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Asus VivoTab Smart ME400 review

The Windows 8 tablet to beat?

Asus VivoTab Smart ME400 review
The Asus VivoTab Smart ME400 is a great Windows 8 tablet

So the main question - should you buy the Asus VivoTab ME400? Well we do love it. In fact, we'd certainly go as far as to say this is the best Windows 8 tablet we've yet seen in terms of power efficiency and capability. But we do have reservations over the processor, which can cope with basic tasks yet does struggle due to the complexity of Windows and multitasking with desktop apps.

We liked

In terms of apps, Windows 8's Start screen is still the poor relation of the iPad. But the breadth of apps available in the Windows Store is getting better, and there are now plenty of apps from big names such as Amazon, AudioBoo and Dropbox.

And Windows 8 wins in terms of productivity because of the desktop – you just can't beat a mouse and keyboard if you're dealing with an Excel spreadsheet (though you'll need to buy or install a copy of Office, of course).

The VivoTab ME400 is being marketed by Asus as the best of both worlds – a device that can be used for business and for pleasure. And for that we would recommend it.

We disliked

But because of its lack of poke, this isn't that Holy Grail Windows 8 tablet we were hoping for – a tablet that can be used as a multi-purpose main PC. But it really is just the processor that is holding the ME400 back.

But perhaps we're expecting too much. After all, it is only £399/US$499/AU$599. And as such it's a great alternative to the iPad. Essentially if you want a slate device that's more like a PC than Apple's device, then this is the tablet for you.

Final verdict

When you think about the tablet leader, the iPad, it's hard to look past its stunning combination of performance and power at a great price point. That, combined with the Retina display, means that if you just want a tablet device for apps, entertainment and basic work, it's still by far and away ahead of the pack.

But the Asus VivoTab ME400 is our favourite Windows 8 tablet yet – it's not as efficient as an iPad, but you can use it with your existing software and have the best of the Start Screen and traditional desktop modes on the same device. We loved it, we'd just love it to have a little more poke.