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Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA First Impressions

Patrick Afschar Kaboli (translated by Martina Osztovits), 09/04/2015

Wise man's tablet. Zen means to live life to the fullest - a high claim. Asus also expects much from its latest tablet. The ZenPad S 8.0 is supposed to be the slimmest of its kind and features a big RAM capacity of 4 GB. Asus mentions beauty, strength, and luxury. Here is a first short review.

For the original German preview, see here.

At the time of writing, it's only been a few minutes since the introduction of the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA – how it is officially called. However, we have already had our hands on the test model for a few hours longer and, thus, already got first impressions of the new flagship tablet of the Taiwanese at the official launch. Asus obviously aims at the established competition from Apple, Samsung, and Sony with the very slim 8-inch tablet. However, it cannot challenge the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact for the slimmest tablet of its size. We will discuss how the ZenPad S 8.0 performs compared to the competition in an in-depth review soon. In the following, we will describe our first impressions.

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Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA (ZenPad Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, 64 bit Dual Channel LPDDR3
Display
8 inch 4:3, 2048 x 1536 pixel, 10-point multi-touch, capacitive, IPS, ASUS Tru2Life+ technology, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB SSD, 64 GB 
, 52 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: Micro SD Card Reader, up to 128GB (SDXC), Sensors: G-Sensor, E-compass, GPS/Glonass/BDS, Light-Sensor, Hall Sensor
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 6.6 x 203.2 x 134.5 ( = 0.26 x 8 x 5.3 in)
Battery
15 Wh Lithium-Polymer, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 8 h
Operating System
Android 5.0 Lollipop
Camera
Webcam: Rear: 8MP, Auto-Focus, Large Aperture f/2.0 with Blue Glass Infrared Filter; Front: MP, Auto-Focus, Large Aperture f/2.0
Additional features
Speakers: Dual-Front Stereo Speaker (2 x 1 W) with DTS HD Premium Sound, Keyboard: virtual, 24 Months Warranty, USB Type-C
Weight
298 g ( = 10.51 oz / 0.66 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
350 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

First Impressions

Not only very well-made at a first glance: the Asus ZenPad S 8.0
Not only very well-made at a first glance: the Asus ZenPad S 8.0

The front side of the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 looks like any other tablet's, at least almost. The frame on the long sides is quite small. Thus, the 8-inch tablet appears to be compact overall. In addition, it is very comfortable in the hand. The low weight of about 300 grams has a positive effect here. But, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z3 Compact is better in this aspect. However, the latter's case lacks stability. Unfortunately, the Asus flagship is not different. Despite flawless build quality and comfortable haptics of the plastic used, the stability is not convincing. Side-to-side twisting leads to creaking and image errors. Apparently, looks were more important than quality for Asus' engineers. The rear side of the ZenPad is really nice to look at. With its two different textures and a minimal gap between the rough and the smooth surface, it almost looks like a modern handbag. It remains to be seen whether the rear side is also handy in everyday use. We suspect that the minimal gap will attract smudges. In addition, a completely rough back side would certainly have been grippier. Overall, our first verdict on the case is: beautiful, yet not flawless.

Asus did not make compromises in features. The ZenPad S 8.0 is driven by an Intel Atom Z3580, i.e. a very powerful quad-core processor with a clock rate of up to 2.33 GHz. Probably the Moorefield-based chip no longer belongs to the absolute high-end elite in terms of performance. However, it should be sufficient for all possible demands. The processor is combined with a PowerVR G6430 from Imagination. At the time of its introduction, it was one of the fastest available GPUs. Currently, we classify it as upper mid-range. In terms of RAM capacity, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 is unrivaled. No other tablet comes with as much as 4 GB so far. However, OnePlus was faster in the smartphone range with the OnePlus 2. The internal storage of our test model has a capacity of 64 GB. Variants with 16 and 32 GB are available, too. Regardless of the variant, the storage capacity can be expanded by up to 128 GB with a microSD card. Furthermore, 100 GB free storage at Google Drive for two years is included. The ZenPad is available in white and black. At the IFA press conference, Asus stayed tight-lipped about the price. The ZenPad S 8.0 might start from 270 Euros (~$300). This might hold true for the 16 GB model without LTE. Our 64 GB model will certainly be significantly more expensive. We are eagerly waiting for more information about the price.

