Looking for a Cheaper Alternative to the Surface PRO? Check out the Asus VivoTab Smart

January is here, and that means the Surface Pro is finally just around the corner– or so we hope. The truth is that we have no clue when the Surface Pro is coming in reality. Microsoft has said January, but here we are and still no official release date.

We’ve even heard that February might be a more likely fit for the Surface Pro. So what makes the Pro so special? For enterprise users, the Surface is an attractive tablet that might bring them the best of traditional PC and modern tablet uses– but with a limited amount of business related apps, Windows RT might just not cut it.

Many businesses need the ability to run legacy programs, and for that you need an Intel processor running a copy of Windows 8. The Surface Pro is a rather powerful device too, with an i5 processor, Full-size USB 3.0 port, 64GB (or 128GB) of storage, 10-point multi-touch, a stylus and much more including the ability to output through the display port at a resolution of a 1920 x 1080.

Unfortunately, the Surface Pro is also going to cost around $999. What if you want something with a price tag more inline with the Surface RT but you truly need the ability to run legacy applications through Windows 8?

I would say you are simply out of luck, but that might not be the truth. It seems that Asus has now announced the Windows 8-based VivoTab Smart and it is said to be on-par in pricing with Windows RT devices like the Surface RT, at least according to current rumors.

If you absolutely need a ton of power, the Smart might not cut it, but if your legacy apps aren’t that demanding– you’ll find it has reasonable specs. The 10.1-inch device has a resolution of 1366×768, an Intel dual-core Atom Z2760, and 5-point multi-touch. It also has battery life of about 4-5 hours and can extend that to around 9.5 hours through the use of its dock/keyboard add-on.

There is no official word for when this is coming, but odds are it will be shown at CES and released sometime later this month or early February. The price tag for the Smart might not be confirmed, but Asus has mentioned in the past it hopes to release Atom-based devices that can compete price-wise with ARM offerings– and rumors say the Smart is such a tablet.

Keep in mind that the dock costs extra, as it would with a Surface Pro touch cover. If you don’t need i5 power, this could be more than good enough to meet your needs as a business user.

What do you think, if this could arrive at a price point that is around the same as the Surface RT or only slightly more, would you purchase it?

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