The tablet’s most impressive feature is its long-lasting battery. After catching up on the two latest episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and checking out the pilot of “The Deuce” on Amazon Video, then streaming a handful of different Chicago Art Ensemble performances on YouTube — all on LTE — I found the battery remained at 100 percent.
Unlike with most tablets, I really had to try to drain the ZenPad Z8s’ battery. In streaming video battery testing it lasted an impressive 13 hours.
The Z8s’s trim aluminum design is also a highlight. It’s casually sleek and portable, with an aluminum back and metal sides with matching buttons. It feels and looks like a premium tablet, even though it’s on the affordable side of the tablet spectrum.
One design pet peeve is the lack of a backlight on the capacitive buttons. Located on the tablet’s bottom edge, the capacitive buttons do not light up when touched, making them difficult to see in the dark. Additionally, though it charges via USB-C, it doesn’t support any type of fast charging.
The Asus tablet has an excellent sharp screen with wide viewing angles. It’s colorful and vibrant when streaming HD video; however, its 4:3 aspect ratio (like the iPad Mini 4‘s) adds a bit of extra letter blocking, that is, the big black bars that frame HD videos. This aspect ratio works better for browsing the web and reading than for watching HD video, but the crisp screen works wonderfully for both.
While this may look and feel a bit like the low-end iPad Mini 4, don’t confuse the two. The $400 iPad Mini 4 runs iOS, which makes for a very different tablet experience. If you have an iPhone, it syncs your favorite apps, text messages and photos seamlessly. There’s a bit more fragmentation in the Android ecosystem.
- 2,048×1,536-pixel resolution
- IPS screen
- Android 7.0
- 1.8GHz Snapdragon 652
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- MicroSD card reader, up to 128GB SDXC
- Micro SIM card slot