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Asus VivoTab TF810C: First look at a solid Windows 8 tablet with pen

A new VivoTab arrived yesterday, and the first impression of this Windows 8 tablet with the keyboard dock and pen is favorable.

It was almost two months ago that my HP Envy x2 arrived, and I've come to like this tablet with laptop dock. Unfortunately, it is missing one thing I need, so an Asus VivoTab is now sitting on my desk. I bought the optional VivoTab laptop dock with the tablet, as I consider one to be mandatory to serve my needs as a good laptop. The one thing it has that the Envy lacks is an active digitizer with pen support for taking ink notes, which is the reason I bought it .

Laptop config
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

The VivoTab hasn't been with me long enough to offer detailed impressions, but it's already showing some nice touches worth sharing in this first look.

Hardware specs

Tablet

  • Model #: VivoTab TF810C-C1-GR

  • CPU: Intel Atom Z2760 dual-core at 1.8GHz

  • Memory: 2GB

  • Display: 11.6-inch (1366x768); 16:9 IPS

  • Storage: 64GB

  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; GPS; NFC

  • Ports: Audio in/out; micro HDMI; microSD (SDHC)

  • Audio: quad speakers with SoundMaster Audio Technology

  • Active digitizer with pen: Wacom

  • Cameras: 2MP (front); 8MP auto-focus (rear) 1080p video recording

  • Battery: 30Wh, 10.5 hours

  • Dimensions: 294.2x188.8x8.7mm, 11.58x7.43x0.34 inches; weight: 675g, 1.48lbs

  • Extras included: 32GB Asus cloud web storage; carrying case/stand; USB dongle; extra nibs for pen.

Keyboard dock

  • Dimensions: 294.6x187x10.16mm, 680g 11.6x7.4x0.4 inches, 1.5lbs

  • Battery: 25Wh, 8.5 hours

  • Ports: USBx2; proprietary power port (can charge both dock and tablet).

First thoughts

The tablet in the dock is a very sturdy laptop, with a good keyboard and decent trackpad. The latter is not as good as other trackpads I've used, but it is functional. The whole package weighs just under 3 pounds and is insanely thin.

Laptop side view
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

The tablet snaps into the dock easily, and has the unlock slider on the tablet and not the dock, which is unusual. Removing the tablet from the dock is as easy as sliding the unlock slider on the lower left of the tablet and pulling it out of the dock.

The VivoTab is a good tablet, with performance as expected for an Atom processor. Operation is smooth and snappy doing typical things for a Windows 8 tablet. The screen is nice and vivid, and touch operation is as expected.

The pen works very well, as is typical for Wacom technology. Inking in apps that support it is smooth and pleasant. Asus went with a pen slightly larger than the stick stylii that most OEMs are using, and it feels more natural in the hand than the little ones. Unfortunately, this means there is no storage silo in the tablet, but it's an acceptable tradeoff.

Tablet in stand
Included sleeve used as tablet stand. Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Asus includes a sleeve for the VivoTab with the tablet that also serves as a dual-position stand for the slate. It fits the tablet without the dock perfectly, but I need to play with the stand capability to see how well it might work.

Laptop closed
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

The most impressive thing about the VivoTab so far is the insane battery life it yields. The tablet alone gets a good 10 hours on a charge and another 9 hours in the dock. Asus uses smart battery handling for the two-battery setup. The dock battery is depleted first, and then it switches to the tablet battery when the former is dead. This gives you a full tablet battery when you pop it off the dock to go pure slate.

I'll have more detailed information about the VivoTab and the laptop dock after I spend more time with it. So far, it has been a solid laptop and a pleasant tablet to use. The pen input is already very useful for taking ink notes, my primary reason for buying it.

Laptop dock
Laptop dock (not included with tablet). Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

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