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March 07, 2013

ASUS Vivo Tab TF810C review

A couple of weeks ago, we’ve given you a taste of what to expect from the ASUS Vivo Tab TF810C in terms of design and make. Now it’s time to get more up close and personal with the Hybrid Tablet PC and find out if this device has more to offer than stunning looks.

We’ve always been a huge fan of ASUS Transformers and have wished that the company would release a Windows version of it. Fortunately, the company didn’t disappoint and has made a machine for both Windows 8 and Windows RT and kept the impressive features that made its Android-powered counterpart a huge hit to consumers.

asus tf810c

Display and Sounds

The TF810C sports an 11.6-inch WXGA (1366 x 768), Super IPS+ touch-enabled display with multi-finger support (up to 10-fingers) and a layer of Corning Fit Gorilla Glass. It’s quite a mouthful, but how does it fare in real life? Well, while it may not be as sharp as a Full-HD displays, the screen delivers relatively deep blacks, vibrant colors and without any hint of pixelation. It also provides a wide viewing angle (178°) and 600-nits brightness which allows the tablet to provide a very good outdoor legibility.

We noticed some slight issues with how the tablet responds to touch inputs at times, but nothing really cumbersome and is more of a performance-related concern rather than the display in our opinion. There are also some concerns with the TF810C’s light sensor which hinders the slate’s ability to accurately adjust the brightness of the screen.

asus vivo tab tf810c

And while we were quite pleased with the Vivo Tab’s display, we didn’t feel the same way with its Stereo speakers. We were able to pick up good sound quality out of it, but it’s a bit lacking when it comes to volume. Unfortunately, its placement at the back of the tab didn’t help the lack of volume either. We usually find ourselves cupping our hands in the speaker area or plugging a pair of earphones just to hear the sound more clearly.

Camera

Just like what we’ve said on previous tablet’s that we’ve featured, we don’t expect users to take pictures using their tablets. However, should the need arise; we’re glad to say that the TF810C is capable of capturing decent stills thanks to its 8MP, f/2.2 main camera with LED flash. Sample images can be found here.

In addition to its ability to snap photos with desirable quality, the Vivo Tab is also capable of 1080p video recording. It also has a 2MP front-facing camera that takes care of your self-portrait or video calling needs. Here’s a sample video recorded using the slate’s main camera (don’t forget to select 1080p.)

OS and Programs

The Vivo Tab TF810C runs on a 32-bit version of Windows 8. One of the perks of having Windows 8 is the ability to install most applications that are compatible with existing Windows OS, meaning users are not limited to the apps being offered in Windows Store. Moreover, this version of the OS provides a better desktop experience to users compared to Windows RT.

Although Windows 8 offers Windows Media Player right off the bat unlike Windows RT, it doesn’t have (and probable will never have) support for DVD files like .VOB. Therefore, you’ll have to resort to other third-party (which some are paid) to play files with that extension or the like.

Windows 8

Another downside to Windows 8 is the fact that it occupies a huge chunk of the storage space leaving users only a portion of their disk drive and forcing them to do unnecessary and risky stuff like deleting the recovery partition just to free up some space. Also, this leaves the consumers no choice but to opt for a PC that has a bigger storage capacity or purchase an additional micro-SD card.

It’s a good thing ASUS didn’t add to this storage concerns and only installed a pair of programs (LiveUpdate and WebStorage Sync agent) to the Vivo Tab.

Performance

As far as the performance aspect is concerned, we feel that the TF810C, given its modest configuration, is well suited for users who don’t require too much horsepower from their computing device. Although it can pretty much breeze through all the basic stuff like browsing and word processing quite well, the same performance cannot be said for tasks which involve graphics handling like image editing and gaming.

tf810c philippines

Even in basic image editing software like the latest version of Picasa (v3.9) and casual games like Where’s my Perry?, the tablet fails to deliver a smooth user experience. There is a slight lag in the application, especially when using Picasa, and there were a number of instances when the tablet (not just the application) would just stop responding which sometimes results to an automatic restart.

Here’s a look at the TF810C’s Windows Experience Index result:

WEI

Although the Vivo Tab didn’t quite deliver the performance we expected from a machine at this price point, boot up and shut down is at least at par with our expectation. It only takes 15 seconds to boot from off state and less than a second to completely shut it down.

If we were to sum up the performance we got out of the machine, we think that it’s only a few notches better than what mid-tier to high-end netbooks are capable of. We feel that the Atom Z2760 and 2GB RAM tandem isn’t exactly the right fit for this awesome tablet and that a better configuration would’ve certainly made a significant difference. However, as mentioned earlier, if you’re the type of user who’s not in to gaming and image editing, the TF810C might just have enough oomph to get you through your daily computing needs.

