Asus VivoTab Smart Tablet blends bits of Surface Pro and RT

Asus has a new tablet and it might look familiar. The company announced first details of its VivoTab SmartTablet at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show on Monday. The VivoTab runs Windows 8(s msft) on a 10.1-inch touchscreen, uses an Intel(s intc) processor and includes a thin keyboard cover that doubles as a keyboard.

Asus VivoTab Smart TabletI immediately think of Microsoft’s Surface products when seeing the Asus VivoTab, of course. There are some hardware differences but the similarities outweigh those. Asus is using an Intel Atom Z2760 to power the VivoTab, which is 9.7 millimeters thick and weighs 580 grams. The 1366 x 768 touchscreen supports up to 5 touch points simultaneously. And the battery is expected to last 9.5 hours on a single charge.

That may be a key difference between the VivoTab and $899 Surface Pro. Microsoft expects the Surface Pro to run for about half as long as its $499 Surface RT slate; the latter is powered by an energy-efficient smartphone chip and lasts around 10 hours on a charge. Asus is using an low-energy Intel chip for possibly better performance — and definitely for better app compatibility — than the Surface RT but should get similar battery life.

Asus hasn’t shared details on pricing or availability yet. If the VivoTab is priced right, say around $500, it would give consumers more of a Surface Pro experience at a lower-costing Surface RT price.