As you probably know today ASUS officially debuts the ASUS Tablet 600 in an official event. Well, I must say that we already had it for testing purposes for a week or two and we already teased you about it. Some of you guessed what the model was and yes, it was truly the ASUS Vivo Tab RT aka ASUS Tablet 600. After playing with this brilliant Win RT slate for a while now, we can draw the first conclusions, so let’s proceed.
We’re dealing here with a model that has been up for preorder on Staples for days now, priced at $599.99 single and $800 with keyboard. The design reminds me of the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity and we are dealing here with the thinnest 10 inch tablet that ASUS has ever created and also the lightest. It measures 8.3 mm in thickness and weighs 525 grams. The name “Vivo” comes from latin, meaning “to live” and you’ll be living with a daily Windows RT experience from now on, if you truly fall in love with the new OS, which is very likely, seeing it’s so likable.
Back to our slate in question, the device uses a metallic case, well actually it’s more than metal, since the case involved a special material. ASUS Vivo Tab RT has power button on the upper side and next to it there’s a reset hole, while at the edge we find a microphone hole. On the left of the tablet there’s a micro HDMI port, a microSD card slot and a latch to detach the tablet from the keyboard dock when needed. On the right side there’s the audio jack and volume buttons, that sadly aren’t that responsive and basically you can’t even feel them well when handling the tablet.
At the back we find dual speakers on each side, an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and an NFC area to its left. Upfront there’s a 2 megapixel videocall camera with an LED indicator next to it, while also at the front we’re greeted by a 10.1 inch display and a Windows key, a bright one that really stands out. I was mentioning a special material and you should know that this tablet is made using a special nano moulding technology, that fuses plastic and aluminum together at nano particle level, resulting in a very light and durable material.
As far as the dock goes, it brings a USB 2.0 port, a Full QWERTY keyboard and a metal connector and a plastic one to connect to the tablet’s two lower area proprietary ports. Inside the keyboard dock there’s a 22 Wh Li Polymer battery, that increases the functioning time of the device from 9 hours to 16 hours of use. Also, the attaching mechanism is more discrete now and when the lid is open you don’t see anything standing out from your “laptop”. As far as the tablet’s battery is concerned, we’ve got a Li Polymer 25 Wh unit, providing up to 9 hours of use.
We used the tablet + dock combo for about two days, with web browsing, video watching for 2-3 hours, the WiFi always on, the occasional email check and taking pics and videos in the park. So, I say that two days of functioning time on this device are great. I must also note that the product comes with a little dongle, fit for the 36 pin port of the tablet and dock and turning it into yet another USB port. On the hardware side we’ve got a quad core Tegra 3 processor, a T30 1.3 GHz unit with a 12 core GPU and Icera 410 modem. There’s also 2 GB of RAM on board of the DDR3L kind, meaning it’s using low voltage technology. WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+, LTE, NFC and GPS are all available here.
On the display side we’ve got a 10.1 incher with 16:9 aspect ratio and 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, a Super IPS+ screen with 178 degree viewing angle and Corning Fit Glass protection. Finally, the slate posesses a G Sensor, gyroscope and runs on Microsoft Windows RT, the ARM version of the OS. Now let’s check out the multimedia capabilities. On the video side we’ve shown you a teaser trailer of Paranorman, a colorful animation that hightlights the tablet’s great viewing angles, great contrast and good brightness.
ASUS used onthis model the TruVivid technology as a one glass solution to get rid of extra layers of the screen and only use one, that integrates the touch sensor, display panel and any other hardware. There was also a full lamination process and the end result was a screen with no air gap and very good transparency, superior to any other tablet out there. Once again, this is a Super IPS+ screen, so that means we get great sunlight readability, vibrnat colors and also an outdoor mode, jumping from 400 nits of brightness to 600.
On the audio side we’ve got two dual speakers, that are 1.6 times bigger than the speakers on the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity and they provide crystal clear sound and rich bass. The audio player is very smooth and simple to use and it totally redefines what you knew about players, integrating the Xbox Music experience close by. Moving on to the camera, we’ve got an 8 megapixel CMOS sensor, that’s backside illuminated, has a F/2.2 aperture and a 5 element lens.
It also comes with a hybrid IR filter and the camera’s UI is very, very simple. ISO can go from 50 to 800 and pictures look quite good for a tablet. We’ve got a full gallery of pics taken with the ASUS Tablet 600 here , a photo sample above and a video sample below. I was very surprised to see that the tablet handles 1200p video capture, something that no other Android tablet out there can do. You can take pics and videos in either 4:3 or 16:9 and there are two camera apps on board. The one from Windows RT and the ASUS Camera. I also noticed slight problems with the autofocus, but those may go away probably with a future update.
The latter also brings a Panorama option and it looks just like the camera app on the PadFone. Both offer settings for brightness, exposure and focus and you can really feel them as you apply them, while on Android… not so much. There’s also an interesting system used by this tablet, called Connected Standby. This one is unique for Windows RT and provides weeks on end of standby use for the product. Finally, we gave you a demo of the latest Internet Explorer in the video review below and you saw just how fast Tablet-news.com loaded, faster than on an Android tablet with Chrome, actually.
The virtual keyboard is very comfortable on the ASUS Tablet 600 and the physical QWERTY keyboard too, plus the touchpad. When the two are combined the hinge is very, very discrete and the resulting “laptop” is very elegant and actually pretty thin considering we combine two devices to get it. I also liked that you can remove the tablet from the combo by pulling the latch even when the lid is down on the “laptop”. We even tested two Win RT apps, Tweetro, a Twitter client streamlined with the Metro UI and Dredd vs Zombies, a cute little game, the kind of title you find on Xbox Live. It was colourful and fast paced and I look forward to more titles that really test the 12 core GPU of the ASUS Vivo Tab RT.
And now for the conclusions! Here’s a list of things I liked about the tablet:
excellent design, metallic case, very thin and good looking
pretty good camera, 1200p video capture
very good Super IPS+ screen, good viewing angles and brightness
two dual speakers with rich bass and clear sound
micro HDMI port, microSD and basically two USB ports (with dongle)
very good battery life: 16 hours for tablet and dock
Windows RT is simply great
And the cons list:
the plastic fixer of the keyboard dock is fragile
the volume button is hard to find and not so responsive
could have had more USB ports, maybe SD card slot on dock
2 camera apps… we only need one
takes a long while for Win RT apps to load (may be solved later on)
problems with the autofocus of the camera
So, to sum it all up, we give the ASUS Vivo Tab RT a 9.5 out of 10 for design, 9 for hardware and 9 for operating system and user interface. We can’t talk too much about Windows RT right now, but we’ll be back with a full review once it’s launched. For now I can say that this platform is the future and it will enter everyone’s houses soon enough. It will creep up on you and you won’t even know it. I am certain that a tablet like this can replace your home PC with ease, or at least your laptop and that’s a fact! That’s why it gets a solid 9.33 out of 10 from us.