COMPUTEX: Hands on with Asus Tablet 810, using Intel Clover Trail chip

The Asus Tablet 810 uses Intel's latest mobile chip and runs Windows 8

While Windows 8 devices are dominating this year's Computex show in Taipei, also present is Intel's newest mobile processor, codenamed Clover Trail, which is set to arrive later this year and could pave the pay for the U.S. chip maker to break into the tablet market.

One device slated to use the Clover Trail processor is the Asus Tablet 810, which runs Windows 8 and was made available for hands-on use by visitors to the Computex show.

Intel said tablets using Clover Trail will weigh less than 680 grams and provide more than nine hours of battery life. With the Asus Tablet 810, Intel is close to that goal. The current test model of the device weighs in at 700 grams and has a battery life of 8 hours on a single charge, according to Asustek Computer.

The Asus Tablet 810 feels fairly light in the hands, but sturdy, with a metal backing. It's more comfortable to hold the 11.6-inch screen horizontally, gripping it on the sides.

The tablet's 1366 by 768 screen resolution, however, can't compare to some of the higher pixel density screens hitting the market, including that of Apple's new iPad, which has a resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels. The tablet has 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

It takes about 20 seconds for Asus's tablet to get to the Windows 8 start screen. Opening and using applications on the device also appeared smooth, and cycling between windows was lag-free. When playing the game "Cut the Rope," though, the tablet seemed to slightly struggle in performance, the game stuttering at times when selecting stages, or responding slowly to a touch command when moving to the next stage.

The tablet's full capabilities were also limited while on display at Computex. Available wireless Internet connections at the show were slow, making it difficult to access apps or Web pages. Asus said the cameras on the tablet on display were not functioning. In the rear the tablet has an 8 megapixel camera, while the front has a 2 megapixel camera. The device has HDMI and USB ports.

The Windows 8 virtual keyboard felt easy and convenient, but the tablet also comes with an optional detachable QWERTY keyboard that can extend its battery life up to 13 hours.

Asus said it had yet to decide a price for the tablet. Microsoft also hasn't said when Windows 8 will be launched, but analysts expect the new OS to arrive near the end of the year.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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