Review – iPad vs. Eee Slate

Specifications:

Apple iPad (64GB + 3G)* ASUS Eee Slate (32GB)

*Device used was the initial release of the iPad (version 1), the iPad 2 is due for release in Canada on the 25th of March.

Overview

Apple’s iPad and ASUS’ Eee Slate are rather exciting mobile tablet devices when compared to the current competition. They both have sizable screens, responsive to touch, an easily accessible home button on the front facia, 32GB and 64GB options for internal storage, Wi-Fi, audio, and Bluetooth. However, this is where the similarities cease.

iPad

With the iPad you get a screen cleaning cloth, a USB cable with wall charger, SIM card remover, and a few documents consisting of Apple’s warranty and other miscellaneous documents. Sadly, it does include a manual, case/cover, keyboard, digital pen, card reader, or any other such item almost guaranteed to be used or required by most tablet users.

iOS, the operating system for Apple mobile devices, is sleek and intuitive. Kids and adults alike will have no trouble finding their way around with a few simple taps, swipes and pinches. Some noticeable deficiencies were with printing (an Airplay compatible printer is required), limited Bluetooth functionality (inherent to all Apple mobile devices) and restricted to apps through the Apple App Store (unless the iPad is jailbroken).

Peripherals can be purchased separately, but they are somewhat scarce and there is currently no digital pen available for the iPad. Also, the Apple card reader peripheral does not read media cards without pictures or movies recorded by their respective digital devices (i.e. it will not transfer files other than pictures or movies and they must reside in the original folders created by the device).

There are only two ports on the iPad; one for a headset/microphone and one for peripherals/charging.

iPad’s overall performance is provided by Apple’s A4 processor and is decently well suited for the size of the device. On a single charge, 8-10 hours of operation is not uncommon. The convenient, built-in 3G device is a definite bonus. But if you are used to the Windows world, then you’ll find the iPad lacks fatally in capability and compatibility.

Essentially, the iPad really is an oversized iPhone without the phone, camera and microphone and that is exactly what you should expect if you plan on purchasing one (the iPad 2 will come with an internal camera and microphone).

Eee Slate

The Eee Slate is boxed with a full leather cover, Bluetooth keyboard, digital pen, power supply and cords, screen cleaning cloth, full system restoration DVDs and various documents including a manual and Asus’ warranty.

A fully functional Windows 7 Home Premium comes preloaded on the Eee Slate. Thus, compatibility, ease of use and customizability are second nature to this device.

Moderately larger and weighing more than the iPad, the Eee Slate is a powerhouse tablet. This should be expected though given the Eee Slate is practically a laptop minus an attached keyboard. This means you get two USB ports, mini-HDMI out, headset/microphone ports, and an internal card reader. Options for peripherals are virtually unlimited.

Thanks to the Eee Slate boasting an i5 Dual Core processor, browsing the web, watching movies and launching apps become trivial and are handled smoothly. However, with all that power comes great sacrifice. On a full charge, the Eee Slate will last for about 3 hours. Power management can be tinkered with to extend the operational time by an additional hour or so.

The bottom line? Asus’ Eee Slate is, for better or worse, an extremely mobile laptop that can be extended with a wealth of peripherals to satisfy almost any computing need. Admittedly, this comes at a price; power management does suffer.

Verdict

While both devices claim to target the same consumer, I feel only certain types of consumers would be satisfied by either.

The iPad will never be a replacement for a Mac, Windows, or Linux PC. The Eee Slate can provide a very effective and efficient replacement for a laptop, netbook or even a low-end PC. The iPad only runs Apple’s iOS as where the Eee Slate can be loaded with OS X, Windows, or Linux (OS X and Linux are not supported).

Both perform well, although the iPad has an edge on power consumption and the Eee Slate with computing. The Eee Slate comes packed with the all the essential accessories and the iPad simply provides a naked device leaving the consumer to be responsible for purchasing them separately.

Most Windows PC users will most likely opt for an Eee Slate and the die-hard Mac users, iPad. However, if you want extreme mobility and are in the market for a laptop/netbook or even an entire computer replacement, do not overlook Asus’ Eee Slate. Or, if you do not already have an iTouch, iPhone, or eReader and simply want a device with mobility to pass time by, then Apple’s iPad might be for you.

Personally, after purchasing and using both…I chose the Eee Slate. If I could have kept both, I would have but I needed a laptop replacement and when it comes to the Eee Slate, there is no comparison.

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