on February 20, 2013
First off I would like to clarify that this a full blown x86 machine running full Windows 8 and it's only limited by it's hardware, it runs all legacy programs as well as Windows store apps, this is a PC that looks and feels like a tablet and for me that is excellent. Also this is not a Windows 8 review.
Now that we got that out of the way, on to the review.
This is a long review but I hope is useful if you're on the fence about this tablet or a Windows 8 tablet in general, I will point out some aspects I would've liked to know before I purchased this tablet as it may be helpful to you too, please read on.
HARDWARE AND BUILD
*You can read the full specs on the product description
-It has almost the same footprint as an IPad and the weight is very comfortable without making it feel cheap, even with a case on this tablet weights less than 1.5 lbs. Actual weight is 1.3 lbs which is very nice. Mine came with a light creaking on the right side (landscape orientation) of the bezel but not a mayor issue
-The Screen is superb for what it is(1366x768 IPS display), viewing angles are on par with an IPad and better than on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, crisp and clear images are produced and colors a very accurate, it also has adaptive brightness. Screen response is very fast and it has full Windows touch support and 5 point multi-touch support also it has no active Wacom pen support
-The Back panel has a rubbery feel to it makes it feel more expensive and it does not attract fingerprints nor it scratches easily, also the camera decoration ring gives it an upscale look
-Only one speaker is built in, not stereo speakers like advertised, this is really my only hardware compliant, it is really quiet and puny, but I kind of expected that. Since it has a combo mic/headphone jack and Bluetooth 4.0 and the output trough the jack is very good getting audio out of this thing is no problem, you will need an adapter for separate microphone and headphone use, also I've found that the Intel sound driver has a weird way of recognizing when you plug in something and it sometimes kills the audio completely and you have to restart the tablet, this appears to be more of a bug than problems with the actual hardware,
-The battery is non removable and is superb for a full Windows 8 machine, I've managed to get about 9 hours out of a charge using Bluetooth, WiFi and running several apps
-The back camera is very good, it takes full 8 megapixel stills and records 1080p videos, front camera has a wide lens though is off centered, it looks weird but it makes sense for video calling
-NFC and GPS are supported, you may share websites and contact cards with most NFC enabled devices but keep in mind that file transfers are restricted between Windows 8 products only (Includes RT and Windows Phone 8), this is a "security feature" in Windows 8 (Dam you Microsoft!)
-The wireless antenna is very good but it will not connect to ad-hoc networks(like the ones created by some smartphones) and creating a WiFi hotspot is not supported, these are "security features" in Windows 8 (Dam you again Microsoft!), you can install a third party app for WiFi hotspots creation but is not working for me yet
-Bluetooth audio and remote control are supported as well as Dial Up Networking via Bluetooth and Nokia Suite in my case (solves my ad-hoc problem), audio streams with no problems, as well as the internet connection via DUN, fast enough
-Charging requires at least 1.5 amps output from your power supply (if not using the supplied one) for a slow charge, don't expect it will charge off from your regular USB port on your computer these put out 0.5 amps at most, by the way the USB to Micro-USB cable for charging that is included is very short (like 3 ft.), you can use an equal longer cable
-Haven't tried out the Micro-USB OTG feature and the Micro-HDMI port yet,I will be updating this review when I get some adapters, the Micro-SDXC port supports up to a theoretical 2 TB of storage, mine is 64 GB no issues
Overall very good hardware, build and finish is well executed and materials feel more expensive.
This tablet flies on Windows 8 it opens apps and desktop programs(depending on the program) very fast is responsive and it handles multitasking quite well, stability is not an issue, had one freeze up during a Windows update but it resumed quickly, the Modern UI feels perfect for this hardware spec, the desktop side will depend on what you are running.
This tablet has a Dual-Core Intel Atom z2760 @ 1.8 GHz and 2 GB of Ram @ 800 MHz, an integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator with a minimum of 64 MB and a maximum of 725 MB of shared memory and Direct x 9.3 installed and an on-board Intel STT Audio Device (WDM) with an eMMC 64 GB (~58 GB formatted) HDD.
