Asus jumps into the small tablet stylus game with the VivoTab Note 8

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January 6, 2014 12:23 PM PST / Updated: January 13, 2014 9:30 AM PST

LAS VEGAS -- Asus is eyeing Samsung's current tablet stylus dominance with its new Vivotab Note 8, a Windows 8.1 tablet with a Wacom digitizer and stylus pen. There's no price or firm release date just yet, so whether it undercuts the $399 regular price of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 remains to be seen.

Whatever its eventual price, Asus doesn't appear to be shy about adding value. The VivoTab Note 8 includes a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student, which, in addition to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, throws in OneNote for good measure.

Asus doesn't make it clear exactly which Wacom digitizer sits inside the tablet, but does state the tablet can sense up to 1,000 points of pressure from the included stylus.

Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The VivoTab Note 8 houses a quad-core Intel Atom Z3740 CPU, and according to Asus, the tablet's battery will last for up to 8 hours. Other specs include 2GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage, and it's compatible with 64GB microSD storage cards. There's a 5-megapixel rear camera and an "HD" front shooter, which means don't expect much from it in terms of performance.

From the look of the pic above, Asus still seems comfortable leveraging the Nexus 7 (2012) design as this new one doesn't look much different. And with a 0.43-inch thickness, it's definitely not the thinnest small tablet I've ever seen; however, with an .83 pound bulk it still manages to weigh less than a pound. And like most Asus tablets, it also comes with a free year of unlimited ASUS WebStorage.

It feels a bit late for Asus to be stepping into the stylus tablet game -- and on a Windows 8.1 machine no less -- given Samsung's stranglehold on on the subcategory. Samsung has worked to improve stylus integration on its tablet since the introduction of the original Galaxy Note 10 -- with great success. Whether the VivoTab will see similar success will depend -- among other factors -- on just how well the stylus is integrated into the interface.

Check back later this week after we'd had a chance to go hands-on with the tablet and put it through its paces at CES 2014.

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About The Author

Eric Franklin is a section editor covering how to and tablets. He's also co-host of CNET's do-it-yourself and how-to show, The Fix and is a 20-year tech industry veteran.