Intel’s Atom processor remains a popular choice for manfacturers offering inexpensive tablets, thanks to a combination of respectable performance, power consumption and of course, low prices. We’ve seen a number of manufacturers offering very respectable tablets based around an Intel Atom chipset or in the case of ASUS, a mix of tablets and smartphones. Asus, back in June announced four new ZenPad models, including the ZenPad 8 Z380C and the more powerful ZenPad S8 Z580C. These devices have now arrived in North America and are available to buy from Best Buy, B&H and Adorama from as little as $130, although the more powerful S8 Z580C is $200. The less expensive Z380C is based around an 8-inch, 1,280 by 800 pixel screen arranged in a 4:3 aspect ratio. This screen, which is slightly better than 720p resolution, has a PPI (pixels per inch) density of 189. Inside the Z380C, there’s the Intel Atom x3-C3200 processor, manufactured by Rockchip. This is a quad core 1.2 GHz processor, which is essentially a budget processor designed for emerging markets. The X3 is backed up by 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD card; we would expect it to offer a low end performance for a tablet, but most people are going to be better off spending the extra on the S8 Z580C.
The ZenPad S8 Z580C has better specification but is more a mid-range device. The Z580C ships with the Intel Atom Z3530 processor, a slightly older generation than the current Intel processors. Together with the more powerful processor, the Z580C has a much higher resolution 8-inch display panel, again in a 4:3 aspect ratio. Here, the screen packs 2,048 pixels by 1,536 pixels, giving it a PPI of a respectable 320. There’s also 32 GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD card slot. Whilst the MicroSD card slot might seem to make the issue of internal storage somewhat irrelevant, it’s important to explain that internal memory is best for installing the majority of applications to and reserving the MicroSD expansion memory for media such as videos, pictures and music.
Back when ASUS announced the new refreshed ZenPad, there was also talk of a higher model featuring 4 GB of internal memory and a more powerful processor, together with a USB Type-C connector, but there is no suggestion of this model yet. However, for $130 and especially $200, these two ZenPad models offer a respectable bang for the buck.