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First Look: The Asus VivoBook Smart ME400 does Win 8 for under $500
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First Look: The Asus VivoBook Smart ME400 does Win 8 for under $500

2:36 /

In a sea of hard-to-distinguish Atom-powered Windows 8 tablets, the Asus VivoBook Smart ME400 stands out a bit thanks to clever add-on accessories.

-I' m Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the ASUS Vivo Tab ME400 yet another in a seemingly endless line of Windows 8 tablet/laptop hybrids. Like a lot of the other recent ones we've looked at, this is an Intel Atom system which means that it's got a lot less power under the hood than a Core i5 tablet like the Microsoft Surface Pro, but it's also a lot less expensive like most of the Intel Atom tablets we've seen. The base unit here, which is just the tablet, the 10-inch touchscreen tablet, starts at $499 and then you can add accessories. In this case, it's this detachable keyboard. It's actually just totally detached. It doesn't even clip on. And a little cover that kind of folds the tablet in together. So, when you put those two on, that's another $130 which means that you're spending more than let's say entry-level for an iPad, but you do get the full Windows 8 operating system. Since most of these Windows 8 Intel Atom tablets perform around the same, it really comes down to which tablet style you like and what sort of keyboard you want. Some of them have clip-on keyboard. Some of them have totally detached ones like this. Some of them don't really have custom keyboards available at all. I really like the concept of the separate little super thin keyboard with the touchpad and the little smart cover. It's little confusing to figure out at first, but then I got the hang of it. This cover folds up here, almost origami style. You take the keyboard when you're done with it. You slip it right on top of the screen. It matches right up and then you fold this up here and then you've got a nice little package ready to go with you. Now, when you're ready to actually unfold it again, you put it down, open up the cover, take your keyboard out. This is where it got a little bit tricky for me. You fold this back here and then you have to figure out exactly the right way to fold it. It took me a couple of tries. Now, I think I finally got it down. So it makes sort of a stand for the tablet and then you just push your bluetooth keyboard right in front of it. Now, these Intel Atom processor tablets, they're not gonna play games. They can do HD video streaming just fine. Apps that are really designed to work well with the Atom or Windows 8 like IE10 and Netflix tend to work fine. The big trade-off you're making is less processing power, but more battery life. We got about eight and a half hours out of this guy which is certainly enough for a full day. Although with the small 10-inch screen and the low 1366 x 768 screen resolution, this may not be enough muscle to be your full-time, everyday, all-day computer. This is more of a secondary or travel system. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the ASUS Vivo Tab ME400.

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