Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED review: This Surface Go clone is better than you’d think

The Vivobook 13 Slate gives the Surface Go 3 a good run for its money.

Asus slate-main new
Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED price in India starts at Rs 45,990. (Photo credit: Asus)

Think of buying a Windows-based 2-in-1 and there’s a high chance the name “Surface” would pop up near instantly in your mind. There’s a good chance it could be the only name you could think of, too. The fact that you can get a Surface product, today, across multiple price points speaks volumes of the kind of effort Microsoft has been putting into the category. The flip side to that is, there is barely any competition and monopolies can stifle both innovation and consumer choice. Asus wants to change that with the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED, a Windows 11-based convertible that’s directed squarely against the Surface Go 3, currently the most affordable Surface that Microsoft sells in India.

Straight up, Asus is undercutting Microsoft in pricing as well as in flexibility making the Vivobook 13 Slate available with or without keyboard and stylus in the box. You’ll be able to get it as a standalone tablet with 4GB RAM and 128G eMMC storage for Rs 45,990. A model with 4GB RAM, 128G eMMC storage, fingerprint reader, bundled with a sleeve, kick-stand, stylus, and a holder to keep it securely, will be sold for Rs 57,990. A version with double the RAM, 256GB SSD storage (plus all the accessories) will set you back by Rs 62,990. You’ll get a 4-core Intel Pentium Silver N6000 processor regardless of the configuration you choose. In contrast, the consumer SKU of the Surface Go 3 comes in a single—Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y, 8GB RAM, and 128GB SSD—configuration for Rs 57,999, accessories not included.

Big, brilliant display

The biggest differentiator here, is the OLED display. OLED screens are becoming increasingly commonplace in laptops, but they are not that common among convertibles, which are basically tablets designed to do wee bit more with additional accessories. The fact that Asus is shipping an OLED screen at this price makes it stand out as a promising bet for those looking for a potent mix of multimedia consumption and some productivity.  

Also Read | Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED review: A creator’s paradise

More specifically, the Vivobook 13 Slate has a 13.3-inch 1920x1080p OLED 16:9 display (we wish it was taller like the Surface Go 3) with a peak brightness of 550 nits. That display can show up to 1.07 billion colours and supports Dolby Vision. There is also an anti-fingerprint coating on top to resist smudge and fingerprints, plus Corning Gorilla Glass protection.

Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED measures just 7.9mm. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Asus is positioning it as your “personal OLED TV” and while that may be a stretch, there’s no denying that the Vivobook 13 Slate carries immense potential as far as content consumption is concerned. That is not to say it is perfect. The panel is glossy and very reflective. We understand it’s there to enhance the cinematic viewing experience, indoors, but it greatly hampers legibility when you’re out and about in direct sunlight.

The display is a touchscreen—expectedly— and supports Asus’s Pen 2.0 stylus that can attach magnetically to it and charges over USB Type-C. A full charge takes around 30 minutes after which it is good to go for over 140 hours. The stylus supports 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and has a touch latency of 36ms.

There is no kickstand built in. (Photo credit: Asus)

It is quite fast at jotting down notes, even drawing. It has Bluetooth, so that opens up more use cases, too, such as taking screenshots with one click. There is a handy LED indicator on it to show you the battery status, which is neat. Asus also bundles 4 interchangeable pen tips (2H, HB, H, and B) in the box. All this gives productivity a big shot in the arm on this tablet.

Just like the display, the design of the Vivobook 13 Slate is also different. While Microsoft targets executives and some students, maybe, Asus is going after the youth specifically.

The design of the Vivobook 13 Slate is very minimal and understated, mostly. It’s made of metal and comes in all-black with soft matte finish. It can get smudgy after prolonged use. The package tries to break with convention, here and there, through subtle catchphrases to catch your eye. They are not flashy or anything, but we feel the Vivobook 13 Slate could easily have done without neon taglines to “wow the world”. Then again, this is subjective. What we can tell for sure is that the Surface (Go 3) remains the crème de la crème of smart, sophisticated styling and premium fit and finish. Microsoft has been doing this for years, after all. Asus, too, will get there in time.

