We are going strong with vs. comparison articles in hopes of helping you decide what tablet is right for you. In this case, the ZenPad S is 8-inch whereas the iPad Air 2 is 9.7-inch. Why wouldn’t we compare the iPad Air 2 to the ZenPad 10? I think it’s safe to say that the ZenPad S is the premium product and considering the iPad Air 2 is an Apple premium product, this is a more reasonable versus battle.
We will first look at the weight and thickness of these two tablets. Weight wise, we will be looking at a scale of weight per inch so that the size won’t affect the comparison. It levels the field as it were. So the ZenPad Z580C weighs 40g per inch and the iPad Air 2 weighs 45g per inch. Surprisingly, the ZenPad S is a lighter tablet. In terms of thinness, the ZenPad S 8.0 is 6.9mm thick, whereas the iPad Air 2 is 6.1mm thick. Close, but the iPad Air 2 is the thinner of the two tablets.
Resolution vs. resolution, both these tablets have a 2048 x 1536 resolution, but because of the extra size of the iPad Air 2, the ZenPad S gets a higher pixel per inch score. ZenPad is 324 ppi and the iPad Air is 264 ppi. The real life screen comparison isn’t possible just yet, but they will be very comparable and similar.
Camera comparison shows that the ZenPad Z580C actually beats the iPad Air 2 front facing camera with a 2MP vs. 1.2MP. The rear cameras are both 8MP but it’s fairly safe to assume that the iPad Air 2 photo quality will be better. Apple has a history of having the best mobile photo taking devices. We need some real life comparisons to make a final verdict however.
Storage is going to be a no contest situation. First, the Z580C ZenPad S has a microSD slot (max. 128GB card) which the iPad Air 2 does not have. The iPad Air 2 however does offer up models with 64GB and 128GB of storage which the ZenPad S (Z580C) does not offer. Beyond these specs, Asus offers a lifetime of 5GB free cloud storage. Clearly the cheaper and better storage belongs to the Asus ZenPad S tablet.
Battery life is absolutely going in favor of the iPad Air 2. The reason? The battery in the ZenPad S is 15.2Wh, but the iPad Air 2 has a 27.3Wh battery. Although the screen of the Air 2 will draw more power, the batteries are quite different and that’s going to make the iPad Air 2 the winner even without real life testing results.
Let’s look at RAM and processing power. The ZenPad S 8.0 (Z580C) comes with 2GB of RAM and the iPad Air 2 comes with the same 2GB of RAM. With processors, the ZenPad S comes with an Intel Atom Z3530 quad-core 64bit @ 1.2GHz and the iPad Air 2 comes with triple-core processor @ 1.5GHz. The processors are very similar, but perhaps put a small edge to the iPad Air 2, although the Intel Atom in the ZenPad S is the latest and greatest architecture.
Speakers, the win is going to the ZenPad S 8.0 because it has dual front facing stereo speakers. The side mounted iPad Air 2 speakers might be okay, but front facing has to beat out side facing speakers any day of the week. We don’t need audio samples. If you tell us you prefer side mounted speakers vs. front facing speakers we wouldn’t believe you. Ever.
In terms of what one tablet has over the other tablet? The iPad Air 2 has the finger print sensor which the ZenPad S does not have. The iPad Air 2 also has 3G and 4G LTE models available which the ZenPad S does not have. There is nothing extraordinary with the ZenPad Z580C in terms of unique features or specs that it has over the iPad Air 2.
Price? We know for certain that Asus wins on the pricing and being cheap in comparison. The question is by how much does the ZenPad S beat the iPad Air 2? If price is a big factor in your shopping for a new tablet, then you would have to take the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 (Z580C).
So the final verdict? It depends what is important to you. Build quality? Likely the iPad Air 2 is going to look and feel slightly more premium. But with a premium build, Apple charges substantially more money. So cost comes into play here, or at least for many consumers. Spec wise, these tablets are very similar. The speakers on the ZenPad are actually a big deal and should weigh on your decision. Music and movies on a tablet? Those are very common tablet uses and speakers facing you will mean a more pleasant user experience.
If you’re like us, it’s a bit surprising to see the 2nd from the top Z580C tablet stand up so well to the flagship tablet from Apple. It makes one realize that Asus and the ZenPad S Series is going to be a real contender for moving up the market share rankings.