ASUS EP-121 Review

I recently picked up an ASUS EP 121 at the Microsoft Store.  This is a Windows 7 slate PC.  After using it for about a week, I wanted to bring you a review.  Read on for more details!

ep121

Specifications

The EP-121 is a laptop packed into a tablet form factor.  Sporting a Core i5 470 low voltage CPU, 4GB DDR3 RAM and a 64GB SSD, it is a powerful package and is capable of running pretty much anything that you want to throw at it.

From ASUS’ website:

Operating System
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium

Display
12.1″ LED Backlight WXGA Screen
Capacitive and Electromagnetic Panel (1280*800) with AFFS

CPU
Intel Dual-Core i5 470um

Memory
DDR3, 1 x SO-DIMM, 2GB/4GB

Storage
32GB/64GB SSD

Wireless Data Network
WLAN 802.11 b/g/n@2.4GHz
Bluetooth V3.0

Camera
2.0 M Pixel Camera

Audio
Hi-Definition Audio CODEC
Stereo Speakers
Digital Array Mic

Interface
1 x Digitizer pen
2 x USB 2.0 port
1 x 2-in-1 Audio Jack (Head Phone /Mic-in)
1 x mini HDMI port
1 x Card Reader: MMC/ SD(SDHC/SDXC)
1 x DC-IN

Battery
Battery Life: 4.5hrs
Play 1080p video: 2.4hrs
34W/hr Polymer Battery

Power Adaptor
Output: 19.5V 60W with USB charging port
Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal

Dimensions
312 x 207.2 x 16.95 mm (WxDxH)

Weight
1.16 kg

Accessories
1 x User Manual
1 x Warranty Card
1 x Support DVD
1 x Foil Case (with support function)
1 x Power Adaptor
1 x Bluetooth Keyboard
1 x Cleaning Cloth
5 x Refill Nips
1 x Nip Remover
2 x AAA Battery for KB

Size and Weight

The EP 121 is about double the weight of the iPad2.  And with a 12.1” screen, it is a bit larger than the XOOM and the iPad.  I think any smaller and the Windows 7 touch would not work well enough to be useful.  That being said, the size is easy to travel with and is acceptable.  I generally use this unit on my lap at home and propped up at the office.  The size is fine for this application.

Fan Noise and Heat

With a Core i5 and a fan onboard, I expected a loud sound and lots of heat on my lap.  I was happily surprised to find that the fan is pretty quiet and the heat is exhausted out the top.  I barely notice the heat, and it is very comfortable to use on my lap.

Software Included

Windows 7 Home Premium and starter editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note are included.  I had Microsoft add full Student/Home versions of that software, as well as installing the Live suite for programs such as Live Writer, Live Mail 2011, Live Mesh and Live Photo Gallery.  The stock browser was Internet Explorer 8, which I upgraded to IE9 when it released last week.  This unit is capable of running full Office and runs it well.  I also added Skype and of course the version 1 Windows Home Server Connector.

  • http://Shufflegames.net Chris

    Have you installed SP1 for windows 7 when you did this review? I was interested in the battery life with SP1 installed I have heard reports of it boasting the battery like to 6 hrs of use, I am skeptical at that but if true that would be amazing.

    Thanks for the review, very informative.

  • Jim

    Chris–

    I did indeed test it with Windows 7PP1 as the Microsoft Store loaded it when I purchased it as part of the Singature service. Battery life is right at 3 hours.

    Glad you liked the review!

    Jim

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  • Tristan

    Hi Jim,

    The 4GB RAM/64GB SSD is nowhere to be found. I intend to use this with Photoshop – it has a wacom stylus, you know.

    Should I settle for the low end 2GB/32GB which is available in stores?

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      hi Tristan

      What sorts of things are you planning with Photoshop? I’m not convinced 2GB would be sufficient if you really want to do lots with it.

  • Jim

    Tristan–

    Ii would not suggest the 32gb /2 gb model at all unless you are only playing back movies and surfing the internet. From my use over the last few months, I’d stick to the more capable unit.

