Asus Memo Pad 8 review

16 Apr 2014

A perfectly competent Android tablet, but it isn't a patch on the Nexus 7

Price when reviewed: 
180(£180 inc VAT)
4

Asus seemed to have cornered the compact-tablet market in recent years: its Nexus 7 currently holds the top spot on the A-List, and the modestly priced Fonepad achieved the top spot before that. The Asus Memo Pad 8 marks the newest instalment in Asus’ range of budget Android tablets. Priced at £180, it’s in a similar price bracket to the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7in. See also the 11 best tablets of 2014

Physically, it’s smart enough, all clad in charcoal grey and black. It shares the Nexus’ restrained design, with a matte-plastic finish that curves gently at the sides and corners, but it’s noticeably chunkier. It’s 10.7mm thick – a full 2.2mm thicker than the Nexus 7 – it’s broader and heavier at 125mm, and at 350g it’s significantly heavier, too. It’s still narrow and light enough to sit in one hand fairly easily, though.

The Memo Pad 8’s selection of ports didn’t throw any surprises our way: there’s only a 3.5mm audio jack and micro-USB found at the top of the tablet. However, we were pleased to see a microSD slot on the tablet’s left side, a handy feature that gives the option to add an additional 64GB to the tablet’s 16GB internal storage. That’s one upgrade option the Nexus 7 doesn’t share.

Elsewhere, the Memo Pad 8 is less impressive. Its 8in screen has a resolution of only 800 x 1,280, where the Nexus 7’s is Full HD; a shame, since the Memo Pad’s IPS panel and LED backlight produces perfectly acceptable image quality. The maximum brightness is 313cd/m² and the contrast ratio of 1,043:1 is superb, ensuring images are eye-catching and dynamic.

In terms of wireless connectivity, the tablet offers only single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3. Its 5-megapixel rear camera is middle of the road, producing crisp snaps outside, but grainy pictures with a warm, orangey hue in less favourable light indoors.

The Memo Pad also falls short when it comes to performance. A SunSpider time of 1,209ms is comparable to the Nexus 7’s score of 1,202ms, but its quad-core 1.6GHz Rockchip SoC and Mali-400 MP4 GPU are a long way behind when it comes to gaming performance. In the GFXBench T-Rex test, run at the screen’s native resolution of 800 x 1,280, the Memo Pad 8 gained a mere 6fps compared to the Nexus 7’s 15fps.

Where the Memo Pad 8 shows some promise is battery life. In our looping video test, it lasted 11hrs 14mins with the screen set to 120cd/m², where the Nexus 7 lasted 11hrs 48mins. It isn’t far behind, and should deliver a day of use comfortably – more if lightly used.

The Asus Memo Pad 8 isn’t a bad tablet at all. Performance may be a little lacklustre, but screen quality and battery life are good, it’s handsomely designed and storage is expandable, thanks to the microSD slot. Its key problem is that – while it does everything perfectly well – the Nexus 7 is superior in most departments. Unless memory expansion is absolutely critical, we’d spend the extra £20 and opt for the A-List title holder.

Detail

Price ex VAT £150
Price inc VAT £180
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 4
Performance 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 3

Physical

Dimensions 213 x 10.7 x 127mm (WDH)
Weight 350g

Display

Screen size 8.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 800
Resolution screen vertical 1,280
Display type IPS
Panel technology IPS

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 2MHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 1.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes

Software

Mobile operating system Android 4.2.2