So, about 2 weeks ago I bought an ASUS Eee Slate B121-A1 12.1-Inch Tablet PC (link goes to Amazon on the same seller I bought mine from). This is my official review of the product I received.
So I placed the order late on Monday night/Tuesday morning and opted for the 2 day shipping. I also bought the HHI Asus Eee Slate EP121 Crystal Clear Screen Protector (3 Pack) (Package include a HandHelditems Sketch Stylus Pen) and the Navitech Compact Portable Flip and Fold Adjustable PC Tablet Stand Mount For the Asus Eee Slate EP121 (both links go to their respective Amazon product pages). the total cost was $1,199.57. Sure enough, on Wednesday evening I received the slate.
I wish for the purpose of this review that I had videotaped the unboxing of the Asus slate, but sadly I have not
FIRST AND FORE MOST, this is a SLATE, not a TABLET! if you want a nifty gadget that has cool transitions to browse the web, watch play games and Facebook, GO GET AN ANDROID TABLET such as the Motorola Xoom. I will never suggest an iPad. I hate Apple. Too expensive, not enough functionality. BUT, if you want a professional, useful, and extremely mobile solution for ANYTHING, the ASUS Eee Slate B121-A1 12.1-Inch Tablet PC is just for you.
So beforeI really begin, I’ll explain why I bought the Asus slate. I had a Motorola Xoom with Android 3.2 (rooted) and I loved it. however, it was difficult to find android apps to do sometimes even the simplest of functions I could do with a PC. what bothered me the most was the lack of a full sized USB port. All I had was the USB micro to USB 0TG cable. So I was shopping for anew Android tablet (Toshiba’s Thrive, specifically) when I ran across the Asus Slate. I’ll be honest, I thought long and hard before buying it, because I was unsure whether or not it was full Windows 7 or just a lesser tablet edition. I was really worried. but I’m glad I made the leap.
Here’s what I can tell you about it:
What I got in the box:
- ASUS Eee Slate B121-A1 12.1-Inch Tablet PC
- WACOM digitizer pen (pointing/writing device)
- ASUS bluetooth keyboard
- ASUS leather folio case
- Power cord and adapter
- Extra nibs for the pen and a nib remover
- Recovery DVD disk (YES! OMG, they actually included it in the packaging!!! AHHHHH!)
- Warranty card
Specifications (taken from Amazon’s product description):
- 1.33 GHz Intel Core i5-470UM
- 4 GB DIMM
- 64 GB solid state Drive
- 12.1-Inch Screen,
- Windows 7 Professional
- 2.25hours Battery Life
Processor, Memory, and Motherboard
- Hardware Platform: PC
- Processor: 1.33 GHz Core i5-470UM
- Number of Processors: 1
- RAM: 4 GB
- RAM Type: SDRAM
- Memory Slots: 1
- Size: 64 GB
- Manufacturer: SATA
- Type: Serial ATA
- Speed: 7200 rpm
Graphics and Display
- LCD Native Resolution: 1280 x 800
Ports and Connectivity
Cases and Expandability
- Size (LWH): 12.28 inches, 8.16 inches, 0.67 inches
- Weight: 2.56 pounds
- Battery Type: Lithium ion
- Rated Charge (normal use): 2.25 hours
Now, for those of you who aren’t Computer Technicians like myself, let’s break this down…
Now let’s break down the important aspects of the specs…
1.33 GHz Intel Core i5-470UM – the fact that I found a mobile touchscreen device with a Core i5 made me excited. This is by far one of the highest capable processors of the slates genre. It’s a quad core processor that just rocks.
4 GB DIMM – now, 4 GB of memory isn’t really all that much at all on a 64 bit OS. I used to run no less than 8 GB on all my computers. but it is certainly enough to handle all the applications you can throw at it except for very high end games or rendering software. ASUS has limited the amount of RAM that can be installed to 4GB, so those thinking you can just pop an 8 gig stick in, think again. You’re stuck with 4GB.
