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Computex: Asus Memo Pad 8 ME581CL hands-on review

We have a prod at Asus’ updated eight incher
Thu Jun 05 2014, 10:40

TAIPEI: ASUS UNVEILED a number of laptops, tabets, 2-in-1s and even a 3-in-1 at Computex this week, one of which was an updated Memo Pad 8.

The latest Memo Pad 8 isn't as unique as some of Asus' other newly announced devices. It's a rather standard tablet, and is an update to the Memo Pad 8 that Asus launched late last year and now boasts a thinner design and full HD resolution, powered by an Intel Atom chip.

Asus Memo Pad 8 hands-on - in hand

Design and build
Asus claims that the thinner design of the updated Memo Pad 8 means it "easily fits in the palm of your hand". For us, this rang true, although we would argue that this claim surely depends on the size of your hands. For a grown man, yes, it might fit in the hand well, but we can imagine that a younger person or small-framed female might disagree.

With hand-size quibbles aside, the Memo Pad 8 does have a fairly decent appearance. However, without any pricing to go by yet it's difficult to know how to assess this "value tablet". If it hits the UK market for more than £180 as its predecessor did (although the older model can now be had from sites like Expansys and John Lewis for £150), we'd say the build quality of its completely plastic construction wouldn't be worth the price, but if it's priced under £180 it's a winner.

Asus Memo Pad 8 hands-on - top side

Another thing that Asus promotes about the Memo Pad 8 is that, despite the size and features, it still weighs only 299g and is only 7.45mm thick. As with the build quality, this isn't the thinnest or lightest 8in tablet out there right now, but it does feel pretty thin considering its screen size, so again, the value of the size will depend on the price. It doesn't feel unusually big or surprisingly thin in hand, though.

The Memo Pad's 8in display has a Full HD 1920x1200 resolution display, a welcome upgrade from its predecessor's 1280x800 resolution. Therefore, icons are much cleaner looking and pixels are smaller on the Memo Pad 8 update. In our tests, we found that it operated fluidly and appeared bright and vibrant, thanks to the IPS panel, which helped to keep blacks dark.

Asus Memo Pad 8 hands-on - landscape

When we reviewed the older and smaller Memo Pad HD 7 released at Computex last year, we found there was an issue with the tablet's IPS screen, as it was quite susceptible to picking up grime and fingerprint marks. However, Asus now adds an "anti-fingerprint coating" to its Memo Pad line, as seen on this tablet, so we can confirm that the screen doesn't pick up half as many fingerprints.

The processor running inside the Memo Pad 8 has been upgraded from quad-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor to an Intel 64bit Atom Z3580, a quad-core CPU that runs at 2.3GHz, a very welcome upgrade, especially since the device has also been given a memory boost to 2GB of RAM. This was quite noticeable in our hands-on, with the Memo Pad 8 proving very nippy when scrolling through menus and switching between apps.

In our initial tests, the Memo Pad ran smoothly on Android 4.4 Kitkat with no lag, though this will be something we will have to test properly in a full review, as installing all of your favourite apps can slow Android down.

Asus Memo Pad 8 hands-on - sepcs

There's a choice of 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, which we assume will increase in price for the bigger option, though 16GB is enough for your daily multimedia needs but not if you want to store hundreds or TV shows and music files.

Asus claims that the Memo Pad 8 will run for nine hours before running out of juice. We were unable to test this in our short hands-on, but check back soon for a full review when we will put the device through battery burn testing.

First impressions
Overall, we were neither impressed nor disappointed with the Memo Pad 8. It hasn't changed too much in appearance from the Memo Pad 8 announced last year except for its thickness and slightly improved internal specifications, which should mean it runs faster, so those who were fans of its predecessor will welcome the updates. Well, if it doesn't cost too much more than the Memo Pad 8's £180 original price, that is.

Asus Memo Pad 8 hands-on - bottom

Set to arrive in four different colour options of white, black, red, blue and yellow, the Memo Pad 8 has not yet received detailed availability and pricing.

The Asus Memo Pad 8 was launched alongside a 7in version that touts slightly lower specifications. We can assume that this will cost less at launch, but we are waiting on prices for this device too.

Asus also unveiled an 8in version of its Fonepad device on Monday, which we will review soon. Unfortunately, we were unable to get any hands-on time with any of the other devices Asus launched at Computex, such as the Transformer Book Chi and Transformer Book V, because they were locked in glass cases at the firm's booth. µ


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