The folks at SlashGear have got their hands on another high-profile Android tablet, this time Asus' multi-talented Eee Pad Slider. The tablet is a lot like its Transformer brother that's been on the market for six months already, except that the Slider model builds the keyboard right into the body. When not in use, the slider's keyboard tucks up underneath it, not unlike a 10-inch version of a QWERTY smartphone.
Unfortunately the extra time in coming to market hasn't made the Slider any better. The keyboard mechanism, while smaller than the Transformer's removable dock, makes the overall device clunky and heavy. Even worse, the keyboard itself is cramped and cheap-feeling, making the size and weight tradeoffs hard to swallow. The screen locks into a 45 degree angle once the keyboard is engaged, making for a stiff and immobile typing experience that doesn't hold a candle to a traditional netbook or full-sized laptop.
In other areas the Slider seems to perform well enough. The combination of a Tegra 2 processor and Honeycomb should be familiar to tablet enthusiasts by now, and the mostly untouched software is fast and smooth. The larger bulk allowed Asus to use a 5 megapixel camera instead of the Transformer's 3 megapixel one, and while the photos aren't exactly stellar, they're serviceable. See the HTC Jetstream for an even better shooter. The battery lasts a disappointing 6 hours, a far cry from the Transformer's 12 when docked with its keyboard.
Overall, the Slider is a unique tablets that doesn't deliver on its central promise. Perhaps if Asus had been able to get it onto store shelves quicker there's be a market, but with excellent alternatives like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 already available and the Transformer Prime expected before the end of the year, there's just not a lot to recommend. At $479 USD, there are plenty of better choices out there for a little less or a little more.