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ZenPad 8.0 Z380C review



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Asus ZenPad Z380C
  • Asus ZenPad Z380C
  • Asus ZenPad 8.0 home screen
  • Asus ZenPad 8.0 – covers
  • Asus ZenPad 8.0 back
  • Asus ZenPad 8.0 backplate removed
  • Asus ZenPad 8.0 display settings
  • Asus ZenPad 8.0 OS
  • Asus ZenPad 8.0 test shot flowers
  • Asus ZenPad 8.0 test shot city


Our Score:



  • Customisable appearance
  • Expandable storage
  • Ok Android skin


  • Poor battery life
  • Underpowered processor
  • Buggy performance

What is the Asus ZenPad 8.0?

Asus pioneered the cheap Android tablet when it partnered with Google to create the 2012 Nexus 7. As a result, it’s no surprise it has continued to release a steady stream of affordable Android tablets ever since.

The 2015 Asus ZenPad 8.0 is its latest effort. However, while the low £119 price tag may make the ZenPad 8.0 sound like a bargain, Asus has cut a few too many corners this time. It won't be remembered as fondly as the Nexus 7 was.

Asus ZenPad 8.0 – Design

Budget tablets usually have notoriously dull designs. In general, any tablet – be it in Samsung’s Galaxy, Acer’s Iconia or Tesco’s Hudl series – that retails for less than £200 will feature a dull, cheap looking, design that is about as interesting to look at as a loading screen.

From the front the ZenPad 8.0 looks like Asus has done little to buck this trend. The tablet features a fairly unassuming Gorilla Glass coated screen that also has a slightly junky looking bezel. The fake "metal finish" plastic sides house volume and power buttons on the long right side, but those are the only physical controls.

The ZenPad 8.0’s back is a bit more interesting. The ZenPad 8.0 features a removable, textured, polycarbonate backplate – similar to that seen on the Asus MemoPad 7 – that covers all but the tip of the tablet’s long left side.

Related: 9 of the best cheap tablets in 2015

Asus ZenPad 8.0 – covers

The slightly raised backplate gives the ZenPad an atypical look that separates it from other affordable tablets, such as the Tesco Hudl. It also lets users customise the ZenPad’s appearance. Asus is currently offering backplates in a variety of colours, each of which retails for £14.99.

While it's nice that Asus is trying to improve its budget tablet’s visual allure, on a practical level, the design is a mixed bag. In hand, the backplate not only feels cheap, but also makes the ZenPad 8.0 slightly cumbersome to hold. This feeling isn’t helped by its chunky 209mm x 123mm x 8.5mm dimensions and hefty 350g weight.

This would be forgivable if the backplate had some practical value, like granting access to a removable battery. Sadly, it doesn’t. Removing the backplate only grants access to a microSD card slot and dock for the ZenPad’s optional Power Case, which adds a second back-up battery.

That said, the addition of a microSD is no bad thing and lets you add a further 64GB to the ZenPad 8.0’s internal 16GB of storage.

Asus ZenPad 8.0 – Sound Quality

Asus has loaded the ZenPad 8.0 with a single front speaker with DTS HD Premium Sound that sits next to the tablet's front camera on its top.

The single speaker isn’t terrible as things go. Watching Netflix, the speaker was suitably loud and clear. However, with music the speaker could sound slightly tinny and didn’t really have much low end – meaning bass heavy songs sound slightly weak and flat.

Asus also includes an AudioWizard app that lets you tweak the speaker’s settings. The feature comes with preset Movie, Music, Gaming and Vocal modes that are designed to optimise the speaker’s settings for specific types of audio.

Related: 11 Best Android Tablets in 2015

Asus ZenPad 8.0 backplate removed

It also features an Advanced setting that lets you manually control the speaker’s volume, bass, treble and EQ. While the feature looks impressive, we found the settings didn’t make much of a difference to how the speaker performed and audio quality remained fairly average.

For audiophiles, 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.


August 28, 2015, 3:00 am

Are you aware of the other model of the ZenPad 8.0 with 2GB RAM? The Z380CX? Lesser cameras but more RAM. $129 US. I mean battery life an issue on a budget tablet? Acceptable isn't it? Based on your scores I'm just curious what you were comparing it to. Is there a tablet at the price that scores 8, 9 or 10 on your criteria?


