Asus Eee Pad Slider review

An Android tablet with a built-in, slide out keyboard - the best of both worlds or a muddled compromise that pleases no-one? David Ludlow finds out in our review.

We're pleased that Asus has left the OS alone, refusing to customise the interface. Leaving the default apps in place is a good idea, and you'll have no problems hooking this tablet up to a corporate Exchange server.

Sensibly, the charging and micro HDMI ports are located at the top of the Slider so it can still be used comfortably in keybo

Sensibly, the charging and micro HDMI ports are located at the top of the Slider so it can still be used comfortably in keyboard mode.

What Asus has done is add in extra applications. For work, there's a full version of Polaris Office, which lets you create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, plus synchronise Google Docs files. It works well, apart from one annoying feature: it doesn't use the standard Android copy-and-paste system, and you have to double-tap the screen to enter Edit mode. Even in Edit mode, you can't use keyboard shortcuts to select and format text. Still, the ability to edit Office documents out of the box is still a big draw.

Although the Slider can stash documents in its internal storage (16GB and 32GB models are available), you can plug in a USB stick or MicroSD card and manage files from there using Asus' File Manager app. On top of this, Asus has its MyCloud app (you get a year's free unlimited online storage), and MyLibrary eBook reader, which supports Adobe DRM-protected books.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

The Eee Pad Slider would be brilliant if it somehow integrated a large and comfortable keyboard into a light and inexpensive tablet. What we get instead is a tablet with a rather mediocre built-in keyboard that isn't worth the significant bulk and weight that it adds. As a result, it's not very good either as a straight tablet or as a keyboard-equipped tablet. If you need a regular tablet, the Apple iPad 2 remains the better product. However, if you need a keyboard on a regular basis, the Eee Pad Transformer and its keyboard dock is better and cheaper than the Eee Pad Slider.

Connectivity: N/A Display: 1,280 x 800 pixels, 10.1in OS: Android 3.2 Honeycomb Camera: five megapixels rear-facing, 1.3 megapixels forward-facing GPS: non-assisted GPS Processor: 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 RAM: 1GB Bluetooth: v2.1 + EDR Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n Storage: 16GB internal Ports: 1 x USB2, mini HDMI, 1 x combo audio in/out Slots: microSD card Dimensions: 271 x 171 x 13 mm (WxDxH) Weight: 960g Battery: Lithium Polymer Part code: SL101 Battery life: 9h04m

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