Asus had a huge success with its Eee Pad Transformer, the Android tablet with a docking keyboard. Now the Eee Pad Slider takes a different approach, building a keyboard in to an Android tablet.
Slip and slide
The idea behind the Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 is that you can work in normal tablet mode with the screen outermost most of the time, and when you want a keyboard you just slide the screen up to reveal one. It’s great in principle, but there are some issues.
The first is the sliding mechanism itself. To get to the keyboard you pull the back of the screen upwards. This then lifts, resting on a solid hinge at an angle of about 45 degrees. The problem is that we needed two hands to pull the screen upwards – one on the screen and one anchoring the front of the Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 to our desk. It’s not an elegant system.
Big and heavy
The second problem with this design is that the Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 is both larger and heavier than your average 10 inch tablet. It’s perfectly fine on the desktop where its 273 x 180mm footprint looks normal. But lift it up and its 17.3mm of thickness feels unwieldy in the hand.
Moreover, at 960g in weight, you aren’t likely to want hold the Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 in one hand for very long as you might any other 10 inch tablet. We also found the keyboard itself a little irritating to use. There’s a lip below the bottom row on which we kept hitting our fingers as we tapped at the space bar, and the keys themselves felt rather spongy.
Android is well supported
This is all rather a shame, as the lack of attention to design detail mars what could have been another sure-fire winner from Asus. Certainly Android 3.2 is well supported. You can get either 16GB or 32GB versions of the Eee Pad Slider SL101, and either way a Tegra 2 1GHz dual core processor is supported by 1GB of RAM.
There’s a microSD card slot and the Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 can read USB sticks too. There’s a DLNA client, HDMI output, 5 megapixel main camera and 1.2 megapixel front camera and the promise of an upgrade to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The screen is a crisp and sharp 1280 x 800 pixel panel. And when you do come to use the keyboard, the bundled Polaris Office app is a welcome addition.
- Good specs; built in keyboard can be handy
- large and heavy; keyboard has some faults
We're impressed with the specifications of the Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 and found it good to use in Tablet mode. The keyboard is welcome too, but we think Asus should have put a bit more thought into the physical design.