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Real-World Performance Against Tablets

Asus' Eee Slate EP121/B121: A Windows 7-Based Tablet PC

Real-World Benchmarks

While we could subject the Eee Slate to all of our Windows 7-based desktop benchmarks, it's more interesting to see how it fares against tablets when we apply the same real-world testing approach with a high-speed camera.

Apple iPad: Input Lag Benchmark

While Windows 7 is a much more feature-laden operating system than iOS or Android, the Eee Slate's powerful hardware is better-equipped to make short work of boot-up.

Once we fire up a Web browser, the combination of Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9 finally make it clear how demanding a fully-featured operating environment can be. It takes twice as long to launch an IE9 window on the Eee Slate than our slowest tablet, Acer's Iconia A500. The iPad 2 is an undisputed champion in this metric.

Input lag is the time it takes from pressing a key to the time it takes for text to appear on the screen. This tells you how fast a tablet is registering an action. Ideally, you want low input lag so that you don't feel like the device is stuttering as you type or click buttons. The average college student has a reaction time of 200 milliseconds for visual stimuli, so there's no perceivable lag while you're using the touchscreen on the Eee Slate.

Battery Life

Testing a tablet’s battery life tends to be highly variable unless you control the entire experience from beginning to end. Cumulatively, touch gestures don’t have a great impact on battery life. The biggest factors are CPU/GPU processing, screen brightness, volume, and Wi-Fi use. In order to accurately measure battery life, I coded a script that automatically plays MP3s at 50% volume while browsing different Wikipedia pages every 12 minutes. This benchmark is probably overkill, but it gives you an idea of a worst-case scenario.

Recharge Time

Charging times are a double-edged sword. Ideally, you want a nice slow charge so that your battery lasts more than a few hundred cycles. Fast charge times keep you away from the wall socket longer, but in the long run they cut down on the health of the battery. Usually, the rate of charge starts to slow down somewhere in the 80% to 95% range, which is why the charging time from 0% to 10% is faster than 90% to 100%.

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