May 20, 2022

FDBZ

Dragon Ball Source

Review: ASUS Vivobook 13 Slate OLED

The ASUS Vivobook 13 Slate OLED is a 13.3-inch Windows tablet with an OLED display. The main selling point is the USD 599 price point. The compromise is you have to make do with less than ideal specifications. This tablet uses the Intel Pentium Silver N6000 which is a quad core 1.1Ghz processor, so it’s going to struggle with certain tasks which I’ll mention further below.

Just to give you the bottom line up front, it’s a tablet that provides good value for money if you’re using the tablet mainly for watching videos and light computing tasks.

Here are the keys specifications:

  • Intel Pentium Silver N6000 Processor 1.1 GHz (4M Cache, up to 3.3 GHz, 4 cores)
  • 13.3-inch 1080P OLED display with up to 550 nits brightness
  • 100% DCI P3 colour support
  • 4-8 GB RAM
  • 128GB eMMC/M.2 NVMe, or 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • Intel® UHD Graphics
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • microSD card reader
  • 780g
  • 50Whr battery capacity

The review unit I have has 8GB RAM and 256GB NVMe SSD. Retail price for this in Singapore is SGD 1199.


I’m not sure if this is the official retail packaging because it doesn’t make sense to pack the tablet in such a huge plastic box that’s meant to be thrown away.

The plastic box is incredibly sturdy though and can definitely be used for other purposes, e.g. as a storage box for your computer accessories.


These are the items included in the box:

  • Power cable
  • 65W USB-C charger
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • ASUS Pen 2.0
  • Pen holder
  • Detachable keyboard cover
  • Detachable stand
  • Zipped carrying case

A keyboard cover and pen are included.


This is the ASUS Pen 2 which supports Microsoft Pen Protocol 2.0 (MPP 2). It supports tilt and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

There are two side buttons with limited customisation via Windows settings.

The pen looks good and has solid build quality. It’s comfortable to hold with its matte textured surface.


The pen’s USB-C charging port is hidden at the back.


Three replacement nibs are included. The white tip is hard and smooth while the black tip is more rubberised and has more resistance on glass. The gray tip is somewhere in between.


The included zipped carrying case is designed to keep out water. There’s good amount of padding on the top and bottom but the sides are not as well protected against drops.


The keyboard cover attaches to the bottom of the tablet with strong magnets. Keyboard layout is good and the touchpad is big and works well. The keys are not backlit though.


The keyboard cover is completely flat on the tablet with no way to prop it up. Keys have good travel and are quite springy, but they don’t feel as solid compared to other keyboards I’ve tested. You can definitely speed type on this keyboard. Overall typing experience is good, perhaps 4 out of 5 stars.

Design

Design of the tablet looks good. Bezels are thin on short side, thicker on the long side.

The front-facing 5MP camera does not support Windows Hello face unlock. Thankfully, the fingerprint unlock with the power button works quite well.


The tablet is 0.8cm thick and weighs 0.78kg. With the keyboard and stand, the thickness is 1.8cm and weight goes up to 1.39kg which is kinda heavy for a tablet this size. Just for comparison purposes, the 13-inch Surface Pro 8 is 891g alone, and 1.2kg with the keyboard cover.

The stereo speakers are good. Audio is clear and loud.


13-inch is a big and comfortable size to draw with.


Unfortunately if you lay the tablet with the case on the back, the tablet will wobble due to the protruding hinge. So when placing the tablet on the table, there’s the additional hassle of having to remove the back plate. Depending on what type of tablet stand you use, you may or may not need to remove the back plate.


The display is quite reflective.

Performance

Overall performance feels sluggish due to the limitation of the quad core 1.1Ghz Intel Pentium Silver N6000. This tablet is not good at multi-tasking. I could be installing an app in the background and the web browsing experience will start to lag, e.g. pages start to load more slowly, switching between apps feel sluggish, Windows start page don’t appear instantly when you hit the WinKey. Even the 3-year old iPad Pro from 2018 with 4GB of RAM that I’m still using is much faster and can handle multi-tasking without effort.

Launching larger apps such as Photoshop, Lightroom, Affinity Photo can take some time, as in maybe-I-can-go-make-some-instant-coffee amount of time. If you have a music playing in the background, you may even hear the music stutter.

What can happen often is when the system starts to lag, you can click on something but nothing happens, and you click again, seconds or minutes later you discovered you’ve clicked twice and it’s just system is too slow to process what you want to do.

It is best not to have any tasks running in the background when you’re not using those apps. E.g. When you quit Photoshop, Creative Cloud App can still run and use the CPU (from 30 – 60%) and it puts a huge strain on the system. 8GB RAM doesn’t seem to be an issue since I seldom go over the limit. However, it’s very easy to go reach 100% CPU utilisation with just 2-3 apps opened.

This tablet is good for light tasks such as web browsing with multiple tabs, watching videos, doing some simple Word or Excel documents, but not all at the same time. That’s pretty much it. Drawing works fine, as long as you don’t have too many apps open.

Drawing performance

Below are line quality tests from Medibang Paint Pro.


1. There’s slight jitter/wobble when drawing slow diagonal lines.

2. Lines are taper abruptly and not smoothly.

3. Line transition from thin to thick is good. However there’s diagonal jitter. Initial activation force is actually quite low but the pen is not that sensitive at detecting changes when drawing with minimal pressure, which is why the lines cannot taper smoothly (when pen is lifted).

4. Pen can maintain pressure consistency.

5. Dots can be drawn easily by tapping the pen.


This was drawn with Medibang Paint Pro v27.2. I had difficulty getting the straight lines to appear straight. Most lines are affected by jitter/wobble so the drawing experience is not good.


This was drawn with Photoshop CC 2022. Lines are also affected by jitter/wobble.


This was drawn with Sketchbook.


This was drawn with Concepts which performs better than the other apps but that could be due to the sketchy style art that hides the flaws of the pen.


This was also drawn with Concepts.

ASUS Pen 2 is unable to produce the precision required by professional artists due to the diagonal wobble/jitter. Creating line art isn’t a particularly pleasant experience with this tablet. It’s difficult to get the lines to appear straight, and it’s difficult to draw details due to the line wobble. This drawing experience reminds me of the Microsoft Surface Pen, and seeing that the pen uses MPP2 I am not surprised, just disappointed.

Conclusion


USD 599 is an attractive price for a 13.3-inch Windows tablet that comes with a keyboard cover, pen and an OLED display. At the time of this review, portable 15.6-inch OLED displays are around USD $700 to 800. So I guess you can think of this tablet as on OLED display with Windows OS thrown in as a freebie.

The ASUS Vivobook 13 Slate works great as a media consumption device, especially when it comes to watching videos or movies. The colours and especially contrast look amazing. Audio quality from the stereo speakers is pretty good too.

The downside is Intel Pentium Silver N6000 processor which is only powerful enough for light tasks such as watching videos, editing simple documents and web browsing. It’s very easy to overwhelm the processor to 100% CPU usage with less than a handful of apps opened. Actually the system may start to lag before even reaching 100% CPU usage.

Where to buy

Those in Singapore can find the ASUS Vivobook 13 Slate OLED from ASUS Singapore website, Lazada, Shopee, Courts, Harvey Norman and other big electronic stores.

Those elsewhere can check out Amazon US | CA | UK | DE | FR | ES | IT | JP

And Amazon Singapore has the 4GB RAM 128GB storage model at SGD 902. Singapore seems to be selling only the 8GB RAM 256GB storage model at SGD 1199.