Asus Eee Pad Slider Review

Asus' Eee Pad Slider combines a hardened glass display, slide out keyboard and productivity applications pre-loaded. It should be the ultimate productivity tablet, which for many users has been the holy grail of tablets. Sadly, pilgrims, you're going to have to keep questing. Here's why.

My US counterparts already reviewed the Eee Pad Slider a week ago; they weren't that impressed. I'd seen a prototype of the Slider some months back and came away impressed by the concept and keen to see whether Asus could pull it off. Having spent some time with the Slider, I'm rather disappointed to say that they haven't.

What We Like

The overall design idea of the Eee Pad Slider is a sound one, and not just for business types. If you're going to be doing any kind of text creation on a tablet, a keyboard quickly becomes something of a must, so having one that's permanently there has merit. Physical construction of the Slider is solid, which isn't always a given with tablets of any type. Like the Transformer, this also extends to the inclusion of ports for USB and HDMI output. The The 16GB version has an RRP of $649 and the 32GB version comes in at $749, but it's expandable via microSD.

The general responsiveness of the Slider when running apps is also solid, but you'd expect that from a dual core Tegra 1GHz processor. It's Honeycomb right now, but should be a prime candidate for Ice Cream Sandwich down the track.

Specs 273 x 180.3 x 17.3 mm 960 grams 10.1 Inch LED Backlit 1280x800 Display 1.0GHz Dual Core Tegra 2 Processor Android 3.2 Honeycomb 1GB RAM 16/32GB ROM microSD up to 32GB 5MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera 8 hours; 25Wh Li-Polymer Battery

The front panel is gorilla glass, and can withstand a fierce attack from the sharp side of a USB drive. Trust me; I tried, although I'm not entirely sure why I tried quite so hard. The good part here is thatĀ  you should be able to drop the Eee Slider into your bag and not really worry about anything else in there damaging it.

Battery life is fair but not great. There's an obvious comparison point here with Asus' own Eee Transformer, which adds battery life when you dock it to the keyboard. The Slider doesn't do that, but the eight hour battery — which realistically lasts around six in real world use — should be enough for daily intermittent use with no problems.

What we don't like

All the good things that the Eee Slider brings to the table? Undone almost entirely by an insanely frustrating keyboard. It's a problem on multiple counts. First and foremost, the fat lip that surrounds the keyboard assembly is almost as high as the keys, and this makes them harder to hit; this is especially true of the bottom row, where the space bar is.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go off and scream obscenities at a wall for a little while.

Right, all done. I feel better now. The reason that was necessary was simply because I'm typing this review on the Eee Slider's keyboard, which means it's taken me about three times as long as it should have and been about twice as painful. Not only does the lip impede typing a little, but it's also somewhat unresponsive, meaning you may have to type words mulitple times in order to get them right. If you're a notably slow typist this may not be as much of a problem, but anyone used to typing at speed will stumble hard on the Slider's keyboard.

That's my key criticism of the Eee Slider, but it's enough to (sadly) condemn it. The sliding keyboard is the key selling point of the Eee Slider, and it sadly just isn't very good.

At all.

There's a potential bright future for an Eee Slider; aside from the keyboard the rest of the hardware is quite good. Asus would only need to tweak the design a little and they'd have a winner on their hands. As it is, what's left is distinctly only fodder for the bargain bin.


Comments

    *sigh* ah well. Was really hoping the Slider would incorporate all the good things about the Trasnformer (incl. awesome battery life) but it was not to be.

    Transformer Prime plz!

    Do you think the poor responsiveness of the keyboard is purely a hardware issue or does the OS factor in as well?

    I can't help but wonder if the keyboard could be improved if they sacrificed some thinness, and if that trade-off would be worthwhile.

      In some ways a tough call -- I noted that it was better at keeping up in some apps than others -- but there's nothing the software can do to make up for that lip that constrains the lower set of keys. A bit of a redesign in the Slider 2 and it could be much better; especially with ICS on board.

