ASUS announces ZenPad tablets with Android Lollipop and Intel circuitry

ASUS announces ZenPad tablets with Android Lollipop and Intel circuitry

ASUS brought in a big bag of gadgets to present at Computex 2015 in Taipei, and the latest composites of circuitry, metal, glass, and black magic to emerge from it are named the ZenPad 8 & ZenPad S 8. As made apparent by their names, it is a duo of tablets that we’re talking about, and the slates are made special by the fact that they are the first to carry the Zen brand. Oh, and they also have some interesting Intel hardware inside!

The ZenPad 8 Z380, which is the cheaper of the two, is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom x3-C3230RK Silvermont chipset clocked to 1.2GHz. The chip is actually designed by Chinese silicon slinger Rockchip using licensed Intel architecture, and is built by TSMC on a 28nm process. That makes it a collaboration between three companies, which is kind of a rare treat. Still, the chip is situated at the entry-level performance segment, and the integrated ARM Mali 450MP4 GPU won’t give it much of a processing jump beyond that barrier.

Offbeat SoC and a gig or two of RAM aside, the Z380 brings along an 8-inch 11280×800 resolution IPS LCD display, and up to 16GB of expandable flash storage. There’s a pair of 2MP and 5MP cameras handling photos and videos. The tablet sizes up at 8.22 x 4.84 x 0.33in (209 x 123 x 8.5mm) and ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop, fashioned with ASUS Zen UI.

The ZenPad S 8 Z580CA is a beefier tablet that packs a quad-core Moorefield Z3580 2.3 GHz processing punch, along with a PowerVR G6430 GPU and 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM. It too has an 8-inch LCD display, but at a much higher 2048×1536 resolution. Weighing in at 10.5oz (299g), the tab measures a slimmer 8 x 5.3 x 0.26in (203.2 x 134.5 x 6.68mm). It too has a pair of cameras, 5MP on the front and 8MP on the back, with the operating system also being Android 5.0 Lollipop.

A distinct difference, however, is the availability of LTE connection with phone functionality in the cheaper Z380, while the more powerful model is a Wi-Fi only device. The Z580CA also features the new USB Type C port, while its little brother employs a standard microUSB connector. USB-C could let users connect the tablet to an external display, or use it to charge another device.

To complement the tablet launches, ASUS unveiled a special audio cover for the Z380 that enables 5.1 surround sound facilitated by the tablet’s built-in DTS codec. There’s also a power case, protective cases, and a 1024 pressure level stylus that works on both ZenPad tablets.

ASUS hasn’t spoken of the slates’ product availability, but given the ZenFone 2’s aggressive pricing scheme, we won’t be surprised if the low-end tablet eventually arrives at a sub-$200 price point, while its amped-up sibling commands a $100 or so premium.

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