Like everybody else, we expected great things from Windows once it became more touchable, and, no matter how disappointing Windows 8 has turned out, it has (for the most part) accomplished that much. Despite the flaws (yes, some were serious) and the circuitous route it took to get there, today we enjoy relatively easy-to-use, high-quality, and affordable touch-screen Windows tablets and convertibles—as demonstrated by Asus’ Editors’ Choice recipient, the $329.99 VivoTab Note 8 we reviewed back in April 2014.
One of that slate’s most notable features was its built-in, pressure-sensitive stylus, which, considering how small many of the menu entries, buttons, and icons were (especially in desktop mode), came in quite handy not only for taking notes and drawing, but for navigating Windows in general. And at the time, its price was remarkably low.
Now Asus has introduced another 8-inch Windows tablet, the $199.99 VivoTab 8 (only $149 at the Microsoft Store as we wrote this). For the most part, this is the same tablet as last year’s VivoTab Note 8, but without the stylus and with a few other minor differences we’ll get to over the course of this review.
For example, the Note version contains a slot on one edge for housing the stylus, which in turn makes for wider bezels, and display hardware for supporting the stylus. This means that the VivoTab 8 is a much leaner tablet—both smaller and lighter than the VivoTab Note 8.
That said, many users won’t mind the extra girth. For them, giving up the stylus for navigating this small screen is no small sacrifice. On the other hand, if you can live without the pen, this VivoTab is, in terms of screen quality and performance, a winner in its own right.
Granted, the display resolution of 1,200×800 pixels isn’t particularly high, but it’s plenty high enough for this petite screen. The Web sites, photos, games, and videos we looked at were…well, not necessarily spectacular, but certainly sharp enough to deliver great-looking images and graphics.
And that’s just it—if you don’t mind the concept of Windows 8 on an 8-inch screen, which will inevitably present you with buttons, icons, and menu entries small enough to sometimes require multiple attempts at manipulating them, you will probably like this tablet. We did.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper