Asus Eee Pad Slider Honeycomb Tablet Review - HotHardware

Asus Eee Pad Slider Honeycomb Tablet Review

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Maybe we're just enamored with the new and fresh design, but we won't beat around the bush on this one: the Eee Pad Slider is one of the most handsome and striking mobile computing devices that we've seen in a long time. That's no small feat. Just as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the iPad 2 are simply beautiful for a pure slates, Asus has managed to engineer a keyboard into a tablet form factor in an elegant way, and they managed to do so while keeping the price point of the 16GB model below $500.


At around a half-inch thick, the Slider is somewhat chubby. But only when compared to fellow slates without a keyboard. When you sit it beside even your average netbook, it actually appears as if it has been put on a diet. Somehow, Asus has pancaked the keyboard and the display with a minimalistic, albeit strong and rigid, hinge in between. The metal hinge slots down into the rear of the keyboard base when it's not erect, and there are two small hooks that the screen rests against when popped open. It's a simple approach, but it's a beautiful and functional one.


Our only major complaint with this setup is the opening process. There's just no easy way to go about it. Pushing the front of the panel up in an effort to get it to pop open doesn't work. There are no side slots or top handles for easy tugging. The easiest way to open up the screen is to wedge your finger in a small indentation area on the top of the screen and pull up / out. It's far from intuitive, but the beautiful springing action once the panel is on its way up almost makes us forget about how clunky the actual opening process is.



All of the ports and slots are located on the keyboard base; there are no toggle switches at all along the sides or bezel of the slate itself. The left edge is home to the power button, the volume rocker and a microSD card slot, while the rear is where you plug in the proprietary Asus power / USB connector, or a mini-HDMI connector. The right edge has a full-size USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.


While in slate-mode, you can take advantage of the 5MP camera on the rear, while the 1.2MP front-facing camera can be used for video chats in both styles of orientation. One thing that we did notice outside of the keyboard was the display. It's a big, bright IPS display with a 1280x800 resolution. And while the display is truly beautiful to look at (crisp, bright colors, great viewing angles, no wash-out, etc.), we can't help but wonder how much better it might be if Asus implemented a smaller bezel. There's a heck of a lot of black, unused space around the LCD, and those bezel strips aren't gesture-sensitive like the strips on RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook or HP's line of Pre smartphones. Opportunity missed, in our estimation.


Now, let's talk about the standout feature: the keyboard. The mechanism itself is sturdy, and it feels rather ideal when used on your lap, as if in a coach airline seat. So, kudos to Asus there. The keys themselves have an excellent texture and a good amount of travel for their size, but that's about where the pluses end. The all-important right Shift key is roughly half as large as it should be, and the four arrow keys are clustered into the bottom-right. Asus did make room for a few unique dedicated keys: Search, Home, Menu and Back. Those are highly useful within an Android operating system, as you might imagine, but Asus seemed to simply there.

The space bar is too close to the edge, and it requires a good bit of practice to really nail typing on the slider. We spent hours dealing with typos, and couldn't easily adjust to it. Meanwhile, even the smallest netbook keyboard was never this truncated. But it's a tablet, so we can somewhat forgive the small size. What's harder to forgive is the lack of a trackball, some sort of pointer, or a trackpad. However, Asus claims that users who would rather use a pointer instead of their fingers can just hook up a USB mouse. Point taken. That said, we would have greatly preferred a small, simple trackball in place of one of the Control keys (or anything non-essential).


We know touch is the future, but if you're going to build a keyboard into the body of slate, you might as well carve out a small section of space for a cursor control mechanism of some sort. At least, that's our feelings on the matter. The entire control experience would have been helped immensely by an on-board cursor control device. That would've really been the icing on the cake.


Finally, it's definitely worth noting that the multi-touch panel was highly responsive. Pinch-to-zoom worked well, and our inputs were always recognized -- even gentle ones. But it felt strange using a combination of touch and keyboard inputs, and if you end up buying one, we would recommend a trial-and-error session to see what kind of keyboard shortcuts you could take advantage of.  In the end, the total solution definitely works.  It just takes a bit of getting use to.

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I have been waiting for this review thanks. This looks like a beautiful tablet and like you I am not surprised that it hit many of the same marks as the transformer but it is a lot smaller and you don't have to buy an extra docking station for that keyboard functionality :)

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"Asus has another hit with the Eee Pad Slider along with the Transformer. This tablet is very sleek and Slick and its surprisingly thin for a form factor that includes a keyboard. I think that the Eee slider is the ultimate tablet, especially for students because of the the slide out keyboard. The Tegra 2 processor also helps a lot. Now, I don't agree that not having a trackpad is a minus, on the contrary, thats why you have the touchscreen and can quickly hit a link faster than it would take with a trackpad or trackball and mouse, but the option to connect to a mouse is there anyway. "

"Anyhow, great review, and the beauty shots in "Design and Build Quality" and in the Conclusion pages are awesome. Asus should contract you to sell the Eee Pad Slider or any other products."

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Thanks for the review, it was great. Love the keyboard, makes doing man things so much easier.

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Nice review. While I still stand by the fact that the PC experience cannot be fully replaced, this comes close to justifying certain people's decisions that the tablet is replacing laptop PC's everywhere; I mean it's got a keyboard (that's difficult to open) and that keyboard helps students/other people to create documents on their tablets and do other stuff...

I agree with the trackpad as a minus thing. I mean it'd be awkward if I took my hands off the keyboards just to reach out to the tablet to touch something, and doing it like a few minutes at a time it would definately be awkward. At least ASUS should of included a small mouse in the package...