    Here are a few links to finding the EP 121 online:

    US Microsoft store http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/en_US/pd/productID.228299800/parentCategoryID.44066900/categoryID.54536100/list.true

    Tiger Direct US Store
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7134861&CatId=6958

    On the off chance that you are a UK’er, Amazon.co.uk’s site:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-EP121-1A019M-Bluetooth-Exclusive-Amazon-co-uk/dp/B004S9ZK6S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303575100&sr=8-1

    As this is a special edition item, I expect that it will be hard to find outside a Microsoft store. Ordering online may be a better way for you to get one.

    Let me know how you get on.

    Jim

  • juan leal

    So where you able to get 1080p via HDMI or not? Spec says it should work. Please advise.

  • Rod

    I have been looking/buying mini-HDMI cables and NOT getting the right one. Can you post or email the URL to the one that works :)

    Thanks a ton, I love my Slate! LOVE IT!!!

    • Jim

      Rod–

      I used a Monster HDMI to Mini-HDMI converter. I plugged the mini-HDMI side into the ASUS and plugged my normal HDMI cable into the other end. Here is what I used:

      http://www.monstercable.com/productdisplay.asp?pin=4632

      I bought this at a Best Buy in Chicago. Sometimes, stores list this as a camcorder accessory. I think it set me back $30, expensive, but at least I did not have to re-run an HDMI cable to my home entertainment center.

      Hope this helps!

      Jim

  • Bg Clark

    Am considering buying Asus slate EP121 to use as PC. I want to be able to enter data into MS doc for letters and journalling and possibly excell database. I hope to use it with my windows based family tree maker genealogy program 2011 version which is a resource gobbler I think…min req 1GHZ pent 3, 500MB HD space and 1GB Ram so not sure if this tablet can handle that along with the Win 7 req usage.
    I hope the digitizer pen will enable me to enter data into the genealogy program rather than typing (due to health issues) and also plan to use Dragon naturally speaking to enter data. Is this all possible on this tablet.
    I also expect to need a wireless mouse and see they have one for gaming(not my interest) …is this suitable mouse?
    I also need to beable to back up my work to something i can take back to my desktop PC or share with others eg a CD disk readable by any computer…looks like there is no drive for that and i would need the DVD and CD drive to install programs too. So can I then buy a plug in(assumably USB) add on to use to back up work and make disks.
    It looks like it is difficult to obtain this product online much less instore(Canada) so that may be the first problem.
    My second choice maybe Fujitsu T901 but not much for reviews and I wonder about it being overkill(also more costly I assume). Any reviews and advice on that and Lenovo X220 comparisons for my needs would be appreciated..Will they be hot and heavy to hold on lap as I am required to be a recliner chair computer person soon now due to health, and tethered table top mouse and chipmunk style typing is not desireable due to health issues.
    Thanx for any advice.. Barb

    • Jim

      Barb–

      This should run the geneology program…go with the 64GB SSD/4GB RAM version.

      Pen input should work with the geneology program…you bring up an input panel and write and then insert that writing as text into the program. It works OK, and works better if you perform the handwriting recognition exercises.

      You can use a USB DVD/CD player no problem as this tablet has two USB ports on the left side.

      Dragon should work fine as this is Windows 7, and don’t forget that Windows 7 has voice recognition features built right in that might work as well as Dragon.

      Holding on the lap, it does not get hot. There is a fan and it does run, but using it in your lap should be comfortable.

      As for mouse, I used a Bluetooth mouse as I did not want to tie up a USB port with a wireless receiver. I’d recommend a Bluetooth mouse; it works well.

      The Fujitsu is a Core i7 convertible. It will be more powerful, but will be bigger and heavier. Ditto for the Lenovo that you mentioned.

      This unit is hard to find in stores. If you have a Microsoft store close by, they will have it. Also, the Microsoft store website has it here:

      http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/en_US/pd/productID.224522600/parentCategoryID.44066900/categoryID.54536100/list.true

      Not sure if they can sell you in Canada but may be worth calling their customer support line on 1-877-696-7786. Amazon.com also has sold this unit too.

      Barb hope this helps and please let me know what you do!

      Jim