Asus Eee Slate EP121 review

£1000
Price when reviewed

The case keeps all four edges uncovered, leaving plenty of room to access the buttons on the top edges (when in landscape mode) for power, locking the rotation and bringing up the onscreen keyboard. On the left edge sit a volume rocker and mini-HDMI output, along with a card slot for SD and MMC formats, two USB 2 ports and a 3.5mm input and output audio socket. And the whole thing is built to extremely high quality, with Gorilla glass on the front and a very solid rear that feels like it will last.

If all this sounds like a glowing review, there are some issues. The first you’ll notice is the cooling fan, which whirs at full speed all the time, even on an idle desktop. The cooling vent is along the top edge, and although it never got uncomfortably hot during our testing, we’re concerned at how easy it is to partially block the airflow by flipping the case closed. The case doesn’t cover the USB ports but plastic flaps do, and we found plugging anything in required disconcerting force.

Asus Eee Slate EP121 - rear

Then there’s the screen. While it’s bright, perfectly responsive and boasts excellent viewing angles, the colours are muted. We measured a good 288cd/m2 maximum brightness, but the uncalibrated Delta E of 6.3 is merely average, and it’s a bit off in its reproduction of greens and reds. Properly calibrated, it improved, but this is no professional IPS monitor.

Finally, it lasted just 3hrs 40mins in our light-use web browsing battery test, which is the trade-off for having the power to run full applications. If you’re editing video, don’t expect it to last more than one and a half hours on a single charge.

These are weak points, granted, but the Asus’ biggest problem isn’t its design: it’s Windows. In the consumer space, and as a tablet OS, Windows 7 still doesn’t cut the mustard. And, furthermore, the other question is whether graphics professionals wouldn’t be better served by pairing an Apple Macbook Pro 13 with a Wacom graphics tablet. The Eee Slate EP121 remains as desirable as Windows 7 tablets come, but ultimately it’s held back by Windows’ lacklustre touch experience.

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

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