September 24, 2015, 8:09 pm

Hi, I buyed the CX model with 2GB RAM for my son. Unfortunately, most of the review is still truth: low battery life, pretty heavy, disappointing screen. I didn't have lags, but wifi is sometimes disconnecting alone, and is annoying when playing games or regarding streaming movies. It may go up to 7 but no more.


September 24, 2015, 8:34 pm

I don't know what to say. At $129 US for a 8-inch tablet. You could spend another $40 or $50 for a Kindle Fire with less storage and confined to Amazon. I can't say spending $129 on a tablet and expecting 10 hours battery life is realistic. Who uses their tablet for 5 to 7 hours in one sitting? External battery or buy an iPad or S 1 (not S2).

Wifi wise, that's not sounding good. Has there been a OTA update? Yes, there is a V6 firmware update which improves wifi performance. Install that and see if that improves.

I think sometimes consumer expectations are unrealistic vs. something being a bad purchase. I haven't used the Z380CX, so keep that in mind. However screen wise, go look at the new Kindle Fire HD 8 specs. Same. If we compared the Z380CX to the iPad Mini 4 it's not worth talking about. It's not comparable and it's completely unrealistic. This being my point...


September 25, 2015, 9:06 am

Well, I do not have the same terms of comparison, as I'm in France and do not loke closed Kindle system. I hesitated with Yoga 2 tablet 8 inch (higher category , but price was here 30 euros more with an Lenovo offer; discarded because people here say that Lollipop upgrade produced a lot of problems, and was available only in 5 days and needed at instant).
I was disappointed as it replaces an ASUS memopad ME173X (2013), which was certainly looking less good, but had a better screen, double autonomy, less heavy (OK it was a 7 inch) and close performance.
I do not think that Power case is an issue, as is expensive and add more weight to an already heavy tablet (Please Alistair, can you give us it's added weight ?).
Yes , it was an OTA update just after buying it, I do not know the version available here. I checked since than and nothing else.
Our family has 2 others 8 inch tablets. They are not the same category, but however using "CPU / RAM / DEVICE Identifier" from Playstore (I'm not a geek and this app allows a good performance appreciation in my experience), 380CX scores 4 times less than an LG Pad 8.3 (end 2013, with Snapdragon 600 and 2G RAM). It's huge as, with the same app, 380CX score only 30 % better than Asus ME173 2013 budget line. In the same time Sony Z3 compact tablet (Snapdragon 800, 3G RAM) scores only 40 % better than the LG.


September 25, 2015, 4:37 pm

I appreciate the conversation. Are you 100% certain that you have the CX version because that 2GB RAM version, as my understanding is, was only for the USA market. You know what you're talking about, so I'm more curious if in fact the 2GB CX model is for sale in Europe. I'm not sure the price point of the Z380 in Europe, and I'm guessing it's not quite at the same bargain as the $129 US. In general, I guess my advice to anyone out there is that when you're getting a low end device, expectations must be equally low end. If anyone wants a better tablet in 8-inch, then clearly it's the ZenPad S 8.0. My reference to the Amazon Fire HD 8 was in the fact it has the same screen resolution as the Z380 and these are late 2015 tablets. Checking on the specs, it's pretty clear that paying more for the Fire HD 8 makes no sense. That said, thank you for the conversation!


September 30, 2015, 9:13 am

Thank you too,
I confirm that is the CX version with 2GB, marked on the box and confirmed by the little app which scores also the performance. It updated by OTA in version 4.7.1 on Saturday. No significant difference observed. And on Sunday evening, tablet freezed completely, after restart it worked 2 minutes and freezed again. I restarted it, managed to do a factory reset, freezed again 2 minutes after restarting when trying to connect WIFI and my gmail account. I tried 3-4 times more, than stopped. It's now in repair process in the after sale department of the store (fnac) where I buyed it. Not very lucky , because it was 3.5 weeks after buying it and they change it with a new one only in the first 15 days. If they do not succed and give me the opportunity maybe I'll put 80 EUR more for the S version (maybe only a bad number, but I'm not more confiant in Z380CX).


January 3, 2016, 10:52 pm

The eight hours is slightly disappointing as competing tablets in the same size bracket, such as the Nexus 9 or iPad Mini 2, generally offer superior 10-hour battery lives.

Seriously? What about price bracket? How much do those two cost compared to the Z380C.

As a comparison the NVIDIA Shield K1 with its 8h30m battery life when doing HD video playback didn't get a bashing like the Z380C does.

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