ASUS VivoTab T600 Review

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Windows 8 is the final maturation of the Windows platform for a touchscreen world. It should come as no surprise then that in many ways Windows 8 is both excellent and flawed, but this review is not about that. Instead, its about the finest Windows RT tablet on the market, the VivoTab T600.

And perhaps more importantly, its about the state of tablet computing and how, in so many ways, Microsoft has done something both amazing and terrifying, and ASUS has perfectly enabled the software giant with compelling, powerful, and sleek hardware.

Hardware

The VivoTab T600 is very similar to the beloved ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T, still the best Android tablet on the market. The VivoTab is a 10.1″ slate with similar components: a 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 T30 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 1366×768 resolution display with the same Super IPS+ screen technology, and identical front and rear 2MP/8MP cameras, respectively. When looking at these specs there are plenty of differences, but because of the real major difference – Windows RT versus Android 4.0 – the slower CPU, additional RAM, and lower resolution display all make sense for the Windows machine.

It makes sense because, just like on Windows Phone 7 (and now 8), the Windows RT interface is designed around contrasting color, not miniature icons. High resolution pictures aren’t necessary to see what you’re selecting, a brilliant move by Microsoft that I applauded back when WP7 first came on the scene. With WinRT on the VivoTab, the ~720p display is very suitable; 1080p isn’t necessary for such a device, though of course it wouldn’t hurt to have. Considering the current strength of technology, the resolution is proper.

I’m also very happy with the lower resolution screen because ASUS has done such an incredible job with the IPS panel. It’s not only bright enough for use in direct sunlight, it also provides excellent color contrast and is highly adjustable. Many have claimed that Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is the definitive WinRT experience, but I disagree. Thanks to an incredibly thin shell, a fantastic display, and a really great keyboard dock, the VivoTab RT is the best way to use Windows RT.

The tablet itself has only a few ports: Micro HDMI out, a MicroSD card slot, and a proprietary connector/charging cable that can connect to the optional docking keyboard, which itself includes a USB 2.0 port and another proprietary connector for charging. The back has a slight design, far removed from the TF700T, which is better designed to grip the tablet from either side with or without the keyboard. I find the feel of the T600 to be exceptional, though in fairness I gave up on a thinner tablet for one with a keyboard (see “Keyboard and Laptop Replacement).

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