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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Asus EEE Pad Slider SL101 review:

Asus EEE Pad Slider SL101

Typing on the Slider
Typing on the Slider feels a bit cramped for someone with large hands. Also, we noticed that although we thought we were pressing it each time, we missed the spacebar about once per sentence. On the front of the keyboard section, right past the spacebar, the plate curves up and becomes level with the spacebar. When typing fast, our thumb would strike the edge of the curve instead of the spacebar. Once we noticed this happening it was easier to avoid, but it still occurred more times than we'd like. A slightly different design could have made a huge difference here.

The keys are small, but for the most part accuracy isn't a problem. The keys depress just enough for a satisfying feeling of feedback. The lack of a touch pad takes some getting used to, especially when typing text and attempting to go back and edit portions. A tablet screen is certainly not the best tool for placing a cursor between letters in a word. Like the Transformer, the Slider keyboard has home, back, and menu buttons.

Overall, typing on the keyboard feels somewhat cramped, and it's not an ideal typing environment, but it definitely beats typing on the screen.

Hardware features
The Asus Eee Pad Slider is available in 16GB and 32GB capacities. The tablet takes advantage of a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM, and also boasts 802.11n Wi-Fi, support for Bluetooth 2.1, a gyroscope, an ambient light sensor, GPS, a digital compass, and memory expansion via microSD.

The speaker, located on top side of the keyboard plate, provides adequate if unimpressive sound that could have used a higher volume threshold and extra bass. When the Slider is in tablet mode, the sound gets muffled somewhat thanks to the speaker's location.

Software features
The Slider ships with Android 3.2 and takes advantage of the improvements Google's made since the first iteration of the operating system, like smoother Web page scrolling and the ability to load files directly from a microSD card.

As with the Transformer, Asus has tweaked the Honeycomb interface a bit for the Slider, adding a cool background image of ice water, the relative level of which directly corresponds to the current battery life. Asus recommends turning this off though as, perhaps ironically; it drains the battery something fierce.

Asus MyCloud enables users to access free (for one year with the purchase of the Slider), unlimited cloud-based storage space in Asus WebStorage, remotely access the desktop of a PC or Mac, and access the @Vibe online music and radio service. MyNet lets you stream content to DLNA-enabled devices on your network, and with MyLibrary, Asus' book e-reader software, you can read and purchase new books directly through the interface.

Asus gives owners of the Slider a way to practice their newly minted keyboard skills by including Polaris Office, which provides an interface for editing Word docs, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint files. There's also a file manager interface that allows you to see everything installed on your storage drive or any removable storage attached to the tablet.

Asus includes an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel for the 1,280x800-pixel-resolution, 10.1-inch screen, delivering wide viewing angles and a high and vibrant brightness. The screen has a glossy finish and like most tablet screens is reinforced with Gorilla Glass.

Tested spec Asus Eee Pad Slider Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Apple iPad 2 Toshiba Thrive
Maximum brightness 323 cd/m2 336 cd/m2 432 cd/m2 337 cd/m2
Default brightness 323 cd/m2 336 cd/m2 176 cd/m2 131 cd/m2
Maximum black level 0.34 cd/m2 0.3 cd/m2 0.46 cd/m2 0.24 cd/m2
Default black level 0.34 cd/m3 0.3 cd/m2 0.19 cd/m2 0.1 cd/m2
Default contrast ratio 950:1 1,120:1 939:1 1,310:1
Contrast ratio (max brightness) 950:1 1,120:1 942:1 1,404:1

Camera performance is nothing we haven't seen from other Honeycomb tablets, especially first-generation ones, like the Transformer and the Acer Iconia Tab A500. The cameras are adequate but don't produce the vibrant images of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or match the fine clarity of the Sony Tablet S' images. Also, good luck taking pictures in low-light situations, since, as mentioned before, there's no LED light on either camera.

The battery drained about 50 percent every 5 hours under periodic use. Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.

Video battery life (in hours)
Asus Eee Pad Slider 7.7

The Asus Eee Pad Slider is available for $480 for the 16GB model and $580 for the 32GB model. It's a tablet with a unique and useful sliding keyboard feature that gives the device the girth of a small laptop. If you're looking for a pure tablet experience, this isn't it and you'd be better off with the slimtastic Sony Tablet S or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer with the keyboard attachment earned its extra thickness by providing a more spacious keyboard, a touch pad, and an extra battery. Plus, you could at any time remove the keyboard and just walk around with the tablet itself. Thanks to its girth and weight, the Slider feels bulky and slightly unwieldy to carry compared with other tablets.

However, if the idea of typing on a tablet screen keeps you up at night, you'd still like to benefit from most of the advantages of using a tablet, and you don't mind not being able to detach the tablet from the keyboard, the Slider is a worthwhile investment.

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