Windows 8 – Tablet Review: ASUS Eee Slate EP121-1A011M

 

Although the best is certainly yet to come with regards to Windows 8 tablets, there are some very solid options out there right now that will handle Windows 8 Beta and even the full commercial version later this year.

So why buy now as opposed to waiting for newer W8 hardware? If you are the tinkering type, that is certainly one reason, since you can be one of the first to get your hands on Windows 8, using the Beta.

A second reason is if you have business needs and want a tablet now, but would prefer Windows support versus Android/iPad options.

A third and final reason? If you are a bargain shopper many of the Windows 7 tablets we’ve reviewed can be found pre-owned or refurbished for a savings of more than $100-$200 (depending on the model).

For example, some of these models are marked as $600 but sell used for as little as $350 or so.

Today’s review focuses on ASUS Eee Slate EP121-1A011M, and we’ll get started by taking a look at the power under the hood:

  • a 12.1-inch capacitive pressure-sensing multi-touch LED-backlit HD display for brilliant HD entertainment and intuitive navigation (1280×800)
  • Intel Core i5-470UM 1.3GHz processor
  • Intel HD graphics
  • 32GB SSD
  • 2 GB of SDRAM
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • Weight: 2.56 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.28×8.16x.067-inches

Design-wise, the Asus Eee Slate manages to pull off a design that isn’t too flashy, nor too bold but at the same time is rather aesthetically pleasing.

In your hands, it feels a little weighty though its worth noting that at 2.56 pounds it is far from one of the heaviest Windows-based tablets out there.

Taking a look a the screen though, its worth mentioning that the display has a 187 degree wide viewing angle, which makes it great as a mobile multimedia device.

Probably the biggest ‘win’ for the Eee Slate would be its highly-optimized handwriting functionality, which is practically next-to-none.

Writing is easy and looks good, unlike some of the other Windows tablets I’ve looked at before. Conversely, the system handles just as elegantly with finger-touch operations.

On the software side? Nothing special with the Windows 7 besides your usually slightly-tweaked 3rd party apps that attempt to make Windows 7 more bearable with touch-technology. Of course if you plan to install Windows 8 Beta, this isn’t really much of an issue.

Keep in mind that this slate just barely meets minimum requirements for Metro, but it should still handle well enough.

Taking a look at the hardware, this slate certainly shines with its high-powered i5 Processor and 2GB of RAM. This isn’t exactly a full ‘desktop replacement’ by any means, but it could be replacement for your laptop at the very least.

Bottom line is that the Asus Eee Slate EP121 is a great buy if you are looking for a mid-range tablet that has the flexibility to run your Windows apps and takes full advantage of future Windows 8 features when the Beta and/or final version arrives.

Are there better options out there? Maybe, but Asus is a solid brand and this model has fairly solid features so I wouldn’t lose any sleep over making this purchase.

The only word of caution I can give users is to keep in mind that many of these Win7 generation tablets may receive much steeper discounts when Win8 actually comes to the market and ‘optimized Windows 8′ hardware starts showing up.

So if you absolutely don’t need a Win tablet now, it might not hurt to wait.

Still, if Windows is what you need, the Asus’ slate delivers.

You can find the device on Amazon for $1,069.99 new or as little as $825.00 used.

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