Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review

Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Introduction


It’s been a while since we’ve last reviewed a dedicated tablet from Asus, seeing that the last one we got the chance to check out was the hybrid PadFone X mini from last year. Most companies nowadays tend to shy away from high-end tablets, especially on the Android side, but Asus comes back swinging with something delicious in the svelte ZenPad S 8.0. Now, there are variants of this particular model, but the one we’re dealing with here, the Z580CA, is the company’s flagship tablet that strives to balance work and play.

The package contains:

  • Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Get start guide
  • Important information

Design

Almost unbelievable we’re dealing with an 8-incher here, just because it looks and feels more like a 7-incher.

You’d hardly think we’re dealing with an 8-inch tablet here, just because it feels and looks more like a 7-incher thanks to how they’ve trimmed the footprint to achieve an impressive 74% screen-to-body ratio. What’s even better, is the fact that its design blends sophistication and elegance with its hairline patterned metallic chassis and a soft-touch leather accent that’s hugging one side of the tablet in the back. Even though it's still a bit wide to comfortably grasp with a single hand, its lightweight (298g) feel and svelte profile (6.6mm) do nicely in giving it some notable traits for a tablet of its caliber.

Unfortunately, the power button and volume controls lack any decent feedback when pressed – so you never know if you’ve actually pressed down on them or not. What’s really interesting, though, is the fact that it’s one of the few devices in the space right now with a USB Type-C connector, ensuring that it’s one step ahead of the game. And lastly, Asus blesses the ZenPad S 8.0 with dual front-firing Sonic Master speakers with DTS HD Premium Sound.

 

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Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review

Display

We like its 2K resolution, but not so much with the other characteristics of the display.

Cementing its place as a premium tablet, the ZenPad S 8.0 is fashioned along with an 8-inch 1536 x 2048 (QXGA) IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protecting it. Details, unsurprisingly, are plentiful factoring in its 8-inch real estate with its generous resolution – giving it a respectable pixel density of 320 ppi. As much as we take fancy over its sharpness, there’s just this subdued overall tone that lessens its attractiveness.

For one, its peak 387 nit luminance makes it troublesome to view outdoors when the sun is out, which can be the main contributing factor to its subdued appearance. Secondly, the display exhibits a colder tone with its ~7300K color temperature, giving colors a hint of blue. And while it’s technically not perfectl in hitting all the target values in the sRGB colorspace, it does nicely to stay within a certain degree of tolerance – though, the various shades of magenta tend to favor some bluish hues to them.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Google Nexus 9 453
(Good)
10
(Average)
1:1178
(Good)
6942
(Excellent)
2.17
3.79
(Good)
4.56
(Average)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 387
(Average)
12
(Average)
1:1780
(Excellent)
7338
(Good)
2.28
4.36
(Average)
4.44
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 375
(Average)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6605
(Excellent)
2.17
2.29
(Good)
1.24
(Excellent)
Apple iPad mini 3 312
(Average)
6
(Good)
1:823
(Average)
6656
(Excellent)
2.24
8.5
(Poor)
1.55
(Excellent)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 52.8%
0%
unmeasurable
6.5%
0.5%
81.2%
510.5%
Google Nexus 9 70.6%
70%
76.3%
8.2%
2.3%
2.1%
7.5%
Apple iPad mini 3 73.7%
83.3%
68.3%
10.3%
2.7%
0.9%
139.4%
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 77%
75%
66.4%
15.6%
0.9%
33.9%
39.6%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review

Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Introduction


It’s been a while since we’ve last reviewed a dedicated tablet from Asus, seeing that the last one we got the chance to check out was the hybrid PadFone X mini from last year. Most companies nowadays tend to shy away from high-end tablets, especially on the Android side, but Asus comes back swinging with something delicious in the svelte ZenPad S 8.0. Now, there are variants of this particular model, but the one we’re dealing with here, the Z580CA, is the company’s flagship tablet that strives to balance work and play.

The package contains:

  • Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • Get start guide
  • Important information

Design

Almost unbelievable we’re dealing with an 8-incher here, just because it looks and feels more like a 7-incher.

You’d hardly think we’re dealing with an 8-inch tablet here, just because it feels and looks more like a 7-incher thanks to how they’ve trimmed the footprint to achieve an impressive 74% screen-to-body ratio. What’s even better, is the fact that its design blends sophistication and elegance with its hairline patterned metallic chassis and a soft-touch leather accent that’s hugging one side of the tablet in the back. Even though it's still a bit wide to comfortably grasp with a single hand, its lightweight (298g) feel and svelte profile (6.6mm) do nicely in giving it some notable traits for a tablet of its caliber.

