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Asus VivoTab Smart - Battery Life, Performance and Apps

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


Asus VivoTab Smart – Software and Performance

The other most clearly compromised part of the Asus VivoTab Smart is its CPU/RAM combo. In some benchmarks, the dual-core Atom CPU will trounce mobile processors like the Tegra 3 SoC (system on chip), but the power it wields doesn’t go all that far with Windows 8.

The idea of a mobile-focused OS like iOS or Android is that they can provide a high-end experience with much less power on tap than a high-end “full” computer. At times the experience of using the Asus VivoTab Smart feels depressingly low-end.

Asus VivoTab Smart 14

Having “full fat” Windows 8 may make the Asus far more flexible than a Windows RT tablet like the Microsoft Surface, but its benefits pale when you have to wade through the lag involved.

These performance issues are intermittent. From a clean boot-up, flicking through the touchscreen tile-based half of Windows is smooth and quick, as is moving to the more Windows 7-like desktop area. However, after running an app or game the interface often becomes laggy. Anything more taxing than basic apps take a long time to load, and the Asus VivoTab Smart refused to run our staple Trackmania Nations gaming benchmark, which is hardly taxing.

Sunspider: 773ms

PC Mark 7: 1395

Asus VivoTab Smart – Apps and Gaming

With the full version of Windows 8 on-board, you can try and run any Windows 8 app or game on the Asus tablet. Thanks to the limited power, you’ll need to limit your expectations on this front.

The Asus VivoTab Smart will not be able to run Photoshop CS5 at a satisfying speed, or any demanding games. Less tech-savvy buyers will be better off sticking to the apps and games selection offered by the Windows Store app shop. It provides few thousand apps and games, most intended for use with devices like the Asus VivoTab Smart.

Asus VivoTab Smart

It’s a far less rich selection than other tablet platforms provide, though. And as the tablet runs Windows 8 rather than RT, it does not come with a full version of Windows Office, just a trial.

Asus VivoTab Smart – Video, Audio and Internal Speaker

The Asus VivoTab Smart’s internal speaker demonstrates this is not a media-driven device. There’s a single speaker grille on the tablet’s rear, giving mono sound where a landscape tablet like this can offer solid stereo sound when equipped with a pair of speakers.

The mono speaker is not great. Its output is tinny and maximum volume does not impress. This could have been improved with a DSP signal-massaging mode, but one is not included here. However, the speaker didn’t distort during testing either.Asus VivoTab Smart 12

Asus doesn’t include any of its own media-playing apps, but Windows 8 comes with music and video portals. These tie into the Xbox music and video stores, and have an interface similar to the touchscreen half of Windows 8.

It’s for finger flicking, not mouse clicking. And they’re much keener on getting you do stream or download music from Microsoft’s servers, rather than letting you play your own tunes (although you can with the right combo of screen presses). You're not tied to using these in any way, though. We installed VLC Media Player and had no problems playing all kinds of SD and HD videos.

Asus VivoTab Smart – Battery Life

Asus claims the VivoTab Smart’s battery is good for 9.5 hours of use. We found this was right on the money. It ran for 10 hours of continuous video with the backlight set at mid-level.

It’s a 25Wh battery, which is significantly lower-capacity than the 42.5Wh unit of the iPad 4 and the 33.3Wh one in the Nexus 10. The commendable performance is down to the lower-resolution screen used here, as well as the battery efficiency of both Windows 8 and the Atom processor.

Asus VivoTab Smart – Cameras

Cameras are of dubious value on a tablet, their most obvious use being video chat - a niche attraction. However, the Asus VivoTab Smart has two of them.

Asus VivoTab Smart 9

There's an 8-megapixel sensor on the rear, complete with single-LED flash, and a 2.1MP user-facing camera. These are high-end cameras for a tablet, and the main sensor offers autofocus. However, we found the camera software buggy, and less than satisfying to use.

Asus VivoTab Smart – Value

If you look at the Asus VivoTab Smart next to its Windows 8 rivals, it seems a pretty good deal. It’s cheaper than the Microsoft Surface RT and offers full Windows 8 rather than the virtually DOA Windows 8 RT. Surely it’s a winner, then?

Not quite. With the excitement of the Windows 8 launch having long died down, the problems and inadequacies of a lower-power, lower-cost Windows 8 are a little too apparent when considered alongside what you can get from tablets of another platform. You get Windows 8’s issues, but not the power to exploit its best bits. We’re hoping the next generation of entry-level tablet chipsets will remedy this.Asus VivoTab Smart 6


The Asus VivoTab Smart is a decent attempt at an entry-level Windows 8 tablet, but the issues of any current-gen Atom-powered Windows tablet are hard to forget, and some are worsened by Asus's design decisions. Without a full-size USB port or full-size SD card slot, transferring files is trickier than with most tablets. What you get in return is a thin and light body.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 8
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Screen Quality 7
  • Value 8

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?


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.


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.


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.


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.

Roy Batterman

April 21, 2013, 6:03 pm

2gb is useable, although the bear minimum


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?


June 2, 2013, 10:33 pm

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


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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