Asus's Eee Pad tablets show off Android 3.0
Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet
At the CeBIT trade show on Tuesday, ZDNet UK got the chance to put four Eee tablets announced by Asus at CES in January through their paces.
Asus Eee Pad Transformer
The Eee Pad Transformer tablet can be hooked up to a miniature, detachable keyboard.
It will be the first of Asus's CES-announced trio of Pad-branded Android devices to launch, with European availability due for April, Asus said. A spokesperson for the company would not give specific UK release dates, but noted that as the UK and Germany are its major European markets, it should launch in April in at least those two countries.
The tablet uses an Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU and runs Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). During hands-on testing, the touchpad on the detachable keyboard failed to function. This is because Asus is still having difficulties working with the Honeycomb Android OS as it is "very new", according to the company spokesman.
The locking device that links the screen to the keyboard felt sturdy enough. The tablet slides into a sculpted indentation on the top of the keyboard and is automatically locked. Unlocking requires moving a catch to the side.
Low-end variants of the device will not come with 3G as standard, or the keyboard, Asus said. Storage will range between 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.
Prices will range from €399 (£338) for a 16GB tablet without a keyboard and 3G, up to €699, Asus said.
Eee Pad Memo
Asus Eee Pad Memo
The Eee Pad Memo is a phone-cum-tablet with an optional Bluetooth-enabled microphone and control interface named MeMic. The device runs Honeycomb, has 1GB of RAM and is powered by a dual-core 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. It comes with either 16GB or 32GB of flash memory and has a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera and a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera.
The Memo can be controlled by a flexible-tip stylus or fingers. During handling it felt responsive, its 7-inch display was sharp and its 390g of weight sat easily in the hand.
The Eee Pad Memo will cost between €499 and €699 depending on the amount of storage, and will be available in Europe in June, Asus said. The low-end €499 model will not come with the MeMic.
Eee Pad Slider
Asus Eee Pad Slider
The Slider secretes a keyboard inside its slender frame. It runs Honeycomb and has a 10.1-inch, 1280 by 800-pixel screen. It comes with 1GB of RAM, an optional 3G module and a front 1.2-megapixel and a rear 5-megapixel camera.
To access the keyboard, your hand needs to cradle the base of the tablet and your index finger on your opposing hand must place forward pressure on a latch on the top edge of the tablet.
It took three attempts and instruction by a nearby Asus representative to reveal the keyboard. Typing feels comfortable, and the angle for the tablet means that — as long as you get its height right — it is comfortable to use.
The Tegra 2-powered device felt snappy and responsive. The slider will range in price between €499 and €799 and will be available in Europe in June, Asus said.
Eee Slate EP121
It has a 12.1-inch backlit screen with a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. Its size makes it unwieldy; during handling, the 1.16kg device took effort to hold firmly in a single hand.
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