When you talk about value with these tablets, there is a lot of information to cover. Each of these tablets is both a standalone tablet and a quasi-laptop/netbook. Admittedly, these tablets put the netbooks and tablets of the past to shame, so they really deserve their own category. Each of these tablets has something unique that it brings to the table.
The Acer Iconia W510 currently retails
at the MSRP of $749.99
for the 64GB model with keyboard dock. Without the keyboard dock, this tablet retails for $599.99. The 32GB ASUS VivoTab RT is selling for $549 on sale
from $599.99 when it first came out. In addition, ASUS is running a promotion where they will throw in the additional $150 dock for free if you buy it before December 31st, 2012. At the current promotion, it almost seems like a no-brainer to go for the ASUS VivoTab since they’re essentially throwing a $150 accessory at you for free. However, once that deal expires, these two tablets will be very close in terms of final price.
Comparing the two tablets’ value propositions we must also consider that both manufacturers did not include any additional accessories beyond the proprietary power adapters, warranty cards, screen cleaning cloths, and full-size USB adapters.
Taking into account that both tablets also have one year warranties, neither manufacturer decided to go the extra mile in terms of warranty. The ASUS tablet physically feels like it has better build quality, but it forces you into a much more closed ecosystem compared to standard Windows 8. Microsoft does make this up to you as a consumer by throwing in Microsoft Office, but as more and more competitors begin to provide solid alternatives to Office, the need for Office becomes less important to users. I will admit, having a full version of Microsoft Word on the ASUS VivoTab RT is extremely nice and feels very productive, but it comes at a cost.Conclusion
Considering all of the positive and negative aspects of both of these tablets, it is quite evident that Windows 8 is a touch operating system and should only be experienced with a touch environment. I personally did not like Windows 8 until I started to use it with these two tablets, and since then I have grown to love it even more than Windows 7. The decision that Microsoft made to force all users onto the ‘Windows 8 Style’ UI was a horrible one, and they do have the opportunity to reverse it if they choose to.
Comparing these two tablets, though, we can see how much hardware and software affect each other and how having an x86 based processor in a tablet is incredibly beneficial to productivity while simultaneously still delivering great battery life, something that was unheard of in the past. Similarly, Microsoft has finally managed to bring their operating system to the same architecture that has been running the majority of tablets prior to Windows 8.
The real question is, is Windows RT good enough right now to compete with fully featured Windows 8? The answer is a resounding “absolutely not.” Nvidia and ASUS have made a valiant effort to make the ASUS VivoTab RT a very well rounded tablet with a great user experience; however, it falls short in the most critical ways that make a tablet useful. This is especially true when we are talking about a Windows tablet. Both of these tablets are very comparable in features and usability, but the inability to do fundamental things that a PC is designed to do have made Windows 8 RT fall short. Microsoft needs to keep working with developers to continue to improve application selection and to increase the driver library for these tablets because not being able to print to a network printer is unforgivable for any personal computer. Perhaps for a tablet it is excusable, but not for a PC. If the shortcomings of the Windows 8 RT operating system do not faze you, then the ASUS VivoTab RT is a fantastically built tablet with great battery life.
We will be following up this review with a performance review covering things like actual measured battery life, CPU performance, GPU performance, memory performance, data transfer speeds, and much more. We do not consider this review completed, however, at the current moment we find ourselves leaning towards the Acer Iconia W510 purely due to the freedom it provides with a fully featured OS.
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