Don't be fooled by its unfortunate name; Asus' latest Memo Pad looks like the best one yet. The ME581CL tablet packs some promising specs and a surprisingly sleek look, but its pricing will determine if it leaves an impression on the saturated 8- to 9-inch tablet category.
The Android 4.4 slate rocks an 8-inch 1,920x1,200-pixel-resolution IPS display with a purported 178-degree wide viewing angle and modernly thin bezels. It houses a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, and LTE and NFC capabilities.
At 7.45mm and 299g, the plastic-bodied Memo Pad ME581CL is as thin and light as the best of them, and it comes in pearl white, royal blue, and baby pink. In addition to a microSD card expansion slot, Asus offers 5GB of cloud storage for life, via its WebStorage service, with an additional 11GB for the first year. The tablet also features a 5-megapixel rear camera and a front-facing 1.2-megapixel shooter.
If the ME581CL is anything like the Asus Memo Pad HD 7, its screen will be its most impressive asset. The older 7-inch Asus tablet boasts an impressively wide range of colors -- more than the pricier Google Nexus 7 -- and, like the upcoming Memo Pad ME581CL, it ships with Asus' suite of apps, including the Splendid screen calibration app for fine-tuning the sharp display.
Asus Memo Pad tablets are usually priced affordably, but with the upgrade in specs and sleeker design, we'll have to wait and see if that trend holds up. Check back with CNET when pricing and availability are announced. What would you price the Asus Memo Pad ME581CL at? Let us know in the comments section.