Asus VivoTab Note 8 Review

March 20, 2014 by Diana Hwang Reads (91,785)

Performance

At the core of the Asus VivoTab Note 8 is an Intel Atom chip with a Z3740 quad-core, 1.86Ghz. processor. The tablet includes 2GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of eMMC flash storage.

Asus VivoTab Note 8 -- Portrait ModeYou can add more storage capacity through a microSD card, or this device comes with one year of free unlimited access to Asus’ own online backup cloud service called ‘Asus WebStorage’. However, I suspect with Microsoft’s OneDrive, and many end users already using online cloud storage services such as DropBox, Google Drive, etc., it’s a “nice to have” feature but will not be what draws buyers to the 8-inch tablet. For that, the included Microsoft Office Home & Student edition is more compelling, especially for the business consumer.

As I surfed the Web, there did not seem to be any particular issues with performance. It was a pleasant experience to read web pages on the crisp display, read a book, and watch streaming video on the device. The only hang up stemmed from a slow wireless connection that occasionally impacted streaming and surfing functions.

Benchmarks
wPrime processor comparisons (lower scores means better performance):

Asus VivoTab Note 8 wPrime Benchmark Score

PCMark 7 measures overall systems performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Asus VivoTab Note 8 PCMark Benchmark Score

3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphic card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):

Asus VivoTab Note 8 3DMark Benchmark Score

Stylus
Asus markets this tablet as a one-handed note taker, which highlights one of its differentiating features: the inclusion of a Wacom pressure-sensitive display and stylus. The integration of the stylus into the device is better than Microsoft Surface Pro’s stylus, which clings externally to the special magnetic port. There is less chance for losing the Wacom stylus.

Asus VivoTab Note 8 with StylusWindows comes with Microsoft’s OneNote, a powerful note-taking application that supports both handwriting recognition and a keyboard. Using the stylus to write notes in OneNote could serve as a replacement for a paper-based notepad. I was impressed that OneNote could decipher and translate my chicken scratch print and cursive handwriting.

The VivoTab stylus measures a little less than 5 inches, and is plenty long for average hands. However, scribblers at TPCR had issues jotting notes for more than a few minutes at a time, owing to hand strain caused by the pen’s thin and light build. That’s the tradeoff for a dockable stick, but the Surface Pro pen is about a half inch longer, heavier, and thicker, and is easier to secure in hand, making it a more comfortable option. The Surface Pro pen is also active on both ends, with the blunt end doubling as an eraser. The Surface Pro pen also has better pressure sensitivity, offering users much more control.

The good news is that the VivoTab pen works with the Pro and the Pro pen works well with the VivoTab. Those planning on excessive VivoTab inking should consider picking up a Pro pen, which Microsoft sells for $30.

And why wouldn’t one want to excessively ink? The VivoTab’s light build and relatively wide screen bezel make for an excellent portable note-taking device.

Software
In the box, Asus includes an activation key for Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 edition. If business users want the full-blown Office 365, Microsoft includes an Office app for you to sign up for a free trial for the application or to enter your activation key code. The included Office version is particularly attractive for not only consumers, but also business users who might want to do some lightweight data creation or manipulation without having to lug a larger and heavier tablet or notebook.

The product also comes with the Microsoft Windows MovieMaker application, which has good intentions for consumers, but is a poor implementation for 8-inch touchscreen devices. It is not a Windows 8 touch-first application and when the program runs, it goes directly into the classic desktop mode. Trying to make a movie using the stylus and a small screen is not easy. It would have been better to link to a specific app in the Windows Store or have Asus partner with a third-party and pre-install it on the tablet as a way to differentiate its product.

I would have liked Asus to include a Windows 8 tutorial because for some, this device might be an introduction to the new Moderm/Metro interface. As we all know, the radical interface caused difficulties for many users transitioning from the classic desktop to the new modern look, and a Windows 8 lesson would have been helpful.

Camera
The Asus VivoTab Note 8 comes with a 1.26 MP front facing camera and 5 MP rear facing camera, with 720p video recording. The camera is no different than other competing devices in its class such as the Dell Venue Pro 8.

Sadly, I was disappointed by the grainy quality of the indoor photos and video. There also is no flash to help with the lighting for indoor pictures. Daytime outdoor photos and video were adequate as there was enough light to capture pictures and video. The device serves in a pinch, but users will most likely head to their smartphones or real digital cameras and video recorders to capture the moment for better quality memories.

Battery
The product includes a 15.5W battery, and Asus says it has battery life of about 8 hours. The tablet came up considerably shorter in our benchmark test: about 4.5 hours.

Asus VivoTab Note 8 PowerMark Benchmark Score

The PowerMark test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming, and video playback workloads.

Don’t stop now, Page 3 sums up our conclusions on the Asus VivoTab Note 8. <!–pagetitle:Asus VivoTab Note 8: Performance –>


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