Asus Memo Pad 8 Android tablet review

We thought highly of Asus's Memo Pad 7, awarding it a recommended award in our review of the tablet in July 2014. Since then, we've spent some time with its bigger sibling, the Asus Memo Pad 8, to see whether it can live up to our expectations. Find out in our Asus Memo Pad 8 review. See also: Best tablets 2015

The Asus Memo Pad 8 joined the Memo Pad 7 and 10in Transformer Pad in the Asus line-up in June 2014. At a very reasonable price of £169.99 but available for as little as £120 if you shop around, the Memo Pad 8 is a brilliant addition to the ever-growing and improving budget tablet market, competing with the likes of the Tesco Hudl 2, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Advent Vega.

Asus Memo Pad 8 review: Design and build

The Asus Memo Pad 8 is available in a variety of colours that are more subdued than the Asus Memo Pad 7's yellow, blue and red, and therefore more stylish. You can choose between a deep purple, a subtle gold and black or white. Our review unit is white, with a soft matt finish that looks great but does seem to pick up fingerprints and smudges quite easily. Also see: Best new tablets coming in 2016.

Overall, though, it's well-built and sturdy, and doesn't creak under pressure like some of the cheaper tablets we've tried. It's reasonably thin at 8.3mm (slightly thinner than the Tesco Hudl 2's 9mm), and weighs a light 321g compared with the Hudl's 401g so is comfortable to hold.  The ports, buttons, speakers and camera are neat and stylish, too.

Asus Memo Pad 8 review

It has satisfyingly thin bezels around the display, and a silver band around the edge paired with a silver Asus logo to add a slightly more premium look.

One downfall is that the Memo Pad 8's 8in display is quite reflective and will be covered in highly visible fingerprint marks within minutes, despite Asus's Anti-Finger coating claim.

Asus Memo Pad 8 review: Display

That 8in IPS display has a 1280x800 pixel resolution screen, which is the same resolution as the Asus Memo Pad 7 but on a larger surface so with a lower pixel density. That's a real shame, as it means that the Memo Pad 8 has a pixel density of 188ppi, which is really quite low. It's not difficult to spot individual pixels on this display, even from a normal viewing distance, and particularly if you've been using a higher resolution display like the one found on the iPad mini 3 (326ppi).

It's bright, though, and the colours seem bold and vibrant.

Asus Memo Pad 8 review: Hardware and performance

Inside the Asus Memo Pad 8 is an impressive 64-bit 1.33GHz Intel Atom Quad-core processor paired with 1GB RAM. This processor should be enough to be used in netbooks and hybrids, as well as tablets and smartphones.

During our testing, we found the Memo Pad 8 to be responsive and smooth to use, handling most of the tasks we threw at it with ease. Times we found it to be a bit laggy or slow included waking it up – pressing the sleep/wake button doesn't cause the screen to turn on immediately which often resulted in me pressing the button again in my impatience and therefore putting it back to sleep again. Very frustrating.

Asus Memo Pad 8 review

In our benchmark tests, we found that the Asus Memo Pad 8 managed to score 771 and 2436 in the single- and multi-core GeekBench 3 processor test, which is less than the more premium Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4's 2765 but more than the Tesco Hudl 2's 2165 in the multi-core test.

As for graphics, the Memo Pad 8 scored 16fps in the Manhattan GFXBench test and 30fps in the T-Rex test, which is a smidgen better than the Tesco Hudl 2. The SunSpider Javascript browser test resulted in a score of 595ms, which is reasonable.

You'll get 16GB internal memory, but you'll be able to add to late later thanks to the microSD card slot that allows you to add an additional 64GB should you need it.

When it comes to connectivity, the Asus Memo Pad 8 has Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi (but not 11ac), but lacks NFC and 3G/4G connectivity.

Asus Memo Pad 8 review: Cameras

If you plan on using the Memo Pad 8 for taking photos - which isn't ideal in the first place as it's a bit too big to be a practical camera replacement - you'll be disappointed by its camera offerings.

They're not terrible, but we found the rear-facing 5Mp camera to be quite grainy in darker conditions and not very sharp overall, as you can see from our examples below. It was a bit of a miserable day outside when we photographed St Pancras, but even so the photograph's quality is quite terrible.

Below is a second example of a photograph captured with the tablet. Again, it's dull and the colours are muted.

Here's a full-size crop of that image to give you an idea of the quality. Not good.

What is good about the Asus Memo Pad 8's camera, though, is the Asus-built camera app, which is always a selling-point for Asus's tablets and smartphones. It includes filters, effects, a burst mode setting, HDR, Panorama, a selfie setting, and a smart remove mode that automatically removes moving objects from the image.

The Memo Pad 8 can capture 1080p video, too, and the results are reasonable but far from outstanding.

On the front of the Memo Pad 8 is a 2Mp camera with 720p video recording capabilities.

Asus Memo Pad 8 review: Software

Asus Memo Pad 8 review

The Asus Memo Pad 8 runs Android 4.4 KitKat, with an Android 5.0 Lollipop update in the works. That's overlaid with Asus's ZenUI interface, which we love.

It offers flat, simple and easy-to-understand icons and apps across the board, which helps make ZenUI intuitive and quick to get used to despite being quite different from the vanilla Android.

Notably, the What's Next feature is a neat way of managing your schedule, bringing together events, meetings, birthdays and more from different apps. It'll also provide you with reminders if you've got an appointment coming up, for example.

Do It Later is also handy for helping you remember to read that email you got in the middle of lunch earlier, or watch a YouTube video you didn't have time to view for example. It's pretty smart too, organising the tasks into categories so you don't have to sort through the list when you come to complete them.

Asus Memo Pad 8 review: Verdict

Asus's Memo Pad 8 tablet is stylish, well-built and plenty powerful enough for most users looking to play casual games, browse the web and carry out basic productivity tasks. It is well-worth considering at £120 (you'll find it for that price on Amazon) if display and camera quality aren't top of your priority list.

If you want to save a bit of extra cash and aren't worried about loosing an inch off the display, we'd recommend opting for the smaller but very similarly specced Asus Memo Pad 7, which you'll find for under £100 if you shop around.

Asus Memo Pad 8: Specs

  • Android 4.4 KitKat 8in LED Backlight WXGA (1280x800) screen, IPS Intel Atom Z3745 Quad-Core 1.33 GHz 1GB RAM 16GB WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 2Mp front camera (720p video recording) 5Mp rear camera (1080p video recording) Micro USB, Micro SD card 64GB Black, white, purple or gold design 124.9 x 211.7 x 8.3mm
  • Android 4.4 KitKat 8in LED Backlight WXGA (1280x800) screen, IPS Intel Atom Z3745 Quad-Core 1.33 GHz 1GB RAM 16GB WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 2Mp front camera (720p video recording) 5Mp rear camera (1080p video recording) Micro USB, Micro SD card 64GB Black, white, purple or gold design 124.9 x 211.7 x 8.3mm

OUR VERDICT

Asus's Memo Pad 8 tablet is stylish, well-built and plenty powerful enough for most users looking to play casual games, browse the web and carry out basic productivity tasks. It is well-worth considering at £120 (you'll find it for that price on Amazon) if display and camera quality aren't top of your priority list.

If you want to save a bit of extra cash and aren't worried about loosing an inch off the display, we'd recommend opting for the smaller but very similarly specced Asus Memo Pad 7, which you'll find for under £100 if you shop around.