REVIEW – ASUS ZenPad Z380C #Brilliant

I was lucky enough to be sent the new ASUS ZenPad z380C for review so here are my thoughts

OK lets set the bar here,  this review much like anything is not an in-depth technical breakdown of the hardware. Its going to be a user review, how is the ZenPad form the point of view of a user? That being said I will list the tech specs and details of the unit to hand.

So what were ASUS kind enough to send over, 1 x Asus ZenPad Z380C, 1 x Asus Black cover, 1 x ASUS Extended Battery Case. Tech Specs and Photos are towards the bottom of the review. When I took the unit from the box there was about 25% power on the unit, so plugged it in and ran through the basic setup, included in the box was the tablet, micro USB cable and plug along with the user guide and warranty information. As the unit comes with Android 5.0 lollipop a upgrade was needed to the latest Android OS 5.0.2, after a restart (twice) it settled down to be a very nimble device with quick swiping through the screens and menus. You really need to do this as to miss this step results in a 90% operational tablet due to a little stuttering of the OS.

Design..

So whats it like, This tablet was white with a gold removable backing plate that has a texture on it, Most budget tablets do not look great lets be honest, and some might make you feel embarrassed to give as a gift, Not so the ZenPad 380c, This for my liking has a premium look and feel about it. it has a nice chrome frame touch around the bezel and screen soft buttons replacing hardware buttons for navigation. On the right of the device is the volume up/down and sleep/wake hardware buttons. The top of the device has the charger port and 3.5ml headphone jack so over all very minimalist but very well designed.  Removing the backplate grants access to a microSD card slot and dock for the ZenPad’s optional Power Case, which adds a second back-up battery. All the above is great but how is it in the hand? with the backing plate sitting off center it has a slight dip but my thumb sits in this and is very comfy indeed, in fact Liam who as i have mentioned has Juvenile Arthritis had no issues at all in using and holding the tablet over the weekend when playing the game of the month Dulp

Sound.

Over all the sound quality is great, the unit has dedicated Front Speaker with DTS HD Premium Sound, Supports aptX® – There is also an AudioWizard app that lets you tweak the sound to get the best from it, We were all in the car Sunday evening driving back home so the radio was on, tyre and wind noise also present and while i know the ZenPad’s volume was in the lower quarter I could still hear it plain as day. Watching NetFlix was also very nice and to be honest was on par with my iPad Air 2 where i think the external speakers are quite low in volume. Looking for more volume you Asus is offering an Audio Cover that adds six speakers to the ZenPad 8.0 for £69.99, but we weren’t sent one to test.

Display.

So one thing your going to be looking at is the screen and you won’t be disappointed, the screen has plenty of pop and really shines when viewing photos or video. I turned of auto brightness and set it about 75% as with all my devices and it more than holds its own. The display is a 8″ LED Backlight WXGA (1280×800) IPS Panel with multi touch support and when testing some family members noted how great everything looked when compared to a Samsung Tablet that was floating around.

Software and UI.

Android on the ZenPad has only a minimal ski to it and there is very little bloatware (Asus pre installed software), like all androids you get a home, back and app button at the bottom of the screen. Sliding down fro the top reveals the notification area and access to quick settings and setting proper if selected.

Access the main menu and you are presented with various folders which is great as it will prompt you to keep your apps organised. i hate a messy app draw or desktop. Bottom line here is if you have used Android before it’s all good, if not its easy to use and navigate.

Zenmotion is useful as you can set gesture controls to take a screenshot or sleep the device and this is something i found i was using quite often.

Performance.

Again i refer back to this being a review from a normal user and not a tech head so there will be no benchmarking. However saying that will you be frustrated at stutters and delays when using the device? The ZenPad Powered by a quad-core Intel Atom X3 CPU, ARM Mali-450 GPU and 1GB of RAM the ZenPad’s specs aren’t anything to write home about but unless you are a power user its plenty. The wife was surfing the web without any issues, kids playing a few games and I used it for a spot of streaming and everything worked like a dream.  Anyone getting this device on the whole as an armchair/car device won’t have any problems. In fact Liam popped on a set of headphones, fired up netflix halfway home and connected to my hotspot in the car with no problem at all. He was in heaven.

The ZenPad comes with 16gb onboard storage but this can be expanded with a 64gb microSD card which I will be filling with films when departing on holidays,  when set up with a Google Account give you 100gb free space for two years and also 5gb of Asus cloud storage. Great for firing up your photos and videos over wifi and share with the family.

Camera.

I need to come back on the camera side of things and post sample pics, To be honest great for taking quick snaps and i fully expect the kids to be a little snap happy when using this going to Australia. Will it take the place of a point and shoot, no chance but that’s not what it is sold as. Same with the video. Snaps can be sync with google  photos over wifi and stored for safe keeping, uploaded to facebook and will look just fine.

Sample photos to follow shortly.

 

So whats the verdict?

In short would I plonk down around 120euro on this, yes i would, its an easy 6.5/10 and if your looking for a device that is not going to be doijg anything crazy you wont have an issues at all, Just remember to update once open and let it restart a couple of times and it will be fine.  Great little table, Well done to Asus for producing a great looking premium feeling budget device.

 *No payment was received to review this item but it was supplied to me FOC by ASUS UK – Thanks to Adam and the team

Tech specs:-

  • Operating System
    Tablet: Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
  • Display
    8″ LED Backlight WXGA (1280×800) Screen
    IPS Panel
    10 finger multi-touch support
    Corning® Gorilla® Glass1
    Anti-fingerprint coating
    Full lamination
    ASUS Tru2Life Technology
  • CPU
    Intel® Atom™ x3-C3200 Quad-Core, 64bit
  • Memory
    1GB/2GB*1
  • Storage
    16GB *1
    5GB Life Time ASUS Webstorage Space *2
    100GB of Google Drive space for 2 years.*2
  • Graphic
    Mali-450 MP4
  • Wireless Data Network
    WLAN802.11 b/g/n
    Bluetooth V4.0
    Support Miracast
  • Camera
    2 MP Front Camera *1
    5 MP Rear Camera with Auto focus*1
  • Audio
    1 x Front Speaker with DTS HD Premium Sound, Supports aptX®
  • Interface
    1 x Micro USB
    1 × 2-in-1 Audio Jack (Headphone / Mic-in)
    1 x Micro SD Card Reader, up to 64GB SDXC
  • Sensor
    G-Sensor/ E-compass/ Hall sensor /Light Sensor
  • Battery
    8 hours battery life(TBD);15.2Wh Li-polymer Battery*3
  • Navigation
    GPS & GLONASS
  • Color
    Black, White, Metallic
  • Dimensions
    209 x 123 x 8.5 mm (LxWxH)*4
  • Weight
    350 g

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The Working Dad

The Working Dad

The Working Dad is a regular guy called Darren, Working as a senior manager for a leading NGO I have two kids and happily married. This is my blog about the life and times of being a dad today..
The Working Dad