Inspect-a-Gadget

Apr 1 2011   2:56PM GMT

Review: Asus Eee Slate EP121 – 7 reasons this is rubbish!

falani Profile: falani

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ASUS

If this tablet, or slate in actuality, sells more than any other currently on the market then I will quit this job and go into hiding. That’s just how ridiculous this thing is.

If you’ve read my review of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, then you’ll know this isn’t personal as I am a massive fan but everything that’s right about the Transformer is soooooo wrong about the Asus Eee Slate.

Let’s start with what’s good about it. It has a dual core Intel i5 processor with 4GB of RAM so it’s definately fast.

In fact it’s as fast if not faster than most laptops out there.

It also comes with a healthy 32GB or 64GB solid state hard drive, also good and speedy.

It comes equipped with 2 USB ports, Bluetooth 3.0, mini HDMI, built-in card reader as well as a front-facing 2MP camera.

THAT’S IT.
Asus Eee SlateNow, let the literary tear-down begin!

First of all, this thing is MASSIVE. When I saw it across the room I was scared. What is the point of a tablet if it’s not very portable?

It has a big 12.1 inch screen, ok that’s not gigantic but it’s an awkward size to hold especially one-handed.

Secondly, it’s heavy weighing around 1.2kg. Right now, the tablet market is all about portability. Lugging this beast around is no better than a laptop and it’s definately heavier than a netbook.

Thirdly, it runs Windows 7 Home Premium. Don’t get me wrong, I love Windows 7 I think it’s the best but not on a touch-screen tablet!!!

Lenovo’s LePad (awful name I know) is clever in that when it’s portable it uses Android and when it’s docked it works on Windows 7.

This thing just runs Windows 7 which while it has touch support, it wasn’t made for tablets. Asus didn’t even try to customise it for the tablet. It’s not terrible but when compared to the operating systems on Android, WebOS and iOS 4.3 it isn’t great.

Fourthly (yes it is a word), it comes with a stylus… A STYLUS. No-one bothers with those things anymore! Yeah you can use your fingers but it’s not as easy as the stylus so it’s basically not easy.

Fifthly (I don’t care, I’m gonna keep going), this thing is £1,000. The iPad 2 is half that price and it’s ten times better than this. A good laptop is less than that and a netbook is around £200, why oh why would you spend so much money on such a terrible idea?!?!?

Sixthly, as it’s on Windows there are no apps. You might think that it wouldn’t matter since you can install full programs like Office but any program you install won’t be opimised for a tablet unlike ALL apps.

Seventhly, this needs a keyboard or at least some great accessories to make it work and somehow I doubt it will have any. Otherwise alongside Asus’ Transformer, which is a brilliant idea, is just a big lump. It’s like a sports car without wheels.
Asus Eee Slate EP121Conclusion

This should be a laptop. Simple.

This should have a keyboard attached one way or the other and whether it has a touch-screen or not is neither here nor there. Maybe a bonus but certainly not needed.

This is a powerful mistake. If you buy it, get a keyboard and a stand… or just do me a favour and buy a laptop.