The other features of the ZenPad are also nothing to sneeze at. For example, it comes with a high-res IPS display with a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels. In addition, there are fast ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1, quite high-res cameras, and stereo speakers with DTS HD. The tablet is charged via USB type C, which also supports USB 3.0. Android 5.0 Lollipop, which Asus enhanced with its Zen UI, is used as operating system.

213.3 mm / 8.4 inch 123.6 mm / 4.87 inch 6.4 mm / 0.252 inch 271 g0.597 lbs212.8 mm / 8.38 inch 125.6 mm / 4.94 inch 6.6 mm / 0.2598 inch 301 g0.664 lbs203.2 mm / 8 inch 134.5 mm / 5.3 inch 6.6 mm / 0.2598 inch 298 g0.657 lbs200 mm / 7.87 inch 134.7 mm / 5.3 inch 7.5 mm / 0.2953 inch 331 g0.73 lbs

Cameras & Multimedia

The Asus ZenPad S 8.0 brings impressive cameras for a tablet. While 8 MP at the rear is usual in the tablet upper class, the front camera sets a new standard in the tablet segment with 5 MP and an f/2.0 aperture. Our time with the device was too short to say much about the image quality. Just this: Focusing is pleasingly fast and reliable. Shots are also good when the sky is overcast. Colors are quite bright, probably almost a bit exaggerated. Sharpness and contrast are alright, too - even more for a tablet. However, slight noise is already visible in the image of the overcast sky.

Display

Asus did not go for the best possible display options. Nevertheless, IPS and Retina resolution (2048x1536 pixels) do not sound like a cost-cutting model. The Apple iPad Mini 3 has the same features and there were no big complaints about its display in our review. This mainly also holds true for the Asus ZenPad S 8.0, which uses a 4:3 aspect ratio. The display already left a good subjective impression. Colors appear natural and still vivid. The sharpness is quite high. Thus even fine structures are acceptably detailed. Asus allows configuring the color temperature according to your preferences and provides several presets. We only checked the display out-of-the-box for this preview.

The tuning is already quite good, as is proved by the first tests with our spectrophotometer. Deviation of gray levels and colors is already relatively low. The color temperature is slightly too high. Our review will show whether the panel can be further improved with manual settings. Certainly, the other measurement data will not change. The brightness is on par with the Apple iPad Mini 3's with a maximum of 377 cd/m2. While it is certainly not extremely high, it will be sufficient in most scenarios. This gives a great contrast of 997:1 together with the very good black value of 0.37 cd/m2. We did not like the brightness distribution of only 86% that much. The brightness significantly falls towards the corners. However, in practice this is only notable in very homogeneous images and does not have an impact on the overall good impression.

324
cd/m²
377
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
328
cd/m²
369
cd/m²
331
cd/m²
328
cd/m²
370
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 377 cd/m² Average: 345.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 369 cd/m²
Contrast: 997:1 (Black: 0.37 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.58 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 4.67 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
86% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 70% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.25
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
PowerVR G6430, Z3580, 64 GB SSD
Apple iPad Mini 3
PowerVR G6430, A7, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AC, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
-5%
-7%
12%
Brightness middle
369
357
-3%
531
44%
258
-30%
Brightness
346
344
-1%
518
50%
261
-25%
Brightness Distribution
86
86
0%
91
6%
91
6%
Black Level *
0.37
0.61
-65%
0.66
-78%
Contrast
997
585
-41%
805
-19%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.58
3.35
40%
6.29
-13%
3.66
34%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.67
2.09
55%
7.04
-51%
2.51
46%
Gamma
2.25 98%
2.4 92%
2.78 79%
2.22 99%
CCT
7927 82%
6851 95%
8600 76%
6450 101%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
70
55
-21%
73.75
5%
100
43%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
86