        "A bit of a redesign in the Slider 2 and it could be much better; especially with ICS on board"

        Hopefully they'll show that off at CES 2012. I'm not too bad at typing on the iPad, but the slide out keyboard would be a lot better in meetings.

    What a shame.. I had high hopes for this one.. still.. could just get a Transformer and attach the dock and have basically the same tablet, albeit with a detachable keyboard instead of an inbuilt one.

    I saw one at JB on the weekend but I didn't really give it much of a workout (too interested in the Samsung Series 7 Slate sitting next to it). The slider mechanism seems very robust, though.

    I wonder what happened to Samsung's TX100? When they showed it at CES it was supposed to be available in March. That thing would rock with Win8 on it, I reckon.

      I swear Motormouth is actually just Ballmer :P

    I have a Slider sitting next to me at the moment. I use it for work purposes. I understand that different things annoy different people, but I really don't have a problem with that lip. It really only (barely noticably) gets in the way of the spacebar, and that's not a problem for me.

    The keyboard doesn't like the vanilla internet browser, and when on facebook or similar, the text tends to lag behind breifly.

    Inside the Polaris Office suite (Which is amazing, by the way) the keyboard works flawlessly, with no lag at all. If you add a bluetooth mouse, this little machine becomes a productivity beast, allowing me to do all of the things I used to do on my bulky 15" compaq work laptop, with the advantage of being smaller and much more proffesional looking.

    Let me write a mini-review here:

    What I do: IT Consulting/mobile tech work.
    What I have: Asus EeePad Slider 32GB.

    What I like: The keyboard, of course. The EeePad Slider was a day one purchase for me because the physical keyboard is invaluable, compared to the onscreen keyboard, which made other options like the iPad 2 or other Honeycomb tablets awkward and impractical to use in a productivity enviroment. The slider mechanism is very clever, and opens and stays closed firmly and smoothly.

    The version of Android that I'm currently running is 3.2.1. It came out of the boxy very clean, with very little flashy OEM fluff, including the Polaris Office, which - as I've said before - I think is great.

    The gorilla glass screen is amazingly tough. I took a stanly knife to a corner, to see how strong it is. I'm not sure if I made a mark or not, as all I managed to do was cut myself and leave a small mark on the plastic bezel. I used force equivalent to what you would use to cutting a sheet of paper with the same knife. I keep my tablet in a toolbag with a bunch of other tools that you would use while servicing a computer or server rack, with no scratches on the glass so far.

    What I dont like:

    No 3G: Self-explanatory, really. To get my internet fix while on the road, I am running it teathered to my HTC Desire. This means that I run down both of my batteries, instead of just one.

    I'm going to agree with Alex here, and say that the lip around the keyboard is a little annoying, though not enough to make the whole keyboard a writeoff. This only really becomes an issue (for me) because the joint of my thumbs sits on this lip, and the side of my thumb is used to press the space bar, which can make typing for extended amounts of time a little uncomfortable.

    It's a little heavy for a tablet. This isn't a problem most of the time, because with the keyboard out, it's at a perfect angle that you can just watch what you like on it with the unit resting on your lap. Holding the unit in portrait mode for more then 5 minutes becomes tiring and very uncomfortable quickly.

    All in all:

    I like it. It's a valuable asset for my work, allowing me to do my office work and tech work quickly and in a small, long lasting package. If I was brave, I would dremel off the lip around the spacebar, and the keyboard would be 100% perfect. Something for v2, I suppose.

    Should you buy this?

    It's great for my purposes. If yours are similar, then Yes.
    If not, you might want to give some thought to a lighter tablet, or one that's not as thick.

      Oh gosh, wall of text. So much for a mini-review.

    Gizmodo change title to asus-eee-pad-slider-KEYBOARD-review.
    More @ 11

    All the sick came to AU Plus Suck price. I have no idea why ? Are we so bad ?

      yes BOT!!

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