Windows Experience Index (Windows 8 32-Bit)
Gaming Graphics: 3.2
Primary Hard Disk: 5.8
That is good for the following(some examples):
-All Windows Store Apps
-MS Office and many document suites
-High quality Video/Audio playback and streaming (YouTube Full HD, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify Premium, Sony Music Unlimited, Full HD video files and looseless audio formats)
-Light Audio/Video and Photo Editing (Very light)
-Some older games(Age of Empires 3, World of Warcraft on lowest settings, Fallout, Emulators topping on Gamecube/PS2-like graphics)
-Some CAD programs and Audio creation programs (MathCAD, AutoCAD, Amplitube or Guitar Rig)
-Some programming and SQL programs (MS SQL Server, MS Access, NetBeans,Flash Builder,etc)
Basically anything that is not too CPU or Graphic intensive
Haven't tried virtualization yet(OracleVM for example), Windows 8 reports it's not supported by the processor but it may be configurable I'm not sure, also you can install Bluestacks or WindowsAdroid if you like to install some Android apps and since it's a x86 machine there's a possibility to put Mac OS X or Ubuntu on this thing.
Overall very good performance for every day computing, as well as some leg room for big programs, very pleased.
INCLUDED SOFTWARE AND ACCESSORIES
It includes the bare-bone accessories, only the charger cable, power supply and a cleaning cloth are included, as well as manuals and warranty info.
Asus choose to include as little bloatware as possible, this is good, they just included their LiveUpdate, WebStorage, MS Office trial install and some windows modern apps, also they included the restore partition which you can back-up to an external USB drive and delete after if you want to get those 8 GB back
Overall pasable software an accessory bundle, software wise is good since it doesn't rob me of my precious space, but accessory wise they should have included a Micro-USB OTG adapter and perhaps a cloth sleeve for travel. Also I would suggest getting a Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse since it makes things better on the desktop mode, in fact the more things you can use connecting Bluetooth or WiFi the better since the Micro-USB port doesn't seem to put out too much power and carrying around a USB hub (aside from the fact that the tablet probably is not going to be able to power your devices or even the hub itself) defeats the purpose of portability.
It starts at $499.99 for 64 GB (mine costed $487.99) and that gives you most of the power of a regular PC plus expandable storage in an tablet package, by the way speaking of tablets both the IPad 4 and the Nexus 10 are the same price and offer better displays and arguably better ease of use, minus less storage and no real PC capabilities. For me those tablets don't fit my needs like this one does because it has Windows.
By no means is this tablet a "anything-killer", each tablet fits different needs and does it in a different fashion, so this is rather a completely different beast, a new genre of tablets, this tablet is a great start to getting your Windows 8 groove on, highly recommended great product.
Look for options and do the research to know if a certain tablet fits your needs and then go from there, for me it's finally what I was looking for in tablet, a portable full blown computer.
on February 6, 2013
Absolutely a life changing device for me. I have to give up my office with the arrival of a baby boy. I fretted about this as I love my study but I really like my desktop computer in the study.
My wise wife suggested I use one of our existing notebooks instead --- a no go for me. If I am sitting at a desk then I don't want to be on a laptop conversely for mobile use I am not a fan of notebooks due to the weight and battery life.
I went to the Microsoft Store after watch all the microsoft commercials. I was hesitant as I had previously updated my desktop home computer to Windows 8 and what a hassle as I had to learn something new and different. I really liked the Windows Surface at the MS Store though --- Windows 8 was truly made for a tablet but the Surface ran Windows RT and if I lose my desktop then I would not be able to use my Windows programs (Quicken, etc)with the Surface. The Microsoft Rep told me that the Surface Pro was on the way but would weigh 2lbs and have a short battery life. No thanks.
I came home and did some research and found the Asus Vivotab Smart which magically ran full Windows 8 on an Intel Atom processor. I was again hesitant as I had a netbook with an Atom processor years ago and it was slow. But the reviews were great on the Asus Vivotab Smart. So I bought it along with the cover and keyboard.
Game charger. Its super fast and seamless. Plays movies without a hitch. The system is as fast as my eyes can watch the screen and fingers can swipe. Windows 8 is weird on a desktop but is by far the best tablet OS going. I liked my Ipad and wifes Andriod phone but they were toys to a certain extent. This has all the same features except that Windows 8 is more intuitive as a tablet than the Ipad and Android. Plus I can run my beloved Quicken and Microsoft Office, etc.
I won't miss my desktop computer and office (save that is where I watched football).
- 9 hrs of battery life (I can confirm this)
- Windows 8 is the ultimate tablet OS (use your thumbs)
- weighs ~1.25lbs --- light
- get the cover and keyboard --- the are a must, the keyboard is normal sized and the cover is a kickstand also
- Screen is super clear and fresh --- viewing angles are great
- Windows Metro/modern is great and it took getting this tablet for make me figure that out
- Full Windows although I only find myself use quicken, office for the traditional windows programs
- Take the dive and sign up for the integrated Microsoft experience: outlook.com email and use skydrive cloud for you storage which is free. I resisted this at first but once I switched over to outlook.com IMAP email and the cloud for "my documents" --- I realized I was stupid for waiting so long.
