The Asus Eee Slate EP121 – PC Of The Future?
New Asus Tablet Runs Windows, Performs Like A Champ
Another tablet? Sort of. There are several key features that make the new Asus Eee Slate EP121 different from the rest of the tablets you’ve probably seen out there, including the Apple iPad, the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and the BlackBerry PlayBook. First, there’s the operating system. All of those other tablets use some kind of mobile OS designed mainly for smartphones. Of course the iPad uses Apple’s iOS, which was first developed for the iPhone. The Motorola and Samsung tablets run Google’s Android operating system, and the PlayBook uses RIM’s proprietary BlackBerry OS. The Asus Eee Slate EP121, on the other hand, runs Windows 7. And while all of those tablets sport screens in the 7 to 10-inch range, the Asus has a notably larger 12.1-inch screen.
The next big thing that sets the Eee Slate EP121 apart from the competition is power. Like the iPhone and the PlayBook, Android-based tablets use the same tiny processors that are used to power smartphones. And while those processors have improved significantly over the last year, they are still no match for the Intel Core series processors that are used in most popular laptops. The Asus Eee Slate EP121 uses a a low-voltage Core i5 processor. It’s not the latest i5, nor is it the fastest. But it absolutely smokes most smartphone processors, as well as the Intel Atom processors used in most Netbooks (and the few other Windows tablets out there). This faster processor means better multitasking and better graphics performance for playing games and streaming digital video transfers. The top model includes an impressive 4GB of RAM (8 times as much as an iPad 2), and 64GB of solid state storage. But it also comes with an impressive price tag – $1,099.
Unlike most other tablets, which expect users to use on-screen interfaces even for typing (despite the obvious benefits physical keyboards) the Asus Eee Slate EP121 comes bundled with a wireless Bluetooth keyboard, which will undoubtedly be the preferred input method for users who have the luxury of sitting at a desk. Of course, users on the go can use the onscreen keyboard provided by Windows 7, though it’s worth pointing out that this on-screen keyboard is not as user-friendly as what you’d find on an iPad or Android tablet. In fact, Windows 7 is both a boon to and a problem for the Asus. Running windows allows this tablet to be considered as a laptop replacement; it can do just about anything that an ultra-portable laptop can do. And yet, Windows 7 is simply not suited to the touch-screen interface. It is obvious when using an iPad that the device and its operating system were designed with touch in mind. It is just as obvious that touch interfacing was an afterthought for Windows 7. If you plan on using a tablet mostly for email, web-browsing, and watching digital video transfers, stick with an iPad. But if you want to get some real work done and you’re interested in a Windows-based tablet, right now the Asus is the one to beat.