- 02-17-2013, 01:06 AM #1
I'm up for a windows 8 tablet but can't decide what I really want. As an engineering student, I need pen input, a keyboard, full Windows 8, good battery life, portability, and a decent price. I am very interested in the upcoming Asus Vivotab TF810C, but my only concern is the power of the intel atom processor. Can somebody please tell me how their intel atom tablet performs and whether or not there are any better alternatives with the things I need. I run a couple lightweight engineering programs, Microsoft office, firefox, and anything heavy I run on my laptop and desktop back home. Thanks.
02-18-2013, 09:33 AM #2
- 64 Posts
I've tried 2 atom powered tablets so far and the performance seems decent to me. Like you I really want/need the pen input. The first one I tried was the HP Envy X2. Great unit, build quality was really nice and performed well. Problem is the pen is still not available and HP couldn't tell me what model # has the digitizer even though it's advertised on the X2. So I took that back to try the Samsung Ativ 500T. This unit seemed to have plenty of issues. The keyboard dock is unusable. Will not stay connected. Then, on my fourth day of use it failed to recognize the S-Pen. I completely reset the unit and it didn't help. Called Samsung and they said send it for repair. I said I'd rather take it back I was gonna try the Asus, but I'm thinking of Surface Pro or holding off. The Asus is nice but by the time you buy keyboard dock, Surface Pro (64gb) w/ type cover is only $30 more and I've read other members post and battery life seems to be better then stated. I'm not a power user by any means but I didn't really have any issues with the Atom performance. If the Envy would've have been as advertised and the pen available I'd still have it. If the Asus included the dock for $799 then I may be more inclined. But if you read the posts around here Asus isn't supporting this product either.
- 02-18-2013, 10:05 AM #3
I had Surface RT which is unbeatable in terms of built quality but it has Windows RT and is quite sluggish, so I swapped it for Asus VivoTab Smart which costs £399/499 and it is Atom powered tablet. It is definitely much faster than Surface and should be enough to run simple programs ( not games I've tried so no you won't play Call of Duty on it at all). I have Office 365 installed plus lots of other programs like video players and Zune and some cleaning apps (ccleaner). After all they work fast enough, multitasking is fast as well, you get around 10 hours of battery life. Design wise the tablet seems cheaper than Surface because it's all plastic but it is much lighter and tapered edges makes it much more comfortable to hold. It comes in black and white, and red should be available soon, plus there is special origami like magnetic cover in 4 different colours plus magnetic Bluetooth keyboard. It just came out so I had some little issues with some apps but Asus really takes care of everything fast and in just one week they have released one bios update and two drivers update that fixed anything that was wrong. By the way it comes with 64gb of storage unlike Surface RT for the same prices. Asus gives some nice apps like the note and camera app with effects and the lens itself is 8mpx 5-element unlike Surface's VGA so that's another plus. I would definitely recommend it over Surface RT and would give it a try before Surface PRO as this one is twice as expensive. Just Google Asus VivoTab Smart for yourself to check.
- 02-19-2013, 10:30 AM #5
As an hp envy x2 owner I love the tablet but I wouldn't get one for the pen input because hp has been very withholding on the information about the stylus. it is supposed to have a stylus that is optional but you can't find any info on it or where it is other than the name. Also hp says some envy x2 tablets have pen support and some don't. So I would go with the ThinkPad tablet 2 which does have a Wacom you can buy for it. Also I'm an engineering student too with an atom tablet and I run office, matlab runs fine believe it or not, putty, visual studio pro, and other programs like vlc, u torrent, etc. And those run fine
- 02-19-2013, 05:52 PM #8
My ThinkPad t2 is being delivered tomorrow, if there are some specific apps/scenarios you want me to try and report on, let me know.
I previously owned a Surface RT, and my father has a Surface Pro, so I can give you some comparisons also.
- 02-20-2013, 03:47 AM #9
- 02-21-2013, 01:02 PM #13
Is battery life really going to be that bad? Intel is aiming for 13 hours of battery life with Haswell, and while I don't think we'll get exactly that, I don't expect us to only go from 4-6 hours of battery life to 5-7 hours. Intel's saying that Haswell will be the "largest battery increase generation on generation in Intel's history." It seems like Intel's doing a lot to decrease power consumption.
AnandTech - Intel's Haswell Architecture Analyzed: Building a New PC and a New Intel
I think you're right that we'll see a fanless design this time around, but I think the decrease in TDP will still make a difference. Right now, Surface Pro uses a Core i5 3317U with a TDP of 17W. Haswell will go down to 10W, or maybe even lower. The result? It'll run cooler, so you can decrease the size of the cooling solution and make the product thinner, or maybe squeeze in more battery.
Basically the reason I don't like to recommend the current generation Atom has two 32nm Saltwell cores, based on the original 45nm Bonnell Atom core from 2008. It also uses a three year old PowerVR SGX 545 GPU which is probably slower than what's in the iPad now, and it's limited to 2GB of RAM. It kind of bothers me that Windows 8 seems to be made for hardware that doesn't really exist. Like this generation of Atom seems like a stopgap (a decent one though) for the next generation Atom kind of like how WP7 was just a stopgap for WP8. There even seems to be a stopgap for Haswell. Intel's new Y-Series Ivy Bridge.
AnandTech - Intel Brings Core Down to 7W, Introduces a New Power Rating to Get There: Y-Series SKUs Demystified
So I guess my question is do you need it now, will you be disappointed if something possibly (not guaranteed though) much better comes out by the end of this year (like Lumia 900 with WP7 then the Lumia 920 with WP8 six months later), or can you wait?
