Cheaper Windows 8.1 tablets are rolling out one after another this year. Toshiba and Acer have already rolled out theirs, and now Asus is following suit with a stylus-less version of the Asus VivoTab Note 8 (M80TA) which is called Asus VivoTab 8 (M81C) and lacks the Wacom digitizer of the original.
(UPDATE: It’s now possible to pre-order the Asus VivoTab 8 (M81C). It will be released mid-November:
Other than that, the specs are fairly similar. The 8-inch LED display sports HD resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, while the processor is a very similar quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor with a turbo speed of 1.86GHz.
RAM will vary from 1GB to 2GB, but Asus have yet to announce how this memory option will vary.
Storage is still a minimum 32GB it seems though, which is expandable with microSD cards up to 64GB. Connectivity comes from the 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Unless Asus have made a blunder, they say that the front camera is a 2MP camera, and that the same 2MP applies to the rear camera as well.
The rest of the specs are g-sensor, gyro, e-compass, hall sensor, GPS, and GLONASS. Ports include the regular micro-USB, and 3.5mm audio combo jack, while it also comes with the regular Office package.
The battery seems a little on the low side compared to the class leading Lenovo Miix 2, with just a 8 hour battery life from the 15.2Wh battery.
For dimensions it’s 8.8 mm thick, which is alright for a 8-inch budget tablet, while the weight is 330 gram. For the first time we are seeing color options on the 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets too. They used to be all black, but Asus is manufacturing Asus VivoTab 8 (M81C) tablets in not only black, but also white, purple, and gold.
Now, what’s the price and release date? This tablet will probably launch for $199, but it just might drop to the Toshiba Encore 2 Pro price of $179 after a while. The original Asus VivoTab Note 8 (M80TA) was released for $329 in February, but was radically cut to $199 in May.
The release is estimated to start in November in the US, though Europeans could get hold of it earlier than that. At the moment though, there is so little between the original and the digitizer-less copy that there is little incentive to wait for the newcomer.
– Tom Bowen