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IFA: Asus Vivo Tab hands-on review

We play with Asus' upcoming Windows 8 laptop/tablet device
Tue Sep 04 2012, 15:20

TAIWANESE COMPUTER FIRM Asus showed off its line of Windows 8 powered devices at the IFA electronics tradeshow in Berlin last week and The INQUIRER got some quality time with the firm's upcoming hybrid notebook tablet, the Vivo Tab.

asus vivo tab tablet notebook front

The Vivo Tab is Asus' first device in a long line of hybrid devices that runs the full version of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system (OS). When connected together, the tablet and keyboard dock transform into a notebook, which in theory removes the need for a user to buy both a tablet and a notebook.

While Asus' Vivo Tab is a note-tablet hybrid device that reminds us of a more traditional laptop but with a removable display, Asus also showed off another Windows 8 hybrid device at IFA, the Taichi. Boasting a more unique design, the Taichi delivers a similar notebook and tablet experience as the Vivo Tab but instead has second screen on the lid.

Like many of Asus' upcoming hardware releases, specific details are still thin on the ground, with no word on internal specifications yet, but we'll keep you updated as soon as we find out.

Design and build
The Vivo Tab's design immediately reminded us of that seen on Asus' recently launched Android tablet, the Transformer Pad Infinity, with the same metallic plum-coloured finish used on the back.

asus vivo tab tablet notebook closed

While the colour is unique enough to help the device stand out from competitors, we think it could be perceived as a bit feminine and thus won't appeal to everyone's taste. However, it's good to see that Asus has kept to a more typical silver brushed metal finish on the keyboard dock, which overall has a good quality feel to it.

The keyboard dock has a wedge shaped design that reminded us of Apple's Macbook Air. The full size Qwerty keyboard keys also have a high-end finish to them and overall we found it provided good tactile feedback while typing on it.

The trackpad felt smooth and generally pleasant to use. Nevertheless, it proved unresponsive to some of our commands. It does seem like Asus has only built this in to make the Vivo Tab seem more like a traditional laptop when docked, and we preferred to reach out and use our fingers on the touchscreen to choose between onscreen selections; this is the Vivo's unique selling point after all.

asus vivo tab tablet notebook side by side

Detaching the display and using the Vivo Tab as a tablet, it feels a little on the large side, but perhaps this is because we are used to the more standard sized 10in tablets on the market. Its 675g weight also made it feel a little heavy, especially when comparing it to the much lighter feeling Infinity that weighs 598g. Despite measuring a relatively slim 8.7mm thick, the tablet also felt a little bulky, which also might be down to the bigger screen size.

Another criticism we had in terms of design and build is that the Vivo Tab seemed a little stiff when opening the device from its closed clamshell position, but this might go away during use.

One thing we liked about the Vivo Tab, however, was that it's really easy to pull the tablet out and push it back into the keyboard dock, and when lifted up by its screen, it remained docked and felt sturdy with no concern that it might fall out.



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