Asus is positioning it as your “personal OLED TV”. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

There’s one thing that Asus does better, though. Ergonomics. Despite being a bigger tablet (the Surface Go 3 is just 10.5-inch), the Vivobook 13 Slate is slimmer at 7.9mm. It weighs only 785g. You can carry it around rather effortlessly, something that Asus’s target audience would appreciate. That said, a tablet like this will always take some time getting used to holding vertically. Horizontally, it’s all good.

There is no kickstand built in like the Surface, which is to say, if you’re planning to get just the tablet, you’ll have to figure out how to prop this thing up. To get the stand, you’ll have to pay more. That too is barely serviceable, not the best quality. We feel this is a missed opportunity.

The detachable keyboard is excellent. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The detachable keyboard saves the day for Asus. It is full-size with nice and tactile keys with 1.4 mm key travel and 19.05mm full-size key pitch. The touchpad is large—for this form factor—with support for Windows Precision drivers. The only thing missing is backlighting.

Works as advertised

The Intel Pentium Silver N6000 inside our review unit is a 4-core chip (Jasper Lake series/ Tremont CPU cores) built on the first gen 10nm process node with a base clock speed of 1.1GHz and boost speeds of up to 3.3GHz, with no HyperThreading (SMT). The chip consumes up to 6W of TDP. This is paired with an integrated 32 EU Intel UHD Graphics GPU and—in case of our review unit—8GB LPDDR4x RAM and 256GB PCIe Gen 3.0 x4 SSD.

The chip inside this tablet can be cooled passively which is probably why Asus was able to make the Vivobook 13 Slate so sleek, so there’s nothing wrong with the choice of hardware for the form factor intended. You will obviously be able to buy more powerful laptops at this price, but that is not the conversation this tablet has to get into because it’s not trying to replace a laptop in the first place.

Battery life, also, is stellar. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The hardware works as advertised for the intended use case. Asus is pitching this thing for multimedia consumption first, and you’ll have absolutely no trouble binge-watching content on it. It is not made for pro-grade work or gaming, per se, but you will be able to run office, browse the web and social media, and pull some moderate multitasking on it, from time to time. Our review unit worked well inside that profile with little to no heating.  

Asus’s Pen 2.0 stylus. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Battery life, also, is stellar. The 50Whr battery inside this tablet is rated for over 9 hours and real-world numbers come close. There is support for fast charging. A 65W adapter will come in the box.

Connectivity options are plenty—compared to the Surface Go 3— with two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with display / Power Delivery support, a 3.5mm combo audio jack, microSD card reader, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2.

The tablet has four speakers. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

There are two cameras in this tablet— 13MP rear and 5MP on the front. There is no fancy subject focus tracking tech, but video calls go through well with nice and clear audio. Speaking of which, the quad speakers in this tablet get very loud with good stereo separation. Dolby Atmos is supported, too.

Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED | Should you buy it

The Vivobook 13 Slate gives the Surface Go 3 a good run for its money, offering an eclectic mix of specs and features at very competitive prices. It does not kill the Surface but that’s not the point really. What Asus has been able to do here is, give buyers a viable alternative that they can look at if and when they’re out looking for such a device. That number is small, but that is also because there are not a lot of good options. Now that Asus has done it, hopefully, other brands will see and follow.

The Vivobook 13 Slate is built well, has a big, brilliant display, ample performance and connectivity ports, and good battery life—what’s not to like?

Also Read | Asus VivoBook Pro 16X OLED review: Creator-friendly laptop gives MacBook Pro a run for its money

ProsCons
Good build qualityBoring design
Big, colourful displayDisplay is reflective
Good battery life, fast chargingeMMC storage in mid variant
Value for moneyNo built-in kickstand

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

Most Read In Technology
Photos