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Laptops

Asus Vivo Tab

The Asus Vivo Tab has a keyboard dock, and is powered by Windows 8. Read on for our first impressions.

Asus is diving into Windows 8 with enthusiasm, prepping two tablets that boast keyboard docks, as well as the latest edition of Microsoft's operating system.

One such gadget is the Asus Vivo Tab -- the big brother of the Vivo Tab RT, which is slightly smaller and runs a more limited version of Windows 8, as well as offering a different processor. If you're keen to learn more about that tablet, be sure to check out our hands-on preview, but if the older sibling is more up your alley then read on for everything you need to know.

I've been hands-on with the Vivo Tab, and these are my first impressions. Check this page again in future for videos, and eventually a full review with a star rating.

The Vivo Tab comes out in late October, alongside Windows 8 itself. There's no word on pricing yet, unfortunately.

Design

The Vivo Tab is a tablet that comes with an optional keyboard dock, that -- as well as giving you the ability to type at speed -- has its own battery to keep your tech alive that little bit longer.

The design makes a good first impression, with a silver brushed metal effect that should turn heads, and a wedge-shaped style on the keyboard dock that will put you in mind of the MacBook Air.

The display is considerably bigger than most tablets, measuring 11.6 inches on the diagonal. Personally I think this is pushing it for a tablet device, as when it's undocked, the Vivo Tab risks feeling a tad unwieldy.

The display has a 1,366x768-pixel resolution, which isn't massively high, but looked bright and colourful enough when I stared at it. The tablet measures 8.7mm thick and weighs 675g, so it's definitely not quite as portable as its smaller rivals.

On the plus side, the bigger keyboard dock makes for a more spacious keypad that will likely prove more adept when it comes to typing at speed than the smaller Vivo Tab RT's equivalent dock.

Hardware

Unlike the Tegra 3-powered Vivo Tab RT, the Vivo Tab gains its strength from an Intel Atom processor. It's hard to know which is more powerful until we can run some benchmark tests, but I'd hope that the chip inside this machine would be capable of performing all the multitasking you care to throw at it.

There's Wacom support if you're a stylus enthusiast, while on the back of the Vivo Tab there's an 8-megapixel camera. That's a healthy resolution, but it's tough to know yet whether the snaps this tablet captures will look any cop. Using a tablet to take pictures also risks destroying your hard-earned street cred.

Software

The Vivo Tab runs Windows 8, which brings a touchscreen-optimised Start screen, who's tile-centric look was lifted from Windows Phone, which is Microsoft's smart phone operating system.

Beneath the colourful tiles there's a proper Windows desktop that you'll likely find more familiar. Because it's running Windows 8 rather than Windows RT, this tablet will let you install any software you like, and not restrict you to apps found only on the built-in Marketplace app shop. That grants you a degree of freedom you won't get on the smaller Vivo Tab RT.

Outlook

Windows 8 is an exciting prospect for tablet shoppers, and Asus has made some cracking tablet-laptop hybrids in the past. Fingers crossed this metallic machine isn't too expensive, and that the dual batteries help it survive for a long time away from the mains.

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