In a tech hardware market that’s often dominated by big names like Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung, there’s a smaller company that has quietly built a reputation for making high-quality budget gear: ASUS.
ASUS makes an assortment of electronics, but it’s perhaps best known for its tablets. The company offers a wide variety of models; in addition to the ZenPad line of tablets, ASUS has also partnered with Google to develop Google-branded tablets for those who prefer the company’s no-frills version of the Android operating system. And while each different product line caters to specific use cases, all ASUS tablets have plenty in common: they’re all dependable, easy to use, and more affordable than competing models from bigger companies.
Are you ready to find the right ASUS tablet for you? Here’s everything you need to know to make an informed purchase decision — the features that are worth paying extra for, the ones that aren’t, and what you can expect for your money. Take a look at our favorites, too.
ASUS makes a wide variety of tablets, so to help with your search, start by answering these questions.
Your first consideration should be screen size, because that decision will have the biggest impact on both cost and performance. Tablets with seven- or eight-inch screens are lighter, have longer battery life, and are typically fast enough for casual use. Tablets with screens that are ten inches or larger create a more vibrant picture but don’t last as long, but they are fast enough to be a handy companion for work. Our best advice is, if you’re looking for a casual device for apps and media, go with a smaller model. If you need a big, beautiful screen or you plan on using your tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard, get one with a bigger screen.
Some ASUS tablets work with wireless carriers, so you can stay connected to the internet when you’re away from WiFi the same way you do with your smartphone. While using LTE requires a paid wireless plan, it can definitely be worth it if you need to take your ASUS tablet with you everywhere. If you’re in the market for an ASUS tablet with LTE, make sure you’re aware of which models are carrier-locked: many will only work with one specific wireless provider, such as Verizon.
In addition to tablets, ASUS also makes two-in-one laptops: laptop computers that include touchscreens. ASUS two-in-one laptops are often Chromebooks, which run Chrome OS, an operating system based on the Google Chrome browser. If you’re looking for a tablet that lives a double life as a laptop, look closely at the company’s two-in-ones. You’ll need to pay a little more, but you’ll get a lot more power for your money.
Not sure how to compare different ASUS tablets? Pay attention to these specs:
Connectivity options: Older ASUS tablets use a standard microUSB cable for charging and transferring files from your computer, while newer models require USB-C cables. It’s only a matter of time before USB-C becomes the new standard, but that will take years.
Onboard storage: Every tablet has internal file storage, the space you use to save your documents, photos, movies, and music. Decide ahead of time where you’re going to store your content — on your tablet, in the cloud, or on removable storage like a microSD card. If you don’t plan on storing a lot of content locally, you don’t need more than 16 GB or 32 GB of file storage. If you do, look for a tablet with 64 GB or 128 GB of onboard file storage.
Operating system: Most ASUS tablets run the Android mobile operating system, but a few models (and most of their two-in-one laptops) use Chrome OS instead. Think about which platform you’re more comfortable with before buying, and make sure you’re getting your OS of choice. Our recommendation: if you plan on using your tablet for casual use, stick with Android. If you plan on using your tablet for work or school, find one that runs Chrome OS.
Inexpensive: If you spend between $50 and $150, you’ll find the entry-level ASUS tablets and refurbished high-end models (sometimes referred to as “renewed”). Unless you know who’s doing the refurbishing, we recommend buying a new tablet. If you need a smaller tablet for basic web browsing, you can find a good value in this price range.
Mid-range: If you spend between $150 and $300, you’ll find the best ASUS tablet options. Tablets in this price range come in all sizes and in both Chrome OS and Android varieties. If you’re looking for a big, beautiful tablet, you don’t need to spend more than this.
Expensive: ASUS tablets that cost more than $300 are usually part of two-in-one tablet/laptop computers. If you want an ASUS tablet that’s also got enough muscle under the hood to power a proper laptop, you’ll need to spend at least this much.