I never thought I would be a tab kind of girl, because I have multiple laptops and a fully functioning smart phone. But it was only in the last year or so I realized the full potential and perks of using a tab. It's the best companion when you have to travel and can replace your laptop, if all you plan to do while travelling is check your social media, watch movies or procrastinate on YouTube and click images. It also works well for smaller presentations, so that you don't have to carry your laptop along everywhere. It's much easier to charge and almost everyone will have a charger (if you forget yours at home!). It works as an e-book reader from time to time and is easier to hold as a hand-held device. And for someone like me, it's great for blogging on the go, as well as attending to multiple emails. For the record, I'm an Apple girl, not doubt about it. I traded my Blackberry and Zune (yep, I had one of those) for an iPhone 5 and an iPod touch. Currently I use a Macbook as well as an iPad, so I have the entire family. My love for Apple purely exists on customer service and system design. I know there are a ton of non-Apple devices with better cameras that the latest iPhones but most Android devices don't carry the same apps that I pay for and use on my Apple devices.
The Zenpad 8.0 is the perfect tab size, at 8 inches, it's pretty neat in terms of design with a faux leather covering at the back that not only gives the device a fancy and sleek look, but also acts as an overall grip and makes it easier to hold.
The tablet has a vibrant display that's viewable from different angles and can be adjusted well enough to be seen well under sunlight. So when I took my pictures while travelling, the screen was clearly visible for me to adjust my framing while we were outdoors. The Zenpad comes inbuilt with a 2GB RAM and 16 GB memory space, that can be extended up till 128GB. The tablet supports 4G networks and also has access to bluetooth and wi-fi. The battery life is strong and will last a full day. To know more about the hardware, software and other specs, visit the Asus website.
ZENPAD AUDIO COVER
Two of the most notable accessories for the device (which are sold separately) is the Zen Clutch and the Audio Cover. While the Clutch is cute and super trendy, I don't think it would benefit me as much as the Audio Cover will.
The great part about the Audio Cover is the speakers obviously! With a 5.1 surround sound system, the flip cover with external speakers that has to be attached to the back leather cover of the Zenpad, is loud enough to fill up a room. The cover also works as a stand for the device and can hold the tab in landscape mode. The cover will be automatically charged along with the phone or can be charged separately with a micro USB port.
When I buy an electronic device, more than RAM and other technical mumbo jumbo, I'm more fixated on the camera and how well it works, because pictures are very very important for me! The tablet has an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front camera. The major drawback, apart from the low mp front facing camera is that the tablet has no flash.
What intrigued me with the camera was the whole depth of field feature that a few recent ASUS products have. So I had to try it out for myself. These images were all achieved by tweaking around the settings on the depth of field mode. Playing around with lighting and decorations with the right kind of settings in this mode added lovely bokeh effects to my images. The images with the flowers were a little harder to achieve and took a couple of tries to get the right focus and blur effect. However the final images look like DSLR images.
The tab also has features like night mode and low light mode, both of which gave way to extremely grainy images, and not something I'm happy with. A flash here might be very helpful. I definitely won't be using this tab for images after the sun has set.
I was eager to try another setting, the HDR one, because I love taking landscape pictures, however, instead of enhancing my images, it added a lot more noise and grain to my pictures which made me despise the images I took. I'd rather stick to apps like Snapseed if I want my images to have an HDR-like quality. Also, surprisingly, the depth of field setting works much better with landscapes as long as you don't tap on the screen to focus and let the tab auto focus itself.
Lastly, I've heard a lot of people rave about the beautification mode, which is a selfie setting and makes skin smooth and fair, narrows cheekbones and can be used to made eyes bigger and wider. I really despise this particular feature and I wish I could just delete it off the tab, and I've always despised apps that promise beautification while pandering to unrealistic standards of beauty or body image. So our selfies are both without the beautification mode because we're all beautiful people already :-p
After all that experimentation, I went back to my favourite mode, depth of field and clicked some really great pictures while on my road trip to the wedding and the Christmas lights at home.
In conclusion, I like the tab, as it functions extremely well and has a great camera. While the night settings and the non existent flash is a major downer, the tablet managed to win me over with it's depth of field setting. Good move ASUS! The Zenpad 8.0 costs around 14,999/- for device only and 17,999/- with the audio cover included.
All views expressed in this review are solely my own and all the images clicked from the device have not been edited or processed in any way.