ASUS MeMO Pad 8 Impressions: On Battery Life and Launchers!

ASUS MeMO Pad 8 has arrived!
Photo taken with an iPad mini w/ Retina. XD The image has been compressed by Twitter though.

Yes, my impressions about this tablet are a few months late since I just bought it about a week ago online but just received it on Thursday. Since there are a lot of reviews out there already, I’m not going to go into the specs and general tablet information since they can be easily found through a simple search on a search engine. Instead, I’m just going to talk about my experiences with it.

First off, I love the tablet! The size is quite comfortable for me although, admittedly, a 7″ tablet would probably be even MORE comfortable for me to hold and type on but I do prefer the bigger screen.

Since I have a habit of writing a novel for a post, here are more thoughts in point form:

  • Set up was painless!
  • The screen is lovely and colours are quite vivid!
  • I ignored and continue to ignore most of the pre-installed apps since they are useless to me and there are probably better alternatives anyway.
  • Audio seems to hiccup a bit at the lowest or close to the lowest setting. :/ I’m not sure if it’s my device or if this is something that all MeMO Pad 8s experience. (A quick Google search returns with nothing. :()
  • Battery consumption is …. suspicious. I will go into more details about this below.
  • Screen brightness at the absolute lowest setting is strangely bright enough for indoor use without any issue. o_O It’s not like that with my Galaxy Tab 10.1 (where I have to squint to see things at the same setting) or iPad mini w/ Retina (viewable but a higher setting works better).
  • Camera is all right. It does the job. :3
  • Gosh, the Android ROM and customization community sure doesn’t care about this tablet! Can’t find a custom ROM for it anywhere. The closest I got was this: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2550264

All right. Now on with the potential battery problem.

When I got the tablet, the first thing I did was charge it to 100% but if I remember correctly, I was using it while it was charging. ^^; Anyway, it was not long after that I realized that with web browsing through Dolphin Jetpack (which I downloaded from the Play Store), installing some apps and games, and playing those games, the battery went down by 10% in about 45 minutes. This is with no Bluetooth, brightness set to “0”, and audio on low.

I recharged it again once it got to about 65% and removed all auto-sync functions except for apps and Gmail, uninstalled Dolphin Browser and Jetpack, and did some casual browsing through Chrome instead. I also threw in some light gaming again. (Light gaming = 5 – 15 minutes.) The battery power reduced at the same rate. :\

This seemed kind of excessive to me so I did some research on the Web but couldn’t seem to find any posts or articles that detailed a similar situation; most of them were people experiencing extremely drastic battery depletion such as the power going down to 40% overnight in standby mode.

I did notice that one post in a forum which was talking about some unrelated ASUS tablet mentioned that the manual stated that the device should be charged for 8 hours before initial use.

Oops.

Charge your tablet for 8 hours!
Apparently, the effect that this has on the battery is debatable in that it may not even affect its lifespan very much due to the fact that Lithium Polymer batteries don’t have the memory thing??

Upon learning this, I let the power of my MeMO Pad 8 deplete a bit and then turned it off to do an overnight charge.

Unfortunately, there was no change in the behaviour of the tablet so my next move was to post a question about it at ASUS MeMO Pad owners community on Google+ since it was by far the most active community for the MeMO family.

I was told that the 10% per ~45 minutes was normal and someone else noted that the tablet should undergo a few discharge cycles before the battery could be properly gauged. It was then that I realized the official specs sheet showed that the tablet lasts around 9 hours.  That’s around 10% per hour. :O

I went on my merry way after that but still decided to do more tests.

That night, I turned off the wifi and let the tablet sleep overnight just to see how far the battery would drop. I think it was in the high 90’s when I stopped using it. For sure, it wasn’t at 100%. Anyway, when I woke up in the morning, I was pleased to see that it was at 92%.

And of course, the battery went back to doing its thing once I started my usual routine. 😛 Oh, on top of this, someone else replied to my post and said that he reads PDFs and does web browsing “all day long” and the battery of his MeMO Pad HD 7 only goes down by 20%. I didn’t ask him to clarify how long “all day long” was but I did read up on the HD 7 and it has the same battery as the 8.

