With a gorgeous 8-inch display of 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution, the Asus ZenPad 3 (Z581KL) is the device you would turn your attention to if you weren’t going to purchase the Apple iPad mini 4, which boasts the same screen properties without the front-facing stereo speakers.
Asus chose “In Search of Incredible” as the theme for its line of ZenPad tablets.
Does that theme mean anything or is it just another marketing gimmick? Let’s find out.
But first, a quick video…
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Look and Feel
In addition to the impressive resolution, Asus provided this nifty tablet with its Tru2Life+ Software. (Link)
Tru2Life+ enhances images displayed even more in terms of sharpness and detail.
The result is a 2K display we found to be quite nice with respect to the viewing angles (178°).
Turning to the back of the device reveals a sturdier design than that of the iPad mini 4…
You’re a lot less likely to drop it from your hands because of the texture which is in fact aluminum, despite the plastic look.
The whole thing weighs only 320 grams, so adding a case with a Bluetooth keyboard is likely to have you carrying about half a kilo.
Asus provides their own flavor of Android 6.0 Marshmallow on the ZenPad 3 with the usual custom ZenUI interface.
ZenUI appears to be just an excuse for filling up your precious space with apps.
It either copies the basic functionality of Android (such as the file manager)…
…or pushed by third-parties such as TripAdvisor.
How you feel about this ultimately boils down to which apps you use.
But we’d very much prefer a tablet that lets us customize what’s installed…
…a way of putting order into a world of chaos, so to say.
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Tech Specs
The 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core processor and 4GB of memory are aptly chosen for the computing power a tablet needs and most apps you will want to use will run without glitches.
The microSIM slot means you can use your tablet in WiFi-deprived areas as well…
… and to make phone calls as well, using the nifty headset as well…
…while the microSD slot allows you to increase the 16GB of internal storage to accommodate all the extra media you’d want to carry around.
The good side of bloatware is that you can get an additional 100GB of Dropbox storage for 2 years…
…while Asus itself offers a meagre 5GB, albeit for a lifetime.
This is nothing new, since Samsung and Dropbox have partnered up to offer the same deal for years.
Speaking of extra media, you’re already thinking of all the photos you’ll be able to store on the ZenPad 3.
But we have to interrupt your daydreaming right now…
The cameras provided are nothing to be ashamed of, but far from the latest technology…
8MP for the rear camera and 2MP for the front camera.
Don’t worry though, you can still Skype your mom on holiday with a reasonable enough image that she’ll be able to scold you for your appearance even with these modest camera offerings!
The camera is unlikely to be an issue unless you want to be one of those annoying tourists that gets laughed at for taking pictures with their tablet.
…and battery life
In terms of battery life the ZenPad 3 features a generous 4,680mAh and allegedly lasts 11 hours if your usage scenario fits with that of Asus.
When we tested it with graphic-intensive tasks at full brightness (thanks, Adreno 519 GPU!)
We managed to squeeze only roughly 9 hours out of it, but we believe this is pretty decent for a tablet and should allow you to go about your daily business without the fear of the battery dying out.
The Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Price
in Singapore, the ZenPad 3 price hovers around S$499.
In Europe, it retails for around 299 Euros.
That’s equal to US $350, £280 and AU$470 respectively.
It’s currently not available in the US, but there’s a cheaper 2GB RAM version being sold in Europe (279 Euros).
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Verdict
If you don’t mind trading the ability to delete 99% of the bloatware for affordability, the ZenPad 3 is for you.
We definitely think the display will give you an iPad-like experience…
…and the battery life will have you covered for an entire (productive, not Netflix-bingeing kind of) day.
The important functionalities are all there, but nothing in particular stands out.
We do recommend it for mid-range purchases.
Especially for those who are looking to get into the tablet world for the first time…
…and would like a device whose processing power won’t be rendered useless in just a couple of new releases.
For now, this is Becky B. signing off from the Netherlands.