- 02-21-2013, 01:57 PM #14
I've been contemplating about the thing, although my needs are much more different. I have a Yoga 13 that I use for my serious on the go computing (like when I'm on a trip and need to write some code or expect to do photo editing on more than one pic at a time), but I'd like to get a tablet that I can take with me when I'm not expecting to do anything too serious. I write some articles and blog posts, so having a good doc editor is a must. I already have a license for Office 2010, so I don't need RT's Office. I also do a lot of e-reading, web browsing, and prefer the GIMP to do photo manipulations (I'm a semi-pro photographer).
I've been considering getting an Atom powered tablet to help me with all of this, and would greatly appreciate some input from people in this forum. I've heard pretty good things about the Vivotab Smart and the ThinkPad 2.
Edit: Fixed the name of the Lenovo tablet.
Last edited by bawboh86; 02-21-2013 at 03:08 PM.
- 02-21-2013, 05:49 PM #15
I'm not saying that Haswell isn't going to be good or important, just don't believe marketing fluff from intel or any other company for that matter. Usually moving to a smaller manufacturing process does increase battery life but not so significantly, I still think haswell will only give you like 2 extra hours of battery. I could be very wrong about this but I think2 hours sounds about right.
In reguards to the atoms, the new bay trail processors won't be out until very late (December-ish) 2013 or early 2014 and about the regretting comment(which is funny imho), no matter what you buy, when you buy it, something newer, better, faster, stronger will always come out too soon and personally, I will always want it. The current clover trails I'm pleased with. Yes the graphics processor does suck and intel needs to improve it but for 720p video at least on the machine its fine. I haven't plugged mine into hdmi to test out 1080p yet though. Overall I'm content with my atom tablet, it does everything I need it to well for a tablet/dockable tablet hybrid.
The thinkpad tablet 2 is a MUST BUY if you need an active digitizer. Otherwise, since you sound like you need something for lighter use I would buy the acer iconia w510 for its size, build quality, and value. I wish now that I would have bought the thinkpad tablet 2 after reading reviews that it got a 10 hour battery life, because the keyboard is probably a little better than my hp envy x2 and I like the size better. Otherwise, I'm still very happy with my HP.
The asus vivotab smart wouldn't be bad either and it seems like a better value than the acer w510 but I won't buy ASUS again because their support is awful. I mean seriously, awful.
Most of the intel atom bugs seem to be worked out now thankfully, it was a little bit of a rocky start. All-in-all, the atom is a great processor for your needs and you'll be happy with it. I would be weary about running gimp on it though. I know gimp isn't super resource heavy but It might be laggy with an atom. I would ask around first.
- 02-21-2013, 07:36 PM #16
I'm pretty satisfied with my Atom tablet too, it does what I need it to do, and I love not having to carry a 4+ pound laptop around and always be searching for a power outlet. I actually wanted to wait until this year before making a purchase (Haswell, Bay Trail Atom), but I really needed a mobile computer last winter, so I went ahead and bought it.
- 02-21-2013, 08:43 PM #17
I can see the temptation to wait for a higher spec'd Bay Trail or Haswell tablet, but per Intel the earliest these will be available in tablet form is Holiday 2013.
Now, one thing to consider is how you will use it. If you want to play Steam games then by all means wait!
But, if you are going to just be using the device for web, media, email, office, desktop apps (not games), and Windows 8 store both games & apps I'd say go for it. Reason being that the Surface RT is actually less powerful and delivers worse performance than the Atom Z2760 for Windows 8 apps/games; and, given the Surface RT's popularity I will bet that games for Windows 8 will be designed with and optimized for the Surface RT as a baseline. So, I think you will actually be safe performance-wise with the Atom Z2760 tablets for Windows 8 apps/games for the near future. On the other hand, if you need to run hefty win7 desktop apps like Steam or Photoshop then you probably would want to hold off for the next gen.
- 02-22-2013, 08:11 AM #18
I will agree that the atom tablets run Windows 8 apps as well, or better, than the Surface RT, but as to games, no. We ran Hydro Thunder side by side with an RT and a Thinkpad T2 last night, and it's not really close. The RT was much smoother, and with much more consistent frame rates. We got similar results with Fruit Ninja and Riptide. The T2 seemed to run Riptide decently, and Fruit Ninja only had occasional stuttering, but it really bogged down on Hydro Thunder. The RT ran all with no problems.
- 02-22-2013, 11:24 AM #22
It looks like the new Intel Z2580 Clover Trail+ may be a better solution. But no tablets have been announced for it yet.
- 02-22-2013, 11:52 AM #23
With the new gaming/GPU info, I may just purchase a Surface RT, get the GIMP source code, and compile it for ARM, or something. I'd make due with something like Fhotoroom, but I'm afraid some tweaks I make to my shots can't be done (ie: rotating the image by a few degrees, not a full blown 90).
- 02-22-2013, 03:41 PM #25
Cut the rope performance is similar on both the RT and the T2 I compared. Angry birds, similar. The difference in hydro thunder didn't become apparent until about halfway thru the level. On the T2 it got slower and slower until about 3/4 of the way thru, it was like a slide show. Riptide wasn't quite as bad, but it was definitely slower. The only slow downs on Fruit Ninja on the T2 came when you swiped multiple objects.
In answer to the Paul Thurott question, how many firmware updates has the RT had since his blog comparison? At least 2. I know at least one of those specifically addressed performance issues.
All I can do is report my experience. The T2 does seem a small bit quicker in normal tasks, but gameplay seems to not be close in graphically intense games.
One thing: my T2 arrived with a faulty wifi module. It's being shipped back to Lenovo on Monday for repair. Is it possible that something else is defective? Certainly. I have already made a follow-up call on my case re: game performance, and it's something they will also look at during the repair process.
Last edited by jmerrey; 02-22-2013 at 04:59 PM.
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