ASUS is well renowned for its Android-based Transformer series of tablets and the company appears to be using the same formula for upcoming Windows 8 RT devices. The ASUS Vivo Tab RT comes bundled with a keyboard dock that includes a built-in battery, effectively attempting to create a hybrid, tablet-notebook device.
The ASUS Vivo Tab RT appears to be a very similar clone of the Android-based Transformer Pad Infinity tablet. It's just 8.3mm thin and weighs only 520g, so it's actually thinner and lighter than the Infinity. This is an achievement in itself, as the Transformer Pad Infinity is one of the lightest and thinnest Android tablets on the market.
The real story of the ASUS Vivo Tab RT is the keyboard dock. ASUS has stuck with much of the same formula as the Transformer series and it's easy to see why. The dock adds a full-sized USB port, a full-sized SD card slot, a trackpad and its own built-in battery.
ASUS promises the dock will provide a further six hours of battery life when connected to the Vivo Tab RT, giving the device a total of up to 15 hours of juice. That's certainly impressive and could be the key difference in opting for this device over the multitude of other Windows RT based tablets expected to launch before the end of this year.
There are a couple of new features on the Vivo Tab RT's dock. It has a hidden hinge design and a new locking mechanism that ASUS says makes it easier to remove. The unlock slider is now located on the tablet rather than the keyboard dock and ASUS assures us this results in a better user experience.
The ASUS Vivo Tab RT is a pretty powerful tablet in terms of specifications, too. It has an an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a separate 12-core graphics processor for gaming, comes with 2GB RAM and will be sold in 32GB and 64GB variants. There's also a microSD card slot on the tablet. Along with a full-sized SD card on the keyboard dock, storage clearly isn't going to be an issue on the Vivo Tab RT.
Where we feel ASUS may have missed the mark is the Vivo Tab RT's 10.1in display. The super IPS+ panel is likely to be bright and clear, but its 1366 x 768 resolution can't quite match the likes of the Apple new iPad, the Acer Iconia Tab A700 and even the Transformer Infinity. This means it won't be able to display the same crisp, super sharp text.
Other features of the ASUS Vivo Tab RT include an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chat applications and built-in NFC connectivity, but there's no 3G connectivity. ASUS will bundle Microsoft's Office 2013 software with the tablet.
The ASUS Vivo Tab RT will be officially released in Australia in November 2012 with a price tag of $749 for the Wi-Fi enabled 32GB model. ASUS says a 3G version of the tablet will be released in Australia later this year, with pricing on that model yet to be confirmed.