The Asus Zenpad 8.0 - Black beauty !

I was sent the ZenPad 8.0 just a little after Christmas, so I came to view the package with greedy eyes, like a young kid, who waits to tear open her Christmas gift. Must I say, I was super excited to be just holding the new Asus ZenPad.

It's been a couple of weeks, and that's enough time to get comfortable with your tablet. I have always seen the tablet to be not just a handy tool, I mean of course it is, with a nice keypad to quickly jot down experiences, a good camera, a lovely textured feel while holding it, super light, I can go on, but coming back to the point, it's not just a handy tool, but also a travel companion.

I didn't realize that I had skipped taking the sticker out - I guess I wanted to preserve all the newness within.
This time around I'm going to be sharing my experience with the ZenPad 8. As a blogger, or more generally, as a writer, I love writing, and this tab is a nice to have device. For starters, it is not one of those overly bulky devices, which find it hard to stay slim. The ZenPad is just shy of 300 gms, making it very light. It occupies hardly any space in my bag, and it's not a burden on my shoulder.

The tablet is quite elegant, the design is simple which gives it a sturdy feel. The rear case appears to have a luxurious finishing, the case is interchangeable, you have a choice of shades to customize your ZenPad a little more. As bloggers, travelers or writers, we usually don't pay too much attention to the aesthetics, we make do with that barely working laptop or that really old tablet, that we got as a return gift at a rich kids party, all as long as we get to write. But having a stylish clutch like tablet is always a YES !

The tablet is slim and light, one of the reasons I really liked it.

First thoughts: The overall build quality is excellent, everything seems to be well put together - giving the tablet a premium feel. (read - proud owner)

Display: The screen, though slightly low in resolution, is vivid, the colors bright, giving life to this black beauty. The lower resolution also helps the battery life. This 8 inch tablet has a high (76.5%) screen to body ratio - achieved by reducing the bezel width to the bare minimum. This makes the front look extremely sleek and well engineered.

While traveling, one of the many things I wish for is to travel light. Also, did I mention, I like to be surrounded by books. Especially on those long train journeys. I've found the ZenPad to be the perfect size to hold and read - similar to the Kindle, but multi functional :)

Lost at Sea - by Ernst Hemingway. The Kindle app makes reading easy !
Camera: Okay, this one part of the tablet is quite important to me, as I still use my phone/tab camera to capture a few moments. I am still not used to taking shots using the DSLR (I should learn).
The front camera is very decent - 5 MP, and selfies come out quite well, it also fulfills the requirements for video chatting ! However I think the rear camera could have been better. I can't point out any particular point, but I just expected better quality photos at 8 MP. Though I am impressed with the inbuilt Intelligent Contrast Enhancement which make the photos appear as though they've been photo edited. On a general note, the cameras of that of most tablets have never been a selling point - somehow they're all equally okay - not great, not bad.

Lots of vivid colors, courtesy my money plant !

Walking around my home, doing photography experiments. This is some blue pottery I picked out in Jaipur.
Navigation: One of the first things I did, after admiring it for a bit was download the main apps I usually use. The new Zen UI made navigation quite intuitive, reduced the fumbling around time, and it took really no time to figure out where what went. There is a tad bit of lagging, especially once you get used to the iPad. The experience is similar to stock Android gadgets with added functionalities. One good thing is that there isn't much bloatware (as compared to Samsung Touchwiz UI) and apps are neatly categorized together.

Gaming: Most games are handled quite well, with a snapdragon processor that offers snappy performance. However, some graphic intensive games like Angry Birds 2 or Asphalt 8 may produce frame drops. Casual gamers shouldn't experience any issues at all. In fact, I had my little cousin play quite happily on the ZenPad :)

Battery: The tablet lasts a day before showing you warning signs, that is after downloading and using the social media applications (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) in an unbiased manner. Switch off the internet, and use the tablet only for reading or watching a movie and the tablet lasts a little more than a day.

Is it a good buy?
Yes. The tablet offers good value for money. Even though it falls just under the 15,000 INR bracket, it competes with more expensive tablets - primarily because of its rich features. In fact, for the price Asus is offering the tablet at, it's a brilliant buy. The ZenPad looks rich, plush and stylish. It's a store house of powerful features and apps, and if you choose to buy the audio cover, this tablet can double for a personal theatre (why do I call it a personal theatre, next point). If you want to have a look at all the specifications, check here.

I caught up with my 'daily dose of blogs' and the experience was quite nice.
Audio: This has to be one of the biggest strengths of the Asus ZenPad 8. It is surprisingly good. The tablet comes with an option to also purchase the audio cover, for an additional 3000 INR (approx.) - which in my opinion is a sensible buy. The cover not only offers excellent sound with more than sufficient loudness and clarity but also enhances the multimedia experience of this tab. Though it looks premium, it does add additional weight to the tablet - making it look like an expensive diary which  is not necessarily a bad thing.

Along with the audio cover, which really makes the multimedia experience excellent.

Finally, can one blog using the ZenPad?
I took a couple of days to get used to the tablet. To be honest, nothing replaces a big monitor, keyboard and mouse. I am sure there'll be many of you writers who'll agree. But since carrying that around is out of question, a slim powerful tablet like the ZenPad 8 is the next best. The keypad is well spaced out, font size nice and big. Writing is easy. Reading up online is also a good experience, which is one of those inevitable tasks all bloggers must do. The tab works on wifi and cellular 3G - so either way, you can always be connected, even when traveling.

The tab has many more features, such as the Kids mode (you get to select the apps your kids can have access to), extra web storage, anti fingerprint coating on the screen (minimizing the smudges) - the list can go on. If you're comfortable using the tablet as a phone, then this is the perfect buy for you. You can buy it online on Amazon or similar portals. You can also check their Asus exclusive store.

Parting thoughts: It's a great value buy - gives its competition a run for its money. Also, while you're buying the tablet, spend that additional 3000 INR and get the audio cover too.

What do you guys of think of the ZenPad 8 ? Tempted to pick it up ? Or already a proud owner ? Do leave a comment below telling me what you think of it.

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