29  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Luca
    you don't think about artists? we're wating for something like this for years (i.e. a Wacom Cintiq with a Photoshop-capable PC inside).
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  • popo
    I think you're quite biased. You should consider to whom this tablet could be useful. Graphic designers are longing for a portable cintiq. But I assume you may not know what is a Cintiq or a wacom tablet, nor th usefulness of such a system since you're dismissing the stylus as something rubbish. When Saint Steve Jobs will add one for the ipad, you will say what a great feature it is.
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  • ds
    Full of s***, Apple fanboy. The ability to use a stylus is what makes it stand above all others other. No apps? WTF are you talking about? 8thly you need to go quit your job and go into hiding as they cant keep them in stock.
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  • Jorge Leuschner
    Faisal, your comment may be right for somebody that works alone. But many of us spend most of their time in meetings or are working on team projects. And there a slate with a pen - with a pen! - is a blessing. In a meeting you won't use a keyboard for your notes, you write. To avoid paper, I tried to use my iPad for that - writing with a finger - testing several note apps. They simply don't do the job. But there is this forgotten OneNote in Microsoft Office, a fantastic tool to achieve quickly a common task by a group, to take typed, sound or handwritten notes, and to organize all your stuff. This program and the Eee Slate alone are worth the money for business people like me, and also for students, for teachers, field workers. Take note!
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  • Clark
    HI there, I actually just checked one out. Having used an Axiotron Modbook for a few years I think this thing is perfect. The pen is the reason to use it, especially if you're an artist or a designer. The only gripe I have with it is that it runs Windows 7 and not the Mac OS... but that being said I'm sure someone will figure out how to turn into a Hackintosh and voila, the perfect artists Macbook. Just my 2 cents.
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  • EP121 owner.
    It comes with a bluetooth keyboard. If you actually gat closer to it than across the room, you might have noticed.
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  • ozric76fr
    Rubbish is a little bit too strong, isn't it? Imho, it's not totally the same object nor the same "single" usage than a pad. It's much more a very light, versatile tablet-pc between these 2 worlds. Think about SUVs for cars: not a 4x4, not a monospace but very successfull in the market because they are multi-purpose and well designed. Your 7 bad points can be turned into pros as well: 1-massive but it's not as massive as many tablet-pcs and it's well build. 2-you're right, but on the go, it's more usable and versatile than a laptop or a weak netbook. 3-you can easily find tricks to improve the touch experience with Win7. Geek attitude vs user-friendly limitations makes you more proactive! 4-remember, more than a tablet it's also a graphic tablet so the stylus (digitizer pen in fact) is just not an accessory. 5-pricey... but it's a real laptop, look at competitors with or without the same versatility and build quality. 6-not totaly wrong but it's the same for other more expensive tablet-pcs (used in business or education) and an app is just only an app. 7-false: the bundle includes a bluetooth keyboard, the digitizer pen and a folio case (acting as a stand on your desk). The "SUV" of tablets I said... and I have no share in asus ;-)
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  • Sean Murphy
    Wow, I've been using this thing for a month now; I'm no artist and l also have an iPad. Bottom line is this thing is an iPad that can actually do things. Windows) isn't bad for touch, and it absolutely rocks with a pen.
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  • Richard Ting
    "This thing just runs Windows 7...." Just so you know you can run Android on this baby. Search Android-X86 in google. After installation you can install the usual touch friendly Android Apps like Angry Bird, Aldiko Reader etc.
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  • James
    Interesting take on this slate
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  • Dam6
    Are you going to let the other reviews through or are you going to hide?
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  • Dam6
    First of all, you really, really, REALLY don't get it. Sorry that I have to say this, but I truly feel that you've just jumped on the bandwagon and repeated the same old tired thoughts without even thinking for yourself. Question: Did you actually USE the device? It's massive? So is a 17" laptop! Who has defined that tablets HAVE to be the same size.... Secondly, the tablet market is not all about portability, it's about what works for an individual. Art students can take this device with them, take notes, sketch, everything in one place, instead of cutting corners. 'Other' tablets are about leisure time, this tablet is a serious machine that is the best of all worlds.
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  • Dam6
