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Asus Eee Slate EP121 - Battery life, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


So far then, the Eee Slate EP121 has been holding up very well indeed. It's nicely designed, fairly well-built, comfortable to hold and well-connected, with a superb screen and impressive speakers by tablet standards. Its responsiveness, large display, stylus 'pointer' and excellent wireless keyboard combined with meaty specifications make it easily the most usable Windows 7 tablet we've seen, and it runs quietly even when under load, something the MSI WindPad 100W couldn't even manage with an Atom running at its core.

However, the Slate pays the price for its powerful components in battery life. During average use with the screen at full brightness we managed just under three hours, while playing back a looped video at 50 percent screen brightness and with wireless radios disabled still netted us only three hours and ten minutes. That's poor by any standard, but especially grim when compared to the nine hours and more you would get from an Android or IOS tablet.

When you get right down to it, however, that's not a completely fair comparison. If you want a multimedia and browsing tablet that can also do light productivity, the iPad 2 and Eee Pad Transformer will serve you well. But if you want the ability to run the same software as on your laptop or desktop, Windows is the only way to go - and frankly, this is the first tablet on which Microsoft's OS feels truly usable.

Unfortunately, the next hurdle is price. At a whopping £998, the Slate is far from a value proposition, especially compared to the £400 iPad 2 or £380 Transformer. On the other hand, if you look at it as a designer tool and compare to an alternative like the £700 Wacom Cintiq, it suddenly seems like a far more reasonable proposition.


Asus' Eee Slate EP121 is a unique Windows tablet that has a lot going for it. A beautiful 12.1in IPS screen offers both capacitive and pen feedback with the included Wacom stylus, making it an intriguing artist's and designer's tool. Powerful internals ensure Windows 7 rarely feels less than smooth, while comprehensive connectivity and surprisingly good speakers are the icing on the cake.

However, poor battery life and its incredibly high price limits the Slate's appeal to a niche audience of well-heeled, productivity-oriented individuals who don't need to stray too far from a power outlet.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 4
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 6


May 28, 2011, 4:59 pm

A serius caveat: the glossy screen IMHO makes this device heavily unconfortable indoor and pratically unusable in outdoor environments. Whatever your opinion on this, I think a review can't forget to cover such a critical feature.

Eric Ka

May 28, 2011, 5:05 pm

My trust is waning for the review. The max capacity of the "SDXC" SD card reader is 2 TB.

Eric Ka

May 28, 2011, 5:17 pm

Sorry, but how does the price ( $1099 USD) compare to a 64 GB ipad2 ($829) with a case ($39), keyboard ($69), video out ($39), limited photo only SD card reader ($39) and stylus ($10?)? = $1015. These are stander accessories every ipad owner I know consider' reasonable purchases. So, how does the piece of a laptop replacement EP121 compare to the "Standard"? $84 dollars more.


May 31, 2011, 2:14 pm

Unfortunately, this is a caveat to most tablets, including the iPad. And it's obvious that when you have a glass layer protecting the screen, there will be reflections. However, I've added an extra paragraph mentioning it explicitly - cheers for the feedback!

@Eric Ka:
Thanks for pointing that out, the product sheet I was looking at only mentioned SD/MMC - I've updated the review. However, until recently the maximum capacity SDXC was still only 64GB, and the first 128GB cards have only recently become available - a far cry from the theoretical maximum of 2TB...

As to your price question, does the iPad have a Core i5 CPU? No it does not. Does it have 4GB RAM? No it does not. Does it include the license fee for a full-blown desktop OS that lets you run the same software as your PC? No and no. Can a capacitive iPad stylus match up to the 512-level pressure-senitive penabled Wacom stylus, and will the iPad ignore accidental finger inputs when using a stylus? Nope again. Does the iPad let you play any video format? No. Does the Slate require adapters for video out or memory cards? No. (Is it reasonable to have to buy adapters for these things to begin with? No it is not.) I could go on but should I? No :)

Seriously though, the Slate might not be priced very competitively, but neither is it completely unreasonable. They're simply different tablets for different markets, as I mention in the review. For competing with the iPad, Asus has the rather brill Eee Pad Transformer.


July 21, 2011, 9:04 am

How can you possibly compare this to android and iPad tablets? We're talking about a notebook replacement here not a simple device solely designed for the consumption of media. Compare its price to that of a notebook in its class duh. Why would you list "no 3g" as a con? What notebooks have 3g? Just because this is shaped like an iPad does not mean that it is trying to compete with one. The writer seems to be only coming from one very limited point of view. For someone like me, an iPad is a joke of a device, an extravagant luxury that it too expensive and too limited on functionality to really do anything productive at all. This device is a PC, it runs a full operating system with good processing power. Plus the added benefit of the wacom technology which I am particularly interested in. This replaces my notebook and portable wacom tablet with a MUCH lighter all in one device. Also, from other reviews I've seen, all over YouTube for example, this device does in fact work well outside. The screen is some kind of hybrid IPS/transflective technology. I don't know much about it, but I saw the video, and it was usable as long as you weren't reflecting the sun directly into your face. The writer did not do his homework on this device IMO and more importantly, approached it from the very limited perspective of someone who just wants something that looks good on their coffee table and is fun for their friends to play with.


August 24, 2011, 3:32 pm

"The writer did not do his homework on this device IMO and more importantly, approached it from the very limited perspective of someone who just wants something that looks good on their coffee table"
I don't get comments like this. Seriously, have you even read any of the review? At all?
The bits where I say it's not fair to compare it to an iPad? The bits where I mention its unique features and capabilities that go a long way towards justifying the price? How it appeals to a completely different, more serious and productivity-oriented market? To artists and designers? The Verdict??

Heck, just read the comment I made above in reply to exactly that comparison. And "what notebooks have 3G"? How about most premium ultraportables (e.g. Lenovo X1, Sony Z, Samsung 9, etc etc). Please read the article and do some research before posting in future.

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