Asus Eee Slate EP121 review

8 Apr 2011

Not without flaws, but as a professional tablet suited to graphical work it has a certain appeal

Price when reviewed: 
1,000(£1000 inc VAT)
4

The Asus Eee Slate EP121 is not designed to take on the iPad. It’s important to get that out of the way immediately, because it’s an unfair comparison made by pretty much everyone we've shown it to. This Windows 7 tablet is aimed far more at professionals than those looking for their daily hit of Angry Birds.

The internals give that away immediately. Rather than crawling along on Atom power, the Eee Slate has a 1.3GHz Core i5-470UM processor – a low-voltage part that, while not quite as full-fat as it sounds, offers vastly more power than other popular tablets. Along with 4GB of DDR3, it completed our real-world benchmarks with an overall score of 0.39, and managed some excellent scores in our Media tests: it proved nearly three times faster than the AMD Brazos chip in the Acer Iconia W500.

Asus Eee Slate EP121 - front

That makes video and photo editing, along with all manner of other graphical work, a realistic option, as we proved by comfortably editing a 1080p video in Sony Vegas Pro 10. Sure, once you’re done creating, it won’t blitz through the encoding as fast as a workstation laptop, despite its 64GB of flash storage, but then most workstation laptops don’t have the Eee Slate’s touchscreen and digitiser pen.

Open a flap on the top-right edge and out it pops, allowing you to scrawl and tap your way around interfaces that a finger prod just wouldn’t be able to navigate. This single addition gets you past all of the usual problems we have with Windows 7 on touch devices, such as the list menus and the tiny window controls. We’re not going to pretend the Eee Slate turns Windows into iOS or Android, but on a screen this large it’s certainly usable, particularly if you up the DPI to 125%.

What it can do that those rival OSs can’t is run full Windows applications. To this end Asus has bundled the Eee Slate with a rebranded Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard, as well as a folding leather case with two rear flaps that prop the screen at comfortable angles, in a similar fashion to an iPad case.

Details

Price ex VAT £833
Price inc VAT £1,000
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 312 x 17 x 207mm (WDH)
Weight 1.170kg
Travelling weight 1.9kg
Weight with extended battery N/A
Travelling weight with extended battery N/A

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-470UM
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55 Express
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 12.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Resolution 1280 x 800
Graphics chipset Intel HD graphics
Graphics card RAM N/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 64GB
Hard disk usable capacity 60GB
Spindle speed N/A
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Sandisk SSD P4 64GB
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed N/A
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 2
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader no
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Multitouch capacitive and electromagnetic touchscreen
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 40min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 25min
3D performance (crysis) low settings N/A
3D performance setting N/A

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition