- 10.1in, 1,280 x 800 pixel screen
- Slideout qwerty keyboard
- Android 3.1 operating system
What’s immediately obvious with the Slider is that, as with the Transformer, Asus hasn’t gone all out for super slim design but has instead gone for a practical yet stylish approach. So Apple iPad 2 rivalling in its slimness, it isn’t but it’s smart and very well built.
Most of the chassis is plastic but the choice of finishes and fit and finish is excellent, with the two token chrome sections – the stripe on the lid and the hinge on the back – adding just that right level of bling. The Soft touch chocolate brown of the model we were looking at is particularly nice.
For all its clever design, though, the Slider is clearly a somewhat chunky machine. Nonetheless, it succeeds in fulfilling precisely what is wanted from a device of its form factor – it’s a genuinely smaller and more portable alternative to a laptop yet a more practical working tool than a standard tablet.
Slide the screen backwards and upwards and a reasonable size keyboard is revealed. It’s a little more cramped than on the Transformer but the layout is excellent and the key action more than adequate – pop this thing on your lap and you can more than easily touchtype. What’s more, while the inability to actually detach the keyboard has its disadvantages, the slider form factor does have some advantages too.
For a start, it’s easier to do precisely the above scenario. The transformer was rather top heavy and had a tendency to topple over backwards if you got the screen at the wrong angle. The Slider, though, stays nice and secure. The sliding action also means you need less space to deploy the screen at a readable angle, making it easier to use in confined spaces.
Perhaps crucially what you don’t get is a touchpad, meaning you always have to use the touchscreen to navigate the system – something that can become a little tedious. Overall, we’d probably still prefer the laptop style form factor of the Transformer but the slider one certainly has potential.
Asus hasn’t helped its cause when it comes to connectivity, though. Around the edges you’ll find a full size USB port, a mini HDMI, a headphone jack and Asus’s charging port. But you miss out on a full size SD card reader and microUSB port for charging and data transfer.
Otherwise there are few slip ups. Inside is a speedy Nvidia Tegra 2, 1GHz dual core processor and 1GB of RAM, a choice of 16GB or 32GB of storage, and front and back cameras. The 10.1in, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS screen is also excellent with vivid colours, deep blacks and great viewing angles. Asus also continues its trend of including decent speakers, though on the noisy IFA show floor it was difficult to tell quite how good.
Inside the base there’s also extra batteries that should extend this tablet’s life beyond that of most rivals (though probably not to equal the 16hrs the Transformer lasts).
The Slider runs Android 3.1, Google’s tablet specific OS, and thankfully hasn’t mucked about with it too much. The main addition is that of Nvidia’s Tegra Zone, a portal that picks out Nvidia Tegra 2 optimised games from the Android app store – currently there are 18 titles. Of course, being an Android tablet you’ve also got Adobe Flash support in the web browser and oodles of apps in the MarketPlace.
The tablet felt nippy and responsive making general navigation a breeze – there was none of the slight lag noticed on Samsung’s latest tabs. However, there’s a big ol’ thorn in the Slider’s side and that’s its expected price. Currently we understand it’s set to cost around £437 for the 16GB version and £525 for the 32GB model – a considerable sum more than the Transformer. At that price it’s going to struggle to make an impact in the tablet market but if Asus chooses to bring it in at the same price as the Transformer it could find it has another hit on its hands. Heck, it’s got a much better chance than the Sony P!
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