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Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 Review

Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 Review

Manufacturer Asus
UK price (as reviewed) Around £450 inc VAT
US price (as reviewed) $579 (ex tax) (for 32GB version)

After engaging Autobots to design its last tablet, Asus has avoided groan-worthy jokes with its latest Slider Eee Pad. The Eee Pad Transformer was a tablet with an add-on keyboard section (which also housed an extra battery), making it ideal for when you wanted to switch between portability or doing some serious work. The Slider is for less decisive people – those that dither or worry about not taking the keyboard section with them ‘just in case’.

This is because the Slider has a permanently-attached keyboard, which slides out from under the 1,280 x 800 pixel, 10.1in multi-touch screen. However, as the keyboard's dimensions measure only 250 x 70mm and there’s no extra battery unit, the Slider weighs much less than the Transformer in netbook mode – 960g rather than 1,335g, to be precise. It’s much thinner than the Transformer too, even if the 17mm thickness is noticeably more than a typical tablet.

Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 Review
The Slider blends tablet-like portability with a functional QWERTY keyboard

The name ‘Slider’ sets a slightly odd expectation of how the mechanism works, however. ‘Priser’ is more apt, as you have to prise the screen section up and back from the body section before the slide action kicks in. It’s a little clumsy and the process requires both hands, especially if you’re trying to do this in mid-air rather than on desk. Once you get the knack of it, though, it’s a satisfyingly slick operation.

The screen opens on a wide hinge, with the front edge loosely locking into two metal hooks that protrude from the main chassis. It’s not the strongest arrangement ever, but it’s solid enough for most people.

The hinge holds the screen at a comfortable angle for reading and working, sitting at around 40 degrees from the keyboard. The IPS panel has wide viewing angles anyway, so the angle of the screen is mostly for comfort rather than necessity. This also means that two people could potentially watch a film on the Slider, even if the relatively small dimensions mean you’ll need to get cosy to do so.

Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 Review
The slide-hinge is reasonably sturdy

Unlike a full laptop, the keyboard doesn't distract from the screen when watching video. However, you’d probably slide the keyboard away anyway, and then the textured – almost rubberised – rear of the Slider provides enough grip to keep the unit propped up against the back of a seat. The rubber feet also keep the Slider in place when it’s in keyboard-deployed, netbook-killing mode.

The keyboard is functional, despite the tiny dimensions. The 'Chiclet' design of the keys helps to differentiate the keys, and the small Shift keys are still usable. Enter is also a double-height key and Backspace is reasonably long. However, a ridge at the front of the body prevents you slapping the Space Bar with the side of your thumb, making you type in a more restrictive way than ideal. We could only type at around half-to-two-thirds of our normal speed on the Slider.

In tablet mode, you can still fire up the Android keyboard, or any alternative you grab from the Android Market. Speaking of Android, we reviewed the Slider with version 3.1 of the OS, aka Honeycomb, although Asus says it can be upgraded to 3.2.

Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101 Specifications

  • Processor 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2
  • Graphics Nvidia Tegra 2
  • Operating system Google Android 3.2
  • Memory 1GB
  • Storage 16GB or 32GB, 1yr unlimited Asus Web Storage
  • Display 10.1in, 1,280 x 800, LED backlight, IPS, multi-touch
  • Camera 1.2megapixel front, 5megapixel rear (no flash)
  • Sensors accelerometer, light, gyroscope, electronic compass, GPS
  • Networks WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Ports 1 x USB 2, 1 x mini-HDMI, 1 x mini-jack (headphone or mic), 1 x microSD card reader
  • Battery 25Wh Lithium-Polymer, fixed
  • Quoted battery life 8 hours
  • Dimensions (mm) 273 x 180 x 17 (W x D x H)
  • Colour options Brown (reviewed), white
  • Weight 960g