- Thus Windows 8, outlook.com and skydrive synchs all my computers and tablets seamlessly with zero work. So with this tablet synched my email, music, documents, pictures, etc when I turned on the tablet for the first time and logged in with my email.
- Kills complexity in my life. Now my computers, notebooks and this tablet are on the same synchronized platform even my background picture and passwords are the same. So I am going to sell my Ipad (never liked Itunes) and my wifes Andriod phone is on chopping block.
- The App store is still developing which is a bit of a hassle. Netflix and audible.com, fitbit are there but my wife wants the facebook app, pinterest (wife's request), skyward and a few others.
- Apparently computer writers/reporters are fanboys of Apple and Google which will be a disservice as their readers will stay with those platforms instead of switching to Windows 8 tablets thus the App store may be slow to reach a critical mass of users.
- Microsoft made a mistake with the Surface. Its beautiful but RT is limited compared to Windows they should have taken the Asus approach with full Windows 8 on a Intel Atom. This tablet is lighter, has the same battery life and all the windows goodies.
- at $499 its more expensive than Androids although beats the pants off Apples considering you full Windows 8
- Does not come with Office installed
Get this tablet.
on February 1, 2013
Weight (580 Grams)
Full windows 8
64 Gb emmc
Speaker volume could have been higher, but its still acceptable based on the compact form factor.
Full USB port would have been better but not a deal breaker
I initially got an Acer Iconia W510 and was fed up of the constant crashing/driver issues with the device and returned it.
1. Build Quality
Checked this tab in while surfing for windows 8 tablets and i liked its build quality and features that are mentioned in pro's list here (Acer tablet had a lot of flex on the back plastic cover). As expected the tab feels really sturdy with no signs of flex no matter how you hold it.
2. Battery Life
The battery life of tablet is great, i can go through full day (approx. 9 hrs of usage) without any problems.My use involves web surfing, videos, music, games etc (I use this for entertainment mostly)
Intel Atom serves for most needs, dont expect Heavy lifting programs like adobe photoshop to run very smooth but other than that for daily needs it works well even while multi tasking. I ususally have multiple apps open and switch between them constantly, the experience goes without a hitch. You can have multiple browsers/tabs open and it would work great, the 2GB RAM complements well with the atom processor and does not show any signs of slowdown in day to day use of Office, Videos, Music, Web Browsing, reading, Games from Windows store etc and also since this is intel powered, you get all the goodies of pugins to browser in desktop mode.
The first thing you should do when getting this tablet is update it, Asus Live is a good client to get updates related to drivers and you would see many windows updates which are very critical stabilty and power updates, these updates also include updates to make the microsoft store work better. Once you get up to date, there are no stability/driver issues and the tablet works well, Ive been using this for around a week and i did not see any crash or any driver issue. Its very stable and works really well.
Hope this review was helpful for people thinking of purchasing this tablet. I definitely recommend this product.
on February 9, 2013
I really like the hardware of the ME400. The 10.1 inch size feels a lot better than those larger 11.6 inch Atom tablets. The tablet is thin and has a nice soft touch back and rounded edges. The buttons seem to be in good locations too.
What I don't like about the hardware, I wish the seam between the glossy plastic front bezel and the soft touch plastic back didn't meet on the edge of the tablet where my fingers rest. The seam is a bit rough in some places.
ASUS claims there are two speakers and that SonicMaster audio provides richer basses and the best audio experience. Well this marketing spew couldn't be further from the truth. The tablet has one speaker vent (maybe there are two very tiny speakers side by side under it), there is no "bass" at all, and the volume is pretty weak. Hearing dialog is quite difficult. You'll definitely need to use headphones if you want to watch movies, TV, or podcasts on this tablet.
But the audio wasn't too important (this seems to be a problem with many tablets unfortunately) and the rough seam doesn't bother me much, so overall I'm quite happy with the hardware.
Where the real problems are though is with the software. You can't download drivers from ASUS's website. Instead they include an ASUS Live Update tool to get the drivers, this is the only way to get the drivers. This tool worked for me the first couple days I had the tablet, then it stopped working. Now I just get "cannot connect to server" when I try to launch it, then it just closes. This seems to be a common problem from what I've read on tablet forums too. Nobody seems to have a fix for this. I did a Refresh of Windows 8 on my tablet and unfortunately the problem remained.
