A month with the EEE Pad Slider

October 26th, 2011 in .Pads & Slates .Products
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Put your hands up all those who own a tablet.  I do and I love them, yip them. In fact our household now has three tablets floating around. My constant companion these last four weeks has been the new ASUS Slider.  The ASUS EEE Pad Slider is a Hybrid Tablet that combines the intuitive usage of a tablet with a laptop-like user experience while still retaining the ultra portability of the tablet. As a productive tool for the busy professional constantly on the go the freedom that not having to drag around the laptop brings is quite startling as I found when I started using this nifty little Tablet. And only once I had gone back to toting that millstone that is my laptop case did I realise just how much more convenient the Slider tablet was for someone who is constantly on the go and spends way too much time commuting between meetings. But convenience is no good without the ability to deliver the levels of performance needed and historically only found on notebooks. When I picked up my ASUS EEE Pad Slider I was not sure at the time that it could deliver.  Three weeks on I have grown to love the Hybrid Tablet from ASUS. While not perfect, but what is, the Slider is certainly an indication of a possible future for tablets.

First it is time to see what makes the Tablet tick.

At a glance

Asus Eee Pad Slider Specifications

  • Processor 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2
  • Graphics Nvidia Tegra 2
  • Operating system Google Android 3.2
  • Memory 1GB
  • Storage 16GB or 32GB, 1yr unlimited Asus Web Storage
  • Display 10.1in, 1,280 x 800, LED backlight, IPS, multi-touch
  • Camera 1.2megapixel front, 5megapixel rear (no flash)
  • Sensors accelerometer, light, gyroscope, electronic compass, GPS
  • Networks WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Ports 1 x USB 2, 1 x mini-HDMI, 1 x mini-jack (headphone or mic), 1 x microSD card reader
  • Battery 25Wh Lithium-Polymer, fixed
  • Quoted battery life 8 hours
  • Dimensions (mm) 273 x 180 x 17 (W x D x H)
  • Colour options Brown (reviewed), white
  • Weight 960g

The EEE Pad Slider (read the review here) runs on a NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual core processor, come with either 16GB or 32 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM. Connectivity is via Wireless N, GPS and Bluetooth, at one time 3G was rumoured to be supported for the European models but my Slider did not have that capability. I have since heard that 3G will not be offered in the UK but that it may still be available on the European continent.

A big plus for me was the connectivity ports include. A mini HDMI and a microSD card slot as well as a USB facility. The benefits of that kind of connectivity are immense, especially the USB facility now I can simply pop my USB stick into the PC copy all the files I want to work on while out to the USB drive and access them via the Slider when I want. A perfectly simple solution that does not require an involved process to get files to your tablet, simplicity is always best.   The Slider includes things like E-compass, Accelerometer, G-Sensor, Gyroscope and light sensor as standard.

The all important screen is a 10.1inch LED backlit Gorilla Glass multi-touch 1280 x 800 resolution display IPS panel which offers 178-degree viewing angles. The display is framed with a slightly wider bezel than the other EEE Pad model the Transformer I noticed. Both have the 5 megapixel back camera and the front-facing 1.3 MP camera. A quality mic and speakers complete the package. The Supreme SRS Sound is not as good nor is the volume as loud as I would have liked. The speakers are complemented with a 3.5mm audio jack for (Headphone/Mic-In) that certainly helped improve the sound side of things.

The engine room is powered by Android Honeycomb 3.1 and is upgradeable to Honeycomb 3.2and is packaged with MyCloud, MyNet, Polaris Office as well as the standard Honeycomb apps. There are hundreds of thousands of apps currently available on the Apps Market. Battery charge cycle is claimed to be around seven hours thirty minutes.  I have never been able to get close to that and found when using the keyboard I was more likely to get 4 to 5 hours use before charging. All I can say is thank heavens for the power points on the trains.

Having mentioned the keyboard let me expand. What sets the Slider apart from the other Tablets is the Hybrid design that incorporates a physical keyboard built into the Tablet itself. The keyboard can be accessed by tilting the display to allow the keyboard and pressing downwards to slide out the physical keyboard. Releasing the keyboard will automatically switch the Tablet on. The benefit is there is no need to carry around a separate keyboard for those who prefer typing with them, as I do. And while I love the tablet form, my fingers need the tactile response of the keyboard when I type. Touch-typing is just not possible for me on the virtual keyboard. The slider with its physical keyboard appears to be the perfect fit for me.

The slider weighs in at 960g and while this is heavier than some other tablets on offer it does include the built-in keyboard of course. This convergence of entertainment and productivity is enhanced out by the ease of which the included File Manager app allows data to be shared between the portable storage devices either via USB port or the microSD card.

This is a major plus for those who are intending to work on their tablets and not just use them as a social or media tool.   The touch screen is responsive and does not require much pressure to navigate around and is made of scratch resistant glass and the 10 finger multi-touch supported screen is responsive even to young hands such as my 6 year old daughter who I constantly had to fight for usage rights of the Slider. I have read that with some ANDROID based tablets there has been lag, this I did not notice. Even when I had multiple applications open there was near instant opening of the selected app. I must stress I had the latest firmware installed so possible that is why I did not have any lag issues.

Reading reviews just does not give anyone a true sense of what the slider is all about and that I can vouch for. The beauty of the slider was brought home to me when my daughter resumed her ballet classes after the summer holiday break. Each Thursday I have to rush on my bicycle between two schools to collect the girls, and then I must take one child to football at the park and the other to ballet class in town. All in all an hour’s hard cycling. Keeps me fit I accept. Once I have successfully and safely negotiated the start of rush hour traffic with the two girls and deposited both in their respective venues and being on time all that is left for me to do is the waiting. Well it was like that before, not any longer.

Before I had the slider this time was dead time, in other words the time spent waiting for each child’s activity to be completed is non-productive time and means I have nearly three hours of my day that I cannot invoice for. As I would only have opportunity to resume work once we are back home. In the past I tried to bring my notebook along in a carry pack but due to its size and bulk it is just too awkward when trying to manage to little girls and their bikes, and I had to bite the bullet and just accept writing off those three hours for the greater good. I had learnt to dread Thursdays if I had deadline. Normally with my childcare duties on top of working I would have to give up precious sleep time to insure I was able to meet deadlines. The slider changed all that forever.

This particular Thursday I had a dead line that was drawing all too frighteningly near. With my youngest in her ballet class I found a handy place to sit and opened Dropbox to source my documents and the built in Polaris office suite allowed me to get on with things in the waiting area of the dance studio. An hour’s worth of production later I popped the slider into my shoulder bag and scooted off to the football grounds with my youngest daughter in tow. Once at the park she was happy to play with the other kids; and I was more than happy to carry on working while waiting for her sister to finish football practice. This was one Thursday where no precious sleep would be sacrificed.

With the EEE Pad Slider I am enjoying the mobility coupled with functionality that this little wonder brings. Having multiple applications open does not seem to faze the Slider at all in my experience. And with the number of apps available to download for Android systems growing daily and the Android market share taking the lead in smart phones the future certainly looks bright for Android based Tablets. The EEE Pad Slider is a fine example of the convergence of technology and will suite the tastes of those users who wish to combine the traditional rich media driven tablet functionality with the productivity and portability of a notebook but without the bulk and hassle. I sincerely hope that the hybrid Tablet is here to stay.

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