ASUS has gained a reputation for building excellent Android-based tablets, thanks in part to its innovative detachable keyboard dock. Among the most common complaints, however, was a lack of Windows-based tablets for taking on tasks that require Microsoft’s operating system.
ASUS has clearly listened to the many requests, and the VivoTab RT seeks to give consumers exactly what they want by blending the best of both worlds. The Vivo RT features much the same design as previous ASUS tablets, but it sports Microsoft’s new Windows RT operating system.
Look and Feel
The Vivo Tab RT takes several design cues from the iPad and other successful slates. Measuring 10.35 by 6.73 inches and 0.33 inches thick, the Vivo RT weighs in at a comfortable 1.15 pounds (0.52 kg).
Combined with the gently curved edges, it makes holding the tablet for long periods a pretty comfortable affair. The brushed aluminum back is attractive yet understated, but a broad plastic strip across the top lends a cheap look to the whole package. The keyboard, while adequate, feels overly cramped and difficult to use due to abnormally small keys.
Overall, the build quality lags behind some of the competition and feels much less solid and substantial.
The ASUS features an overall layout similar to most other slates. The power and lock button is located on the top edge of the device, with the volume rocker laid out on the upper right edge.
The bottom is reserved for the connectors for the keyboard dock. The left side features micro-HDMI and microSD slots. On the bottom of the left edge is the dock release switch. The speakers are placed on the rear, along with an 8-megapixel rear camera. The front features a forward-facing 2-megapixel camera.
The thing that immediately jumps out about the Vivo Tab RT is the ultra-bright Super IPS+ display. Running in its full 600-nit glory, the screen is impressively vivid and clear from a wide range of viewing angles.
Although the resolution is a middling 1,366 by 768 pixels, the display still looks quite good in most instances. Games, video and applications all look adequately crisp, but reading and other text-intensive applications suffer from the relative lack of pixels.
The whole display is made from Gorilla Glass, helping to substantially improve the durability and scratch-resistance.
Under the Hood
The Vivo Tab RT is powered by a quad-core, 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, which is capable of 1.4GHz in single-core mode. This processor is paired with two gigabytes of RAM. Storage options include 32 and 64 gigabyte models, and the Tab RT also includes seven gigabytes of storage on Skydrive.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Vivo is the exceptional battery life. The slate alone boasts more than nine hours of run time, while adding the keyboard dock boosts the battery life to more than 15 hours. By contrast, perhaps the biggest drawback is its Windows RT operating system.
The RT version provides no backwards compatibility with previous versions of Windows, so selection is limited to apps available at the Windows Store. The store’s offering is rather paltry at the moment, and users may find app selection very much lacking until the store’s selection improves.
Comparison ASUS Vivo Tab RT vs. Microsoft Surface RT
The Vivo Tab RT and Microsoft’s Surface RT have many similarities, but they offer a clear choice in priorities. Both have similar performance, though the Surface is faster to boot and the Vivo has slightly less lag overall.
The Vivo RT’s 600-nit display is noticeably more vibrant than the Surface’s 400-nit screen, but it’s also a bit more reflective and can be somewhat distracting. The Surface is substantially heavier and more difficult to hold, but it also feels more well-built and durable.
In comparison to Vivo Tab RT, it’s probably the better choice for customers that plan to frequently use their tablet on a table or desk. On the other hand, the Vivo Tab RT is clearly the better choice for those who need great portability, battery life, and hand-held comfort.