Asus Memo Pad 8 review: Feature-filled slate for the frugal

If you're familiar with the Android OS, you will easily find your way around the Zen UI. However, if you're a little wet behind the ears, Asus offers a ton of tutorials to guide you through the getting-to-know-you process. I found the tutorial for the robust SuperNote app -- which could give Samsung's Note line a run for its money if the MeMo came with a stylus --the most refreshingly useful.

The MeMo Pad packs more preloaded exclusively-Asus functions with WebStorage and PartyLink. WebStorage, Asus' cloud storage service, offers two years of free cloud storage, and PartyLink allows you to share photos with other Asus devices. The Snapchat-esque function works swiftly, however, it's confusing to use, and I found other methods of transfer to be easier.

asus-memo-pad-8-9114-006.jpg
Touchscreen response can lag, but it's not as bad as my chipped nail polish. Josh Miller/CNET

Performance

The MeMo Pad 8 rocks a vivid IPS screen with a wide range of colors. Images and video look richly saturated, with good contrast and wide viewing angles. The 1,280x800-pixel resolution is comparable to other midsize budget tablets, and the sharpness is fine for watching video and gaming. It's no Samsung Tab S, but for a $200 slate, it's mighty fine.

The maximum brightness is a bit dim, making it difficult to use outdoors, and there's no ambient light sensor, so you have to manually adjust the brightness setting frequently.

asus-memo-pad-8-9124-007.jpg
Simple mobile games run smoothly, but larger games hog all the RAM. Josh Miller/CNET

For basic tasks like browsing the Web and checking email, the MeMo Pad 8 runs smoothly, but its performance wasn't as consistently steady as the Lenovo A8. When many apps are open at once, performance gets buggy; waking the tablet by pressing the power button takes a few seconds longer, touchscreen response lags, and the screen gets glitchy. Closing all apps and giving the tablet a minute to breath usually solved the problem.

Device CPU GPU RAM OS tested
Asus MeMo Pad 8 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 Intel HD Graphics for BayTrail 1GB Android 4.2.2
Lenovo A8 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek 8121 Mali 400 MP 1GB Android 4.3
Acer Iconia A1-830 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 PowerVR SGX 544MP2 1GB Android 4.2
Dell Venue 8 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2580 PowerVR SGX 544 MP2 2GB Android 4.3

Larger apps take their time to load -- understandable considering the MeMo Pad 8's modest specs -- but they run smoothly as long as you exit background apps. I encountered a lag while running larger apps and downloading updates, so for smooth performance, it's best to do one thing at a time.

The MeMo Pad 8 packs a 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front-facing one, and though the photo quality isn't impressive, the robust native camera app makes the best of it with some fun scenes modes.

asus-memo-pad-8-9106-004.jpg
The native camera app is more impressive than the cameras themselves. Josh Miller/CNET

The camera modes range from the usual Auto, Night, and Panorama, but standouts includes the depth-of-field setting, for capturing photos of a sharp subject with a blurry background, and the GIF animation option, for easily creating animated GIFs.

Face detection works well as long as photo subjects are looking forward, but both front and rear shooters allow manual focus, if that's more your style. If you take the time to familiar yourself with the different scene modes, you can get a pretty decent shot.

p20140618164416df.jpg
You can make a photo's background blurry by using the depth-of-field mode. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

Anecdotally, the battery on the Asus MeMo Pad 8 lasted about a day and a half on a full charge with consistent use. Check back for final battery life results from our CNET Labs when we're done testing.

Conclusions

Budget tablets are a dime-a-dozen, and 7-inch superstars like the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX make it a tough space to stand out in. However, the Asus MeMo Pad 8 does just that. It's an attractively slim 8-inch option with an approachable user interface and plenty of software features to keep you busy.

Its affordable $199 starting price should catch the eye of bargain shoppers who don't want to feel like they're getting a raw deal. However, if you can handle a size downgrade and a slight bump in price, the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX both offer better builds and performance for only $30 more.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Quick Specifications See All

  • Wireless Connectivity Wi-Fi
  • Type Android 4.4 (KitKat)
  • RAM 1 GB - DDR3 SDRAM
  • Weight 11.2 oz
  • Operating System Android 4.4 (KitKat)
  • Storage 16 GB Embedded MultiMediaCard
Hot Products