Mar 18 2013

Review: VivoTab RT Offers Helpful Hybrid Tablet/Notebook Experience

This Windows RT­–based device, a first from ASUS, is slim, sleek, and suited for work and play.

ASUS announced its first Windows RT tablet the same month that Microsoft launched the special operating system (which runs ­exclusively on mobile devices with ARM-based processors) and its own RT-based tablet. To date, only a few manufacturers have ­received the green light from Microsoft to develop RT tablets.

What makes the ASUS VivoTab RT notable, aside from its slim 0.33-inch thickness and 1.2-pound weight, is its dazzling versatility. The 10.1-inch tablet has a 16-hour battery life when connected to the optional Mobile Dock, and its outdoor-readable Super IPS+ display boasts a 178-degree viewing ­angle and 600-nit brightness rating, delivering the most vibrant screen I've ever seen.

End-User Advantages

A unique feature of Windows RT is "Connected Standby," which allows the VivoTab RT to ­sustain weeks of standby power and automatically update web-aware ­applications when their developers issue them. Users running apps that demand fast processing speeds will appreciate the VivoTab RT's NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core mobile processor. A 2-megapixel front camera makes video chatting easy, while the 8MP rear camera records 1080p video.

The VivoTab RT ships with many useful applications preinstalled; among them, Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. SkyDrive allows users to manage all types of documents online, access them on their tablet and share them with others.

The apps ASUS developed for its tablets are equally useful. The ASUS Camera app offers more advanced features than the Windows RT Camera app. Users can control a wide range of camera settings and share photos with a simple swipe and tap, without exiting the app. The SuperNote app allows users to take notes using the QWERTY keyboard, finger input, photo and video capture or audio notes.

An optional Mobile Dock essentially gives VivoTab RT users two devices in one. When taking notes on a field trip, for example, the traditional tablet form factor is ideal. When typing long essays or conducting research, the physical keyboard, which transforms the device into a notebook computer, is far more appealing.

Why It Works for IT

ASUS is known for its reliability and quality, and the VivoTab RT doesn't disappoint. The docking mechanism feels very secure, which may result in less accidental damage and fewer repair tickets for the IT staff.

Those seeking more than 32 ­gigabytes of local storage can take advantage of ASUS WebStorage, an online backup and file synchronization solution that allows users to retrieve and share data with just an Internet connection. The cloud storage service offers each user 5GB of storage at no charge. ASUS also offers tiered pricing plans for users seeking ­higher capacities.


The keys on the Mobile Dock ­keyboard felt a little cramped to me. I also had a difficult time acclimating to the slightly raised area between the space bar and the trackpad.

The OS also sometimes took a while to recognize that I had docked the tablet. On a few occasions, I had to restart the device to get the keyboard and trackpad to respond to my input.

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