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Asus Eee Pad Slider: family review

When the Asus eee slider arrived at the Travelmag offices there was great excitement. We don’t often do product reviews, are light on gadgets and don’t in any meaningful sense have an office. Twelve-year-old Lucy, with a Samsung touch-screen phone, ipod, laptop and mp3, is our most sophisticated digital native so her review comes first.

Lucy’s Verdict

The Eee Pad is a smart piece of technology and the touch screen is fantastic. However, I had trouble turning it on! Yes I knew where the on and off button was, but I didn’t know that you also have to *hold* the button for about 3 seconds for it to turn on! Also you need to put it on charge straight away for 8 hours!

Where I was for the first week I was a little disappointed by the speed of the Eee pad, but that was just our location – laptops worked no better. Also, as soon as you open the Eee Pad, you’ll need to connect it first! Otherwise it doesn’t really do anything! On the bottom right of the screen (like most laptops ) there is the connection symbol.. Tap on it and.. you’ll know what to do next!

However this is really easy to download like Angry Birds.. Or.. Spotify. I find that Spotify is really good on the Eee Pad – though I need my headphones to get good sound. Also Angry Birds is just amazing on how good the quality is. The Youtube app is already on there as you’ll find out, it has such a good selection! I see my brother and my dad laughing away at the screen as they’ve just randomly found some hilarious video!

The Eee pad needs charging quite a lot though, if it isn’t plugged in for about an hour it turns off. It has quite good webcam, so you can talk to people on it and take pictures like usual.. Just a tad slow! Although it is super with music and saving pictures! You can still save pictures and sync things and items to the laptop. It works exactly like a computer just touch! Also makes it more fun and easier to carry around!

You can do just what you do with a computer (Except you have to download the apps) It’s amazing how it’s exactly the same.. But better! I would definitely buy this item instead of a normal laptop! Much more fun, and easier to carry around! Also the keyboard is really easy to use. Such as if you need a laptop for good transport and work.. or something like that!

The Eee pad is the right way to go! Also so good on apps to keep your kids occupied.

Dad’s Verdict

I think Lucy’s being a bit unfair on battery life. One hour? Did she ever charge it fully? I’ve certainly got six hours out of it, and am sure that fiddling with the settings will get close to the claimed eight hours of use.

It was a while before I got to try the Eee Pad Slider, coming after 12 y/o Lucy and 7 y/o Wilf in the pecking order, but was blown away. The screen was at least as good as the Ipad but the keyboard, apart from being useful in its own right, propped the screen up at a good viewing angle so you don’t have to hold on to the thing all the time: it was great for watching Youtube clips and the USB socket adds a flexibility, making it easy to plug in all sorts of media for entertainment on the move.

The more I played with the Eee Pad Slider the more it seemed to make my other gadgets obsolete. Google maps might be in Beta but – once I’d downloaded a free app to turn text to speech – it made my Tom Tom Satnav look shrunken and irrelevant. Kindle reader is already installed, so no dithering about which ebook to buy for Christmas: this was already it. Though I never used the chat camera on the front the 8mp camera on the back took perfectly good pictures that made all but my DSLR Nikon pretty obsolete. Any files too large for the built-in memory – which is either 16 or 32 Gb though more can be added with a microSD card – could be stored in a cloud, with 12 months storage included, or handled through Google. Android 3 I found perfectly intuitive and is improving all the time: it felt liberating to be out of Apple’s commercial embrace.

One thing that bothered me was the keyboard. Sure, it worked perfectly adequately – certainly well enough to persuade me to leave my laptop at home for all but the most demanding typing applications – but it just felt slightly cramped. Years writing guidebooks has made me very aware of RSI. Type uncomfortably and it’s easy to cause lasting damage to the nerves in your wrist and that meant I didn’t feel I could chuck away my desktop PC just yet.

Then I realised the flexibility that the Slider’s USB socket, so notably absent on Apple’s fondleslab, would give. I tapped open Polaris Office, the built-in equivalent to Microsoft’s overpriced offering, and plugged in a full-size keyboard. Suddenly I could type just as on a desktop, and while the screen was clearly smaller than most office PC’s the text was perfectly crisp and readable. The built-in keyboard still kept the screen propped at a decent angle, so wasn’t completely wasted, but suddenly I had a desktop replacement machine. I have no problem chucking an old keyboard into the back of the car or into my bag which means this machine would easily allow me to cope with light tasks on the move but also take on big writing projects when required – problem solved.

My only problem was getting access to the Slider. I had to rise early in the morning to get to the machine before seven-year-old Wilf, who would dive at the Slider as soon as he woke to watch Minecraft creations, play Angry Birds and flip through cartoons on youtube. This review is being written before dawn: even Cbeebies isn’t yet on air.

But Christmas is coming and I’ve an answer to this problem. At less than £400 this slick bit of kit is something of a bargain. I won’t be buying one Eee Slider this year: I need three. All my other bits of electronic baggage can go.

Wilf’s Verdict

“Morning Dad.” (A moment of silence follows as he opens today’s Advent Calendar chocolate). “Where’s the Slidepad?”

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