* ... smaller is better

Performance

The technological basis of the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 is a modern quad-core processor from Intel. The Atom Z3580 clocks at up to 2.33 GHz and should deliver more than sufficient performance. This also holds true for the graphics unit. The PowerVR G6430 should also be able to handle all of today's tasks without problems. Due to the short time for this preview, we could only run a few tests. But, the results are remarkable. Asus definitely backs the right horse. The ZenPad S 8.0 can keep up with its strong competition or even best it in all disciplines. For example, it is on par with Sony and Samsung in Geekbench 3, only the Apple iPad Mini plays in a higher league here. But already in AnTuTu v5, the ZenPad strikes back impressively and outclasses all devices in its comparison group. The performance of the graphics unit is remarkable, too. While Apple, Samsung and Sony perform more or less better in 3DMark, the ZenPad is ahead in the off-screen evaluation of the Manhattan test in GFXBench 3.0.

In addition, it achieves very high results in the tests of the internal storage and the browser performance. Together with Google Chrome 44, the Asus ZenPad partly achieves absolute top results. This is also notable in practice.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
2885 Points ∼4%
Apple iPad Mini 3
2479 Points ∼3% -14%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
2710 Points ∼3% -6%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
2797 Points ∼3% -3%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
931 Points ∼19%
Apple iPad Mini 3
1373 Points ∼28% +47%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
993 Points ∼20% +7%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
935 Points ∼19% 0%
AnTuTu v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
46105 Points ∼47%
Apple iPad Mini 3
37527 Points ∼38% -19%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
41749 Points ∼42% -9%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
36109 Points ∼36% -22%
3DMark - 1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
20201 Points ∼8%
Apple iPad Mini 3
14699 Points ∼6% -27%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
18123 Points ∼8% -10%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
13897 Points ∼6% -31%
GFXBench 3.0 - off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
12 fps ∼2%
Apple iPad Mini 3
13.2 fps ∼2% +10%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
11.6 fps ∼2% -3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
5.5 fps ∼1% -54%
AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
9.8 MB/s ∼4%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
1.53 MB/s ∼1% -84%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
1.46 MB/s ∼1% -85%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
27.5 MB/s ∼14%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
10.75 MB/s ∼5% -61%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
11.68 MB/s ∼6% -58%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
75.6 MB/s ∼13%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
21.79 MB/s ∼4% -71%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
18.02 MB/s ∼3% -76%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
143 MB/s ∼10%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
136.1 MB/s ∼9% -5%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
89.07 MB/s ∼6% -38%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
8431 Points ∼16%
Apple iPad Mini 3
5722 Points ∼11% -32%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
4754 Points ∼9% -44%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
4376 Points ∼8% -48%
Browsermark - 2.1 (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
1856 points ∼6%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
1330 points ∼4% -28%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
829 points ∼3% -55%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
782 ms * ∼9%
Apple iPad Mini 3
440 ms * ∼5% +44%
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
1054.8 ms * ∼12% -35%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
1067.1 ms * ∼12% -36%

Legend

 
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Intel Atom Z3580, PowerVR G6430, 64 GB SSD
 
Apple iPad Mini 3 Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa, ARM Mali-T628 MP6, 16 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

Preliminary Verdict

The brand new Asus ZenPad S 8.0 went through a first short review - and was almost completely convincing. The features leave hardly anything to be desired, and the performance is partly excellent and overall definitely more than sufficient by all means. The cameras are impressive for a tablet and first shots were not disappointing. On top of that, the tablet looks elegant and is light and compact. Is everything fine? Not fully. The poor stability does not meet the premium claim. However, this should not be a decisive factor.

So far, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 does more than well and puts the strong competition in its place in several aspects. If our in-depth review does not reveal blatant flaws, an attack on our tablet charts is possible.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA First Impressions
Patrick Afschar Kaboli, 2015-09- 4 (Update: 2018-05-15)