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Asus VivoTab Smart review

Andrew Williams

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

7/10

User Score

Pros

  • Slim body
  • Reasonable price
  • Full Windows 8

Cons

  • Low pixel density
  • Low-powered CPU
  • Laggy at times
  • Poor internal speaker

Review Price £400.00

Key Features: Dual-core Atom Z2760 CPU; 64GB memory (32GB accessible); 10.1-inch 1,366 x 768 pixel IPS screen; microSD slot; Windows 8 OS

Manufacturer: Asus

Introduction

Windows 8 tablets face a raft of problems. Few tablet buyers know the difference between “full Windows 8” and Windows RT, the platform is recognised as a tablet platform much less than Android or iOS and many Windows tablets are expensive.

The Asus VivoTab Smart tries to side-step these issues. It’s a 10.1-inch full Windows 8 tablet that costs just £400, the same price as the cheapest full-size iPad with Retina Display.

Asus VivoTab Smart – Design and Specs

The Asus VivoTab Smart can offer full Windows 8 at a pretty low price because it uses a lower-power Intel Atom CPU and unassuming design. Higher-end Windows 8 tablets use Intel Core-series processors, from the same family as those seen in expensive laptops. They’re in a different league to the Intel Atom chip seen here.

Asus VivoTab Smart 2

Its bodywork is functional and sensible too - there are few design embellishments. The Asus Vivotab Smart is as slim and light as Android tablets of the same size, at 570g and 9.7mm thick, and its rear is soft-touch finish plastic.

This type of plastic feels great in-hand, but doesn’t leave the same impression of luxury as the anodised aluminium of an iPad. It’s also prone to damage.

Asus VivoTab Smart 3

Scratches strip away the black/brown finish to reveal the white plastic underneath, and the styling is limited to the off-black colour of the rear and Asus logo on the back. The Asus VivoTab Smart is not out to become a tablet whose bodywork sticks in your mind for years to come.

Asus VivoTab Smart Video Review >

As a 10.1-inch 16:9 aspect tablet – making it 26cm long – this tablet is also a little too large to be truly portable. It’s best thought-of as a device to use at home or while sitting down on the bus/train, rather than when standing up on public transport with one arm clutching a rail. For that you’re better off with an iPad mini or Google Nexus 7. There is no super-portable Windows tablet, yet.

Asus VivoTab Smart 5

Unassuming design is met by mid-level specs. Its CPU is a 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 dual-core chip, it has 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. In an Android tablet those memory figures would sound impressive, but they are less so here.

The Asus VivoTab Smart runs an OS that will often have 8GB of RAM at its disposal, and after Windows 8 and Asus’s own apps have taken their share of the internal storage, you’re left with just a shade over 30GB of the initial 64GB.

Asus VivoTab Smart – Connectivity

What helps to mitigate the memory-chomping of Windows 8 is the microSD card slot on the left edge of the Asus VivoTab Smart. It uses a cover that blasts out like a rocket when prodded with a fingernail, though, so be sure to act with care unless you want to lose it.

Next to the memory card slot sits a microHDMI video output. Also on this edge is the microUSB slot, used to charge the battery.Asus VivoTab Smart 12

Asus VivoTab Smart 8

This spread of connections sounds just about perfect for a tablet, but it’s less well-equipped than you might assume. As Windows 8 is a “computer” OS rather than a tablet one, its internal storage doesn’t simply show up as a drive when the Asus VivoTab Smart is attached to a computer. You’ll need to move files to a microSD memory card to get them over to the tablet.

A full-size USB socket or SD card slot comes in extremely handy with a Windows 8 tablet, and you get neither here. A USB port is not only handy for storage either – it would also let you plug in a mouse or keyboard. Asus also produces a neat Bluetooth keyboard cover for the tablet that attaches magnetically, but this is an optional extra.

Wireless connectivity fares better. The Asus VivoTab smart has the tablet standards Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as GPS and NFC.

Asus VivoTab Smart – Screen

The Asus VivoTab Smart uses a typical tablet-style display. It features an IPS screen, which lets you turn the screen any which way you please without the image distorting or disappearing – as it would on most laptops. Asus VivoTab Smart 13

The screen is 10.1 inches across and has a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels. This results in pixel density of 155ppi, well below the resolution of rival tablets like the iPad with Retina Display and Google Nexus 10. As a result, text is slightly pixellated.

