Hot on the heels of Acer and Sony, ASUS has recently announced its latest devices – many of which are touch-optimised for Windows 8. From a lust-worthy Zenbook Prime with touch-enabled display to a plethora of hybrid notebooks, ASUS is certainly bringing in the numbers with its Windows 8-friendly devices.
Read on after the break for the latest from ASUS.
ASUS’ latest products for Windows 8 can be broken down into four series: the Zenbook Touch, Transformer Book, VivoBook as well as the VivoTab series. Both the Zenbook and VivoBook series are traditional laptops with touch-enabled displays, while the Transformer Book and VivoTab series are hybrid tablets with keyboard docks similar to the current Transformer line of tablets.
Make no mistake, however: the flagship Windows 8 device from ASUS is the Zenbook Touch. Featuring the same sexily svelte chassis that we saw and loved from the original Zenbook Ultrabook, ASUS has managed to fit in a touch-enabled display without adding to its dimensions. Not much has changed from the Zenbook Prime that was available earlier this year, however. Powered by the latest Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with 4GB of RAM, the Zenbook Touch also sports a speedy 128GB SSD.
Nevertheless, the highlight here is definitely the gorgeous 13.3-inch Full HD IPS display – now touch-enabled. To the naked eye, the display panel has not added any visible depth with the inclusion of the touchscreen, which is quite a feat. The entire Ultrabook feels impossibly light, too, but in a good way of course. Build quality is still superb.
First up is the traditional-looking VivoBook series of laptops. These laptops borrow heavily from the Zenbook design language, but are slightly thicker than the flagship model. Available in two display sizes (10.1 and 14 inches – both with 1366 x 768 resolution), the VivoBook laptop features a touch-enabled display as well as the latest generation Core i3 and i5 processors. The 14-inch model, the S400, sports a hybrid 500GB hard disk drive with 24GB of flash storage, while the smaller model, the X200, only uses a standard 500GB hard disk.
Next up is the VivoTab series. Akin to the Transformer line of Android tablets, these tablets offer an optional keyboard dock that now has two USB 2.0 ports as well as an integrated battery. When connected, ASUS is claiming a battery life of up to 19 hours with the dock. What’s interesting about the VivoTab is that it is available in two flavours: the 11.6-inch VivoTab and 10.1-inch VivoTab RT. As the name suggests, the VivoTab runs on Windows 8, while the VivoTab RT will run on Windows RT.
Hence, the processors for both devices are radically different, with the VivoTab powered by the x86-architecture Intel Atom dual-core processor and the VivoTab RT running on the ARM-architecture Tegra 3 quad-core processor by NVIDIA. In addition, the VivoTab will also have an optional digital stylus powered by Wacom. Both VivoTabs sport a Super IPS+ multi-touch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 and protected by Corning Fit Glass, 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera (both with 1080p recording capability) and finally, a quad-speaker set up with ASUS’ SonicMaster Audio Technology.
Finally, there is the ASUS Transformer Book. Combining the best features of a standard notebook with a tablet, the Transformer Book can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor on the upper portion of the Transformer Book. There’s also an SSD in there, as well as its RAM module in addition to the Full HD TFT display. The keyboard dock, on the other hand not only contains an integrated battery, it also contains a standard hard disk drive to further boost the Transformer Book’s storage capacity. All these sound pretty awesome on paper, but unfortunately with such specs, there’s bound to be a downside.
First up, at around 950g, the tablet portion is downright hefty. In addition, placing a processor meant for Ultrabooks and laptops on a tablet would surely pose heat dissipation issues – although our brief hands-on time with the device yielded no such problems due to the air-conditioned venue. Finally, the larger 13.3-inch screen does indeed pose quite an issue in terms of comfort, as it is rather too wide to be held with one hand as a tablet.
Unfortunately, although the devices have been announced, ASUS has not yet revealed the pricing for the above devices save for the VivoTab RT, which will be available now for RM2199 (with docking included). The Zenbook Touch, VivoBook and Transformer Book will all come with two years of international warranty, while the VivoTab and VivoTab RT will only have one year.
Writes primarily about mobile-centric technology. Also possibly a Nokia/Apple/Android/Jolla/iOS/Samsung/HTC fanboy.