Asus VivoTab Smart Review
Until recently, when you thought about looking for a tablet, it was pretty much a decision between iPad and Android. Now with Windows 8 and Windows RT, we’ve seen a number of new tablets on the market over the past couple of months. Another option is the new VivoTab Smart from Asus, which runs the full Windows 8 operating system. This gives it great functionality and compatibility, such as being able to run regular Windows programs. Let’s take a look and see how this tablet stacks up.
Included in the retail package is the Asus VivoTab Smart (model ME400), wall charger with detachable microUSB cable, user guides, and cleaning cloth.
It is not surprising, but the overall design and appearance of the Asus VivoTab Smart is reminiscent of the VivoTab RT that we looked at a couple months ago. It remains relatively compact for a tablet (10.4”3 x 6.73” x 0.38”) and is easy to carry around at only 20.46 oz (560g).
2MP front facing camera, and capacitive Windows home key. Along on the left edge is the microUSB port, and the hidden microSD memory card slot and covered microHDMI video port. Up on top is the raised power button, while on the right edge is the large volume rocker and 3.5mm headset jack. Around on the back is the 8MP auto-focus camera with LED flash, which can also record 1080p video, as well as a small external speaker hidden behind a group of small microdots.
When we reviewed the Asus VivoTab RT, we were impressed by its display, since it was using a 10.1” Super IPS+ LCD panel. However, the Asus VivoTab Smart is using a standard 10.1” IPS LCD panel, which means it’s not quite as bright, viewing angles are more limited, and colors aren’t as saturated. Be that as it may, we found the display still bright enough for most conditions (except when viewed in direct sunlight). The screen resolution is WXGA 1366x768, which equals a pixel density of only 155ppi. Because of this, details aren’t quite as sharp as we would like, such as on the1080p HD display used by the Microsoft Surface Pro, but it is still tolerable when the tablet is at least 12 inches away from your face.
One of the must-have accessories for the Asus VivoTab Smart is the TranSleeve Keyboard. The sleeve is magnetic and can “grab” onto the bottom edge of the tablet, while the larger area of the sleeve grabs the keyboard. This allows for almost a laptop-type experience. But if you want to have the tablet stand on its own, you then have to take the keyboard off the sleeve and fold the sleeve behind the tablet to prop it up. Then you can just rest the keyboard on your desk or lap.
The Bluetooth keyboard is 10.25” wide, which should provide enough room for even large hands. We had no issue typing on it, and we like that it uses real physical keys that have a nice response to them, and even provide a traditional “click” sound when pressed. The trackpad at the bottom also works well, showing an on-screen mouse pointer, and there is also a left and right mouse-type buttons on the bottom. Since the keyboard is separate from the tablet and is connected via Bluetooth, youalso have to charge the keyboard via the microUSB port on its side.
Just keep in mind that the TranSleeve Keyboard is an optional accessory that you have to purchase, and does add 445g to the weight.