Is the pen mightier than the pricetag? That sums up today's smackdown between the HP Envy x2 and the Asus VivoTab TF810C. Both are remarkably similar Windows 8 tablets with transformer designs, 11.6" IPS displays, Intel Atom CPUs and keyboard docks that house a secondary battery. The tablets each weigh 1.5 pounds solo and 3 pounds when docked to the keyboard. They have 2 gigs of RAM and 64 gigs of storage. They feature liberal use of metal and represent the high line Windows 8 Atom tablet for their respective companies. Both tablets have WiFi, no 3G, Bluetooth, NFC and 8 megapixel rear cameras with an LED flash. Frightfully similar.
What Sets them Apart
Now that we've looked at what's the same on both, let's see what's different:
- The Asus VivoTab has a Wacom digitizer with a nice digital pen that's great for taking notes and drawing. Pen pressure sensitivity is available only in modern Windows Ink API apps and not Photoshop. HP boasted an optional digital pen made by Atmel, but it's yet to appear and in fact has vanished from their website. In our book that makes the HP Envy x2 a touchscreen-only tablet with will only work with capacitive styli like those used with iPads (not a great solution).
- The Asus VivoTab TF810C is much more expensive here in the US. The HP Envy x2 starts with a list price of $849, but it's frequently discounted and you can find it for $600 to $700, and some stores have had crazy sales for $599, with additional discounts for coupons. The VivoTab is $799, and the keyboard dock is an additional $199 for a grand total outlay (we've yet to see it on sale, and it's generally hard to find in local stores).
- Keyboard dock: it's included with the HP Envy x2, so you don't have to spend more cash or hunt for the keyboard in stores. Asus doesn't bundle the TF810C dock, so you'll have to source both and pay $199 for the dock.
- Minor point: the Asus VivoTab TF810C has single band WiFi while the HP had dual band WiFi. That second band, running at 5GHz band is one we love because it allows you to avoid WiFi congestion and it doesn't interfere with Bluetooth.
- The Asus VivoTab has aGPS, which the HP Envy x2 lacks.
- The Asus VivoTab has an IPS+ display while the HP Envy x2 has an IPS display (both the same size and resolution, driven by PowerVR SGX545 integrated graphics). The VivoTab has slightly higher contrast while the Envy x2 is a tad brighter. Both are bright and sharp displays that we like quite well.
Here's our HP Envy x2 vs. Asus VivoTab TF810C Comparison Smackdown video: