Imagine the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook but with Windows 11, and you'll have the Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED, a detachable 2-in-1 tablet with a stunning 13.3-inch OLED touch screen. With the base model likely to ship in early 2022 for $599 including kickstand, keyboard, and pen, it should be a bargain compared to the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 and Apple iPad Pro with their optional accessories (though $100 more than the Chrome OS Lenovo). But even in the enhanced model tested here, the tablet's Intel Pentium Silver processor is a knock-kneed weakling that gives it barely acceptable performance. Asus' marketing has the right idea: Think of the Vivobook 13 Slate as your personal OLED TV (well, YouTube and streaming TV) that can also handle email and modest Microsoft Office duty.
The base version of the Slate OLED combines a full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) Gorilla Glass display with the Pentium Silver N6000, a 1.1GHz quad-core processor with Intel UHD integrated graphics, plus an insufficient 4GB of memory and 128GB of eMMC flash storage. Asus would do much better to put the $599 sticker on the step-up model T3300 sent for review, with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe solid-state drive.Our Experts Have Tested 131 Products in the Laptops Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)(Photo: Molly Flores)
We've reviewed many laptops bearing the VivoBook brand, but the "b" isn't capitalized on the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED's fancy transparent plastic box or in the inspirational slogans—"Uncage Your Possibilities, Wow the World, Cultural Originator"—etched in what Asus calls Funky Green on its matte black base, detachable keyboard cover, and magnetic rear kickstand cover. The tablet measures 0.31 by 12.2 by 7.5 inches and weighs 1.72 pounds; it's about 3 pounds with its front and back covers attached.
The rear cover's hinged kickstand works in both landscape and portrait orientation, unlike the nonbacklit keyboard that snaps onto the tablet's bottom edge. The provided Asus Pen 2.0 has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and a hidden USB-C port for recharging, along with one top and two side buttons; it comes with four tips with different hardness or friction to help you find a favorite writing feel.4.5Outstanding$1,669.00See Itat Dell TechnologiesRead Our Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9310) Review 4.5Outstanding$899.99See Itat Amazon Read Our HP Spectre x360 14 Review 4.0Excellent$889.99See Itat AmazonRead Our Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (2021) Review 4.0Excellent$499.00See Itat Best BuyRead Our Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook Review 4.0Excellent$489.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook Review 4.0Excellent$2,499.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 (2021) Review 4.0Excellent$899.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review 4.0Excellent$1,559.00See Itat DellRead Our Dell Latitude 7320 2-in-1 Review 4.0Excellent$1,579.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Panasonic Toughbook 33 (2021) Review 4.0Excellent$949.99See Itat Best BuyRead Our Lenovo Yoga 6 (13-Inch) Review4.0Excellent$2,499.99See Itat AmazonRead Our Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio Review 4.0Excellent$1,499.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (15-Inch) Review(Photo: Molly Flores)
The power button on the slate's top edge (in landscape position) doubles as a Windows Hello fingerprint reader that's slightly tricky to use because it's small and flush-fitting. There's a volume rocker on the right edge and an audio jack, a microSD card slot, and two USB 3.2 Type-C ports (either suitable for the AC adapter) on the left. A front-facing 5-megapixel webcam serves for video calls, while a 13-megapixel rear camera takes snapshots in the field.(Photo: Molly Flores)
We've praised high-end OLED laptops, but it's a rare treat to see one of the ultra-colorful, ultra-high-contrast panels in an affordable tablet-and-keyboard combo. The bezels on the short sides of the 13.3-inch screen are a little thin for comfortable thumb placement when holding the tablet in landscape mode, but the display is lovely to look at, with pristine white backgrounds and India-ink blacks.
Fine details are sharp, with no pixelation around the edges of letters. Brightness is ample, and viewing angles are wide. Colors are rich, deep, vivid, and wholly beautiful. The 6.5-inch pen showed good palm rejection and kept up with my fastest swipes and scribbles, though handwriting recognition was sluggish. It comes with a fabric loop holder that sticks magnetically to the back of the tablet.(Photo: Molly Flores)
The webcam is a big improvement on most laptops' fuzzy 720p snapshots, capturing well-lit and colorful 2,560-by-1,440 (16:9 aspect ratio) or 2,560-by-1,920 (4:3 ratio) images with minimal static or noise. The rear camera takes reasonably attractive 3,840-by-2,160 or 4,096-by-3,072 pictures with document and whiteboard modes, as well as 1080p videos.
