by almost all the users.

5) Featherweight, yet Heavyweight: At 350g, this tablet is a featherweight in my hand, but it packs the punch of a heavyweight with its Qualcomm 64-bit Octa-Core Snapdragon 610 processor and 2 GB RAM memory.

Slow Motion Videos on ASUS ZenPad 8 Tablet

6) Vivid Display:
With a 76.5% view area, a 16:10 aspect ratio, anti-fingerprint coating, ASUS Tru2Life technology and Corning Gorilla Glass, I absolutely love the 1280x800 HD display of this tablet. Personally, I love the bluelight and outdoor reading features. The bluelight filter feature is something that my eyes appreciate a lot as I do a lot of night reading. And the outdoor reading feature is pretty awesome. You can draw parallels with the technology of e-readers and that speaks volumes about the readability capabilities of this tablet.

Other Cool Features

1) Decent Battery and Fast Charging: With a 4000mAh Lipolymer battery, I get about 10 hours of battery life with all my regular use. For heavy use, like movies and music, I get about 6 hours, which is real cool. If I add the power attachment, I get close to 16 hours for regular use. The tablet doesn’t have USB-C ports, but with its traditional USB port, it offers real fast charging. In about 60 minutes, I could charge both my tablet and audio cover.

2) Expandable memory: Personally, I hate devices with limited memory options as I always seem to run out of space too quickly. This tablet comes with an in-built 16 GB and I have added a 64 GB micro SDXC card on top of it. In addition, ASUS offered me 100GB of free space in Google drive for a period of 2 years. And that totals to 178 GB of space. That is totally awesome right! Now, I can carry all my photos, videos, music, files and favorite movies with me without finding the need to delete stuff to make for space.

3) Android: If you are an Android power user like me, you will get cracking in no time. Running the latest Android OS, the tablet comes with a ZENUI interface on top that offers amazing features of its own. My favorite is the ZenMotion feature that allows me to create my own shortcuts and custom settings.

4) 4G Sim and much more: The tablet offers all new age features like 4G comptability, fast wireless access, bluetooth, great GPS, fast downloads and tethering capabilities.

My Verdict

ZenPad 8 Tablet - Fashionable, featherweight and packs a punch

I am sure by now you see why I am raving so much about the ASUS ZenPad 8.0 tablet. Whether you are a business or a leisure traveler, this single tablet will take care of all your technology needs unbelievably well. Be it movies, TV shows, music, emails, gaming, video conferencing, browsing, calling and/or taking pictures or videos, the ASUS ZenPad 8.0 Z380KL does all this admirably. It is my gadget of choice for my holiday and travels.

Oh! I forgot to mention its cost. It costs INR 14,999 for the tablet alone and INR 17,999 if you opt for the bundle with the audio cover. I don’t think it could have been priced any better for our Indian market.



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