I contacted ASUS for help on this issue. The first ASUS rep I talked to went to look for an answer and 15 minutes later hung up on me without ever getting back. I contacted them again and the next guy told me he has no fix for this problem He can't provide me with the installation file to re-install ASUS Live Update and told me I just have to wait until the application is released on the website, which of course he could not tell me when that would be.
The tablet sometimes will just freeze up and not respond at all. I'll have to hold the power button for 10 seconds to force shut it down and reboot. This has happened about 4 or 5 times in the almost two weeks I've had it. So not quite a daily occurrence, but happening more often than I like. I don't think it's a hardware issue, just one of those things with immature drivers.
I imagine this tablet will get a bit better once ASUS get's it's act together will driver support. They've been quite terrible with it so far between this and their TF810 Atom tablet too. But I decided to suffer with ASUS because the hardware seems nice and the price was nice at $500.
on July 12, 2013
I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone unless you want to get screwed by Asus... I had bought this Asus Vivotab Smart on May 29th and received it with fast shipping on June 3rd. When I got it, it work prefect I had no troubles with it as I am use to a Windows 8 system because have a laptop that has Windows 8 on it. I decided to purchase this Vivotab because I wanted some on the go instead of carrying around my laptop every I go. At first this product was perfect and I was happy because I was able to take my work on the go and access all my documents that's on my laptop on the Asus vivotab. I never dropped or abused my tablet in anyway what so ever, I treated this tablet and any other tablet I had used in the pass like it was my baby. On July 4th I used my tablet in the am, there was nothing wrong with it, I plugged it in to charge, between 5 to 10mins after I had used my tablet, I heard a loud popping sound coming from the table where I had my tablet at charging, I wondered what that nose was so I went over to my tablet opened the case and found that the screen was cracked and the plastic siding where the power button is was separated. I was upset and confused at first because I didn't know why this had happened. Since it was a holiday I didn't think anybody was opened so I waited until the next day to contact the seller and Asus about this issue. I was told by the Seller that I had to contact Asus to see if they can fix it and if I wasn't satisfied with the results from Asus which was no help because they are saying if I want them to repair the screen I would have to pay for the repairs which I didn't see why I should pay for any repairs do to this happening on its own which would make it a design flaw. So I contacted the Seller back telling them the issue again and asking them to either replace the product with a new one or refund my money back, The seller said the are not able to replace or refund my money do to the fact that the 30day warranty is up, wow the warranty was up by 1day when this happened. I am waiting back on the manager of the company where I got this Vivotab Smart from to see if they can possibly make an expectation, but I am not holding my breathe, I ignored all the complaints and bad reviews because I thought I would get lucky and get one the was fine or that the other people was just hating on Asus products because they simply didn't like them. Don't ignore the bad report about Asus, there are actually true, I have researched this problem and found that other Asus products including this Asus Vivotab Smart screen spontaneously cracks. Asus denies that this product and other product has this design flaw and refuses to fix it with out a charge, they simply like to call their consumers liars and blame and charge them for the repairs for a damaged screen. I explained numerous time to them and the seller what happened, this is why companies loses business because the like to deny claims and blame the customer.. My advice don't buy and ASUS product especially this one because you will be disappointed especially when it come to the screen spontaneously cracking on its own....... Sorry that this review is long but its the truth.......
on July 11, 2013
I purchased an Asus Vivotab Smart in April of this year and have had nothing but problems with it since I have had it.
First, the sound started to cut out randomly requiring a restart in order to restore the sound. When I called into customer service they had me do a "Hard Reboot" which resets the unit back to the factory defaults. This was annoying to say the least as all the apps I had installed were erased. What is worse is that the hard reboot did not fix the problem, the sound continued to cut out randomly requiring a restart to restore the system sound.
This was the just the beginning of problems. At this point (less than 2 and 1/2 months from the purchase date) the touch screen has begun to malfunction. The unit behaves as if the touchscreen is being touched even when it just sits there being undisturbed by anyone. This makes it very hard to navigate as the unit continues to behave that way as I try to use it. Apps will randomly launch, websites will randomly be navigated to (and away from) letters will randomly by typed, etc...
Finally, the touchscreen keyboard has begun to malfunction. There are time the 'a' key and the 'w' key just won't work. They won't work in any app. If you happen to have any of the failing characters in your password, you are up a creek.
I have spend hours on the phone with Asus' lackluster customer service. They had me send in the unit for repair - which they will ask you to do at your own expense unless you complain hard enough. I followed the repair process through to the end and when I got the unit back I opened up anticipating that it was repaired.