Like all tablets with kickstands, the Asus is happier on a desk than propped precariously in your lap; my lap wasn't deep enough for me to tilt the screen back as far as I wanted. But the keyboard isn't cramped—the A through apostrophe keys span the regulation 8 inches—and feels about as good as a tablet keyboard cover gets, flat and shallow but reasonably comfortable for typing. The top-row function keys include microphone mute, volume, and brightness controls. The Fn key teams with the small cursor arrows for Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down. The good-sized, buttonless touchpad glides smoothly and has a pliant click.(Photo: Molly Flores)
Quad speakers produce loud, somewhat tinny sound. There's no bass—drumbeats sound like static—but midtones and highs are clear, and you can make out overlapping tracks. Dolby Atmos software offers dynamic, game, movie, music, and voice presets (music sounds harsh and dreadful with the other presets) and an equalizer.
The only other notable addition to Windows 11 Pro is MyAsus, a control panel that provides driver and software updates; file transfer and screen sharing with your phone; network traffic optimization and microphone noise cancellation; and battery and screen settings, the latter including a screen saver that enhances the OLED panel's lifespan.(Photo: Molly Flores)
The only other low-end Windows tablet to complete our current benchmark suite is Microsoft's 10.5-inch Surface Go 3, which cost $629.99 as tested without keyboard. I rounded out our performance charts with two considerably more expensive slates, the Core i5-based Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable and the Core i7-powered Microsoft Surface Pro 8. That left one slot, which I filled with a 13.3-inch ultraportable, the HP Pavilion Aero. You can see the quintet's specs in the table below.
The main benchmark of UL's PCMark 10 simulates a variety of real-world productivity and content-creation workflows to measure overall performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and videoconferencing. We also run PCMark 10's Full System Drive test to assess the load time and throughput of a laptop's storage.
Three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate a PC's suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon's Cinebench R23 uses that company's Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs' Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).
Our final productivity test is Puget Systems' PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses the Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe's famous image editor to rate a PC's performance for content creation and multimedia applications. It's an automated extension that executes a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks ranging from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.
It edged the Surface Go 3, but for the most part, to find scores as low as the Vivobook 13 Slate's you have to look at price bottom-feeders like the Intel Celeron-based HP Stream 14 or AMD Athlon Silver-based Lenovo Ideapad 1—and these scores were posted on AC power with Windows' best performance profile. The tablet is slower still on battery power with the balanced or high-efficiency profile.
The Asus is one of few PCs today to miss the 4,000 points in PCMark 10 that indicate solid productivity for Microsoft Office or Google Docs. It took two to three times as long as a midrange laptop to finish our video and image editing exercises. The Pavilion's AMD Ryzen 7 processor was the class of the field, making that lightweight a strong value at $999.99.
We test Windows PCs' graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL's 3DMark: Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).
We also run two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which stresses both low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase tests, rendered offscreen to accommodate different display resolutions, exercise graphics and compute shaders using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.
None of these systems can compete with a gaming laptop with discrete graphics, but the Asus is strictly for surfing and sketching rather than shoot-'em-ups. Even casual gaming might be difficult.
We test laptops' battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) with display brightness at 50% and audio volume at 100%. We make sure the battery is fully charged before the test, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off.
We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and software to measure a laptop screen's color saturation—what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display can show—and its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per square meter).
Out of the box, the Asus tablet's Windows display settings include high dynamic range (HDR), which yielded noticeably lower brightness and color coverage than the SDR mode shown here. Its OLED screen performed beautifully, though well short of its advertised 550 nits. Its battery life is acceptable if not impressive by today's standards.
The Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED is frustratingly slow, thanks to a CPU that simply doesn't have the chops for tasks like image editing or handwriting recognition and keeps the kit from Editors' Choice consideration.(Photo: Molly Flores)
But unless our test unit comes in above $700 or $750, it's both a better bargain and better-looking than Microsoft's Surface Go 3 and the latter's optional keyboard and pen. As a super-screened Windows 11 tablet for video viewing and occasional emails or light productivity, it's well worth a look.3.5 See It$599.00 at AsusBase Configuration Price $599.00
A beautiful OLED screen pushes Asus' Vivobook 13 Slate past Microsoft's Surface Go 3 as the low-cost Windows tablet of choice, but its Pentium Silver CPU leaves it eating many Chromebooks' dust.
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