Small tablets all look roughly
the same. They have rounded corners so as not to cut into your palms
and a narrow bezel that makes the screen more prominent. Even the
headphone jack, volume rocker and power button are often placed in
standard locations, regardless of the manufacturer.
On Android slates, you can also expect a microSD card slot to
supplement the internal storage. More often than not, these tablets
come in a 16:9 aspect ratio optimised for videos - there are no black
bars at the sides.
Asus' latest MeMO Pad 8 checks all these boxes. Its design is practically identical to the previous model, but slimmer.
Unlike the majority of slates that use an ARM-based processor, the
Asus has an Intel Atom CPU. This quad-core chip belongs to Intel's
Moorefield class of 64-bit Atom processors. Significantly for Intel,
this chip has an integrated LTE chipset that makes it competitive with
processors from market leader Qualcomm.
For consumers, LTE is just another feature that puts this tablet on
a par with its rivals. Where the Asus edges out some of its rivals,
such as the Apple iPad mini 3, is its support for the latest 802.11ac
Its 8-inch display is bright and sharp. Viewing angles are wide and
there appears to be no air gap between the LCD and its protective
Corning Gorilla Glass 3 layer.
The screen has an anti-fingerprint layer that works reasonably well.
The tablet's glossy back does not have such a coating, though smudges
are not obvious at a glance. I was more worried that the tablet would
slip from my fingers because of its smooth rear.
At around 299g, the Asus is relatively light. For instance, it
weighs about 40g less than the 7.9-inch iPad mini 3. Its plastic
chassis bends slightly under pressure, but does not creak. It is
available in blue, pink or white.
Asus' ZenUI interface runs on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. Like
Samsung, Asus has produced a slew of proprietary apps that duplicate
some of the basic Android OS functions. They are useful for first-time
or casual users who have yet to explore the Google Play Store for
My main complaint here: there is a touch of lag with the Asus
software keyboard that contrasts with the fluid screen transitions and
animations for the rest of the interface.
The tablet lasted a decent seven hours in our video playback battery test. This is around 30 minutes less than the iPad mini 3.
But at $499, the Asus MeMO Pad is much more affordable than its Apple counterpart ($728).
Processor: Intel Atom Z3560 (1.8GHz)
Display: 8 inches, 1,920 x 1,200 pixels
Camera: 5 megapixels (rear), 1.2 megapixels (front)
Storage: 16GB, microSD expandable to 64GB
Value for money: 4/5
Battery life: 3/5