Asus has launched the Zenpad was launched in India back at the ZenFestival event in August and later on for sale in India in November and the tablet is currently selling for Rs.12,000 via Flipkart. So the tablet worth the money you spend? Well, you will find out in our full review.
Box Contents: The packaging is fairly simple, we get the tablet, USB cable, Wall adapter (5.2V-1.35A), manuals, warranty card. The box highlights some of the specifications of the tablet.
Display and Design: The ZenPad 7.0 sports a 7-inches HD(1280X800) IPS display with a pixel density of 215 pixels per inch, not the sharpest we have seen but the display will do the job. The display comes with ASUS Tru2Life Technology offering vibrant and natural colors for the most part, although the company claims that the screen comes with anti-fingerprint coating we found ourselves cleaning the display every now and then. The Corning Gorilla Glass protects the display from sudden drops and scratches. The display has 72% screen-to-body ratio which is good enough in our opinion for a 7-inch tablet although we would have loved if the bezels are even trimmed down on top and bottom. The tablet offers a higher optical transparency of over 94% as the cover glass and touch panel layers have been combined offering better transparency.
Up front, we have the usual set of sensors like the ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and apart from that, we have the main earpiece as the tablet comes with voice calling functionality. The main earpiece also houses the loudspeaker grills and the audio via the loudspeaker is good. We have a 2-megapixel front facing the camera with f/2.0 aperture accompanying the main earpiece. Down below the 7-inch display, you find Asus branding engraved in silver color, as the tablet houses on screen buttons there are no capacitive buttons present and the on-screen buttons offer haptic vibration when pressed.
There is a metal frame running around the sides of the tablet and the metal offer high-quality appearance and look to the tablet and also protects the display. We have the Power buttons and volume rockers on the right side and the buttons offer good feedback when pressed. The 3.5MM audio jack is found on the top, the MicroUSB port and primary microphone are present on the bottom.
On the rear side, there is an 8-megapixel primary camera along with company branding. The back panel has a texture type feel and it offers good grip while using it. The back cover can be removed and you can insert MicroSD card and SIM card slot in the provided slots. Although the back panel can be removed the battery cannot be removed. You also find a connector that allows you to connect the audio cover replacing the default back panel. This audio cover is an added accessory that needs to be purchased separately. We sure liked the build quality of the tablet, its light in weight and the weight construction is even.
Software and Multimedia: The tablet runs on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with Asus Zen U.I overlaid on top. The new updated Zen U.I offers some interesting customizations and many enhancements. We are not sure whether the company would push the Android 6.0 update to the tablet as the recently confirmed list does not have the ZenPad 7.0. The software side lets you add up to 7 home screens which can be further customizes depending on the requirement via Widgets. The system settings options allow you to change the display temperature according to your liking and the available color modes are Balance, Bluelight filter which is really good for those who read a lot, Vivid for natural colors and the last one is customized according to your requirement.
Gestures like double tap to sleep, double tap to wake are available and these gestures are widely used and most useful gestures among the wide list of other gestures. PlayTo feature will enable you to play the media to another display wirelessly. Lock screen toggles provide quick access shortcuts to camera, dialer and messages.
The U.I is fairly neat and lag free and we said it earlier and we are saying it again, Zen U.I is one of the most smooth and responsive custom skin other after stock U.I. Out of that 2GB Ram on board, we are left with 1.5GB free Ram when only the default apps are running. The app can be moved to MicroSD card and out of that 16GB storage, we get around 11.64GB available. Apart from the usual set of google apps we get regularly seen Asus Apps and, for the most part, they are useful but of you think otherwise you can always disable. The tablet comes with SonicMaster Audio Technology and DTS-HD Premium sound for a better audio experience and the audio via the loudspeaker as well as the headphone is great. The default video player can play 720p HD videos but it started to lag when we tried playing Full HD videos.
Performance and Battery: The Tablet is powered by Intel Atom x3-C3230Soc clocked at 900 MHz Quad-Core processor with 2GB Ram. The tablet performance is average as it lags for normal day-to-day usage when you have more than 5-6 apps running in the background. We tried playing heavy games like Asphalt 8 and on highest graphic settings the game didn’t respond to our movement and started lagging so we moved to medium graphic setting still there was lag and finally the game was playable in lowest settings. Though the device gets warm we didn’t notice any overheat or such. Just for the record here are the benchmark scores.
There is a 3450mAH battery on board and it is not removable. The battery performance is also average as we got through a single day on a single charge. On continuous heavy usage, the device lasted over 3 hours 25 minutes which is not good for a tablet as we generally use it for media consumption. The battery modes try to pull out some juice by limiting the processor power but then the device starts to lag and slow down with the processor functionality limiting. On whole expect for the decent talk time the battery is considered to be average.
Camera and Connectivity: There is an 8-megapixel rear camera with no LED flash and the primary camera offers various modes like HDR, Panorama, Time Lapse, low-light etc. You guys might be aware of these features from earlier Zenfone camera review. Pictures captured via the tablet in daylight look good but are over brightened, we found ourselves facing focusing issue not often but occasionally. The HDR shots are good but you need to hold still while shooting, the low-light brings down the camera to 1-megapixel and the low-light images are good are the image processing eliminates unwanted noise. Take a look at the camera samples down below.
Connectivity features include WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Single SIM, GPS and also supports OTG. The tablet takes in single SIM but is only limited to 3G, you can take and make calls and the call quality is good.
Conclusion: The tablet’s performance is one thing that we are most concerned about as it tends to lag on continuous usage and also the battery life is strictly average to our liking. Barring these two major cons the device shines with good build quality, great display, and decent camera performance. So we have listed out the pros and cons the choice is yours to choose or not to choose is on you.
The Audio Cover which is an accessory and together with the tablet it is priced at Rs.14,999. The audio cover has six speakers on whole and is sure to offer 5.1 channel surround audio experience. Teh 2300mAh offers up to 6 hours of battery life and it can be used as stand while watching videos.