Strangely, there’s a difference in ASUS’ reporting of battery life between the two devices!

For the MeMO Pad HD 7, the fine print reads:

“Battery life will vary according to use. Battery life measured by looping 720P video, brightness at 100nits, external microphone, WLAN/3G on and Gmail logged in for email and updates.”

However, for the MeMO Pad 8, it reads:

“Battery life is measured under power saving mode, playing 720p, video playback, Brightness:100nits, default volume with headphones.”

There’s no indication that wifi was on for the 8 and there’s also a variation with the audio output. In terms of hours reported, the smaller tablet clocked in at 10 hours while the 8″ device managed 9 hours. Of course, given that both batteries have the same wattage, it’s natural that the larger size of the MeMO Pad 8 would contribute to faster power consumption. But aside from that, with the absence of wifi indicated, should I assume that the battery won’t even last 9 hours when wifi IS on?

I ended up posting the same question I posted to the Google+ page on the ASUS North America Facebook page. Hoping to get an answer tomorrow or Tuesday. I only have until Saturday to exchange or return the tablet. ^^;

Now I began to ponder about my options. I could:

Since I’m already doing the recalibration (without rooting), I’m really hesitant to try the second option so soon afterward. In fact, I probably won’t. Depending on ASUS’ answer — I believe they’ll answer or at least point me to support — I may end up just bringing the tablet back to the store. :\

In a way, the battery longevity shouldn’t bother me so much since I’m surrounded by devices with horrible run times right now thanks to me running everything down to 0 at a frequency that would be frowned upon by knowledgable battery, um, enthusiasts. ^^ But for once, I’d like to do things right from the start or at least have a device that won’t suck the juice of its battery right off the bat like what the MeMO Pad 8 is seemingly doing.

You know, if I could just get a hold of some fellow MeMO Pad 8 users, I might not have to go through all of this but it’s unfortunate that I haven’t. 😡

Edit on May 26th: I decided to register at the Transformer Forums. I’m glad I did since I got an answer pretty quickly and it amounted to more than just one sentence. Here’s what administrator, janner43, had to say:

“I wouldn’t say that was terribly excessive, to be honest with you. A ten hour battery life would suggest a rate of drop of 10% per hour – and that type of discharge rate (10 hour battery) would normally be considered “the best” with regards to battery life with the type of usage you describe. Given that the MeMo range is pretty much Asus’ entry level range of tablets, a battery life of 7hrs 30mins (10% drop every 45 mins) would seem to be about right to me.

Yes it would nice to have more & as the battery gets to its optimum – after 5 full charge / discharge cycles, you might get a little more, but I wouldn’t expect much more than 8 hours top end.”

And also:

“The problem with manufacturer estimates of battery life is that they tend to be like car manufacturers’ estimates of fuel economy levels – let’s just say they are often rather optimistic 

If Asus estimate 9 hours, then 7.5 hours is probably spot on in the real world.”

For reference, here’s my post: http://www.transformerforums.com/forum/guides-tips-tricks/24973-faq-definitive-thread-battery-related-matters-asus-range-tablets-42.html#post318985. The answers obviously follow it.

Ugh. I feel like a bit of a goof for not going there earlier. At least I can rest easy now knowing the tablet functions as intended. Maybe I should go ahead and root it then. Bwaha.

Edit on May 28th:

One last quote! I DID get an answer at the ASUS Facebook page yesterday and was referred to a tablet/laptop specialist at their company. Here’s the reply I received today:

“I certainly understand your concern regarding the battery charge like. The rate of battery drain can vary depending which applications or devices are accessing power. 10% every 45 minutes from just browsing the Web and Play Store is normal because there are system services that are also running in the background that are utilizing power from the battery.”