    Thirdly, with the introduction of Internet Explorer 9, the lines between this tablet and others has closed. Not by a lot, but it has, ever so slightly. I clean installed, re-installed Win7 pro, updated, installed all company applications and joined the domain, all using touch. At no point did I wish or need a keyboard as 'this' device offers a full, fluid user interface that can be improved via changing the DPI and/or menu bar sizes. Sure you know that, I hope. Fourthly, let me introduce you to TabletPCReview.com - Tablet PC Forums - iPad Forums and Android Tablet Discussions, a place where millions of people visit to talk about how good, or bad, tablets can be. Millions of people have used a stylus and find them amazing. Did you know that the EP121 I imported to the UK is now sitting on a directors desk, the same director that has an iPad. He, after one day, stated that he absolutely loved the stylus. Funny that. Please also visit amazon.com to see the various stylus devices for the other tablets. Doctors, art students, people that take notes, love the stylus.
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  • Dam6
    Fifthly, the ipad is not half the price, well, the top of the range ipad at least. Please remember that you're buying a device that features a very fast Core i5 cpu which leaves 'other' devices standing. They simply 'cannot' be compared. Sixthly, No apps? Are you 12? Sorry, didn't want to make this personal. Intel Appup store, Steam, the web, flash, there's thousands of applications, emulators, etc out there. I do get your point that applications are not there with regards to touch, but just like all other devices, the industry will eventually catch up. Seventhly, it does not need a keyboard. The on-screen keyboard can be made transparent, docked, floating etc. P.s It does come with a keyboard, a Bluetooth one. Another question: Did you 'actually' use this device?
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  • Dam6
    As you're working for a computer magazine, you have a duty to actually provide impartial information, especially as many businesses may require that information. As it stands, the Asus EP121 is, probably, other than battery life, the single best, most powerful tablet you can buy today. The screen is of a very high quality, clear, very bright, with touch sensitiviry that beats other machines such as the HP 2740p, Latitude XT2. P.s. The device 'does' have one genuine flaw that you didn't even bother to acknowledge, the battery life. Oh well.
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  • Dam6
    Sorry, Computer Weekly wouldn't let me post all at once.
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  • Faisal Alani
    Yep, you like many other commenters have got me. I can see why this would be useful for artists, didn't consider that BUT Asus have targeted this at the mass market and although it caters to few for most it wouldn't be useful.
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  • Faisal Alani
    As I said above, I'm big enough to say that I may have got this one wrong. Thanks for taking the time to write the comments, I hope they're useful. In fact, would you like to write a review of the Asus Eee Slate EP121?? It could even be a counter argument of what I wrote, I have no problem with the criticism as long as it's constructive which yours seems to be. Let me know what you think. Thanks
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  • LOL
    this and the ipad are completely different markets. Look at the medical market, the ipad only works with a few of the big EMR's this thing will work them all and you don't have to pay for an app to print (maybe that's free now in the ipad)...
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  • nnthemperor
    Now that's what l call intellectual maturity, acknowledging mistakes & Correcting them. Frankly, that's the first time I've seen such from the so called tech review journalists or bloggers. kudos Fai!! Ps. Frankly speaking, I have the EP121, it is actually a great device, not being Fanboy (ish) .
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  • Iusti
    Respect for ASUS. To all the Apple iPad 1/2 fanboys/girls outhere: can you USE the iPad right out-of-the-box? NO you will need iTunes. You cannot upgrade/buy/install/extract/introduce ANYTHING without that "app" that incredibly is NOT installed on the device itself !!! And no you MUST be using some PAID4 OS like Win/Mac to start-it up.
    It's so sad that people forgot that there does not have to be "an app for that" in order for them to do stuff - BASIC stuff, some stuff that one would expect as a given in a "smart" device.
    But I guess is just understandable for an entity so globally eager for money (you do know that the usual profit is >40% for anything Apple) to try and make the world after it's own image. the iNternet was after all an Apple iNvention.
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  • Artem
    ep121 is a great specialized tablet (for advanced Windows users/geeks so far) but lacks battery life and needs to be a transformer (into netbook) like the other Asus' tablet. Btw, Asus transformer's dockstation includes not only keyboard but also batteries... If not this sad omission, I would buy this tablet! And with Windows 8, it will be just right for the mass market. Microsoft goes right way by offering a diffirentiated tablet which supports windows apps, digi pen, USB, and provides overall flexibility for developers and users.
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  • James
