As the Asus EP121 changed from what it was demo'd to be, what is the closest

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by coldpenguin, Jan 8, 2011.

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  1. coldpenguin

    coldpenguin Scribbler - Standard Member

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    My current laptop is becoming temperamental. Well, it started it in August. I have held off until now, as the ASUS EP121 appeared (from the pre-release demos) to be perfect for the 3 uses I put the laptop to. Now it is no longer what it was demoed to be, what is my next best solution. Waiting a couple of months for a price drop/new release is an option, as the current laptop is still working.

    1. What is your budget?
    It is a UK purchase, am ideally thinking around £600-£700 max, that would probably be ~$1100 (which is what the EP121 is). If it is more than that, then I guess it will wait for a bit longer, until I have the funds

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?
    Would prefer not a used system. I do however purchase other items as refurbished, if the price is good, and there is still a usable warranty.

    3. Do you prefer a Slate, Convertible or Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC)?
    Probably looking for slate/convertable (but not in the normal convertable meaning)

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?

    * Mainstream ~ 12.1"
    * Large ~ 13.3"
    This isn't something I am going to hide in my pocket. I don't like the 10" netbooks, so I suppose the larger the better (it will be replacing a 15" non-widescreen laptop)

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from?
    Prefer UK

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    Not really. I have issues with Dell and HP warranty on the business side of things, but supposedly they are better for consumers

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    At least 2-3, preferably 4 to be particularly useful, the higher the better.
    4hrs and an exchangeable battery would be great

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web ]Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
    Laptop replacement at home, browsing internet, word processing
    Out and about, tethered shooting with a camera, and photoshop

    9. Do you have an OS preference?
    Tethered shooting will require MS Windows OS

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)
    Photoshop is most demanding

    10. Do you intend on playing Games? If so please list.
    Might be nice, but not playing any at the moment (as current laptop can't). C&C, or Battlefield have played in the past

    Screen Specifics

    1. What resolution do you prefer?

    * SXGA - 1400x1050 ~ Small text and graphic icons which require good vision but the gain is a much larger screen. (no longer available new, must look for used or refurbished machines)
    * WXGA - 1280x768 ~ has a wider usable area than XGA, ideal for viewing Spreadsheets and other programs that require desktop space. The mainly used resolution for new tablet PCs since 2008.

    Highest possible really, minimum wxga (minimum would like to be 800px height ideally).

    2. Do you require the screen to be readable in sunlight?
    Outdoor viewing of images would be very useful.

    3. Do you prefer your display to be glossy or matte?
    No preference

    4. Do you require Touch? (without pressure sensitivity) (Which one: resistive or capacitive)
    When used in slate mode, yes

    5. Do you require a Pen? (with pressure sensitivity) (Which one: Wacom or N-Trig)
    Yes, prefer pressure sensitivity. Currently like using a pen for editing

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require?
    Hard disk size not amazingly important, but would be very useful to have ~16G free after OS and programs. Intend on using USB hard disk for permanent storage and backup
    Photoshop would ideally have 4GB+

    2. Do you require an Optical (CD/DVD) Drive to be built in?
    Not a requirement, might be nice. A writer would be more useful than a reader

    3. Do you require ability to add a second Battery or Hard Drive (Modular Bay technology)?
    External battery power, and external/USB more useful than the ability to have it internal (being able to swap a new battery in is probably just as useful)

    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above?
    I tend to use suspend and hibernate a lot, but I would hope that all current technology can support this.
    If the device can be put in a bag whilst suspended that would be a plus.
    Two+ USB ports would be useful, at least 1 a must.

    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?
    WIFI, but what doesn't have it nowadays. I have a b/g/N router

    Pluses, but not important, would be internal GPS, and 3G

    What I am looking for is basically two devices in one, currently I have 3 usage scenarios, all currently performed by my 15" laptop.

