- Exceptional performance
- Quality design
- Low price
- Some annoying software changes
Quick TakeA solid, compact 8-inch tablet with outstanding performance at a low price.
The mid-size model model of Asus’ new lineup of tablets, the MeMO Pad 8, sports a high-end processor paired with an 8-inch display and a moderate $200 suggested retail price. How does it stack up against similarly-sized rivals? We take a look.
Before we begin, a note: Asus, unfortunately, has a habit of re-using the names of its tablets, just as a lot of manufacturers do these days. That makes it easy for customers to accidentally buy an older model while thinking they’re getting a good deal on the latest and greatest. The MeMO Pad 8 we’re discussing today is model number ME181C; before you buy, make sure to check that that’s the one you’re getting.
Build and Design
Like its smaller and cheaper sibling, the MeMO Pad 7, the MP8 looks a lot smaller than 8.3 x 4.9 x 0.3 inches. It’s comparable in dimensions to other 8-inch tablets, but it makes the most of every millimeter, and employs a judicious design to look smaller than it is.
The design is trimmed with an attractively-understated silver stripe. The weight comes in at 11.2 oz. (320 g).
Altogether, I like the MeMO Pad 8 just as much as its little brother; between the excellent grip, the rubberized back, and a design that makes it as small as possible, it feels less like an under $200 tablet, and more like one that should be a lot more expensive.
The screen is the single biggest difference between Asus’ new models. They might have similar specs and designs, but the MeMO Pad 8 features an extra inch of diagonal screen space. That doesn’t sound that impressive, I know. And at face value, it sort of isn’t. Looking at an 8-inch screen, you might be hard pressed to spot the difference. But if you do the math, an 8-inch screen has almost 25% more area than a 7-inch one. Maybe that doesn’t sound impressive either, but when it comes down to real-world use, it can be a very big deal. It means that web pages are 25% larger, and so are documents, books, and anything else you want to look at. Is it a killer app? No. Not at all. If it were, you’d be buying a 10-inch tablet, or one of the new Samsung 12-inch models.
But it’s a nice option. And something that a lot of 7-inch tablet users might want to invest in if they don’t mind a little bit of extra bulk. The MeMO Pads are already fairly efficient about their size, with the MeMO Pad 8 being nearly as small as the 7-inch Hisense Sero 7 Pro model that was popular last year, making that screen space nearly free. All told, 8 inches isn’t quite enough to comfortably reproduce a full-size page (even if you have 20/20 vision), but every bit counts.
But keep in mind, the display is 1280 x 800, the same resolution as many 7-inch models. And with an 8-inch display, this device ends up a pixel density of just 189ppi. So while on-screen items are larger, they aren’t smoother.
Like the MeMO Pad 7, the MP8 doesn’t do especially well in bright light … but it does do BETTER, due to a display that’s around 20% brighter than the 7-inch model, 400 nits versus 330. That’s more like what you should see out of a typical tablet screen, and although it still pales (no pun intended) compared to daylight, it’s a very helpful upgrade.
Buttons and Ports
The upper righthand edge of the MeMO Pad 8 holds the power and volume keys, both of which are canted at a slight angle, halfway from the actual edge down to the back. Although I was skeptical of this approach, I actually like it now; it means it’s hard to hit the buttons by accident, even when the device is on its side, while still being easily accessible.
The headphone jack and micro-USB port are still on the upper edge, with the microSD slot sitting exposed along the left side.
Don’t stop now. Page 2 covers the performance of this tablet.