Now that I’m done babbling about the battery situation, I will finish this part with an unrelated photo:

Goofy clock widget
I couldn’t figure out how to stop the time from showing up twice. 😡

I believe the default widget for the lock screen is a weather widget. However, I HATE leaving Location Services on and apparently, the widget really needs it to work. Pretty sure there is no way to manually input a location.

All right. Now for the spotlight on Smart Launcher! 😀 God, I love this launcher. It’s probably way too simplistic for some and it’s true; it’s definitely not as versatile or feature-rich as Apex Launcher or Nova Launcher. In fact, I swore by the former for the longest time. (I actually used Nova Launcher for a while but its free version lacked the gesture option so I switched XD). But after rating Apex because Google Play was pestering me to, I saw that it gave me Smart Launcher as a recommendation so I checked it out. The whole thing about it being fast and lightweight was curious!

I’m glad I tried it. It is truly lovely! I have Auto App Organizer, an app that will automatically categorize apps, installed on my Galaxy Tab 10.1 . Smart Launcher has this feature by default. It’s so convenient and keeps the drawers so tidy! ^__^~ It’s also got some gesture based activations in the free version and, well, pretty much all you need to know is in the description of the product page.

Another draw were the themes. Yeah, I know GO Launcher has a bunch but its HD/tablet version hasn’t been updated since 2012. :E I gotta tell you — I like themes! I can spend an hour or 2 just looking through themes for any system. ^^ Heck, I spent quite some time last night going through Buzz Launcher‘s homepacks and even got the launcher and some packs as well. However, you need a lot of patience to handle everything each homepack has to offer since there’s SO much customizing to be done. It’s not even just about the overall look or the icons; the widgets themselves need a lot of tweaking. If you’ve dealt with Dreamboard themes on iOS before or even Windows’ Rainmeter then you’ll have an idea of what you’d have to deal with. It’s a shame I don’t feel like fiddling with them because a lot of them are really cool and aesthetically pleasing. 😦

Here now are two screenshots of Smart Launcher applied~!

The home screen reminds me of a lock screen. ^^ Unlike other launchers, you can’t really customize the look of this. It’s fine with me since I just adore the design and simplicity.

Smart Launcher with BlankOn SL
Smart Launcher with BlankOn SL~! This was my initial theme~!

And here’s what my MeMO Pad 8 currently looks like although the Play Store and Plume icons have been changed to their 3K03 SIRI Black versions since I took this screencap:

Smart Launcher all themed up
The theme is Absence of Light. The icon package is 3K03 SIRI Black.
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4 thoughts on “ASUS MeMO Pad 8 Impressions: On Battery Life and Launchers!”

  1. dear friend. i got a little bit confused. at the end how do you feel abut the Memopad? Is it worth the money spent? how is it running with the android? Is there anything missing till now? Do you get memory issues when opening many programs? Have you tried skype or another phone program? How is the camera?i am interested on buying it

    1. Near the start of my post, I wrote: “First off, I love the tablet! The size is quite comfortable for me although, admittedly, a 7″ tablet would probably be even MORE comfortable for me to hold and type on but I do prefer the bigger screen”. That kind of sums out my feelings for the device so yes, it was worth the money spent. (I got it on sale for under $199 Canadian before tax.)

      As for the other questions:

      – It runs Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2). Rumour has it that the 4.4 update should be coming to MeMO tablets later this year. But the OS runs smoothly since it’s fairly barebones. The only ASUS touch ups are the shortcut key on the left side of the system bar and the shortcut buttons in the pull-down notification menu. You can disable the stuff in the notification panel but not the button in the system bar, sadly.

      – I have no idea what you mean by “anything missing till now”.

      – I didn’t notice slowdowns when I had Plume, Chrome, Facebook, Settings, Gallery, and some other programs open.

      – I have not tried Skype or any phone program since I don’t use Skype very much/don’t need to use it.

      – The camera could be better. Photo quality isn’t all that great but that’s to be expected from an entry level tablet. Haven’t tried taking photos with the front one but I know the camera itself works.

  2. Can you help me, i’m experiencing drastic battery depletion such as the power going down to 40% overnight in standby mode. Is that normal?

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