Stylus-equipped Windows 8 Transformer to take on Microsoft Surface
Asus has announced its new Vivo Tab series of tablet computers. The Vivo Tabs are essentially Windows 8 versions of the company's existing Android-based Transformer tablets – once docked with a portable keyboard the Vivo Tabs can be used as laptops.
The new tablets will compete directly against Microsoft's own Surface tablets. The Vivo Tabs are the first non-Microsoft Windows 8 tablets to be announced since the Surfaces were unveiled.
There will be two models, the Vivo Tab and the Vivo Tab RT. The Vivo Tab will have an 11.6in screen with a resolution of 1,366x768 pixels and weigh just 675g excluding the keyboard dock.
Interestingly the Vivo Tab will come with a stylus and the touchscreen will have pressure sensitive technology from graphics tablet manufacturer Wacom built-in, so it could potentially be used with drawing programs as well as note taking apps. The Vivo Tab will be equipped with a next-generation Intel Atom processor.
The Vivo Tab RT is a smaller and lighter version. The 10.1in screen will also have a 1,366x768 resolution, but it won't have the Wacom technology or the stylus. It will be lighter though at 520g excluding the keyboard dock and it's even thinner than the Apple iPad 3.
The RT model will be powered by the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core processor already used in Android tablets and is easily capable of running 3D games. Asus has promised a free copy of Office 2013 for all Vivo Tab RT owners once the new version of Microsoft's productivity suite is available.
The Atom-based Vivo Tab will have two USB ports, a microSD card slot and a Mini Displayport connector, while the thinner Vivo Tab RT will have to make do with just a single USB port.
The keyboard docks for both Vivo Tab models will have extra batteries built-in to extend battery life. An Asus spokesperson quoted a combined battery life of 15 hours for the RT model and 13 hours for the Atom-based tablet.
Although the prototypes of both models at Asus' launch event in Berlin were password locked, we were generally impressed by the sturdy metal build of both tablets although the keyboard docks were a little more flexible than we would have liked. Unsurprisingly the keys on the dock for the Vivo Tab were larger than those on the dock for the Vivo Tab RT so they're likely to be comfortable to type on.
One neat touch is that both tablets vibrate to signal that it's successfully docked with its keyboard. Unlike some other tablet keyboard docks, the angle of the docked screen was reasonably adjustable so finding a comfortable viewing position should be relatively straightforward.
Neither UK pricing or availability dates were available for either of the Vivo Tabs, but an Asus spokesperson suggested that they would be available shortly after the Windows 8 launch date of October 26th.
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