The Asus VivoTab RT is the first Windows RT tablet from Asus. It features a 10.1 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, and an optional keyboard dock which lets you use the tablet like a laptop.
When using the tablet and dock together, Asus says you should also be able to get up to 16 hours of battery life.
The Asus VivoTab RT is already up for pre-order for $599 and should ship after Windows 8 and Windows RT go on sale October 26th.
I got a chance to spend a few minutes with the new tablet, and there’s a lot to like. The 10 inch tablet weighs less than 1.2 pounds and felt pretty good in my hands. I could imagine holding this device while watching videos, surfing the web, or reading eBooks — something that’s a little tougher to do with larger tablets featuring 11.6 inch or bigger screens.
Meanwhile, the docking station provides a nearly full-sized keyboard, a touchpad, and function keys that let you operate the VivoTab RT just like a laptop.
The only catch is that since this device is running Windows RT instead of Windows 8, it won’t be able to run older Windows apps that aren’t optimized for devices with ARM-based processors.
I didn’t have time to run any heavy-duty performance tests, but for basic tasks such as launching apps, switching between apps using swiping gestures, or loading Liliputing in a web browser, I noticed virtually no difference between the Asus VivoTab RT and the Asus VivoTab Smart tablet (which runs Windows 8 and has an Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processor).
So the key difference is that the Windows 8 model of this tablet has an x86 chip and is compatible with a wider range of software.
Asus will offer the VivoTab RT with 32GB or 64GB of storage. Both models feature 2GB of RAM, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a 25Whr battery for up to 9 hours of battery life (in tablet mode only. There’s also a microSD card slot and micro HDMI port and an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front-facing camera.
Asus also plans to offer a model with 4G LTE eventually.
If you’re wondering why Asus is charging more for its ARM-based Windows RT tablet than for the VivoTab Smart with Windows 8 and an x86 processor, it’s at least partially because the VivoTab RT ships standard with the keyboard dock.
Some retailers had listed the dock as a separate item in pre-orders, but Asus says the tablet and dock will be sold together for one price.