Nothing was fixed.
Nothing at all.
The same problem that led me to send it for repair were noticeable from the very first time I fired it up after getting it back from their "repair" facility.
I should have known that this was likely as the Better Business Bureau has given Asus a failing rating (an F on a scale of A+ to F) and has a consumer alert against this company. Apparently I am not the only one who sends Asus products off for repair only to receive them back just as broken. According to the BBB:
"We have identified a pattern of complaints concerning service issues. Complaints processed by BBB claim that 1) products sent to the company for repairs are still not working properly when returned to the consumer."
After all that expense, I anticipate having a very expensive paperweight.
You might be one of the lucky consumers who have no problem with the product, but if you do have a problem, don't count on Asus standing behind their product or honoring their warranty.
To this day Asus refuses to send me a suitable replacement or refund my investment.
on March 7, 2013
You can't help comparing any tablet to the iPad so I will too. The iPad has a higher resolution and it is a little heavier. If you want a E-reader of sorts, that weight matters. The wide screen in portrait mode feels odd. Even though the battery life for both are similar but it is really dependent on the usage and I use Windows more than IOS. No fans so it is quiet. 64GBs doesn't seem like a lot especially when you didn't install anything and it tells you 30GB free, I popped in a separate 64 GB Micro SD.
There is a certain level of expectation you for an Atom processor and the integrated video card and that level should be low. It can not handle any heavy duty games. It was able to handle 720p Youtube videos but 1080p stuttered. I was very surprised that the Metro version of IE worked quicker than Google Chrome. When I was showing it off, my friends would load up 5 or more apps and then it would hang to the point I would have to restart it. Not the greatest of demonstrations but you know what you are getting into with the Atom but the restart was under 25 seconds.
It doesn't charge when you plug in the micro USB cable into another PC's USB port and it doesn't show up as an external drive or anything. That would have been cool but I didn't expect it. Not having a standard USB port is a big miss. The front facing camera is very grainy. The back camera is clear but I am not one of the people that takes pictures with a 10 inch device. The Windows key for the new Start menu responds way too slow. I think that is an Asus issue vs. a Microsoft one. I swipe the left side for the Start menu because that is faster. The speakers are pretty good. There is a micro HDMI on the side that outputs at 1366x768. The micro HDMI cable had a hard time staying in there because both the cable and port are small. Speaking of the screen resolution it is low. A large virtual keyboard, small screen, and a low resolution is not a good mix. There is a light sensor on there - it will drive you crazy and make you think something is broken so just disable it and you will revert back to normal. Trust me when I say you will revert back to normal. I bought the TranSleeve Keyboard but never used it. I gave it an honest effort as a tablet only. I didn't want to make it bulkier or the battery to last a shorter time.
Tablets like the Vivotab are really more a companion device, this is NOT suppose to be a full replacement for your desktop or laptop. Do not compare it to something that has an i7, 16GB of Ram, 2GB video card. Don't even put in on the list with them. If you compare devices in the $500 range, it'll be hard to find something better. The VivoTab is cheaper than the iPad and Lenono Thinkpad 2. If the Thinkpad 2 and Vivotab were next to each other at the same price, I would have pick the Thinkpad 2.
One may argue Windows 8 is not good but in tablet form, it works really well. I really like it. Windows 8 on desktops is a different story and that negativity is not towards this product. If you lower you expectations and not compare the Vivotab to something high end, you'll love this tablet. If price isn't an option, you don't want this. Get the Lenovo Helix or Razer Edge.
Small update on 3/24/13: I am still happy with this tablet but the ASUS notification center keeps coming up with the same to updates. No matter how many times I install the bios update, it keeps telling me to do the updates. I believe that is more of an issue with ASUS and not Microsoft.
Another update on 4/4/13: Asus sent another update where the notification problem is no longer there. Good job Asus! I got the Razer Edge Pro and that is really big with no GPS or rear facing camera. If I didn't get the Vivotab 1st, I would be singing praises for the Razer Edge Pro but I give credit to where credit is due. Asus did a really good job and Vivotab is my measuring stick for tablets. I used the Vivotab every day I got it and for the Facebook, Youtube, Netflix, Hotmail, news feeds, usage I had for it, it was great. I never expected it to play game but it handled low end/casual gaming fine too (Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja). The GPS was something I thought I would never use and it lasting 8 hours was great. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an iPad or in the tablet market. I unfortunately never tested anything Bluetooth related. CAN'T WAIT FOR A 7in MODEL!!!!