A stylus can turn a Windows tablet into a productivity machine. And a built-in Wacom digitizer adds pressure sensitivity, allowing for more natural writing and more accurate pointing. But Wacom-supported tablets haven’t come cheap. Microsoft's own Surface 2 Pro is a business-ready Windows 8.1 slate with a pressure-sensitive display, but it will set you back at least $900. Meanwhile, Android heavy hitters such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 also come with Wacom tech, but the newest model starts at $549.
The new $299 VivoTab Note 8 from ASUS – which debuted at CES International this week -- is a more affordable option for business users seeking a stylus-driven tablet experience. The slate, which runs on Windows 8.1, comes packed with a stylus and a sharp 8-inch display with Wacom digitizer support. That gets you up to 1,000 levels of pressure, so you can use the stylus for more precise and natural note- taking; most tablets, including iPads and Google's flagship Nexus tablets, do not detect varying levels of pressure at all. On the downside, the tablet's 8-inch display is more cramped than Wacom-supported competitors such as 10-inch Galaxy Note 10.1, and the newly announced 12.2-inch Galaxy Note Pro.
Under the hood, the VivoTab Note 8 packs a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and up to 64GB of onboard storage, as well as a microSD card slot for additional storage. And ASUS promises up to 8 solid hours of battery life, making the VivoTab Note 8 a relatively long-lasting device compared to competing 8-inch tablets. That's a major plus for business users who rely on their mobile devices to stay productive while on the go.
As an added bonus, ASUS is throwing in a free copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student to sweeten the deal for mobile business users. That software, coupled with powerful note-taking apps such as Evernote and OneNote, makes this device an affordable slate that's packed with business potential.