Otherwise, this is a good tablet. If only they can iron the flaws out in later iterations and include the new Kal-El processor in the tablet then I'm guessing it might provide an even stronger argument for tablet adoption.

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TaylorKarras:
I agree with the trackpad as a minus thing. I mean it'd be awkward if I took my hands off the keyboards just to reach out to the tablet to touch something, and doing it like a few minutes at a time it would definately be awkward.

"Putting in a trackpad would totally defeat the purpose of it being a Tablet, which is what it is first a foremost and which is why its not Awkward if you are already used to it. Also, Its only 10 inches of real estate and its a short keyboard , tapping a link is no hassle with a finger.  Besides, I hate trackpads, all that it is good for is, to erase your fingerprints"

TaylorKarras:
At least ASUS should of included a small mouse in the package

"What, dude, get your own, LOL, just because they added a keyboard doesn't mean it has to bring a mouse too, again, totally defeat its purpose as a tablet. Might as well just get a netbook or a laptop ."

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Wheatley:
"Putting in a trackpad would totally defeat the purpose of it being a Tablet, which is what it is first a foremost and which is why its not Awkward if you are already used to it. Also, Its only 10 inches of real estate and its a short keyboard , tapping a link is no hassle with a finger."

Dude, have you ever tried to use a keyboard and press something with a tablet, I think you'd find it more awkward than you think.

For one, you have to constantly switch from typing to touching a tablet to typing to touching a tablet, no matter how much you do it it's awkward. At least with a mouse you have it next to your keyboard and you can switch to it effortlessly.

Wheatley:
just because they added a keyboard doesn't mean it has to bring a mouse too, again, totally defeat its purpose as a tablet.

which is something that's portable, eats less battery life and you can touch with a touchscreen (because what tablet isn't complete without a touchscreen.) Look, we type on these things; a mouse would of make it easier to done both things because tablets are not specifically devices with touchscreens.

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TaylorKarras:

Dude, have you ever tried to use a keyboard and press something with a tablet, I think you'd find it more awkward than you think.

For one, you have to constantly switch from typing to touching a tablet to typing to touching a tablet, no matter how much you do it it's awkward. At least with a mouse you have it next to your keyboard and you can switch to it effortlessly.

"Yes, my girlfriend has the keyboard dock, I admit it was awkward at first, but you'll get use to it. "

TaylorKarras:
which is something that's portable, eats less battery life and you can touch with a touchscreen (because what tablet isn't complete without a touchscreen.) Look, we type on these things; a mouse would of make it easier to done both things because tablets are not specifically devices with touchscreens.

"Ok, ok, but I what I really meant was, if Asus had included a mouse than the aspect of what the Eee Slider is, which is a Tablet, will get lost. Its has to first and foremost be marketed as a tablet, just saying. Them cheap little mouses are cheap enough though."

thebitdnd:
I would agree that reaching up to touch the screen was an adjustment, but it was a quick adjustment. I do it almost without thinking now, and I don't think it costs me much, if any, time over using the trackpad

"You see"

thebitdnd:
Sure, a keyboard might defeat the purpose of a tablet, but having a tablet with the features of a netbook is a great option, IMO.

@thebitdnd

"Actually , we did not put it as a negative, but you make great points with your other comments about the Transformer. At the end of the day, The Eee Pad serves its purpose and appeals to the Tablet crowd as well people looking for laptop functionality with the slide out keyboard and the ability to plug in a mouse without a dock." 

 

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Wheatley:
"Yes, my girlfriend has the keyboard dock, I admit it was awkward at first, but you'll get use to it. "

What does a keyboard dock have anything to do with what I was saying, and I did mention the usability function of it. No matter how many times you use that method, it's still awkward. I mean a finger doesn't have the precision of a mouse when it comes to web browsing or selecting text.

Wheatley:
"Ok, ok, but I what I really meant was, if Asus had included a mouse than the aspect of what the Eee Slider is, which is a Tablet, will get lost.

How will it get lost, obviously people are going to think that the mouse needs to be plugged in in order for the tablet to be used but obviously it can be put in a manual that the mouse is optional, it can be shown that the tablet can be used without a mouse and it's pretty obvious that the purpose of the tablet will not get lost because they're promoting it as a "take it anywhere you go tablet' not a computer.

Yes I'm aware that mice are cheap but that's not a reason to not include one. If anything I don't mind having to pay extra for a small mouse, it's just that it would of been nice if it was included because it would make web browsing/text selection easier.

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TaylorKarras:
What does a keyboard dock have anything to do with what I was saying,

"Cause you asked-

TaylorKarras:
Dude, have you ever tried to use a keyboard and press something with a tablet

"the fact that its a dock and the Eee Pad's keyboard slides out, doesn't make that much difference when in comes to typing on the context of our discussion  , so my answer is relevant." 

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Wheatley:
"Cause you asked-

What? I asked you "have you ever tried to use a keyboard and press something with a tablet?" not "does your girlfriend have the keyboard dock".

Wheatley:
"the fact that its a dock and the Eee Pad's keyboard slides out, doesn't make that much difference when in comes to typing on the context of our discussion  , so my answer is relevant." 

Nice strawman argument; I did not mention that it's a dock nor that the Eee Pad's keyboard slides out, and I was not thinking that when I was replying, I was thinking of any keyboard with any tablet, with situations like web browsing and text editing; which you did not catch, since it was in my last reply.

You bring in stuff like docks (review says it's built-in) when I was mentioning using a touchscreen and a keyboard and the methods for using it... Ugh...

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