Asus VivoTab RT TF600T review

18 Jan 2013

Asus harnesses its expertise to deliver the best Windows RT tablet yet, but the immature OS and high price diminish its appeal

Price when reviewed: 
550(£549 inc VAT)
4

Microsoft risked irking its PC partners with the release of the Surface, but going by the VivoTab RT TF600T, Asus isn’t bothered in the slightest. Instead, the Taiwanese manufacturer has let its hardware speak for itself. Taking the hybrid design pioneered by its Android-powered Transformer tablets, and adding Windows RT, it takes the fight to Microsoft’s own-brand tablet with gusto.

At a glance, you’d barely be able to tell the VivoTab RT from its Android-powered cousins. Apart from a subtle tweak to the Mobile Dock’s hinge, and the capacitive Windows Start button on the tablet’s screen surround, it’s practically identical to its Transformer-branded stablemates, with the same gorgeous brushed-metal finish.

Asus VivoTab RT TF600T

That’s no bad thing. Compared to Microsoft’s Surface, the tablet part of the VivoTab RT is an absolute featherweight. Asus has opted for a 10.1in form factor, half an inch smaller than that of the Surface, and the result is a tablet that, at 530g, weighs 20% less than its rival. We’ve only one complaint: after the diamond-grade toughness of the Microsoft Surface, the Asus hardware feels noticeably more flexible – but that’s being really picky.

Top of the docks

The tablet and optional Mobile Dock are a winning combination. The tablet slots home into the Mobile Dock base with a pleasing thunk, and a haptic buzz reassures that it’s locked safely in place. With the dock attached, the VivoTab RT weighs in at 1.07kg, only 107g more than the Surface with its optional Type Cover.

Asus VivoTab RT TF600T

The transformation from lightweight tablet to fully functional netbook is seamless. The keyboard’s keys have a crisp action and a satisfying amount of travel, and while the layout is still a touch cramped, we’re pleased to see that Asus hasn’t had to shrink the cursor keys to unusable proportions. The buttonless touchpad generally works well, too, with two-fingered dabs bringing up the right-click context menu and two-fingered swipes smoothly scrolling you through menus and web pages. The only niggle is pinch-to-zoom gestures are juddery – it’s better to reach out and use the touchscreen itself.

The 10.1in display feels small after Microsoft Surface’s 10.6in unit, but it shares the same 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution and quality is noticeably improved. The display oozes with intense, saturated colour, and with a maximum brightness of 466cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 932:1, the Super IPS+ panel puts in a superb all-round performance.

Detail

Price ex VAT Tablet, £458 (£549 inc VAT); Mobile Dock, £96
Price inc VAT £115
Warranty 2 yr return to base
Overall rating 4
Performance 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3

Physical

Dimensions 263 x 171 x 9mm (WDH)
Weight 530.000kg

Display

Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Display type Multitouch, capacitive
Panel technology IPS

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1.2GHz
Integrated memory 64.0GB
RAM capacity 2.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? no
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11bgn
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Upstream USB ports 1
HDMI output? yes

Software

Mobile operating system Windows RT