Asus has begun shipping its Eee Pad Slider Android 3.2 tablet in the U.S. for $479 with 16GB storage and $579 with 32GB. The Slider is equipped with a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB flash, a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 display, dual cameras, and all the other standard Honeycomb features, but adds a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
Asus rose to prominence in part due to its best-selling Asus Eee Pad netbooks, and to keep up the netbook tradition it has fitted several of its latest Android tablets with keyboards. Asus unveiled the Eee Pad Slider and the similar Eee Pad Transformer at January’s CES show, respectively featuring attached or detachable keyboards. (The Transformer shipped in Taiwan in April, and recently became available in the U.S. and elsewhere.)
Eee Pad Slider
The Eee Pad Slider, which is now available at NewEgg and Amazon.com, among other venues, appears to be the only shipping Android touchscreen tablet that features a built-in keyboard. The Slider’s touchscreen slides up at an angle to reveal the hidden keyboard.
The Eee Pad Transformer, on the other hand, acts more like a standard tablet, but also includes a detachable keyboard/docking station. Several other tablets offer similar accessories, although they don’t emphasize the feature the way Asus has.
Aside from their varying hinge mechanisms, the Slider and Transformer are almost identical. On specs at least they are also very similar to other Android 3.x “Honeycomb” tablets.
Slider, front and back, with keyboard hidden away
Slider, front and back, with keyboard hidden away(Click on either to enlarge)
The Slider features the dual-core, 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, this time running the latest Android 3.2 version of Honeycomb. It offers 1GB RAM, 16GB ($479) or 32GB ($579) flash memory, and a microSD slot, says Asus.
The Slider supplies a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800-pixel capacitive touchscreen with iPad-like IPS (in-plane switching) technology claimed to improve the screen’s color accuracy and viewing angles. Durable Corning Gorilla glass is also said to part of the package. The Eee Pad Slider is further equipped with a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera and rear-facing five-megapixel camera.
In January Asus said the Slider would support 3G, but this initial version appears to be Wi-Fi only. Bluetooth 2.1 and GPS are also available, says the company. The tablet is said to provide a G-sensor, electronic compass, light sensor, and gyroscope. Wired ports include audio, USB, and mini-HDMI ports, which pushes out 1080p video, says Asus.
Slider from the side
(Click to enlarge)
Not surprisingly, the keyboard adds weight and thickness to the device. The Eee Pad Slider weighs in at a hefty 2.12 pounds and measures 10.75 x 7.1 x 0.72 inches, says Asus. The 25Wh battery is said to last up to eight hours.
The Slider ships with Android 3.2, and Asus also applies its own Asus Waveshare UI layer and apps including MyNet, MyCloud, and MyLibrary. MyNet streams digital media wirelessly to home network devices, presumably those complying with DLNA (digital living network alliance) specs. MyLibrary consolidates downloaded books, magazines, and newspapers into an integrated “profile,” while MyCloud provides access to digital content such as music, videos and photos, says the company.
The tablet features Asus WebStorage, which provides one year of unlimited cloud storage, according to Asus. Polaris Office 3.0 productivity software is said to be pre-installed, as well.
A review of the Slider in TechinStyle.tv liked just about everything about the tablet except for the extra thickness. The review offers particular praise for the design of the keyboard and the viewing angles on the IPS screen.
“The Eee Pad Slider offers an unbeatable proposition for anyone tempted by their increased portability, but put off by the lack of a physical keyboard,” concludes TechinStyle.tv.
Memo 3D delayed, Padfone coming with ICS
At the same January CES show where the Slider and Transformer were unveiled, Asus announced a seven-inch, Android-based Eee Pad MeMo tablet. The MeMo reemerged as the Eee Pad Memo 3D at the Computex show in Taiwan in early June, adding glasses-free 3D video playback. According to an early August report in the German-language TabletsMagazine, the Memo 3D won’t ship until at least 2012, and may never reach market.
Also at Computex, Asus unveiled another unusual hybrid device called the Padfone, which embeds a removable Android smartphone in the back of a 10.1-inch Android tablet. An August report from Liliputing says the device will ship around the end of the year with the upcoming “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS) build of Android.
The Eee Pad Slider is available at Amazon.com, as well as at NewEgg.com for $479 for the 16GB model, and Amazon also offers the 32GB model for $579. More general information may be found at the Asus Eee Pad Slider product page.
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