Asus VivoTab going back to Amazon

Having recently bought and shared first impressions of the Asus VivoTab tablet with laptop dock, it's fitting to explain why it's on its way back to Amazon.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor on

I excitedly waited for the delivery of the Asus VivoTab tablet with the laptop dock, much as I do every gadget I buy online. I happily unboxed it and used it non-stop for a couple of days. I enthusiastically shared my first impressions of this cool hybrid solution with the pen I wanted to use. It was all good, but it's packed up to go back to Amazon.

Back to Amazon.
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

There's nothing wrong with the VivoTab; that's not why I am returning it for a refund. The reasoning behind the decision to part ways with it is totally unique to my own situation. I think buyers of the VivoTab will probably be quite happy with it.

There are two reasons for the return, one big one and one unique to my own situation. The big reason is quite simple, as I determined that the pen capability alone is not worth the $1,000 I paid for the VivoTab. While I enjoyed the ability to use the pen to both control the tablet with the pen and use handwriting in apps, the benefit to me was not worth that high price tag.

Reason two for the return played a role in reason one, which is that I already own the HP Envy x2. The Envy is a solid hybrid solution running Windows 8 that has served me well for the few months I've owned it. It's very much like the VivoTab, only without pen support.

Since the Envy x2 is much like the VivoTab in every way save the pen, that means I essentially paid $1,000 for that pen handling. While using the pen is nice, and I appreciate how well that works on the Asus, every time I looked at it next to the HP Envy x2, I wondered why I spent so much money for the pen.

This is the same dilemma fitting those entering into bring-your-own-device (BYOD) settings and enterprises in general. Windows 8 tablets are a good fit for corporate scenes, and the pen an additional benefit for workers taking notes and working in the field.

Unfortunately, just as in days past with the tablet PC, today's tablets are more expensive with pen support than those without. The price for a good Windows 8 tablet with an active digitizer for good pen handling is higher than those without. The additional cost may have companies giving a pass on the pen.

For the two reasons stated earlier, the VivoTab is going back to Amazon, and I will get the big bucks refunded. I'll miss the pen, but the HP Envy x2 will go on doing most everything I need in a Windows 8 hybrid. It doesn't hurt that the build quality of the Envy is a bit better than that of the VivoTab. Not that the latter is bad; it's just not quite as good. And that makes the HP worth the purchase price of around half the price of the VivoTab. It came down to a willingness to lose the $500 pen.

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