Zit Seng's Blog

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ASUS ZenPad 3 8.0 Good Upgrade For Nexus 7

I’ve owned the Nexus 7 (2013) for quite a while now. It’s actually still perfectly functional, though it’s certainly getting a bit old. I’ve been wondering, what tablet would be a befitting replacement? I previously reviewed the ASUS ZenPad 3 8.0, and I think it’s probably the best candidate to succeed the Nexus 7.

It’s a pity that Google themselves hasn’t quite launched a successor to the Nexus 7. Their current tablet, the Pixel C, doesn’t belong in the same category as the Nexus 7. The only other Google tablet launched after the Nexus 7 (2013) is the Nexus 9 of 2014, so that’s already pretty old. It seems Google has left a gap in their device offerings.

The Nexus 7 (2013) successor, thus, has to come from somewhere. I noted in my ASUS ZenPad 3 8.0 review of its similarity to the Nexus 7 (2013). If you recall, the Nexus 7 (2013) is also made by ASUS, as was the preceding Nexus 7 of 2012.

The ZenPad 3 8.0 somewhat feels like a refreshed Nexus 7. I suppose being from the same hardware manufacturer, there was got to be some commonality in their design.

I do like the ZenPad 3 8.0. It has a bigger screen, at 8-inches. These days, with smartphones and phablets having screen sizes as big as they are, the 7-inch display on the Nexus 7 feels a little crammed. Even though I don’t want to be totting around a 9-inch or 10-inch screen tablet, 8-inch feels like just the right size for a compact tablet.

Apart from the obviously upgraded screen size, with corresponding resolution increase (pixel density remains about the same), there are other updated hardware specifications in the ZenPad 3 8.0. The processor is now a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650,  higher resolution 8 MP camera, microSD support, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE cellular. The battery capacity is also up, understandably given the larger tablet form. But at 7.6 mm thin, it’s remarkably slimmer than the Nexus 7 (2013).

I do wish that they had upgraded the RAM. It’s still 2 GB, the same as the Nexus 7 had in 2013, which could be considered undersized by today’s standard. The use of Snapdragon 650 processor also puts the ZenPad 3 8.0 in mid-tier category.

It’s good to see the updated USB-C ports, which by now is beginning to be an more common sight. The micro-SD slot mentioned earlier is definitely a welcome addition.

Not being a Nexus device, the ZenPad 3 8.0 regrettably comes packed with lots of ASUS software. It’s also stuck with Android 6.0.1, the same as what the Nexus 7 (2013) currently has.

The ASUS ZenPad 3 8.0 retails for S$499, and is available from the usual retailers in Singapore.

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