We get up close and personal with the 12” Eee Pad

COMPUTEX — No doubt about it, one of the most interesting product announcements at this year’s Computex was that of the Asus Eee Pad EP121, a 12" slate with a Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage Core 2 Duo processor and Windows 7 Home Premium. This morning, we got a closer peek at the device, and we got Asus to fill us in on a few more details.

Asus has shown the 12" Eee Pad with a docking station that effectively turns it into an inconspicuous-looking notebook. This docking station will include an extra battery, which will bump total rated longevity to over 10 hours, as well as a 2.5" mechanical hard drive, USB 2.0, Ethernet, and HDMI connectivity. On its own, the slate is about 12-mm thick; we’re told the docking station adds an extra 14 mm or so. Total: about an inch.

The company is still having an "internal discussion" about whether to ship the 12" Eee Pad with that docking station or to offer it as a separate accessory. There’s a desktop docking station, too, but that will definitely be sold separately.

Despite its announcement yesterday, the 12" Eee Pad won’t be out until around the next CES—that’s January 2011 or thereabouts. That gives Asus an interesting choice: it could stick with the Core 2 Duo in the current spec sheet, or it could try to throw in one of those Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage Core i3 and i5 CPUs Intel announced recently. No decision has been made yet on that front.

We tried to get a price tag out of Asus, but there, too, nothing is yet set in stone. However, the 12" slate will cost more than the 10" Eee Pad, and Asus quoted a price tag of $399-449 for that product.

Check out our image gallery below for more shots of the 12" Eee Pad.

Comments closed
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 13 years ago

    there is no reason such a device can’t also support a stylus for such tasks. I think a combo would best erve the productivity oriented user.

    • Veerappan
    • 13 years ago

    I’d take PBR over the beast any day… only because I know what Milwaukee’s Best tastes like, and it can’t get any worse. Maybe I’m lucky I made it out of college without PBR as well.

    On Topic: Cool tablet, but I agree that Asus should either step up to Arrandale, or swap in an AMD/Nvidia IGP. Radeon 3200 is about the minimum level of performance I will accept in a laptop of any sorts at this point.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    I bet that hinge lasts less than a year in real-world use. This would definitely be a “wait for a while and let everyone else test it” caseg{<.<}g

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    PBR for the hipster factor aloneg{

    • mczak
    • 13 years ago

    HD4200 or HD 3200 doesn’t really matter while the former offers DX 10.1 its performance is pretty much 100% identical.
    Which is why intel catched up: back when the first 780g chipset came out, the newest intel igp was X3500 (g35 chipset). Then followed X4500 (g45), and now Ironlake (arrendale cpus). Both of them offered significant performance improvements, whereas AMD’s IGP performance didn’t improve at all in the same timeframe. They still have some other advantages (dx 10.1, or support of multisampling, potentially still better compability).

    • FuturePastNow
    • 13 years ago

    How far back can you bend the hinge before it tips over?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    IGPs are pretty bad for recent 3D gaming anyway so *meh* Arguing over IGP performance is like arguing whether Milwaulkee’s Best or PBR is better…in the end they aren’t very good no matter what.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Yeah using a CULV Core 2 makes little sense to me in a year from now, not that it would be terrible at running Win 7 but it would two generations old and better performance and battery life could be had with CULV Arrandale or even Sandy Bridge which should be out by then. Maybe this is just the design concept, if not and they actually release it with CULV Core 2 it would have to be because of price.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Here’s a question: what’s so bad about a stylus? The disadvantages might be based on personal preference (please give some specifics why you don’t like it) but the advantages can be specific, such as handwriting input, precise drawing input. I could never see taking notes in a science class with finger input but with a stylus drawing diagrams would be easy.

    • Freon
    • 13 years ago

    Very cool idea. I’m definitely not understanding the iPad niche, but I could see the utility to actually buying one if I can slide one into a dock to convert it into a sort of netbook. Adding extra USB and hard drive is a nice bonus as well on top of an actual keyboard.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    I’m completely against Windows 7 on pure slate devices. Windows 7 isn’t great with fingers and the vast majority of available software, and the programs everyone wants compatibility for, are just abysmal with a finger. I could care less about pen input, I’m not going to write notes (keyboards are *[

    • A_Pickle
    • 13 years ago

    I dunno, man. From what I’ve read, Arrandale’s GPU isn’t all that great — suffering from the typical Intel problems of low performance and lack of support in a lot of games. I might add, it’s probably wiser to compare it /[

    • provoko
    • 13 years ago

    That looks really cool.

    • crazybus
    • 13 years ago

    I agree. I want something more like an ipad but with better connectivity options and a more open software platform.

    • wira020
    • 13 years ago

    If it is light enough, i would totally get 1 with the dock… when i’m at home, i usually use my laptop on the bed while laying on my stomach.. or on my back… these position isnt really comfortable with a laptop because i wont put it on my chest or something.. it’ll burn faster… with a tablet i can imagine being more comfy at that… and i can use it for more serious stuff on the table with dock…

    But their launch plan seems so far… many things could change by then.. we might have even ditched tablets for something else.. look at netbook for example…

    • Arag0n
    • 13 years ago

    I know, but it’s the same that was happening the time that Android launched, it’s the same that its going to happen when Windows Phone 7 launchs, and it’s the same that will happen when more Tablet and Touch Desktops with multitouch displays start to appear with windows 7.

