asus eee slate ep121

Performance

In use, the Slate EP121 is something of a mixed bag. The raw performance offered by the powerful core pulls no punches. Normal tasks finish quickly, and for the vast majority of the time the machine is responsive and multitasks with ease.

Even so, there are times when painting in the bundled ArtRage III, or when watching HD movies, that the performance stutters, or proceedings grind to a halt. This could be due to the operating system performing house-keeping tasks, and it's never for long, but it does still frustrate.

asus eee slate ep121

The biggest problem with sluggishness, though, is when changing the orientation of the Slate EP121. Switching from portrait to landscape results in at least a five second delay where the screen blanks, and then slowly redraws. It's frustrating to wait for, and the orientation lock will probably mean this machine is used one way round only.

We've commented on this before in the Acer W500 review, where the lowly specification of that system may have been to blame, but there's no such excuse here. This is clearly a problem with Windows.

The main problem with Windows on a tablet, though, is that it hasn't been designed to make the most of a touch interface. Window resizing is frustrating, closing windows surprisingly tricky and common tasks that are straightforward with a mouse and keyboard can suddenly take on Herculean proportions.

asus eee slate ep121

The larger 12.1-inch screen does make this an easier machine to use than the aforementioned W500, but only just. Compare the experience with a more consumer-focused tablet, and it really does feel like Microsoft has its work cut out to get Windows 8 up to speed.

On the positive side of things, the screen is a delight to use; and using the stylus to draw with is particularly rewarding, and designers for one will be eager to explore the potential offered by the Wacom digitizer.

Unfortunately, the high-powered components conspire to stop this being a designer's dream machine though, as the hefty 1.2kg machine boasts a mere two-and-a-half hours of battery life under normal use.

asus eee slate ep121

There's no question of whether this machine handles Flash, or a certain kind of plugin. To all intents and purposes, this is a Windows laptop, and as such everything can be made to run on it. Asus has bundled advertisement-heavy versions of Word and Excel with the machine, as if to prove this.

We did find gaming a little on the sluggish side, with the Unity-powered Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online pretty much unplayable. There are plenty of Flash-based games available that work without problem, though.