ASUS ZenPad S 8.0: An Inexpensive Dark Android Contender
At the main Dark Android Project website, I recommend using tablets as your Dark Android device (because anything with a SIM card is near-impossible to make “really secure”), and I have listed off a couple of different models of tablet to use for this purpose. The first–and generally best–is Google’s/ASUS’ Nexus 7 32GB WiFi (2013). I also recommend Sony’s various models, but that’s the short list.
Well, I’m happy to say that I have another recommendation to make (more options are a good thing) in the tablet space, and this one has some serious potential that other tablets I’ve recommended don’t have.
The tablet is the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 (and there is a 7″ version, but it’s not as impressive). And let’s get this first point right out of the way: it only costs $199. That’s amazing for what you’re getting here. The specifications are as follows:
- 8″ 4:3 Aspect Ratio 2048×1536 screen
- Quad-core Intel Processor (this is important)
- 2GB of RAM
- 32GB of onboard storage (with a MicroSD slot, as well)
- Android 5.0
Unfortunately, at present, you can only purchase this very inexpensive and decently-powered tablet at Best Buy, but it may be worth the trouble, because that is a very nicely spec’d tablet for the price.
But the real winner with this tablet–and where it beats other tablets I recommend–is that Intel processor. As I described on this blog in the past with my discussion of ASUS’ ZenFone 2, the fact that it is not using an ARM-based processor means that you have A LOT MORE options as far as what operating system you want to run on the ZenPad, even going beyond using Android or its derivatives (Ubuntu, other Linux distros, perhaps even Windows 10 if you were so inclined). The amount of OS’ that are compatible with ARM processors are expanding, admittedly, but it still pales in comparison to what works with Intel chips. So this is a major advantage even if Intel chips aren’t as powerful as, say, the latest Tegra X1 from NVIDIA.
What’s also remarkable about this tablet is the 32GB of onboard storage fro $199 (and having the MicroSD card slot doesn’t hurt either for sideloading apps and operating systems). Having a lot of onboard storage allows for storing offline maps (of the entire planet if you like), as well as a multitude of games…really whatever you like. 32GB should be the standard that all devices reach for, MicroSD card or not, and the ZenPad delivers, making its viability as a Dark Android tablet all the more real.
Overall, ASUS makes great hardware, and the top choice that I recommend for Dark Android–the 2013 Nexus 7–is also an ASUS product (even though it was commissioned by Google), and you’re going to get a great quality product here for sub-$200 that gives you the full potential of a Dark Android device and beyond. In the near future this may become the “gold standard” of Dark Android devices, but that will only be decided over time by how much the Android community does “after market” development for it (which is what makes the 2013 Nexus 7 still the “king”).
But if you’re wanting a solid tablet–Dark Android or not–the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 has my highest recommendation.