    Think about iPad selling 50 million each year, that would mean that a lot of people would like to buy also Android and Windows 7 tablets. They doesn’t need to be 50 millions also, but 5-10 millions each year would be enought to keep the market for tablets develop.

    really, the only thing that I guess (and i don’t really know) that Windows 7 miss today it’s an internal service for screen rotation and location, and a directx api to use with accelerometers. The OS it’s very finger friendly itself in almost all the other aspects. Sure that needs a stylis in some cases but hey, We are talking about tablets that you may like to carry to your school or work to take notes on instead of paper. They can’t be 100% finger input.

    • trackerben
    • 13 years ago

    Refreshing yes, innovative yes. Yet I find it hard seeing myself in a coffeeshop or library dis/assembling my screen for some reason. Do I pack the keyboard-dock in the bag after unhinging it, go to the car or locker to retrieve it for the reverse, or just lug the thing around always?

    Will I play a geek transformer in front of the girls and their sleek, conformal ipads, or a toy story handyman with the guys and their brute, no-compromise ultraportables? In day-to-day use, I suspect users of Asus’ contraption will discover such decisions are best worked out before leaving office or home. But then it begs the question: why not just get a real notebook or tablet and be done with guessing and on with the impressing?

    • Corrado
    • 13 years ago

    Since the external battery only boosts it to approximately the same as the iPad, I’d imagine its probably something like 4-5 hours without it.

    • Corrado
    • 13 years ago

    What does that have to do with actually bringing a device to market? These companies show off devices for a year+ and a lot of the time it just disappears. Apple at least goes ‘heres our hardware. it will be available within 90 days’ and it always is.

    • Corrado
    • 13 years ago

    Thats a big if. You’re stuck in the same Chicken and Egg scenario that has Physics acceleration stuck in a loop. People won’t buy hardware till theres software, but devs won’t make software until theres hardware to run it on.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 13 years ago

    What honestly great tablet software exists in Windows that uses so much horsepower.

    You can’t play crysis on a tablet or do extensive amounts of work on it due to the fact that typing on a tablet without this case isn’t reasonable. actually without this case the build sounds useless.

    I want a OS parred with HW that will take advantage of the Tablet interface.

    • mczak
    • 13 years ago

    Well, all the more reasons why asus should throw a arrendale-based cpu in it – the IGP is quite close in performance to HD3200 (or ION). Honestly, I don’t know why they are even considering sticking with Core 2 Duo for that timeframe, that will be seriously old tech by then.

    • Arag0n
    • 13 years ago

    It’s fun to hear you people argue that Windows 7 doesn’t fit on a tablet because the software isn’t designed for touch input….

    Do you really belive that if Windows 7 tablets gets to sell at least 10-20 million on a year there isn’t going to be programs developed for tablets?

    • A_Pickle
    • 13 years ago

    Dude, I totally agree. I would /[

    • puppetworx
    • 13 years ago

    I’d totally buy this if it’s light enough.

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    People already complain about the 1.5lbs the iPad is, this 12″ device is even heavier.

    Also Windows 7 isn’t optimised for touch, so you’ll be wanting a stylus. Fun.

    What software would you want to use on a tablet?

    The best thing would be accessing your PC’s data via networked file sharing. The iPad sucks at data loading (according to the reviews I’ve read).

    • Jambe
    • 13 years ago

    Yar, speak for yourself, chameleon.

    • Jambe
    • 13 years ago

    Interesting… but what’s the battery life of the tablet sans-dock? It’d have to be rather pitiful compared to the iPad, eh?

    • ColdMist
    • 13 years ago

    Speak for yourself. I want Windows 7 for software compatibility with the software I use and would want to use on a tablet!

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 13 years ago

    Asus needs to see what their consumers want and this is not a IPAD competitor. Sure it sounds cool and it will probably do fine but WE want something for 300-400 dollars with tegra 2 chipset and Android.

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    The key question is how usable it is.

    The iPad has set expectations here quite high from the start. Windows 7, even the tablet edition, will have a steep road ahead. Hence the laptop style dock, to make less of the “tablet” and more of the “laptop” aspect – hey, the tablet mode is just a convenience y’know, not a way of life.

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    And, as much as I hate Apple, at least their hardware exudes quality, while everyone else’s is just plastic trash. This has nothing to do with the original post, but I just try to make that point at every opportunity.

    • no51
    • 13 years ago

    Most other manufacturers don’t have a cult ready to buy their wares.

    • etilena
    • 13 years ago

    Is it me or is Apple the only one that sells a product within 3 months of announcing it? All the other manufacturers leak products, have demos at trade shows, but all the time things either get cancelled or don’t get sold until 6 months later, when it’s already superseded by new tech.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    This is a pretty cool twist on the convertible tablet/notebook idea, me likey. Asus throws a lot of crap out there to see what sticks, I think this might just be one of the things that does that. It’s kind of silly that they demo or announce things that are so far off in the future though.

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