VivoTab RT I love writing reviews and I really like testing and comparing gadgets. But this has got to be the toughest review I have ever made in my entire life! It’s the first time I took this much time to really test out the device and do a write-up on it. Presenting, the ASUS VivoTab RT.

Windows 8 RT

This is the tough part of the whole story. You have to really reformat your brain before testing this OS. It looks like Windows 8, it functions like a Windows 8, but it’s not really a Windows 8. Well, it is, but it’s a totally different perspective to be adapted. So I took the following analogy before writing out this review: If you look at a MacOS and compare it to iOS, you will realize that those are two totally different worlds in terms of UI, UX, and capabilities. And there will be a time, when you are on your iOS, that you have hoped a certain feature from MacOS was made available on your iPad. On the MacOS, you can do a whole lot more compared to the limitation that the iOS puts.

This is the gap that Windows 8 RT fills. You have an OS that runs on your tablet, looks exactly like your desktop, but behaves like any other tablets. Your apps can only be downloaded from the Store and if it doesn’t have what you want, then you are just out of luck. So, I treated the Windows 8 RT like a Windows-based Android OS and tried to change the way I see Windows OS.

The Hardware

VivoTab RTAt one glance, this device looks just like the Transformer Infinity (TF700) from its outer shell. Can’t complain – ASUS did a wonderful job with the TF700, so I do expect  the new line-ups to have a gist of the TF700 design in them. The VivoTab RT has a nice brushed aluminium finishing on its body, but the plastic strip at the top that spans throughout the device, kinda makes it look cheap.

The dimensions are impressive! And it’s lightweight too! It’s about 8.3mm thick and total weight including the dock is only about 1.5kg. That’s roughly about the same weight as the ultrabook! Around the device, there are power button (which also doubles as a lock function) at the top, and a volume toggle on the sides. Simple and straightforward. There is a micro-HDMI connector and a microSD slot on the side and “weirdly”, the speakers are located at the back of the device. You can also find an 8-MPx camera at the back and a 2MPx one in front. Oh, and lets not forget about the socket at the bottom where you provide juice to the device – either from the charger or the dock!

This takes me to talk about the dock next. This is nothing weird anymore in ASUS’ line-up. When they launched the Transformer TF101 a few years ago, it was already a massive hit concept that ASUS somehow knew would nail their consumers. The dock does look familiar like any of the past transformable devices by ASUS. But unlike the Android docks which did not have the Function keys, this time we have F1 all the way to F12. And why would we not have it? It’s a Windows device, remember? Considering the size of the device, we can’t really complain when the dock ends up looking a little cluttered. What I find really weird is that the touchpad – which I hardly see myself using because of the touchscreen, is now larger and easier to use. This would’ve been much more useful in the previous devices perhaps.

Performance

The VivoTab RT is really responsive – when it is functioning that is. In my experience, the device did hang plenty of times – I lost count of how many times it did. Its packed with the nVidia Tegra 3 processor and under the hood we have 2GB of RAMs. It felt really powerful – better than my Samsung Note 10.1 really. The apps launched fast and even games were very rendering excellently. I tested the Reckless Racing game on it – which didn’t glitch or lag at all! It felt better than the Android version. Switching apps were also very seamless – probably because of the RT architecture. One downside was that the VivoTab RT does not have a quick boot feature so we you can’t utilize the quick start advantage on the Windows 8. Then again, while sleeping, the device sips the battery very efficiently, so it wasn’t really much of a concern to me.

One thing that is worth putting forward is definitely the battery life. ASUS always puts extra attention on this. The tablet itself is capable of surviving more than 9 hours of usage – an epic clock record! This is with the WiFi continuously running! The dock gave me additional 5 hours of extra continuous usage so that sums up to 14 hours of total continuous usage. You can burn your eyes using the device continuously that long – it’s a good sign of course! Hahaha! Speaking of eyes…

Display

VivoTab RTI used to be a huge fan of AMOLED to be honest – until my buddy Gene from DroidSage told me why IPS pwns AMOLEDs flat out. For a tablet priced at RM1499 RRP, packing in a Super IPS+ is definitely a big plus (no pun intended). I have been reading a lot on displays lately and I figure out that a device that rates between 100 – 250 nits will not be good under direct sunlight. You need at least 300 – 1000 nits if you are the sunbathing type. The VivoTab RT packs a 600 whopping nits Super IPS+ display with a stunning resolution of 1366 x 768. And like I mentioned earlier, the battery life is long enough, so feel free to blast the brightness to its maximum!

The Verdict

I won’t deny, VivoTab RT is really a sweet piece of software. You really have to take the experience in a different way than your laptop and you will soon be able to understand the fun part of it. By far, this is the first tablet that I have owned which is a lot of fun when it comes to Word Processing and doing your monthly expenses. Thanks to the Office 2013.  Face it, MS Office is still the best when it comes to productivity and having a native Office in your tablet is just heavenly! This is what a tablet should be – a bridge between your computer and your mobile phone.

Nothing is Perfect

VivoTab RTThere are a few clunks worth noting. My biggest annoyance was the WiFi trigger. Sometimes it wouldn’t connect to my WiFi networks and when it does, it has problems switching between my router and extender seamlessly. Maybe it’s the Windows 8 RT thing but because of this, you can’t even use a third party WiFi application that might perhaps improve it. Secondly, the USB is only available on the dock. While this reduces the width of the tablet, it is rather annoying that you always need the dock if you want to connect your USB storage device. And finally, the plastic cover at the back of the tablet is a downer. When I got my device from ASUS, there was already a small crack at the corner – which means it is not really durable. But lets not forget the awesome aluminium finishing and the affordable price!