LAS VEGAS: TAIWANESE HARDWARE OUTFIT Asus might not have a huge presence at this year's CES, but it invited The INQUIRER along to its swanky Las Vegas suite to see the latest device in its Windows 8 lineup, the Asus Vivotab Smart.
Looking to challenge the iPad 4 and Samsung Nexus 10, the Asus Vivotab Smart features a 10.1in 1366x768 IPS touchscreen that boasts impressive 178 degree viewing angles.
On first impressions, the Vivotab Smart certainly challenges the iPad when it comes to vibrancy and detail, and the tablet's viewing angles are just as good as they sound on paper.
The Vivotab Smart is quite a nippy device too. The tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z2760 dual-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz, which although that doesn't sound as impressive as some of the competition on the market, offers a slick and fluid user experience. Swiping through the tablet's Windows 8 operating system was a pleasure, and tapping on Microsoft's live tiles saw applications open in an instant. You can read our thoughts on Microsoft's operating system in our full Windows 8 review.
Our favourite feature of the Asus Vivotab Smart, however, is its attachable Bluetooth keyboard.
We had a go on the optinal Bluetooth keyboard and were immediately impressed with how comfortable it was to use - and how much studier it felt that Microsoft's keyboard for its Surface tablet. This will be available to buy separately from the Vivotab tablet, and Asus tells us that it's likely to cost around £80.
This keyboard is complemented with an Apple-like smart cover, although Asus said it thinks its accessory is innovative enough that it shouldn't get in trouble with its Cupertino rival.
Unlike Apple's cover, it features a quirkier, origami-esque design, which although we found it difficult to work out, did look pretty swish when we did.
Although we didn't get to test it, we're impressed that the Asus Vivotab Smart packs an 8MP rear-facing camera with a f/2.2 lens, which is more impressive than the main camera found on most competiting tablets. The latest iPad, for example, features a 5MP rear-facing snapper.
Other specifications of the Vivotab Smart include 2GB of RAM, either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, a 2MP front-facing camera and the ability to capture HD 1080p video, which will look great on the tablet's high-resolution screen.
Asus told The INQUIRER that the Vivosmart will be available in the UK towards the end of January, and said it's aiming for a price point of £399.
We'll be getting our mitts on the Asus Vivotab Smart when we're back in Blighty, so check back for a full review. µ