Asus Vivo Tab TF810C specs:

11.6” Super-IPS+ WXGA touchscreen display, 600-nit
Corning Fit Gorilla Glass
1.8GHz Intel Atom Clover Trail Z2760 dual-core processor
Intel GMA w/ shared Graphics memory
2GB DDR2 800MHz RAM
64GB SATA III eMMC
Expandable up to 64GB via Micro-SD card
8MP autofocus rear camera w/ LED Flash
2MP Front-facing camera
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
NFC
Wacom Digitizer Stylus
2x USB 2.0 ports (Dock) + 1x via USB Adapter (Tab or Dock)
30WHr battery, up to 10.5 hours (Tablet)
25Whr battery, additional 8.5 hours (Dock)
Dimension: 294.2 x 188.8 x 8.7 mm (without dock)
Weight: 675g (without dock)
Windows 8

Battery

Apart from its crisp display, the TF810C’s other strong feature is its battery life. The company claims a total of 19 hours of mileage out of the tablet and dock combo, and the machine didn’t disappoint. On minimal usage which includes light browsing (2 hours tops), casual gaming (Where’s my Perry? For about an hour) with email and a Twitter client running on the background and the brightness set to 60%, it took almost 4 days before it asked to be charged.

vivo tab tf810c

It also fared well On moderate-to-heavy use. We tried running the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy including the prequel The Hobbit: An unexpected journey with the brightness set to 50% and WiFi switched on. We were able to finish the whole thing and still has room for almost an hour’s worth of browsing over WiFi before it got drained. However, there’s a minor downside to its battery performance.

The tablet requires more than 6 hours to be fully charged and an additional 4 hours for the keyboard dock. That’s a total of 10 hours spent being plugged to a wall outlet which may take away some of the mobility that is brought by the machine’s incredible power efficiency. But in our opinion, it’s a small price to pay considering that it gives users an above average mileage out of a single charge.

Keyboard Dock, Active Digital Pen and other accessories

The keyboard dock that comes bundled with the tablet expands the slate’s capability by providing extra power and set ports for additional connectivity. However, its main purpose – as an input accessory – is less to be desired in our opinion.

keyboard dock

The keyboard layout, as well as the secondary key functions, is pretty much similar to the Zenbook. The only difference is that the keys are made of plastic with matte finish instead of aluminum found on its ultrabook sibling.

Another feature of the keyboard is that it provides a very good tactile which makes for a comfortable typing experience. However, when paired with the tablet, the experience isn’t exactly the best as both seemed to be out of sync at times. There’s a fraction of a second delay between the key press and it being registered, worse sometimes the key presses are not being registered at all. We think that this slight issue can be fixed with a simple driver update, but until then, users will have to live with this small quirk.

clickpad

Below the keyboard is a small (88x50mm) Synaptics Clickpad which we also think requires a driver update. Reason why we said this is because clickpad is sometimes erratic and at times totally unresponsive. In addition to this, the Synaptics properties aren’t accessible in the device which might have helped in easing some of the frustrations we had with it.

Fortunately, we didn’t encounter any issues with the Wacom Digitizer Stylus aka Active Digital Pen. Not only does the Pen provides a more precise touch input, it also boasts a 1,024 pressure levels which makes it an ideal companion for sketching and other artistic needs. Sadly, the Pen doesn’t work well on the corners of the display that makes it a bit tougher to access certain areas such as the close and “Show Desktop”.

wacom digitizer stylus

Apart from the keyboard dock and Active Digital Pen, the TF810C also comes with a sleek leather carrying case complete with a compartment for its stylus. The tablet also comes with a small USB adapter that goes in to the slate’s proprietary port at the bottom or on the left side of the keyboard dock. This allows user to connect USB peripherals straight to the tablet without having the need to connect to the dock. Moreover, it also adds an additional USB port to the keyboard dock which may come in handy as it only has a pair on each side.

Conclusion

The first time we laid our eyes on the ASUS Vivo Tab TF810C, we immediately fell in love with it. This is due to its minimalist design coupled with a durable make that we’ve come to expect from ASUS’ Transformer and Zenbook lineup. This affection only grew stronger as soon as we turned on the tablet and saw the gorgeous 11.6-inch display in action.

We also like the concept of having multiple input options because we know that different tasks require a certain input feature to achieve optimal results. The inclusion of the Wacom Digitizer Stylus and Keyboard dock gives the TF810C an edge over its competition at this price point as other devices only has one or the other. Although we’ve pointed out a handful of missteps in the keyboard dock’s components (keyboard and clickpad), we feel that it’s a minor shortcoming that can easily be fixed with a driver update.

asus vivo tab tf810c philippines

As with any other device out there, the Vivo Tab TF810C also has its fair share of flaws. In the hybrid tablet’s case, it’s with its performance in resource-heavy tasks. However, it’s important to note that the machine’s intended purpose is not to replace your bulky system but to provide a full Windows experience on a mobile tablet PC which is capable of handling light productivity and media consumption. If your needs falls anywhere in that parameters, we think that the slate’s modest configuration will not become too big of an issue.

And speaking of performance, or lack thereof, we think that it’s the price we have to pay for the tablet’s outstanding battery life. It’s an unfortunate trade-off that we have to face; either go for a speedy machine that can’t even get you through 4 hours of moderate use without reaching for the AC adapter or PC which is a bit sluggish but is capable of giving you mobility of up to 19 hours.

Having said this, we think that the ASUS Vivo Tab TF810C is by far the best Atom-based Windows 8 hybrid tablet PC in the market. It’s got all the bells and whistles that a user could ask for in a Tablet PC and more that makes it a worthy investment. If you’re interested in getting one, this machine, along with the accessories mentioned above, will set you back Php42,995.

Written by Ron Bulaong

This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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