Asus VivoTab Smart review

Asus VivoTab Smart

There have been several versions of the VivoTab in its brief lifetime, with different screen sizes, add-on keyboard options and – like Microsoft’s Surface tablet – a choice of either Windows RT or Windows 8. However, for the new VivoTab Smart, Asus has settled on a compact 10.1in model that runs Windows 8 (32-bit) but doesn't include a separate keyboard. See also: Microsoft Surface Pro vs Surface RT comparison review

It’s a well-designed tablet that competes well with rivals such as Microsoft Surface or the Apple iPad. It weighs just 580g and measures 9.7mm thick so it’s very light and easy to carry around.

Asus VivoTab Smart: screen

The 10.1in screen has a resolution of 1366x768 and uses an IPS panel that provides a bright, attractive image with good viewing angle.

Unfortunately, it has the standard glossy finish which makes it reflective to the point where the image is sometimes obscured by glare from bright daylight or office lighting.

And while the new Start screen in Windows 8 works well with the VivoTab’s touch-screen controls, dipping into the traditional Windows desktop or using apps like Word does feel very fiddly as this software simply isn’t designed for touch operation, especially on such a small screen.

Asus VivoTab Smart

Asus VivoTab Smart: performance

The VivoTab Smart is currently only available in a single configuration with a dual-core Intel Atom Z2760 running at 1.8GHz, and 64GB of storage. Since it runs the full version of Windows 8 (rather than RT), you can run your existing Windows software on the VivoTab.

Running PCMark 7, we recorded a score of 1409. That's obviously a pretty poor result, but the VivoTab still feels snappy and responsive when navigating around the Modern UI. It's also more than fast enough for running business apps such as Word or Excel if you need to catch up on some light work when you’re out of the office.  The 2GB of memory is stingy, though, and might not be enough if you need to edit large images in Photoshop or like to keep multiple apps running and several tabs open in your web browser.

Asus VivoTab Smart: TranSleeve keyboard

If you’re going to spend much time in the Windows desktop, you ought to budget for the £89 TranSleeve. This includes a magnetic cover and a slim Bluetooth keyboard with separate touchpad.

We're not huge fans, though. It’s much like keyboard cases designed for the iPad – the keys have hardly any travel and isn't comfortable for anything other than typing a quick email or a few notes. For more strenuous work, look at HP's Envy X2 which has a far better keyboard.

Asus VivoTab Smart TranSleeve keyboard

Asus VivoTab Smart: connectivity

Connectivity is something of a mixed bag. The VivoTab uses a micro-USB port for charging but there’s no adaptor included that would allow you to connect a memory stick or other devices that have a full-size USB connector.

Your options for quick file transfer are limited to the VivoTab’s micro-SD slot or Wi-Fi, but there's NFC (near-field communication) and Bluetooth built-in as well.

Asus VivoTab Smart: cameras and battery life

However, the VivoTab does pick up some extra points for its very good 8MP rear camera, along with the front-facing 2MP camera.

Battery life is impressive, too. We were able to stream full-screen video for just over seven hours using the VivoTab’s 802.11n Wi-Fi, so you should be able to get a full day’s use out of it without too much trouble at all.

Asus VivoTab Smart ME400: Specs

  • 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 (dual-core)
  • Windows 8 (32-bit)
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • 10.1in (1366x768) glossy touchscreen IPS LCD
  • Intel GMA graphics
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • micro-HDMI (via adapter - not supplied)
  • micro-USB (via adapter - not supplied)
  • micro-SDHC card slot
  • headphone socket
  • built-in microphone
  • 25Wh lithium-polymer battery (non-removable)
  • 263 x 172 x 9.7mm
  • 580g
  • 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 (dual-core)
  • Windows 8 (32-bit)
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • 10.1in (1366x768) glossy touchscreen IPS LCD
  • Intel GMA graphics
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • micro-HDMI (via adapter - not supplied)
  • micro-USB (via adapter - not supplied)
  • micro-SDHC card slot
  • headphone socket
  • built-in microphone
  • 25Wh lithium-polymer battery (non-removable)
  • 263 x 172 x 9.7mm
  • 580g

OUR VERDICT

Asus has done a good job with the VivoTab's design, producing a tablet that can compete with any of its Windows, Android or iOS rivals. The dual-interfaces of Windows 8 still feel like a compromise when running on a tablet, but if you do need to run existing Windows software on a light and compact portable device then the VivoTab provides a good alternative to Microsoft’s own Surface tablet.

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