ZenPad S tablet boasts 4:3 screen, Type-C USB

Asus appears to have its sights set on the iPad Mini. At Computex today, the firm unveiled the ZenPad S Z580CA, an 8" Android slate with the same 2048x1536 display resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio as Apple's smallest tablet.

At 6.7 mm and 0.66 lbs, the ZenPad S is slightly thinner and lighter than the latest iPad Mini. It's powered by the Moorefield-based Atom Z3580 with quad x86 cores and PowerVR graphics. The same chip is used in Dell's Venue 8 7000 tablet.

Asus pairs the SoC with up to 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of internal flash. Up to 128GB of additional storage can be added via the Micro SD slot.

The ZenPad S has all the usual accoutrements, including GPS functionality, dual cameras, and multiple wireless flavors. Its Type-C USB connector is fairly novel, though. Asus doesn't detail the port's maximum speed, but the convenience of the reversible plug is arguably worth more than the bandwidth it provides.

Don't confuse the ZenPad S Z580CA with its sibling, the also-new ZenPad Z380C, whose 8" display has a much lower 1280x800 resolution. This budget-oriented model uses a SoFIA-based Atom x3 SoC with quad CPU cores and ARM Mali graphics. It tops out at 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, but the storage is expandable via Micro SD.

Interestingly, the Z380C has interchangeable back covers. There are different colors, of course, plus a battery-infused unit that's supposed to push the tablet's run time to 14 hours. A separate audio cover includes additional speakers and promises 5.1-channel DTS-HD support, presumably via surround sound virtualization. That's not quite a Project Ara level of modularity, but it's still nice to see customization options going beyond cosmetics.

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