Unfortunately, the power button and volume controls lack any decent feedback when pressed – so you never know if you’ve actually pressed down on them or not. What’s really interesting, though, is the fact that it’s one of the few devices in the space right now with a USB Type-C connector, ensuring that it’s one step ahead of the game. And lastly, Asus blesses the ZenPad S 8.0 with dual front-firing Sonic Master speakers with DTS HD Premium Sound.


Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review

Display

We like its 2K resolution, but not so much with the other characteristics of the display.

Cementing its place as a premium tablet, the ZenPad S 8.0 is fashioned along with an 8-inch 1536 x 2048 (QXGA) IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protecting it. Details, unsurprisingly, are plentiful factoring in its 8-inch real estate with its generous resolution – giving it a respectable pixel density of 320 ppi. As much as we take fancy over its sharpness, there’s just this subdued overall tone that lessens its attractiveness.

For one, its peak 387 nit luminance makes it troublesome to view outdoors when the sun is out, which can be the main contributing factor to its subdued appearance. Secondly, the display exhibits a colder tone with its ~7300K color temperature, giving colors a hint of blue. And while it’s technically not perfectl in hitting all the target values in the sRGB colorspace, it does nicely to stay within a certain degree of tolerance – though, the various shades of magenta tend to favor some bluish hues to them.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Google Nexus 9 453
(Good)
10
(Average)
1:1178
(Good)
6942
(Excellent)
2.17
3.79
(Good)
4.56
(Average)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 387
(Average)
12
(Average)
1:1780
(Excellent)
7338
(Good)
2.28
4.36
(Average)
4.44
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 375
(Average)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6605
(Excellent)
2.17
2.29
(Good)
1.24
(Excellent)
Apple iPad mini 3 312
(Average)
6
(Good)
1:823
(Average)
6656
(Excellent)
2.24
8.5
(Poor)
1.55
(Excellent)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 52.8%
0%
unmeasurable
6.5%
0.5%
81.2%
510.5%
Google Nexus 9 70.6%
70%
76.3%
8.2%
2.3%
2.1%
7.5%
Apple iPad mini 3 73.7%
83.3%
68.3%
10.3%
2.7%
0.9%
139.4%
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 77%
75%
66.4%
15.6%
0.9%
33.9%
39.6%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

The ZenUI offers a higher degree of personalization to the interface, but lacks the true multi-tasking experiences to make it suitable for power users.

After following the succaess of its ZenFone 2, it’s no surprise to us at all that Asus employs the updated ZenUI experience on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop that we’ve come across previously. Visually, they’ve simply slapped the same interface running in the ZenFone, but stretched it out to accommodate the larger screen size here. While it’s more than functional, especially when there’s a higher degree of personalization, where we can even choose what font type to use, it lacks a bit as far as true multi-tasking functions go.

Despite that, there are some useful features in tow that diversify the experience – they consist of its various ZenMotion gestures, support for multiple users, and gesture shortcuts. And if you happen to pick up the optional $30 Z Stylus, it functions similarly to Samsung’s S Pen with its 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Processor and Memory

Don’t underestimate its Atom chip because it’s mighty fast!

By now, it’s quite obvious that Asus and Intel have a partnership going on with one another, since the ZenPad S 8.0, much like the ZenFone 2 before it, is Intel-inside as well. Under the hood, it features a 64-bit based quad-core 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and the PowerVR G6430 GPU. The combination absolutely gives the tablet a zippy and responsive feel, evident in how we’re able to move oh so fluidly across the homescreen.

Additionally, it’s able to handle some processes that are more demanding, including on the graphics processing side. Even more impressive, it holds down its ground by delivering benchmark scores that closely rival that of Samsung’s new tablets.

Our particular review unit comes with a spacious 64GB of storage, which translates to 53.74GB out of the box, but there’s a microSD slot tucked into one of its sides to complement it.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 56836
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 50148
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 47146
Apple iPad mini 3 35513
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 2731
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 1474
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 1430
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 6103
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 4671
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 3064
Sunspider
Lower is better
Google Nexus 9 956.8
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 1011.2
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 831.7
Apple iPad mini 3 443.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 41
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 29
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 26
Apple iPad mini 3 22.7
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 22
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 12
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 9.9
Apple iPad mini 3 8.9
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 1929
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 1183
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 1036
Apple iPad mini 3 999
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 1903
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 905
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 933
Apple iPad mini 3 1373
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 3166
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 3676
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 2953
Apple iPad mini 3 2478
View all

Internet and Connectivity


Just as expected, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 is endowed with all the rich qualities that make it a fine experience surfing the web on it. From its lightning-quick page loads, to its zippy navigational controls, there’s nothing we don’t like about its ideal experience. There’s even the handy ZenMotion gesture that automatically launches the native web browser when drawing the letter “W” while the screen is off.