64 GB Solid State Drive – This is a beauty here. Unfortunately, it’s only 64 GB, meaning after Windows is installed, you only have about half of your hard drive space remaining. I WISH that they had included dual drive bays in this so that you could have the OS on one drive and documents on another. that is the only thing better about Android tablets; you get your full drive, none wasted by the OS. however, there is good news: you can upgrade your hard drive. Unfortunately, it requires mSATA drives. Here’s a list of what you can get at Newegg:
Newegg mSATA SSD
12.1-Inch Screen – ok, so this screen is incredible. It’s HUGE compared to a tablet, but small compared to a laptop/netbook. Personally, I think its the perfect size for mobility and usefulness. it is also a capacitive touchscreen, meaning only fingers or special styluses/WACOM pens can be used. it is multi-touch capable and VERY responsive. It’s native resolution is 1280×800 pixels. Plenty of screen real estate and crisp picture.
2 USB 2.0 Ports – I dont know about the rest of you, but USB ports are golden. every other Windows tablet I’ve ever seen has only had 1 USB port. I’m a little aggravated that I only got 2.
Lithium ion battery – So, it is reported that battery life is 2.25 hours. I personally think that’s very underrated. Then again, when I’m on the go and unplugged from the AC adapter, I turn off Windows Aero and the fancy looks of Windows and turn my brightness down on my screen. it can last me as much as 4 to 5 hours. and even when my battery does get critically low, I put the slate on hibernate and plug it in to the charger and 30 minutes or less it’s mostly charged all the way. So I’m not complaining a bit.
Ok, so those are all the important “Sales Pitch” things that are thrown at you that I’m sure you’ve seen on the product’s website where you’re thinking of buying it. Here’s my real take on it:
The outside. I love how the case is set up. it doesn’t overheat or get hot in your arms or on your lap. On the top of the slate on the left hand side is the power switch. to the right of it is the power light indicator. next to that is (in my opinion) an ingenious button, the virtual keyboard button. Press it and it brings up the virtual keyboard/writing pad. and the switch next to it is the screen lock that prevents the screen from autorotating when you turn your tablet. at the very right end on top is the compartment for the WACOM digitizer pen that hides it beautifully.
On the left hand side of the slate, at the top, you have your charging light and the hole for your charging cable. Below that is your volume buttons. Right underneath there is a hard reset button that you need a paperclip to push in. This button is in case you cant turn off your slate, you can force it.
Below that is a mini HDMI port Gold Plated HDMI to HDMI Mini cable, 2 M / 6.56 FT (I got the one on the link on sale for $0.34 + $2.98 shipping… should still be that price right now) or you can get Startech HDMI CableAdapter to adapt your existing HDMI cable to fit the device. DO NOT CONFUSE THESE WITH THE MICRO HDMI CABLE THAT GOES TO ANDROID DEVICES! just thought I’d let you know so you dont make the same mistake I did. at any rate, when hooking up the HDMI cable to an HD TV or monitor, it outputs in AMAZING 1080i. the graphics card on the Slate is strong enough to run a 1.8GB Blu Ray ripped movie in HD using VLC Media Player (if you dont have it, get it).
Directly below the HDMI port are the USB 2.0 ports (2 of them, in fact). I would have personally liked to have seen USB 3.0 capabilities, but eh, what are you going to do?
The keyboard is INCREDIBLE. it is curved, but not so much as to be classified as an “Ergonomic Keyboard”. the minimal curving allows for comfortable wrists while the keys have a pleasant feedback, not too light, not too stiff.
The WACOM digitizer pen is very simplistic. Has a writing nib on the front, an eraser on the back. it has no buttons, so if you’re an artist, you might want to invest in a better stylus pen. For my purpose of just taking notes and basic tasks that dont require a mouse and keyboard, it works fantastically.
Now we’ve talked about the slate itself, lets go into the internal workings…
Let’s talk about boot time. from the time I hit the power switch until the time I can rock n roll takes 27 seconds. That’s right, 27 seconds on a COLD boot. incredible.
The slate doesn’t come with a bunch of ASUS bloatware like you normally get. All it really has is the ASUS Control Deck (a prettier way to set your screen savers and resolution) and the ASUS Web Storage cloud storage drive. Unlimeted space free for a year. Very handy indeed. the only other thing different from the OS that ships and any other Windows 7 Professional is the Microsoft Touch Pack (some touch based games). it really is quite a deal.
I hope you have found this review helpful it has certainly been fun writing it!
Here is a video of me using Microsoft OneNote with the Handwriting function:Asus Eee slate B121 demonstration:
ASUS Eee Pad B121 Review
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