Asus Eee Slate EP121 review

£1000
Price when reviewed

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.

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions312 x 17 x 207mm (WDH)
Weight1.170kg
Travelling weight1.9kg
Weight with extended batteryN/A
Travelling weight with extended batteryN/A

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-470UM
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size12.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Resolution1280 x 800
Graphics chipsetIntel HD graphics
Graphics card RAMN/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity64GB
Hard disk usable capacity60GB
Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSandisk SSD P4 64GB
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speedN/A
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)2
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readerno
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeMultitouch capacitive and electromagnetic touchscreen
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating2.0mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseyes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 40min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 25min
3D performance (crysis) low settingsN/A
3D performance settingN/A

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition

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