Currently, this is a Wi-Fi only tablet, since there’s no official word on whether or not it’ll be graced with cellular radios. Regardless, it comes with all of the basic connectivity necessities we find on any tablet – such as aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.1, and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Sadly, though, NFC is nowhere to be found.

Camera

We expect better than the dull looking details its camera produces.

Taking a peek at the Asus ZenPad S 8.0's camera gear, an 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-meagpixel front combo, it’s well within the scope of a tablet. The lens itself is positioned along one of the corners on the back of the tablet, so that our fingers never come across its path. What’s really nice, though, is that it features the same rich and immersive experience with its interface – one that comes with a sum of cool shooting modes to appease our every desire. Well, the only thing missing here is just a full manual mode, but then again, we don’t think it’s necessary to have one for a tablet.


We expect better from our devices, but it can’t hide the fact that it’s certainly a weaker performer against most smartphone cameras. In particular, fine details are almost non-existent with this one, producing instead smeary and smudgy details, even when the lighting conditions are ideal. It’s not bad looking when we look at the overall picture, but we wouldn’t recommend doing any sort of cropping with this one.

Under low light, it’s also a big disappointment due to the amount of noise, even more indistinct details, and its overall dim tone. Yeah, there’s a specific low lighting mode to bump up the exposure to brighten up the shots when lighting is insufficient, but it still favors a duller looking composition.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 2
No data
401
No data
Apple iPad mini 3 3.1
3.3
No data
No data
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 4.7
No data
541
No data
Google Nexus 9 6.3
No data
486
333
View all

Ugh! There’s also nothing to like about its 1080p video recording quality as well. From its softer toned details, to its lack of continuous auto-focus, and its heavily distorted audio recording, you’ll want to pass up the opportunity on using it for capturing any of those moments you want to actually remember. Just don’t!


Multimedia

We like that the ZenPad S 8.0's speakers are front-firing, but not so much with its underpowered tone.

On top of Google Play Music, Asus throws in its own music player, which is pretty generic when it comes to its layout and operation. Certainly, the placement of its dual speakers are ideal, as they project audio towards us, but it’s rather underpowered at 71.1 dB. We were inclined to believe that some substance would be brought on by enabling its DTS audio enhancement, but that’s not the case seeing that we notice just a subtle bump with its treble. Simply, it lacks any punch and bass to give its quality any meaningful power.

No doubt, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 suffices enough for watching high-def videos. For a tablet, however, it would be beneficial for it to offer some sort of multi-tasking element with the experience. Sadly, there’s none here whatsoever, so there’s no doing something else while watching a clip.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 1.19
Apple iPad mini 3 0.87
Google Nexus 9 0.808
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 0.478
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 74.4
Apple iPad mini 3 76.6
Google Nexus 9 70.1
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 71.1
View all


Battery

Just disappointing with the battery life, very uncharacteristic for a tablet.

Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
Asus doesn’t specify the capacity of its battery cell, except that it’s a 15.2Wh Li-polymer one. Honestly, it doesn’t matter because it delivers some disappointing results. Generally speaking, tablets are given beefier sized batteries to make them last longer than most smartphones, but in our experience, we’re sometimes given less than a day of normal use. Its poor performance is made more profound under our custom battery test, as it achieves a dismal 5 hours and 41 minutes on a full charge – that’s a full hour less than the larger Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch.

Conversely, its charge time of 213 minutes is pretty fast for a tablet.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Google Nexus 9 9h 24 min (Excellent)
Apple iPad mini 3 6h 53 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 6h 46 min (Average)
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 5h 41 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Google Nexus 9 254
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch 263
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 213
View all

Conclusion


Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA Review
How much would you pay for a tablet that comes with an 8-inch 2K display, new USB Type-C connector, 8MP/5MP camera combo, svelte/elegant design, 64-bit Intel Atom processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage with microSD expansion? How about $299 for the entire package? That’s not too shabby when you think about it, so it’ll definitely appeal to those who are cost-conscious.

This tablet, naturally, complements what Asus has started with the ZenFone 2 from earlier this year – devices that strike a balance between price and specs. In that way, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 achieves the intention, but there are several areas where it just falls short of the competition. To that end, it actually chips away at its overall value, seeing that we’re most disappointed by its weak battery life, subpar camera performance, and its lack of advanced multi-tasking features.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 5.0
Build Number: LRX21V.WW_P01M_V4.2.0-20150904
Kernel Version: 3.10.20-x86_64_moor-00003-gf54907e




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