Earlier this month we detailed two ASUS tablets that were on display at IFA 2012. The important specification that was unknown at the time was pricing, however. Specifically, pricing information has been leaked on not only the two ASUS Vivo tablets, but a third tablet that we reported on in June: the ASUS Taichi convertible tablet.
ZDNet claims to have gotten a hold of the final pricing for the three tablets, by means of a leaked slide(s) that represent the company's holiday roadmap. The leaked slide can be seen below.
The two upcoming Vivo-series tablets are the Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT, which will run the x86 and ARM versions of Windows 8 respectively.
The Vivo Tab will run an Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, front/rear cameras (8MP/2MP), and sport a 10.1" Super IPS+ display (1366×768 resolution). It is rated at 8.7mm thick and weighing 675 grams. According to the leaked slide, the Vivo Tab will be priced at $799 for the base model, and the accompanying keyboard dock will cost an additional $199.
On the other hand, specifications for the Vivo Tab RT include a NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, 11.6" Super IPS+ display (1366×768), 8MP/2MP front and rear camera. It weighs 520 grams and is 8.3mm thick. This tablet has a starting price of $599 for the tablet itself, and the keyboard dock costs $199 extra.
Note that this ARM-powered tablet will come with the preview/RTM version of Microsoft Office 2013 at launch (which I have been using since the Customer Preview came out, and generally like it). Once office goes gold, Windows RT tablets will receive a free update to the final version. However, with the Windows RT version, you do not have access to features like macro support in excel (which kind of defeats the purpose of using this a business machine, but at least it's 'free').
|ASUS Vivo Tab||ASUS Vivo Tab RT||ASUS Transformer Prime||ASUS Transformer Infinity|
|Processor/SoC||Intel Atom||NVIDIA Tegra 3||NVIDIA Tegra 3||NVIDIA Tegra 3|
|Display||10.1" Super IPS+ @ 1366×768||11.6" Super IPS+ @ 1366×768||10.1" IPS @ 1280×800||10.1" Super IPS+ @ 1920×1200|
|Camera(s)||8MP rear, 2MP front||8MP rear, 2MP front||8MP rear, 1.2MP front||8MP rear, 2MP front|
|Size||8.7mm thick||8.3mm thick||10.4" x 7.1" x .3"||10.4" x 7.1" x .3" (8.5mm thick)|
A comparison of the Vivo Tab and Vivo RT compared to ASUS' Android-powered alternatives.
Further, the ASUS Taichi is not only a tablet, but one with dual screens that is actually billed as an ultrabook — and with a (rumored) price to match! For $1299, you get an ultrabook with two 1920×1080 multi-touch displays on the front and bad "lid" of the laptop. Specifications include an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM, SSD, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, dual cameras, and USB 3.0 support. Even better, both displays on the Taichi can be used at the same time to share the computer with a friend sitting across from you (unclear how the software handles this though I don't think both users get individual desktops).
What that means is that if you want a Windows 8 tablet from ASUS with a keyboard dock, you are looking at a minimum of $798 for the ARM-powered Vivo Tab RT, $998 for the Vivo Tab, and $1299 for the ASUS Taichi. Now, the Taichi's pricing I can forgive, because it is marketed and positioned as an ultrabook. The two Vivo Tabs do seem overpriced for what you are getting once you factor in the additional cost fo the keyboard dock. If the dock was included in the $599 and $799 (base tablet) prices, I think those prices would be fair – but they do not. Even comparing to the company's Android tablets, it is difficult for me to justify the 'x86 and Microsoft taxes' that are likely responsible for the increased cost. As an example, you can find the 32GB Transformer Prime and keyboard dock for a total of $616.94 on Amazon right now. Is the (approx.) additional $180 really worth it just to run Windows 8 – and the ARM version at that (so no traditional desktop apps). For many people, I think not and I think Microsoft and the many tablet OEMs that are going to try to push Windows 8 tablets/notebooks this holiday season are going to need to re-evaluate the market if they want these devices to sell well.
After using Windows 8 RTM on my main desktop, I'm not sold on metro but it's not terrible and it's actually a decent UI when navigating around with a touchscreen (I've also tried it on a convertible tablet). I do think that Windows 8 tablets are a good thing, and if positioned at the right price, Microsoft and the OEMs could sell a lot of these just on the merits of being able to say that this computer/tablet/notebook/et al is running 'Microsoft' and/or 'Windows' on the box and displays (at retail) which consumers are familiar with and comfortable paying for (the brand name).
The crux of it is pricing though, because if there is a 10" tablet for $800 next to a 10" for $600, and the only discernable difference is what is on the screen (the OS, and especially since Win 8 isn't all that reminiscent of Windows' desktop), I have to believe that the majority of consumers are going to go for the cheaper model (likely running Android).
[And that's not really touching on the $1000 Vivo Tab+dock that is running an Atom processor of all things… that is most definitely ultrabook territory and for that price you should be getting at least a Sandy Bridge CPU, and better chassis. If I was in that situation of choosing just between ASUS' devices (with a touchscreen), I would probably just save up the extra cash for the Taichi and get a 'real' ultrabook (internal specs-wise), or go for something like the Transformer Pad Infinity which wouldn't run Windows but would at least have a much better display and be a bit more portable.]
But what do you think? Are the rumored prices reasonable? Would you buy a Windows 8 tablet over an Android tablet even if the Microsoft-powered device is significantly more expensive?
As an enthusiast I don’t
As an enthusiast I don’t really see myself buying into the close system the Windows RT is shaping up to be. Not only that, but the soft and hardware are unproven and very very expensive. It is more expensive than an Ipad 3 for gawd’s sake. What at a surprise that would be for the RT to be so incredibly excellent that even though more expensive and with less apps than the Nexus7 or the Ipad, people would still flock to buy one the morning of the launch.
Bottom line: this pricing looks like pure fantasy unless they know something we don’t know. Decent hardware design though, wish I would get one (for 200… if it has SD reader)
Why is it that Microsoft
Why is it that Microsoft always defeat from the jaws of victory. They have the option to blow away the world of PC’s, tablets, and smartphones with a unified platform yet they are using a display resolution that is “sub par” by default and has already been blown away by Apple and Android. Now the pricing on tablets from their partners are stretching way above the comfort point of the casual consumers which just kills the momentum they need to develop.
$200.00 for an RT tablet with SD card slot is the killer device that we all have been waiting to purchase. That is what MS need to have on the market Novemebr 1st to blow Kindle HD (32 Gig being released October 25th) and Nexus 7 out of the water. Plus the fabled 8 Gig 7″ iPad Mini is around the corner and may have a price entry point of 199.00 as well.
We have yet to see Microsoft
We have yet to see Microsoft Surface RT and Surface Pro pricing but it would be unwise to undercut their partners significantly or have them in significant numbers if the pricing is significantly lower.
Asus has had a PC Tablet line for some time though. The Asus Eee slate EP121 and EB121 Core i5 tablets hit the market at ~$1100 when they were new and the Samsung series 7 Windows 7 PC tablets ranged from ~$1100 to about ~$1500. So higher-end pricing is expected for higher-end performance with respect to Windows 8 PC tablets on Ivy Bridge.
HP has had an Atom based Windows tablet at about ~$800 so again no surprises there with respect to pricing and the leaked Asus slide above.
The only unknown was pricing for Windows RT on ARM hardware such as Tegra 3. However, the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T was about ~$600 USD. If the physical specs are about the same (1920 x 1200 for example) then it would be unreasonable to expect a significantly lower price.
Having said that, perhaps manufacturers will do what HP did with the HP Touchpad and dump the product into the channel at firesale prices,….when they don’t sell.