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Test: ASUS VivoTab RT - convertible Windows RT tablet with ARM hardware

Created: by
Philipp Moosdorf

Page 1: Test: ASUS VivoTab RT - convertible Windows RT tablet with ARM hardware

blackberry_playbook_teaserWith Windows 8 and the ARM variant Windows RT, Microsoft finally wants to get involved in the tablet segment. We received one of the first-RT Windows tablet - the ASUS RT VivoTab - and we will try to find out whether this Microsoft operating system is really a serious alternative to Android and iOS . But the operating system isn't the only interesting thing about the VivoTab RT. In the tradition of the Transformer tablet, it provides an optional keyboard docking with an integrated spare battery, a bright IPS panel, NVIDIA's Tegra 3 CPU and a 8-MP camera. ASUS remains faithful to its aluminum casing material. But how does the mix of the hardware and Microsoft's new operating system work in practice?

ASUS has been especially successful in the tablet segment with their Transformer devices. These Android tablets offer an optional keyboard docking station with which the tablet can be quickly transformed into a kind of netbook. The high-end Transformer models also have an additional battery in the keyboard, significantly increasing the running time of the device. We have recently tested the largely convincing high-end version Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700KL), which offers both a full HD display and LTE. Although the keyboard docking made sure that the Transformer pads are much better suited for productive use than as a typical standard tablet, they are ultimately subject to the limitations of the Android operating system, specifically a real alternative to Office (at least until now, since Office versions will be released for Android and iOS in 2013.).

This is one of the points in which Windows RT seems to be a worthwhile alternative to Android and iOS, since a customized Office version is preinstalled on Windows RT devices. But before we dwell on the software, let's look at the hardware in the VivoTab RT.

Unlike Windows 8, Windows RT runs on ARM hardware. Just like in many Transformer Pads, the VivoTab RT sports the reliable NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU. However, 2 GB of memory in Android tablets are still quite rare. Also, the flash memory is lushly sized at 64 GB. But then again, Windows RT uses up a lot of space. In our test sample, of the total 64 GB, only 43 GB are free to use. Buying a Windows RT tablet with only 32 GB seems to be nonsense. At least, the memory can be easily expanded via microSD card.

The 10.1 inch display offers a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Which is appropriate, given the screen size. Positive feature: the built-in Super IPS+ panel, which should ensure high viewing angles and brightness.

The price for the RT VivoTab currently starts at 599 euros for the 64 GB version with Wi-Fi, but without keyboard dock. We tested the wireless version with keyboard dock, which costs 729 euros. If you want to use UMTS (3G, HSPA +), the 3G version without the dock costs 699 euros. The 3G variant with dock costs 829 euros.

In order to fully exploit the capabilities of the device and the operating system, the dock is indispensable. A tablet with keyboard is not only more productive, but also has a longer running time. Battery life is significantly increased due to the extra battery, running - according to the manufacturer - for a respectable 16 hours. The price for the VivoTab RT with dock is still much higher than the price of many conventional Noteboooks; this might limit the number of potential buyers considerably.

Before the actual test, we already updloaded a hands-on video of the VivoTab RT. It gives a good first impression of the tablet:

hands-on video of the VivoTab RT Alternative YouTube version

There is also a test video in which we show the RT VivoTab in use. It deals especially with Windows RT:

Test video of the VivoTab RT Alternative YouTube version