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Meet Asus' Eee Slate

Asus' Eee Slate EP121/B121: A Windows 7-Based Tablet PC
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Click to for Picture GalleryClick to for Picture Gallery

In the world of tablet PCs, there are two form factors: slates and convertibles. The presence of an attached keyboard is the defining difference. Slates rely almost exclusively on a digitizer in order to translate gestures from a pen or touchscreen. Convertibles feature attached keyboards that let you type as you would on a notebook. Unfortunately for true road warriors, convertibles are often larger and heavier than slates.

The Eee PC is a slate-style tablet PC, which makes it more analogous to the iPad 2 and Android-based tablets. However, tablet PCs in general are bulkier because they employ mobile x86 hardware instead of the embedded SoCs that you find in tablets.

Thickness Compared to AA BatteryThickness Compared to AA Battery


iPad 2 (3G)
XoomIconia A500
Eee Slate
Length 9.5"9.8"10.2"
12.3"
Width7.31"6.6"7"
8.2"
Height.34"0.5"0.5"
0.7"
Screen Size9.7"10.1"10.1"
12.1"
Aspect Ratio4:316:1016:10
16:10
Weight
1.33 lb1.5 lb1.65 lb
2.56 lb


Left Side: AC, Volume, miniHDMI, Headphone, USB 2.0, Left SpeakerLeft Side: AC, Volume, miniHDMI, Headphone, USB 2.0, Left Speaker

These days, just about every display seems to be widescreen. Asus's Eee Slate is no exception, which is why you'd find yourself mostly holding the tablet PC in landscape mode. Sure, you'd lose a lot of horizontal workspace in portrait mode. But also, all of the buttons are on the left side, which makes them more difficult to access when you choose to operate the device vertically.

If we were going to make a design nitpick, Asus could have gone without the rubber covers over the USB ports. With time, these things tend to tear off. More immediately, though, they fit super tightly. You almost need a flat-head screwdriver to open them up, and that's quite a nuisance when you want to quickly transfer files to a USB flash drive.

Top: Orientation Lock, GUI Keyboard Toggle, Power SwitchTop: Orientation Lock, GUI Keyboard Toggle, Power Switch

Top: PenTop: Pen

Despite the grille up front, speakers are actually on the Slate's side. Vents on the back of the unit prevent the Eee Slate from overheating.

Most people are right-handed, which is why placement of the vents seems slightly odd. Slates require one hand free for navigation. But if you're right-handed, your left hand is going to cover the vent when you hold it.

Overall, the design is fairly simple. The silver trim in front and white casing on the back are made of ABS plastic. As a result, the tablet PC is about as dent-resistant as a notebook (compared to tablets like the iPad 2 encased in scratchable aluminum alloys). And while Asus doesn't include a rear-facing camera, the front-facing 2.0 MP webcam is similar to what you'd find on any current notebook or tablet.

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  • 13 Hide
    DjEaZy , July 28, 2011 11:23 AM
    ... w
    hardcore_gamerIntel HD graphics..that ruined everything

    ... AMD's Fusion would be a better choice...
  • 10 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , July 28, 2011 7:37 AM
    Intel HD graphics..that ruined everything
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    Maziar , July 28, 2011 6:45 AM
    Looks good but IMO,Win7 isn't designed for touch screens.Hopefully Win8 will add a decent touch UI to the OS which makes the Windows tablets more useful
  • 10 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , July 28, 2011 7:37 AM
    Intel HD graphics..that ruined everything
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , July 28, 2011 9:58 AM
    All this tells me is that the inevitable rise of Fusion or Sandybridge with integrated graphics, or ION based tablets, Windows 8 will steal the show.

    When the hardware gets to a good enough standard then the peoiple will flock to a REAL operating system.

  • 13 Hide
    DjEaZy , July 28, 2011 11:23 AM
    ... w
    hardcore_gamerIntel HD graphics..that ruined everything

