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What the Asus Eee Pad Slider attempts to offer is the tablet based alternative to someone who wants to shift from a netbook or a laptop, but, is driven up the wall at the very mention of typing on a touchscreen.
Look & FeelThis is the most unique tablet we have seen till date. The Asus Eee Pad Transformer also offers a similar combo - touchscreen with a keypad dock, but admittedly, looks like a netbook unless the display is switched on. The Eee pad Slider, on the other hand, looks very different.
When closed, the Slider looks like just any other tablet, a bulky tablet, but nevertheless just another tablet. All the ports and connectivity options are spread around the side spines of the tablet. However, the real interesting stiff is hidden behind the screen! You need to pull the display upwards, from the top, and wait for it to lift up and sit at an angle. And there is the keypad!
Common colour combo of black and silver is what you see around the display. The keypad however is chocolate brown in colour. While the colour combo does seem a bit dull, with the brown seeming quite bland. However, those who want understated colours will appreciate the wide berth given to glossy colours.
While we do not see any issues with the solidity of the product, it doesn’t feel very high quality. There is a clunky touch to it, which is a huge disappointment. The mechanism for lifting up the screen and holding it there tends to get scratched easily.
Features & Performance
The Slider is powered by a 1GHz dual core processor, and paired with 1GB of RAM. With Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) on board, we found the performance to be very good indeed. In fact, this one has some of the best benchmark scores we saw among Android tablets.
Asus have gone about very smartly with the task of customizing Android. Change what needs changing, and leave the rest untouched. You will notice minor tweaks to how Android looks - some quick access shortcuts on the home screen and a widget that displays a lot of info - last website accessed, last music album played weather etc. However, we did not see any of these tweaks hurting performance, something that we tested by disabling the preloaded home screen and replacing it with Launcher Pro for the sake of comparison. Apps load very quickly, and it played back 1080p HD files (mkv format) with absolute ease.
The QWERTY keypad is a bit of a mixed bag. We can all be very excited that it is there and that it beats the iPad in terms of utility out of the box (or something as such), but the fact remains that only a limited demographic of users will be comfortable using this keypad. The two problems that we noticed immediately - lack of space between the keys and there is no space that can double up as a palm rest. Both problems will make typing a bit of a task, particularly if you are writing long documents. The USB port on the side allows you to plug in an external mouse to help along the way.
The keyboard does bring in its share of drawbacks - the tablet is bulky and too heavy to hold for more than a few minutes. You may just end up using this all the time on the desk, with the keyboard activated.
Surprisingly, the battery life isn't as good as some of the Android tablets out there. The Slider will last about 6 hours under a mixed use scenario - some videos, web browsing and document typing with the brightness set at 60% and Wi-Fi connected throughout.
This is one unique tablet - stands out in a crowd like no one else. It has the necessary performance figures to make it one of the quickest Android tablets in the market. The Slider may just be the perfect solution for someone who wants to replace the laptop/netbook with a tablet. The integrated keypad helps achieve that. Depends on how comfortable you find it though. But is this the first in a new genre of tablets, aimed at the business user?
Price: Rs. 36,999
Platform: Android 3.1; Processor: ARM Cortex A9 dual core 1GHz with Tegra 2; Display: 10.1-inch (1280x800 pixels); Storage: 16GB with microSD slot; Camera: 5MP with 1.2MP video call camera; Battery: 2260 mAh; Weight: 960 grams
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