Asus VivoTab Note 8 Windows tablet is £300, includes Office

With Windows 8.1 and proper honest-to-goodness Office for just £300, Asus' new VivoTab Note 8 is worth a heads-up.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
Expertise Copy editing | Football | Civilization and other old-man games | West Wing trivia
Nick Hide
2 min read

With Windows 8.1 and proper honest-to-goodness Office for just £300, Asus' new VivoTab Note 8 is worth a heads-up if you're looking for a tablet to do more than just surf the Web.

Announced today at the seething morass of tennis racquet sensors and Bluetooth toothbrushes that is CES, the VivoTab Note 8 comes with Wacom's well-regarded Digitizer stylus software to faithfully transcribe your doodles and scribbles.

It's running on the latest version of Windows, the touch-friendly 8.1. Microsoft's Office Home and Student is bundled in, so you can get down and Word-y, or Excel at some spreadsheets. Quite how well that will work on an 8-inch touchscreen I don't know, but we'll bash it about in a full review very soon.

£300 isn't much cash once you've factored in that software, so its specs are pretty modest. It runs on a cheapo quad-core Intel Atom processor, with a mediocre 2GB of RAM -- fine for an Android tablet, but I'd worry that it would struggle to keep up with big-boy Windows.

There's plenty of storage -- 32GB on board, which is expandable by a further 64GB with a microSD slot. Asus also gives you unlimited online storage for a year.

Its 8-inch screen has a respectable 1,280x800-pixel resolution -- better than normal HD, but a fairly blocky 189 pixels per inch. It's a far cry from the Nexus 7's Full HD display.

Round the back there's a 5-megapixel camera, while its front-facer is only specced as being HD, so it's probably about 2 megapixels. There's no 3G or 4G options, so you'll be relying on Wi-Fi.

In terms of design, it looks a lot like the old 2012 Nexus 7, which Asus built, and it weighs in at a reasonable 380g -- a smidge more than the iPad mini, although it's rather thicker at 11mm.

Android alternatives

If Windows isn't your top priority, you can pick up a 32GB Nexus 7 for £239 direct from Google. If you're tempted by the stylus, Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 may fit the bill at around £270.

I reckon full Windows and Office make the VivoTab Note 8 a good deal at this price -- as long as they aren't hamstrung by those middling specs. We'll be testing that out in full soon, with it due in shops next month.

Is Office on a tablet what you've been looking for? Is this a better bet than an Android device for serious business? Note your thoughts in the comments, or over on our handwritten Facebook page.