We've long been fans of ASUS's low-cost, high-quality MeMO Pad line of Android tablets and the company's latest entries look like they will offer even more performance and functionality. Announced at Computex 2014, the 7-inch MeMO Pad 7 ME176C and 8-inch MeMO Pad 8 ME181C provide colorful 1280 x 800 IPS displays, speedy quad-core Atom Baytrail processors and ASUS's attractive, functional Zen UI on top of Android 4.4.
At just 10.4 ounces, the $149 MeMO Pad 7 ME176C is even lighter than last year's MeMO Pad HD 7, which weighed 11 ounces. Instead of the HD 7's glossy back panel, the ME176C has a choice of soft-touch matte panels in yellow, red, white, black, purple and, our favorite, teal blue. The device's 1.8-GHz Intel Atom Z3560 quad-core processor should provide better performance than the 1.2-GHz MediaTek CPU on its predecessor.
However, users may be most smitten by ASUS's attractive Zen UI, which gives the tablet's Android 4.4 operating system an elegeant look and feel, along with a few neat features. In addition to stylish icons and an attractive quick settings menu, Zen UI offers a highly-functional to-do list feature that lets you save any task or Web page or video) for later and keeps a list of all the items you intend to act on. The Zen UI also provides a very helpful camera app with a number of modes, including an animated GIF mode and a mode for erasing unwanted people from pictures just like Samsung's Eraser mode.
The ASUS MeMO Pad 8 ME181C has the same specs as the MeMO Pad 7 ME176C, but with an 8-inch display instead of a 7-incher and an 11.3-ounce chassis. It also has a glossy backside that, in our brief hands-on, picked up our fingerprints quite easily. The back comes in white, pink or blue.
The MeMO Pad 8 ME581CL sports an 8-inch display, but with a 1920 x 1200 IPS panel, a 2.3-GHz Intel Atom Z3580 CPU, 802.11ac wireless and LTE connectivity. Despite its advanced specs, the ME581CL weighs just 10.5 ounces, less than its lower-speced sibling.
An ASUS rep told us that the MeMO Pad 7 ME176C and MeMO Pad 8 Me181C would be shipping very soon. Exact pricing for the two MeMO Pad 8s is not yet available, though a company rep estimated that the Me181C would cost about $30 more than the MeMO Pad 7 Me176C. We hope to see how well these new MeMO Pads peform in the near future.