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Asus Eee Slate EP121 review

Can this Windows tablet get Microsoft back in the touchscreen game?

asus eee slate ep121

Verdict

For a tablet costing £999, it really does need to do something special simply to make it worth considering, and the good news is that the Slate EPE121 does stand out from the crowd thanks to its powerful specification and large 12.1-inch screen.

We liked

General performance is great, with enough serious CPU grunt to make some desktops blush. Multitasking is painless, and thanks to the fact it runs Windows 7, you won't have a problem finding apps to make the most of that power.

The screen is bright, vibrant and, thanks to the IPS panel used, boasts great viewing angles. It's just as good as showing off your latest designs as it is watching a few movies

Drawing using the Slate EP121 is an incredible experience, with near-instant feedback on your strokes. The Wacom digitizer is a neat addition here, and actually represent decent value for money given the competition.

The bundled carry sleeve, power supply (with USB port) and Bluetooth keyboard are all of the highest standard, and genuinely add to the Slate's capabilities. It does almost double the unit weight carrying the whole lot round with you, though.

Build quality is excellent, giving the impression that this is a machine that will last you for years without problems.

We disliked

It's heavy – for a tablet, at least. At 1.2kg, and twice the weight of the iPad 2, this is a machine you're going to want to rest on your desk rather than your arm for long periods. The bulky proportions don't help matters here.

The battery life is terrible. While we accept that this is due to the high-performance CPU and large screen, it doesn't make it a particularly easy pill to swallow.

Windows 7 hasn't been designed for tablets, and it really shows. Even simple tasks prove difficult when you're using the end of your finger to select something, as opposed to a carefully controlled mouse pointer.

Performance is still somewhat patchy at times, which given the focus on high-end specification and price is frustrating.

Verdict

Given the current tech love affair with the more consumer-oriented tablets, it's good to see Asus offer something for serious tablet users. For that market there's plenty of good decisions at play here, and as a productive device, it's particularly impressive in the hands of artists and designers.

Unfortunately, while there's plenty of poke in this machine, it doesn't quite do enough to make it worth considering outside of its intended niche. Part of this problem is down to how Windows works, and how while it does offer great compatibility, its foibles are too great compared to the latest Android 3.0 and iOS machines.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet PC
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time4.50 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity64 GB
HDMIYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyEee Slate EP121
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformWindows
Processor Modeli5-470UM
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.33 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size30.7 cm (12.1")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.16 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
DigitizerYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height17 mm
Width312 mm
Depth207.2 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesEP121
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelEP121-1A019M
Product NameEee Slate EP121-1A019M Tablet PC
Product LineEee Slate
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberEP121-1A019M
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing InformationA Tablet That Packs a Punch

A tablet device shouldn't have to skimp on powerful hardware just because of its size. Accept no compromises on performance and portability with the ASUS Eee Slate EP121, the world's most powerful tablet device featuring an Intel Core i5 processor. While most tablet devices have lesser processors, the EP121 i5 processor takes productivity to a whole new level -meeting all your needs and more, giving you the power to run Office applications or view videos on sites like YouTube and Hulu.

Package Contents
  • Eee Slate EP121-1A019M Tablet PC
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Stylus