This is true of all Windows 8 tablets at this price – only more expensive tabs such as the Surface Pro offer full HD resolution screens at present – but if you’ve used a high pixel density screen, you will notice it.

Asus VivoTab Smart 15

Image quality is decent, with just a slight yellow colour cast to whites and acceptable loss of brightness when angled. Top brightness could be higher, though.

Like so many other aspects of the Asus VivoTab Smart, the screen isn’t high-end, but it pays enough attention to the basics to get by. It is coated with an oleophobic (fingerprint-resistant) coating, uses toughened glass and, thanks to the IPS panel, offers enough viewing angle flexibility for the ways in which a tablet is used.

Top marks? Far from it, but the VivoTab Smart matches its entry-level Windows 8 competitors.

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Richard Kingston

January 31, 2013, 4:07 pm

Only 2GB of RAM on a Win8 machine. This sounds very low to run full size desktop apps. Any comments?

Guest

February 3, 2013, 8:48 am

Yes. Bought one yesterday in a moment of weakness. Nice bit of hardware to hold but dog slow and there appears to be no way of getting Bluetooth running when using a mouse. Depending upon the application in use you have to wait a considerable length of time before the press will activate anything. Bottom line is that this really should be running Android not a full version of Windows 8. I made a bit of a mistake to be honest.

phreezerburn

February 13, 2013, 2:35 pm

Disabled most of the "notifications" in Windows 8 and used Webroot's excellent SecureAnywhere for antivirus/antimalware. Works very well. I've installed everything from the full version of Office 2007 and a portable Photoshop CS3 to Wireshark and my complete Age of Empires kit. Going back over the PC games that do or should run very well on this tablet, I'm in heaven! Oh and any of the Logitech el cheapo keyboard and mouse setups works terrific if you get yourself a microusb hub(doesn't have to be powered but I picked up one of those too). There's a cheapo hub with a micro on the one side and a normal usb connector on the opposite with 3 ports on its body at London Drugs and other fine PC supply stores.

This week end I'm trying the Asus keyboard and folding cover for the Vivotab Smart as well as giving the Kensington 10.1" universal cover with integral bluetooth keyboard. A friend already has it and is telling me its a better option than the Asus setup but we'll see if he's full of hot air or not.

Bottom line truly is the Vivotab is able to run everything made for Windows 7 32 bit and earlier with the exception of a few bits of bloatware (some coded for Vista were fugly stuff indeed) and anything 3D. There should be about 10,000 of the best games of all time available and playable on the Vivotab Smart. Anyone running out of great software to run on it simply isn't trying one jot. An iPad has what over the Vivotab Smart running all the major game emulators available to a real Windows tab?

PPS. Wireshark on a $500 tablet? That makes this one terrific networking tool too.

Seika

March 13, 2013, 2:20 pm

Here's something not mentioned here nor in other reviews.
How long would the device take to fully charge ? It's powered from a micro USB port, so the current is probably not big.

Johari Baharuddin

March 25, 2013, 6:03 am

It took me about 3 hours to fully charge the battery.

disqus_pmd1ZYj70e

April 19, 2013, 7:56 pm

A direct comparison to iPad and Nexus isn't fair. You are looking at a full version of Windows 8 here, which gives you the capability to run PC softwares. This tablet is like an iPad running OSX, but this is non-existent. If you have no interest in this capability, go for Windows 8 RT tablets instead, which is a true tablet OS, in the same league of iOS and Android.

Endgadget

April 20, 2013, 2:13 pm

Nah, just learn how to remove the start-up items, maybe stop a few services, then realise that although you could buy faster there will always be a compromise somewhere. Windows 8 is fine and what you're seeing is the slow hard drive in action. Android? Why?

Roy Batterman

April 21, 2013, 6:03 pm

2gb is useable, although the bear minimum

jayofarty

May 9, 2013, 6:10 am

Hey there, how's the CS3 running on it? I'm getting mine next week, I still have my CS3 Installer, but not sure if I'll install that or the CS5. I mean, how is it with just using touch screen?

Edith

June 2, 2013, 10:33 pm

My emails don't want to go - they just stay in a holding mode. Any suggestions.

toto.villanueva62

August 4, 2013, 1:16 pm

we are talking about tablet not a full size pc

Vernal Scott

February 19, 2014, 5:49 pm

Just ordered mine at under £235. I've already played with it, so I know what I'm getting: a very capable mobile computer with full Windows 8 at a very good price.

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