The clumsily named Vizio 11.6" Windows 8 Tablet PC is now available for $600 but, if you're seriously considering a Windows 8 tablet right now, the best thing to do may be to wait.
Vizio's is first Windows 8 tablet is shipping six long months after it debuted at CES.
The Vizio tablet has an 11.6-inch, 1080p display, an AMD Z-60 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, five hours of battery life—according to the company—and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Just like Vizio's laptops, the tablet comes without any bloatware.
At CES 2013, Vizio's tablet seemed novel at CES for its use of the AMD processor. In terms of computing power, the processor is similar to Intel's Clover Trail chips, but Clover Trail-based Windows tablets can only support a maximum screen resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels.
Intel Core processors allow for higher resolutions, but they make for thicker, heavier, and more expensive tablets. With the AMD Z-60, Vizio is able to fit a 1080p-resolution panel into a tablet that measures 0.39 inches thick and weighs 1.8 pounds.
Vizio, don't look behind you
Six months is a long time in the tech world, and Vizio now has a very short window before its new tablet is obsolete.
Later this year, tablets running Intel's Bay Trail processor will debut. Bay Trail is a quad-core chip with support for 1080p displays, and Intel has promised up to double Clover Trail's performance. Although no Bay Trail tablets have been announced yet, they should be out by the end of the year.
Likewise, AMD promises a 100-percent performance boost in its own next-generation chip, known as Temash. AMD actually claimsthat Temash-powered tablets will outperform Intel's Bay Trail chips in tablets and hybrids as well.
And if you're not dead-set on the Vizio's 1080p display, $50 more will get you either HP's Envy x2 or Samsung's ATIV Smart PC, both of which include a keyboard and trackpad dock and promise longer battery life. The Vizio has no docking station of its own, though it will work with third-party Bluetooth keyboards.
Really though, if you're seriously considering a Windows 8 tablet right now, the best thing to do is wait. The next generation of products will provide much-needed improvements in performance, and prices on the current generation are sure to drop off, as retailers clear out old inventory.
At $600, then, Vizio's new Windows 8 tablet could be a tough sell.
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