    I have used Fuj. ST6012 for 3 years, and this has changed the way I do most things, overwhelmingly far the better. The large screen is essential. Asus is on the right track here.
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  • Joseph Wright
    Even if a comparison was fair, the Slate blows the iPad away completely. Personally I don't think the two are comparable. One is a full on tablet PC, whereas the other is an "overgrown cellphone chained to a host computer".
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  • archanfel
    The EP121 IS a laptop class tablet. Yet I fail to see why that's a bad thing. It's basic a Macbook air 11 with a detached the keyboard. Similar weight, similar power, similar battery life, similar price. It's not a specialized tablet, anybody who needs a sub-notebook will find this machine useful. I don't see a lot of competitors in this price range and has a SSD harddisk, a IPS screen, equipped with i5 core yet weigh less than 2.5lb (Not even the MacAir). As for the touch interface, it's the icing on the cake. It's also extremely useful for students, artists, meeting minute taker, collaborated workers who need to draw diagrams. Touch friendly or not, there's no other platform that does handwriting recognition as well as Windows. It's a different market from the iPad crowd and might not be as big, but it's not small by any means. And I quote Notebookcheck (they got a great review), "The combination of display size, display quality and system performance can't yet be supplied by any other manufacturer.". It got the same score as the Mac Air 11, btw. To the blogger, I am fairly sure it will outsell the HP Slate, some motion computer tablets, and a lot of the convertibles (HP TM2 for example).
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  • Mark
    To each his own I guess. The EP121 is perfect for my purposes. This is by no means my only PC but from the perspective of portability the EP121 goes everywhere with me. I used to lug around a backpack with my laptop and all the assorted paraphernalia. Of course a conventional laptop takes so long to power up I had an iPad for those coffee shop visits. Also in my bag would be a writing pad. I have meetings galore and have need to keep detailed notes all day long. That was then. Now I have replaced all that with the EP121. Yes, heavier than an iPad but far less that the combined weight of the laptop and the iPad. I love the combination active/capacitive screen. This device seems to have been made for OneNote, so now no writing pad either. Now that I no longer carry the laptop, iPad and writing pad the backpack is too big. I bought a really nice, very small and light messenger bag which fits the EP121 perfectly Net result have reduced my daily shoulder load about 6 pounds while still having room for compact Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. So to me there is no comparison, the EP121 is hands down the best portable device I have ever owned. I can’t wait to load Windows 8!
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  • Dupree
    What a terrible review. Sure sounds like the author copied it from Apple themselves without even using the product. Every so-called negative is actually either a positive or some aspect inherent to the design of the machine. for instance weight. Yeah, it's going to weigh more than an ipad because it has much more hardware than an ipad. ipads are for consumers, this machine is for producers. go hide faisal, go hide. And no, I will not do your job for you by writing a rebuttal review.
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  • shirley chao
    I'm not a high tech player or daily user; however, this review is a totally bias review that caught everybody's attention and lead to wrong direction, if not really know the basic. I think, you should call this review, "totally rubbish!". shirley.
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  • Samuel Robinson
    When ever I read something like this I wonder about what the reviewer uses their equipment for. I've had an eee Slate 121 for about seven months now. As with all computers, it's not perfect nor does it meet all needs. That's why I use more than one machine. The eee Slate 121 is a replacement for your laptop not just a tablet for media consumption, web surfing, and light email. I am able to keep a windows development environment, MS Office, and most of the utilities I need on the SSD (64gb) I'd prefer if a larger drive were available, but since I can plug an external drive into the USB port, this isn't that big a deal. This machine is not going to replace bookreader sized tablets or an iPad. It's a fine media consumption device, like they are, but it lacks their battery life and is a bit heavy if your trying to read in bed. It's only good for about three hours or so without being connected to power. If all you do is watch some youTube, email, and listen to tunes, then I suggest you buy one of the less expensive and less capable devices. One-note is amazing on this platform, the included paint program is awsome. The multi-touch screen is excellent once you get used to it. I don't care for the on-screen keyboard, but they do provide a cute MS 6000 bluetooth keyboard, I've found it to be a bit fragile, so be very selective about how you carry it. I think you're safe enough regarding uptake, the price point's about four hundred dollars high for the total functionality. But it's not rubbish, not what _you_ want in a tablet perhaps, but still a quite useful device.
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