Many people who own an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer consider it to be one of the best 10.1-inch Android tablets on the market, and probably also worth recommending considering its amazing price-to-features ratio. The Eee Pad Transformer has already been selling for months, and ASUS is about to bring out a new toy: the ASUS Eee Pad Slider, which ASUS recently announced officially and which we can expect to see hitting the shops in the next month or so.
The two tablets are closely related. In fact, they are like the two faces of a coin. Each one bears strong similarities to the other, but each one also comes with a set of peculiarities that make it more or less attractive in the eyes of potential buyers.
I own an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, and just last week I had the wonderful chance to play with an early Eee Pad Slider unit. Thus, in this post, I’ll be sharing to you my hands-on experience of the two.
The Same Coin
The two ASUS tablets carry the same powerful NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. Both have 1 GB of RAM and 16/32 GB of storage. These hardware components practically place both Eee Pads on par with all the other popular Android tablets available these days.
Then, there’s the 10.1-inch display with an IPS panel on both, which is the technology to blame for the great colors and viewing angles on both–just as long as you don’t plan to use the tablets outside or under strong light.
The cameras on the two are identical as well, and so are most of the ports and connectivity options: both come with Wireless N and Bluetooth. Neither offers 3G yet.
Also, you get a microSD card slot and a mini HDMI (Type C) port on them, but the Eee Pad Slider also offers a USB 2.0 slot that you can use to connect various peripherals.
Last, but not the least, both tablets run Android 3.x HoneyComb. Version 3.2 is already available for my Eee Pad Transformer. The Eee Pad Slider unit that I was able to play with only had version 3.1, but it will reach the market with version 3.2 onboard.
Despite this difference in Honeycomb versions, both tablets performed at comparable levels with daily use. Both tablets come bundled with apps and tweaks that I find very handy, including such apps as Polaris Office, MyCloud, and MyLibrary. The exclusively ASUS-customized home screen widgets (e.g., for weather, location, email, and the like) are exceptionally nifty, too.
But, these are where their similarities end. Where do their distinguishing features begin?
One Coin, Two Faces
Of the two, the Eee Pad Slider packs more bulk, with a depth/thickness nearing 18 millimeters. The Eee Pad Slider is only about 13 millimeters thick.
Just as it is thicker, the Eee Pad Slider also weighs heavier–at 1.95 pounds–compared to its elder sibling, which weighs only 1.49 pounds. Based on weight alone, I find my ASUS Eee Pad Transformer more portable and more comfortable for daily use.
Yet, before you throw a hasty stone at the Eee Pad Slider’s more massive build, let me tell you something that can explain its weight and thickness–and can potentially make you pause before you hand down a hasty verdict: the Eee Pad Slider hides a sliding keyboard.
The Bulky Reason
The keyboard’s sliding mechanism, similar to what we saw on some Nokia phones in recent years, is rather solid and stiff, so it should cope well with time. As for the keyboard itself, it is as wide as the ones you usually get on netbooks but is more cramped, as the keys are shorter. It will take a bit of time to get used to this aspect and the flex, but in time you should be fine.
However, if you are one of those who really need a physical keyboard on your Android tablet, the Eee Pad Transformer and its docking station are your best bets. The Eee Pad Transformer’s docking station features a bigger keyboard and a trackpad.
Plus, when connecting the docking unit to the slate, you also get increased battery life, an SD card reader, and two USB 2.0 slots–not just one like you have on the Eee Pad Slider. The downside to this handy accessory, though, is that of trading off some of the Eee Pad Transformer’s portability, since the tablet plus its docking unit combined can easily add up to about an inch in thickness and a weight of about 3 pounds.
Admitting that aesthetic appreciation remains relative and subjective, I find the Eee Pad Slider’s look and feel very stylish and excellent despite its all-plastic casing. The Eee Pad Transformer, on the other hand, is protected by a metallic frame and textured plastic back, which makes it sturdier. In my eyes, though–and this one’s truly subjective–the Eee Pad Slider looks better.
Differences in Experience and Longevity
So far, we’ve examined the two tablets’ differences in exteriors and concepts. Let me tell you about two other important differences.
The speakers on both units are pretty much identical in terms of quality–not shabby, but not impressive either. However, the sound volume is poorer on the Eee Pad Slider, mainly because the speakers are placed behind the screen, near the sliding mechanism, thus a bit far from your ears. Thus, when using the tablet in a noisy place, you’ll have to muster a helping pair of headphones.
The battery life is that other thing you should be aware of. You’ll get like 7 to 8 hours of life during everyday use on the Eee Pad Slider, which is only 30 to 60 minutes less than the Eee Pad Transformer offers. So, in terms of battery life, the two tablets arguably have comparable power. However, when connecting the docking unit to the Eee Pad Transformer, battery life will easily jump to 12+ hours on every charge. Thus, in terms of battery life, the Eee Pad Transformer outlasts its younger sibling–but only with the help of the docking unit.
A Closer Look at the Coin’s Two Faces
You have reached this far into my review, yet I have only pointed out the major differences between the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the ASUS Eee Pad Slider. There are several other points of divergence between the two, although they are minor compared to the ones I’ve mentioned in this review.
You can find a more detailed comparison of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the ASUS Eee Pad Slider on TabletBite.com, or if you prefer video comparisons, you can check out my two-part detailed comparison of these ASUS tablets.
Here’s my video review discussing the tablets’ exteriors and keyboards:
And, here’s the second part focusing more on software, battery life, and pricing:
The ASUS Eee Pad Slider is not yet officially on the market, but latest rumors claim a US$550 price tag for a 32 GB Wi-Fi only version of the tablet, with about 70 bucks less for a 16 GB model.
These rumored prices place the ASUS Eee Pad Slider somewhere between the standard Eee Pad Transformer slate and the Transformer+dock combo. And, apparently, its price strongly represents its perfect place where it stands out–as a middle ground between a regular slate tablet and a notebook-like Android device (e.g., Transformer+dock combo).
As such, the Eee Pad Slider offers the best (or the worst, based on how you see things) of two worlds: extra productivity (thanks to those ports and sliding keyboard) while keeping a portable and sleek-looking body.
The Better of the Two Sides
After weighing the two tablets, I find it difficult to say which is the better pick. Folks like me will appreciate the modular concept behind the Eee Pad Transformer and the fact that one can get a better keyboard and extra battery life with its docking station. Others will fancy the sleeker Eee Pad Slider more, as they probably won’t need a keyboard as much as I do, for all the daily blogging activities.
If you need a tablet that offers a keyboard, ASUS offers you two sides of the same coin in the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the ASUS Eee Pad Slider. Which side of the coin looks shinier to you? Or, do you have your eyes on another Android tablet?