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Asus Eee Slate EP121 review

Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score


User Score


  • Large IPS screen with Gorilla glass
  • Powerful and fast, excellent connectivity
  • Capacitive or stylus interaction
  • Windows 7 offers superb productivity potential
  • Premium wireless keyboard


  • Very expensive
  • Windows 7 not designed for touch or tablets
  • Poor battery life
  • No 3G
  • Too large and heavy to hold one-handed

Review Price £997.92

Key Features: 12.1in 1,280 x 800 IPS display, Gorilla Glass ; Intel Core i5-470UM, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD ; Capacitive screen, Wacom digitizer with stylus; USB 2.0 and mini-HDMI, Bluetooth; Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Manufacturer: Asus

As the tablet wars rage on, the iPad 2 is still one of the slickest tablet experiences around, while Windows 7 is generally regarded as the worst. That's hardly surprising, since Microsoft's OS wasn't primarily designed for either tablets or touch. Unfortunately, sub-par implementations on Windows tablets like the Acer Iconia Tab and MSI WindPad 100W didn't do it any favours. However, since Asus has produced one of the best Android tablets available today with its award-winning Eee Pad Transformer, we have high hopes for its Eee Slate EP121.

Asus Eee Slate EP121 10

The Eee Slate takes a slightly left-field approach to the tablet market, in that it goes for the biggest and best of everything, a fact that's reflected in its £997 asking price. Where most of the competition offers tablets of around 10 inches or less, the Slate's screen is a relatively huge 12.1in – and with an IPS panel protected by Gorilla glass it's as good as it gets. Where rivals contain underpowered Atom processors and max out at 2GB of RAM, the Slate rocks on with a full fat mobile Core i5 and 4GB of RAM. Combined with a 64GB SSD, it offers more power than many budget desktops, allowing for effortless productivity and multi-tasking.

For artists, designers or just those fond of handwriting, the integrated Wacom Digitizer with included stylus is a dream come true, and for regular finger interaction the screen offers capacitive touch too. And finally there's the bundled wireless Bluetooth keyboard. Rather than an average first-party keyboard, Asus has made the laudable decision of going with the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000, which takes typing comfort to a whole new level.

Unfortunately, the included case doesn't really keep up the premium impression. Though it's well-made with a sturdy leatherette finish, it relies on a Velcro strap to hold the tablet in securely and doesn't offer much flexibility when trying to stand the tablet up. You only get the choice between a 30 degree incline in either portrait or landscape orientation. What's more, it weighs a whopping 376 grams - as much some smaller tablets!

The tablet itself restores our confidence with a seamless glass front overlaying the black screen bezel, framed by a metal surround. Asus has gone with white plastic for the back, which isn't the most premium looking material but at least it keeps the weight down, and it's textured rather than glossy. This prevents fingerprints, decreases wear marks and provides a better grip.

Asus Eee Slate EP121 15

Large ports are hidden behind strong-hinged flaps, buttons are chromed and build quality is generally excellent with no creak and minimal flex. Our one minor concern is that putting pressure on the centre of the tablet's rear affects the screen. However, with a little care when handling, this shouldn't become an issue.

Considering its 312 x 17 x 207mm dimensions and high-power internals, the Eee Slate is not too heavy at 1.17kg, but it's certainly not a tablet you can hold comfortably one-handed for any length of time.

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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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