Tough to review a tablet when the picture is not that rosy for the sector. But will new year bring some change in fortunes?
Stats are yet to come out regarding performance during the October-December quarter, but before that, global sales of tablets have gone down for consecutive four quarters, with July-September sales showing a decline of 12.6 percent year-on-year basis. Global shipments of tablets were expected to decline by 8.1% in 2015 as compared to last year. That’s the industry scenario in midst of which Taiwanese IT giant ASUS has launched a new range of its tablets- ZenPads. Actually this is a part of series of launches ASUS has done across its all platforms— including ZenFone 2— in the last few months. And indeed all of them have been impressive, to say the least.
Challenge for tablet industry has been to make itself contemporary when users are shifting to larger smartphones or ‘phablets’, as they are called. Some are shifting to lightweight smaller laptops with detachable keyboards. With Apple, Microsoft and Samsung already making leads in that segment, ASUS has made an altogether new effort to redesign the tablet experience. And it has taken a few technological innovations to a new level. My experience with the ZenPad 8.0 has been extremely enriching as a true entertainment hub capable of keeping me in touch all the time and also perform as my workstation in time of need.
ASUS ZenPads are in two sizes- 7 inch and 8 inch and as with its new smartphone series, in ZenPads too, it has a larger screen to body ratio of 76.5%, more than any other tablet. What else ASUS has tried to do is to mould its technological strength with a stylish beauty to make a statement through it’d ZenPads. It has got a stylish appeal.
If tablet means bigger than phone screens for a larger experience than ASUS has further enhanced it with its VisualMaster technology which combines hardware with software to create an optimal display. And actually ASUS combines many technologies- Tru2life, TruVivid, Bluelight Filter, IPS Display and Splendid to experience a realistic viewing. Intelligent settings know if a user is playing a game, watching video, looking at photos or on social networks and adjusts the contrast accordingly. ASUS has many firsts to its credit in this segment.
It is the world’s first tablet to have interchangeable rear elements allowing you to add a longer lasting battery or an integrated speaker within a protective tablet cover. It features the world’s first integration of DTS-HD Premium Sound. It creates an immersive cinema-style experience with deep, rich bass enhanced from 300Hz to 700Hz and treble enhanced from 7kHz to 15kHz. It also gives crystal clear dialogue that keeps a consistent volume. It has a wider range, which is one octave lower and one octave higher thanks to its SonicMaster technology. DTS-HD Premium Sound speaker is built in to the CA81 ASUS Audio Cover, which snaps simply onto the rear of the device. It is perfect for enhancing the enjoyment of movies, YouTube videos and music. The single strip speaker is six in one, incorporating four Main speakers, one Center and one Subwoofer and delivers sound in an upward direction. It has six hours of battery life. Usefully, the case allows the ASUS ZenPad 8.0 Z380KL to stand neatly on a flat surface in landscape mode for watching films or other footage. It also acts as a protective case/screen cover for the device. This is something new to this sector and young ones will like it.
Similarly ASUS Power Case simply snaps on to the rear of the device instead of the ASUS Zen Case. It incorporates a 4330 mAh (typical) non-removable polymer battery to extend the power of the ASUS ZenPad by up to 175% or as much as 16 hours in total.
The ZenPad 8.0 Z380KL offers unparalleled night time landscapes in low light. Its technology can merge four pixels into one super pixel. Pixel Merging means 400% brighter photos at night while Pixel Perfecting intelligently adjusts the noise level and can increase contrast by 200%. The HDR mode on the Rear Camera creates superior images in backlit conditions by balancing the exposure and automatically adjusting brightness and contrast.
The ASUS ZenPad delivers high-end entertainment, wide-ranging on-the-go working and a whole host of different ways to have fun whether via snapping wide 140 degree panoramic selfies, beautifying images at the touch of a button or using social networks, apps, games and the internet. It features a fashionable embossed leather pattern, clean lines, a 6mm slim bezel and rounded edges for a more comfortable grip and ergonomic holding position. It can be complemented by stylish accessories such as the fashionable ASUS Zen Clutch or the interchangeable ASUS Zen Case. There are extensive device customisation options within the UI for full personalisation.
Very clearly, the tablet sector is trying to reinvent itself. It has to repackage the products with lots of goodies and the utilities. Tablets are perched in between mobiles and laptops but it is unlike both of them as they are not as frequently replaceable. Analysts say and that is true to some extent that tablet users are holding onto their devices upwards of four years. That is the reason, they have been showing the decline after initial pick-up. But then going by this logic, with already 4-5 quarters of slump behind, the wheel has to turn up again and it can happen sooner than later. And when that happens, those companies who have reinvented the whole tablet experience will certainly have the better chance.
ASUS is already in fourth position in the global tablet market with almost four percent share lagging behind three biggies- Apple, Samsung and Lenovo. With Lenovo’s share just above 6 percent, ASUS can certainly look for snatching the third position with its new launches in near future. The Power of Zen is with them.
(All images are for representative purpose only)