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First Look: Exo PC Slate

As for the Slate itself, like most of these Atom powered tablets, it's quite large with an 11.6in screen and overall dimensions of 295 x 195 x 14mm. Due to the heat of the processor it even requires air intakes and exhausts. This makes it feel much more like a laptop without a keyboard than a device that sits somewhere between laptops and smartphones, as the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Apple iPad do. That said, it is one of the slimmest Atom powered tablets we've seen – many are close to double as thick.

Thankfully that large screen is also backed by a high resolution of 1,366 x 768, which means it's reasonably sharp and can fit lots of detail on screen while keeping it readable, making it much better for general productivity than smaller tablets. Again, all is not perfect, though, as viewing angles of the screen are only mediocre at best. It is okay when viewed from three of the four sides, with just a bit of colour shift, contrast drop off, and backlight unevenness. However, viewed from the 'bottom' the picture almost inverts with blacks going white, whites going black, and all the colours similarly going doolally.

While this is acceptable on most laptops, as they tend to stay quite still once you're using them and are generally viewed from the same angle, on a tablet you're much more likely to be moving it around. As such, the Exo PC is rather disappointing in general use and really highlights again the importance of its quality screen to the success of the Apple iPad, and why we see the Galaxy Tab doing so well, despite its high price. All this said, it was still very enjoyable watching Full HD 1080p video playing as smooth as you like on this device.

Features wise, the Exo PC doesn't disappoint. Down the sides there are sockets for mini-HDMI video output, 2 x USB, and an SD card slot. There is also a headphone jack, integrated stereo speakers, a microphone and a 1.3megapixel webcam, though no 'proper' camera. Internally you get 32GB or 64GB or flash storage, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth, a Broadcom Crystal HD chip for decoding all that lovely video, Intel GMA 3150 for the rest of the graphics duties, and a single-core 1.66GHz Atom CPU.

Sadly, the Exo PC appears to have one final drawback and that's battery life. The Intel Atom processor platform, while fairly low-power, is still quite power hungry when compared to the ARM-based technology used in smartphones and smaller Android based tablets. As such you only get 4 hours battery life out of this thing.

Ultimately, then, while we're really keen to see new companies like Exo PC try and break into the big time and we certainly like what its trying to do with the Exo PC UI, the Slate doesn't strike us as something we'll be recommending you shell out for. It needs to be smaller, lighter, have better battery life, and the interface needs tweaking.

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