One of the most unique tablet designs to come out of CES 2011 was the Asus Eee Pad Slider, which has a built-in slide-out keyboard, rather than a separate keyboard dock like its popular cousin the Transformer. After eight long months of waiting, the Slider will finally be making its way to our shores later this month, with the 16 GB version retailing for $475 according to Engadget.
The Slider may look like a netbook with the keyboard showing but has the guts of a tablet, with a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen (1280 X 800) with Gorilla glass, a full-size USB and mini-HDMI port and a microSD slot, front and rear cameras (5-megapixel), with all the usual sensors under the hood (GPS, E-Compass, Gyroscope, Light Sensor, G-Sensor). Though it has a slightly thicker profile at 0.68-inch (the Transformer is only 0.51-inch thin), the Slider is still quite mobile at 2.1-pounds and offers a flexible form factor (the Transformer with dock weighs almost 3-pounds). That said, the included QWERTY keyboard can be a bit small for those with larger digits, as its size is limited by the sliding mechanism of the tablet. When you don't need the keyboard, you can keep it hidden underneath the Slider and still use the tablet via the touchscreen.
The biggest difference between the upcoming Slider and the was on display at CES is the OS: the Asus tablet will now ship with Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) rather than 3.0. Judging from Engadget's hands-on with the slate, the Slider is running the stock OS but offers its own "water" wallpaper that doubles as a battery meter. So the lower the water level looks on-screen, the less power the 8-hour, 25Wh Li-Polymer battery has remaining. It's a beautiful touch that speaks to Asus' creativity and attention to detail.
At $475, the 16 GB Wi-Fi model is not particularly cheap but does save you the hassle and money to hunt for a Bluetooth keyboard and stand; the Transformer plus dock combo would set you back $550. If 16 GB isn't enough storage for you, a 32 GB variant will be available as well but Asus has yet to announce its ship date or pricing. For the color conscious, Asus will only be bringing the brown and white version to America (as shown in the first photo in this post) so if you had your heart set on the white and grey version (pictured above), you may have to get a little creative in bringing it over to the U.S.