The Asus EeePad Slider attracts attention. As soon as you flip up the tablet to reveal the keyboard folks start asking questions and want to try it. Within a few minutes they’ve mastered how to use the touchscreen and keyboard to get things done. Next questions are “How Much?” and “Where can I get one?”
If you’re transitioning from a laptop to the EeePad as your mobile device the weight (2lbs) and the extra width to accommodate the keyboard are not an issue.
Until now, tablets have been very good at consuming content, but not always the best choice for creating it. For now at least, a physical keyboard makes creating content a lot faster. The full QWERTY keyboard on the EeePad is comfortable and takes only a few minutes to get used to.
I set a challenge for myself to “Live in the Cloud” – to replace my laptop with EeePad. From day one I was able to take notes from meetings and workshops, access my email (multiple accounts), monitor and post to social media sites, update my Google docs and surf the web. On day three, I found myself trying to use the display on my desktop as a touch screen. I didn’t miss a mouse at all and the touch screen is a lot faster than the trackpad on my laptop.
The EeePad has a Ultra-wide 178⁰ viewing angle IPS panel protected by scratch resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass. The display is crisp and readable in most lighting and the 178 degree viewing angle means 3 people can comfortable see the contents of the screen. Watching YouTube videos (or a NetFlix movie) is enjoyable – not something I can say for my netbook or my Android tablet.
The EeePad Slider has an impressive sound system specs (Supreme SRS Sound with max bass response) but I used it mostly in coffee shops and other public places, so I didn’t use the speakers. The quality of the sound was dictated by my ear buds.
There’s a full sized USB port, a mini HDMI port and MicroSD card reader. I didn’t have the opportunity to try the mini HDMI port, but that’s a feature that will become useful as more venues install flat screen displays for presentations.
The battery life is amazing. It really is 8 hours using Wi-Fi 100% of the time. I was able to use the EeePad for two days before I had to charge it. A huge convenience, I have to carry the power cord to my smartphone and laptop with me because both devices usually drain the battery during normal use in a day.
There is a 1.2MP front facing and a 5MP rear facing camera that can record and play HD video. I found taking still photos awkward, but recorded several video interviews easily. The Sound Record app makes taking notes at meetings convenient.
I downloaded all the apps I have on my smartphone and my Android tablet and added Audible, Acast (podcast player), Seesmic (twitter app). I used Polaris Office (came with the EeePad) to take notes until I discovered SuperNote and got used to being able to quickly and easily record a meeting. SuperNote allows you to scribble (record handwriting), use the keyboard, insert photos, videos, voice recordings or any other files stored on the tablet and then share it to Google docs, Email, Google+, Seesmic, or a Bluetooth device. Meeting minutes can be shared as soon as the meeting is over. The next version of this app needs to allow you to post to your blog.
I also retired my iPod Touch during my “Live in the Cloud” experiment. Android’s one weakness is a good podcast application. I was able to download my favourite podcasts, but it’s still not as easy as iTunes (did I really just say that? ). Listening to books was as convenient as with my Android phone or iPod Touch and the long battery life made it more convenient than on my phone.
Displaying photos was a breeze, the Gallery app synched to my Picasa account. I created .jpg’s for a presentation and uploaded them to a Picasa album – easier than a power point presentation.
Was my experiment successful? Was I able to live in the cloud using just the EeePad Slider? Yes. It’s been 4 days since I returned the review unit and I’m still trying to use the display on my desktop and laptop as a touch screen.
The EeePad Slider is definetly on my Christmas list. Santa, are you listening?