    ... AMD's Fusion would be a better choice...
  • 0 Hide
    boiler1990 , July 28, 2011 1:04 PM
    I'd like a W8 tablet that could simply change interfaces between the WP7-esque look in tablet mode and a W7-like interface with the addition of a keyboard dock (basically a W8 Transformer).
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , July 28, 2011 2:49 PM
    I current own a ASUS slate. For those who are interested in this tablet. Here is my suggestion. Get the 2G ram/32G SDD one. and upgrade the ram to 4G and intel X310 series 80G. the final price will be abour $50 more than 4G/64G one; however, u gain better SSD performace as well as more storage. I have been using this one for 3 monthes now, I would say, compare to wacom's other drawing table, this one still a little beyond, however, when u compare with Wacom's Cintiq12WX, Slate does provide the same function, without an extra computer. I would say 256 level vs 1024 level is a little trade off for convenience and price. As a graphic designer (not illustrator), i dont really find the 256 level is a huge issue. Tho if ASUS intend to relseae 2nd Gen of this product' i will be really interested in seeing them switch to AMD fusion. intel's HD chip is simply a joke. I would trade off some CPU power for more powerful graphic. Anyway, final thought.. this is the only table with pen function that can run Adobe CS5. I only hope it wont be hard to find the replacement battery...
  • -6 Hide
    Phu5ion , July 28, 2011 3:17 PM
    A tablet with Intel graphics and Windows OS? What a waste.
  • -6 Hide
    spsfinest , July 28, 2011 3:20 PM
    Why is there no page for battery life? Was this thing such a poor performer you were to embarrassed for it to post the info Tom?
  • 4 Hide
    acku , July 28, 2011 3:22 PM
    @spsfinest -> Page 9
  • 4 Hide
    sactownbwoy , July 28, 2011 5:00 PM
    Why wasnt the acer icona w500 included? It uses the AMD Fusion cpu. I think that would have been better than using the acer icona a500 for comparison.
  • 0 Hide
    clonazepam , July 28, 2011 6:51 PM
    A very profitable software company needs to take the lead and design / build the hardware and release it as a loss, regaining revenue from the software. Taken from the current line-up of console game systems. That may be the only way to capture the market. In a case like this, price is everything, and this product won't survive.

    I just bought an Asus Transformer 16gb for $394. It's a gift to my mother. It'll do everything necessary while on the go or while on the couch. Printing will be done through Google's cloud printing. Anything she can't do, can be done on a pc.

    You can buy an Asus Transformer (substitute with most tablets / netbooks / some notebooks), and build a custom desktop PC for less than the cost of a single Asus Tablet PC. I think it's a no brainer.
  • 5 Hide
    11796pcs , July 28, 2011 6:57 PM
    I was actually really interested in this tablet- but for $1300 (there's no way with 20GB Windows 7 that you can buy a 32GB) there are simply too many problems with it. I love the idea with the tablet but it looks like I'll be waiting for the Eee Slate 2.
  • 3 Hide
    dalethepcman , July 28, 2011 7:16 PM
    I would have prefered a write up of the Acer w500 or MSI 110W. Both of these systems are around $500 and use fusion based processors. The Eee Slate is just to over priced.
  • 0 Hide
    randomstar , July 28, 2011 7:53 PM
    Want one similar, but want to be able to do signature capure, so my question is all about quality of the digitizer- how does the w500, the MSI, others, compare to this one with that in question? CPU horsepower is not really relevant as long as it runs win7 pro "good enough" as you can just RDP back to a more powerful machine or VM.
    Ideas?
  • 0 Hide
    WilliamMGeorge , July 28, 2011 8:01 PM
    This review is about six months late - the EP121 debuted early this year. Back then, there was no Fusion option (though I will grant, that might be a solid choice now). In fact, the Slate was out before ultra-mobile Sandy Bridge processors hit the market.

    The only real complaint I have about the one my wife uses is that the SSD performance is poor compared to what was available at the time. It has also been a little buggy in places, relating to the touch input, but hasn't acted up for a while at this point.
  • -1 Hide
    kevith , July 28, 2011 8:05 PM
    I don´t see how a slow-performing, extremely overpriced flat piece of cheap plastic without the proper OS can be sold to anyone, that have heard of the thing called "a laptop".

    This is a real good example of how the industry is constantly trying - with a fair success - to create new "needs" and launch products, that are miles away from being good enough.

    People must be very bored and have way to much money these days...:-)

    Good thorough review though.
  • 2 Hide
    randomstar , July 28, 2011 8:11 PM
    To those who do not see the need.. how about a service tech going out to estimate/quote/service jobs? being able to pull real time inventory and capture signatures electronicly is great. without having to dind a place to put the thing down so you can type. touch screen option and inventory selection rules.
  • 3 Hide
    damianrobertjones , July 28, 2011 8:13 PM
    suha67I think thats the worst idea in tablet world; putting windows 7 on a tablet... dealing with sidebars even makes me sick on 24" screen with a hi-res mouse... I cant think of it on 12" screen with fingers...


    ZzzZzzz.

    Something tells me that you haven't used a Windows 7 touch based tablet at all otherwise you'd know that you have gestures or can even touch 'hold' then move up or down, side to side.
  • 0 Hide
    kevith , July 28, 2011 8:22 PM
    "To those who do not see the need.. how about a service tech going out to estimate/quote/service jobs? being able to pull real time inventory and capture signatures electronicly is great. without having to dind a place to put the thing down so you can type. touch screen option and inventory selection rules."

    My mailman/GLS-driver have hed a little hand-held thing for that for years:-)
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