Quick Review: Asus Zenpad 8 Z380M

I’ve been using the Asus Zenpad 8 Z380m for a little under 2 months now, and I have to say I really love it. I had been using an Acer 8 inch tablet for the previous 2  years. Well, sort of. The first one I purchased had bad lines in the screen. The second had the same issue. Both were immediately brought back the same day. Gave it one last shot. That one was OK. Then, it died, and would not boot to the start screen, no matter what. Sent it back for repair. They didn’t repair it. Sent it back again. This worked fine for a bit, then had same issue. This time doing a hard reset worked. But, it meant reloading everything again. Happened a 3rd time in October, so, I had enough, went looking for a replacement.

For what I use a table for, I refuse to spend a lot of money (I’m also a cheapskate, to a degree. Or, frugal. Whichever) on something I do not use a ton. $150 was about my limit. I did a ton of research on tablets, and this looked great. Unfortunately, Best Buy never had them in stock, though I did get to try one in store. I’m big on trying something like this before buying, and I checked a bunch. 8 inches seemed just right. 10 inches seemed a bit big. I have a laptop for that.

Here a few details

  • Touch Screen 8″ IPS WXGA (1280×800) 189 PPI
  • MTK 8163 Quad-Core 1.3GHz, 2GB DDR3L
  • 16GB EMMC, Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), 802.11abgn, 2MP Front & 5MP Rear, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 10 finger multi-touch support, Corning Gorilla Glass1
  • Anti-fingerprint coating
  • Android 6.0 (says 5.0 at the Amazon link, but, is 6)

What I really liked here is the quad core processor. 1.3 might not seem like much, but, for what you do on tablets (and smartphones), it is better to have the 1.3 with quad core than a fast one with less cores, especially since Android 6.0 seems to use more ram. My Galaxy S5 has quad core 2.5mhz with 2gb ram, and is always pushing 80% ram usage, and gets bogged down.

The Asus seems to run around 50% ram a lot. 548 MB is used by system 187 MB is the Cache RAM and around 1.2 GB of free RAM is available when no Apps are running on the device. In practice, many of the apps I use on both tablet and phone often load faster on the Asus. Could be due to over 2 years of using the Galaxy 5 (no, not giving it up. Works fine, have replacement batteries. I will never buy another phone that doesn’t allow replacing the battery). The games I play load very fast.

To me, the screen looks great. I did put a screen protector over it, easier to clean fingerprints. That Gorilla Glass seems to attract it. It’s not the highest resolution, but, did I mention it cost $129? It costs $129.

I like the Asus size and shape, very comfortable for typing with thumbs. It is responsive, and the ZenUI, the modifications Asus made to Android and the way it looks, is very user friendly. I usually add GoExtreme Launcher for all the customization of the way the device looks, but, felt no need.

The only downsides I found are

  1. Does not fast charge. It uses USB2.0, so, slightly faster charging, but, my Acer had 3.0, and was much faster. Oh, well.
  2. Apps have to be on the device, not on an added memory card. So, a few big apps/games and you are killed.

Though it has WiFi N, it doesn’t have the fastest connecting. I have 200mbs speeds, and it typically averages around 62mps. Others who have tested get in the upper 80’s to low 90’s. Really, though, 62 is more than enough for what I do.

The battery last more than long enough between charges, even with some heavy game use (I’ve been getting a bunch from Amazon Underground, puzzle/adventure games). You probably didn’t even notice that for 3 days in November I did all my posts on it when I visited the parents for my Dad’s birthday. Didn’t feel like bringing the laptop.

It has a bunch of fun things you can do, like finger and motion gestures. Haven’t played with them a lot, but I do have it set up so that if I double tap on the screen it wakes up. And the Wifi reconnects very fast when it wakes.

The sound is pretty good for the size and price. I’ll crank it while taking a shower using iHeart Radio. The GPS is pretty accurate.

The camera is only so so, but, then, I didn’t get it to take pictures.

All in all, it is a great value for $129.

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9 Responses to “Quick Review: Asus Zenpad 8 Z380M”

  1. Rev.Hoagie® says:

    Thank you Capt. Teach, that was succinct, informative and the only thing I understood is the thing cost $129. But for me it’s all I need to know.

