Asus Eee Slate EP121 hands-on

With a hefty price tag and equally weighty hardware, is the Eee Slate just a laptop in a tablet's body?

On paper the Eee Slate EP121 is the fastest tablet on the planet. That's thanks to its dual core Intel i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 32GB solid-state drive.

It is one chunky mother of a tablet, though. Having a huge 12.1-inch screen and equally sizeable 17mm girth, comes at a price. The EP121 comes in at 1.18kg - that's around the equivalent of two iPad 2's. We're guessing portability isn't isn't its strong suit. If this was the playground, Asus' kid would be subjected to teasing and bullying from the trendy Apple and Motorola kids for being different. It's insides are more akin to a computer - it's just in a tablet's body.

From the offset, the EP121 is on dodgy ground by running Windows 7 Home Premium, which as we know, doesn't particularly lend itself to touchscreen operation. Typically, the usual problems rear their ugly heads, like inaccurate input, boring user experience etc. Disappointingly, Asus hasn't made any attempts to put its own stamp on the tab for a more finger friendly user experience, like we've seen on the Acer Iconia with its Acer Ring and Dell's Stage UI for the Streak.

There's a Wacom digital stylus on-board, with built-in pressure technology, which makes it great for doodles and artwork, but if you prefer to use nature's stylus, you can get finger-friendly with the touchscreen - input just won't be as accurate.

On the port side, you're staring at 2 USB ports, mini HDMI and a built-in card reader.

This is the Eee Slate's front-facing 2MP camera for your video calling needs.

High-end specs come at a price, and quite a hefty price - £999. But obviously, this isn't a device for just watching movies on. Hook it up to the bundled Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard and you're looking at a machine that's more than equipped to handle the workload. Make no mistake, the EP121 performs well, and while it houses some pretty impressive specs, we can't help but wonder why Asus chose to dress it in tablet attire? Asus is touting it as combining "the freedom of a tablet with the functionality of a notebook". We're not quite sure about the first bit, but it certainly is powerful. There's no word on availability, but if you're interested, it might be wise to start saving.


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