Asus ZenPad Z8 is an affordable Android tablet on Verizon

If you think 7" tablets are just a tad too small and you'd like something a little bigger with a very sharp screen, Asus has just the thing for you. Meet the ZenPad Z8 and all of its 8 inches of goodness.

The 7.9", 2048x1536 IPS screen in the ZenPad Z8 exactly matches the display specs of the iPad mini 4. For horsepower, the ZenPad Z8 pairs 2GB of RAM with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 SoC. That part contains an Adreno 510 GPU and a total of six CPU cores—two Cortex A72s and four Cortex A53s. Software duties are handled by Android 6.0.1 with Asus' ZenUI overlaid on top.

Base storage on the Z8 is only 16GB, but unlike the fine folks at Cupertino, Asus actually think microSD card slots are cool. The ZenPad Z8 has such a slot, and it can take in cards with capacities as large as 128GB. There are a few other niceties on offer, too. The Z8's two speakers are front-facing (instead of the usual side or bottom placement), while a reversible USB Type-C connector should make charging and data transfer just a tad less annoying than usual.

Wireless connectivity on tap includes 4G comms, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. According to Asus, the 4680-mAh battery in the Z8 is good for 13 hours of usage. The tablet is quite slim, too, at only 7.6 mm thick. There's a tidbit of bad news, however. For now, the ZenPad Z8 is a Verizon exclusive. Interested buyers can pre-order it at Verizon's online shop for $250, or $150 with a 2-year contract. Come June 23, the Z8 will be available online and in Verizon retail locations.

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