    My suspicions were confirmed when you stated: “8 inches seemed just right. 10 inches seemed a bit big.” as I have heard that before.

  2. Liam Thomas says:

    I have this old saying “You get what you pay for.”

    I have a pair of Ipads that I bought about 6 years ago and they are still going strong and havent even had to replace the battery getting about 40 hours of use per week.

    But of course these were nearly 1000 dollars each not 149.

    Since I bought these I pads I have quit doing business with Apple but I still use the Ipads and they refuse to give up the ghost.

    Our replacement will be the new Microsoft Surface book….A couple guys at the office bought one of the I7 models and those things are amazing…..However they are extremely expensive and dont even fit into what your reviewing.

    but I have to say my oldest daughter has three teenagers and they do not even own a TV….they all have Samsung Galaxies and watch tv streaming it via, Netflix, hulu, showtime, starz and Hbo on their phones….

    LIfe is definitely changing digitally.

  3. o0Nighthawk0o says:

    You paid too much. Especially for an Android.

    Acer, and other companies make 8″ Windows tablets with more memory and better specs for around the same price.

    For example, Acer ICONIA W1-810-14ZE comes with 32GB memory, Quad Core processor and same video resolution for $130.

    I have also bought a few off name tablets to run some displays here at work. They are iRulu and have the same specs as the Asus but only cost $89. They run great. As well as Lenovo and Dell tablets that I also have.

    They also play much nicer with my computers, network, phone and other equipment I use.

  4. I actually have this off brand Android tablet I got in 2010. It doesn’t even have official Android, which was common back then, so, I have a hacked version of the Google Play app, which is only sorta functional. The screen is not capacitave, it’s kinda clunky, but, it still works great.

    For what I use tablets for, just don’t want to spend a couple hundred. I put that into the computer.

  5. Casey says:

    The 7″ Kindle Fire, with 8Gb of storage is on sale right now for $39.99. If you go for the 16Gb version it’s $49.99 right now.

    That’s cheap.

  6. gitarcarver says:

    The 7″ Kindle Fire…….

    That’s the one with the “special offers” built in.

    YEECH.

    Barnes and Noble has a $49 7″ tablet with 8 gigs and no ads.

    I bought one for my mother because she is a techno-phobe and I needed something I could “dumb down” to an extent.

    For me, the $10 for no ads is worth it.

  7. After my experience with Acer, I wouldn’t touch them for anything. Getting a new laptop, and discounted Acer immediately. Plus, I prefer Android for the sync capabilities between phone and tablet.

    I considered the Fire HD 8″. Fast processor, good ram, stable system. If I used the tablet for books, probably would have gotten it. Prefer straight Kindle for that. Plus, it can be glitchy putting Google Play store on Fire. Got my Mom one, though. She likes watching Netflix and Amazon Prime.

  8. Casey says:

    GC, the ads are -so I’ve read- on the lock screen only. Most reviewers who bought the “with ads” tablet are quite happy with it. Also it’s backed by Amazon, so you’ll know you’ll be getting support.

    Teach, the 8″ is distinct from the 7″ mostly due to the screen. All of the lower-end Fire tablets use the same 4-core cpu. I suspect it might be the same cpu as used in the units you mentioned. 🙂

    I’ve been reading books on my LG Volt and found the screen resolution acceptable. I imagine even a 7″ tablet is much better.

    You can easily install Amazon Underground, where not only can you get apps, but also do general shopping.

    On the other hand, I already have Amazon Prime and buy TV shows from them, I’m I’m naturally prejudiced. 🙂

  9. gitarcarver says:

    GC, the ads are -so I’ve read- on the lock screen only. Most reviewers who bought the “with ads” tablet are quite happy with it. Also it’s backed by Amazon, so you’ll know you’ll be getting support.

    I don’t want to see ads from Amazon at all Casey. If the reviewers like seeing an ad every time they turn on or awaken their tablet, more power to them.

    I despise them.

    As for support, I had a Kindle in the past and the support was horrible. Things change and I understand that.

    For me, I would rather pay the $10 bucks for an ad free experience over the 3 – 5 year lifespan of the device (if not longer.)

    (I currently have as a reader a Nook that is the first generation of the Nook tablet. I rooted it to Android and it has never given me issues.)

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