Hands-on with the Vizio Tablet PC Windows 8 Slate (video)
The Vizio Tablet PC is an 11.6 inch Windows 8 slate with a 1 GHz AMD Z-60 “Hondo” processor. That’s a low power chip designed to offer long battery life and support for HD video thanks to Radeon HD graphics.
While Intel’s Clover Trail chip has proven more popular with tablet makers in recent months, I had a chance to spend a few minutes with the Vizio Tablet, and I have to say the AMD Z-60 seems to handle Windows 8 quite nicely.
The Hondo chip is an x86 processor, which means the Vizio Tablet PC can run the full Windows 8 operating system and not just Windows RT. In other words, you can run Windows 8 “Metro” style full-screen apps, but you can also install and run third party desktop-style apps.
Plug in a mouse and keyboard and you could essentially use the Vizio tablet like a low power laptop. Hook up an external display, and it’s effectively a Windows 8 desktop PC.
The tablet itself features 2GB of RAM, at least 64GB of stolid state storage, and an 11.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display. It weighs about 1.66 pounds and feels pretty comfortable when you hold it in landscape mode.
Like many other 11.6 inch tablets, it feels a bit clunky in portrait orientation since the weight is balanced a bit wrong for that mode. A 768 x 1366 pixel display is also much taller than it is wide, which makes reading web pages and other content kind of awkward in portrait mode anyway.
While I didn’t get a chance to really put the tablet through the paces, it felt very responsive when launching and switching apps and it seemed to handle automatic screen rotation a little more quickly than some Windows 8 tablets with Intel chips that I’ve used.
The tablet has a Windows Experience Index of 2.7, which means it’s clearly not going to be up to the task of hard-core gaming or other tasks that can really tax the processor. But as a full Windows 8 tablet, it’s much more versatile than a Windows RT tablet with an ARM-based chip.
While the Vizio Tablet PC is initially shipping with an Hondo chip, AMD says eventually Vizio plans to upgrade to a faster AMD Temash chip after the next-generation processor is released later this year.
One problem though, is that high resolution 1080p display. It looks great when running full-screen apps. But in desktop mode text can be very, very tiny — and that can make it hard to select text, tap on the right icon, or perform other actions with your fingers.