The Asus CES press conference wrapped up a little while ago and there were a few big product announcements. They revolved around netbooks and, surprise, tablets.
First up is the Asus Eee Slate EP121. It’s a powerful Windows 7 tablet that features a Core i5 processor, 2-4 GB RAM, and 64 GB SSD. And it’s large – with a 12.1 inch 1280-800 screen. There’s front-facing camera for video chatting and an HDMI port so you can easily hook it up in the living room or a hotel room for instant entertainment. These features don’t come cheap – this is, as far as I know, the first tablet to hit the $1000 mark.
The Asus Eee PadSlider and Transformer are a pair of 10.1 inch Android “tablets”. I put tablets in quotes because these are tablet that have built-in keyboards. They are powered by the Tegra-2 processor.
The Slider has a 1280×800 screen, mini HDMI port, mini USB port, and Micro SD card slot. It has two cameras – a front facing one and 5 megapixel rear one. The keyboard is part of the unit.
On the Transformer the keyboard is detachable, but otherwise it has most of the same specs as the slider
Both tablets will run the Android Honeycomb (3.0 or 2.4 depending on who you believe) operating system and are expected to be out in April or May and priced in the $400-$800 range.
I’m typing to you today on my Gateway M275 Convertible Tablet. It is four years old and cost my company around $2500 brand new. I came with a screaming fast processor, plenty of hard drive, a combo CDRW/DVD drive, and a 6-way card reader. I love this machine. It has a 14.1″ monitor and weighs about 4 pounds. It’s gone everywhere with me, for more than four years. It has never failed me. It’s been dropped on the floor at least twice, and had to have the cracked bezel around the LED panel replaced once, but that’s pretty much it. It is a workhorse. Of course, now it’s old, and its screaming fast processor can’t handle Vista, and I really need a DVD burner these days, and instead of 6-way card readers, I really need 9-way card readers.
So, I’ve just ordered a new Dell. For just under $1000, I’m getting a screaming fast processor, lots of RAM, plenty of hard drive, and a combo CD/DVD burner, plus a 9-way card reader. It’s amazing to me how prices continue to drop, making even higher end machines affordable.
Which makes me wonder why I would pay $499 or more for an Asus Eee notebook? It’s tiny, yes, which makes it cute. But it’s not anything I’d want to type on every day. My Gateway is my daily machine; it is my desktop replacement as well as being my travel machine. I do everything on this wonderful tablet. I can’t imagine trading down in size and ability when the savings in cost are so minimal. A basic decently-running regular-sized laptop prices out at about $650 or so, which is the same cost as the new Asus Eee 901. Sorry. If I’m going to spend that much money on a laptop, then I want one that I can actually type comfortably on, and get some real work done on.
What is the allure of the tiny laptops, other than their “cute” factor? Can someone tell me?