    The pre-release version of the EP121 seemed to be everything that I required. Unfortunately, it appears that they have not gone forward with the docking station on the EP121, which means that it is not likely to be comfortable to use to type on, when the device is on my lap.
    Currently I am using a laptop, 15", running resolution 1400x1050. It only just fits into my bag (stretches it slightly), at Width 11" (280mm) and Depth 1" 1/4 (35mm).
    The length of 13" (330mm) is not too long, another 4" would probably be OK here, but the circumference on the depth and width must not be larger, and would ideally be smaller slightly, as it is starting to damage the bag (circumference would be below 630mm say).
    So, usage 1, is sitting down on a sofa, using the device as a laptop, typing into a word-processor, and web-browsing. This is where the dock of the EP121 would have been good.
    Usage 2, is where the tablet capabilities of the EP121 would have been used. Tablet in a rucksack, going hiking, so dock would be left at home. Tablet would be suspended/hibernated, until getting to a photo-oportunity. Then it would be used for tethered shooting (hence USB and windows OS). External battery/swapover might be used/useful here. Also, ability to connect to my phone over USB (for 3g), or internal 3g might be useful, for connection to internet (internal GPS maybe?). Hard disk would be used for photos, possibly up to 16gb shot in a day. This is where it would be very useful to be able to see the device in the daylight (although, being the UK mainly, not so much daylight around).
    Usage 3, holiday use. External battery probably not required. Device usually left at hotel. However, used as a backup device for photos, transfering them to external USB hard disk. The device would be used for photoshop and editing photographs in this usage. This is where the better the resolution of the display, and the better the pen device, the easier it would be.

    I am not a fan of the 'convertables', which are laptops where the screen rotates 180 degrees to be tablets. It I am lugging about the weight of an extra keyboard etc. for the base, then I might as well use it as a laptop.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions

    Edit: Reasons for not being an IPAD, might help in the reasons behind why I am looking for a device
    When I first saw an ipad, I did wonder whether it would be the good replacement I have been waiting for (have been thinking about a slate for a while).
    However, not having a keyboard like a laptop, means that I couldn't sit down, with the device on my lap, whilst typing and looking at the screen.
    Also, it didn't originally appear to be powerful enough (apparently it can run photoshop alternatives)
    It doesn't have a usable USB port for shooting tethered to my camera (although there is now a Camera Connection Kit, it does not support tethered shooting it seems, only downloading of taken pictures)
    It doesn't have a usable USB port for transferring images to an external USB hard drive. Although the Camera Connection Kit can be jail-broken to allow attaching of external hard disks, I don't think that the system should be restricted in this way. I would like to have a warranty of some sort on the device, although I expect it to work without problems.
  2. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Sorry, but I really don't understand your use #2, making it hard to make a recommendation. If I understand you correctly, you want a device that functions as a laptop when you want to sit and type, but is small and light (though you didn't mention weight) enough take out on a hike. What I'm not clear on is why you need a computer type device to take photos on a hike. For all the reasons I can think of - tethering to the Net, immediately sending photos over the net, etc - would be far better, cheaper and more easily accomplished with a smartphone - likely one you already own!

    In any event, I don't have the model number handy, but Lenovo has finally released, or at least announced the intent to release, a device they first unveiled one year ago, and it is a laptop/convertible which allows you to remove the screen, which becomes an Android based standalone slate. Don't know what ports the slate portion has, but to my knowledge this the the only device that can easily function as a laptop to sit and type on and a slate to take with you when the weight and girth of the laptop is undesirable. I believe the price point is about $1,000 US and I believe the "computer" portion runs Windows 7 with an Atom cpu.

    Good luck. I must say, this is the most unusual need description I have seen.
  3. coldpenguin

    coldpenguin Scribbler - Standard Member

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    That sounds like exactly what I want, apart from android wouldn't be able to run the software I want. It sounds like what the EP121 was looking like 5 months ago.

    Basically, with my camera (and most DSLRs for the last 3 years), are capable of connecting to a computer, and instead of looking through the view-finder, or the LCD on the back, you can display a live image on the computer.
    This helps with getting shots lined up perfectly, focus checked etc. It also allows for immediate display of an image, so you can check for any problems. The device I am looking for will hopefully have a larger/higher resolution than my smartphone, which is currently VGA (640x480 that don't play with old money). Also, there is the minor problem in that the image files I produce are quite hefty for a smart-phone (and I have never seen much other point to getting the camera to produce two images at the same time).

    Weight, well, anything current isn't likely to be heavier than a 5 year old laptop :)
    My camera equipment currently runs at around 13-15KG depending on what I take with me. The lighter the better, but I am not afraid of heaving a bit around (probably not going to be doing more than 10-15 miles at any one time usually, and if I am, I might take a lens or two less if weight is an issue). The size is the issue really, in that the 15" that I currently have is starting to split the bag.

    I'll try a search around for the lenovo stuff, I wonder what the chances are of putting a lightweight windows on the android partition. (thinking aloud)

    Edit: This looks light it might have been the contender you were thinking of:
    I guess the easiest way of stating what I am probably looking for, is the ASUS transformer, but running windows! (and possibly a tad larger, like what the EP121 was meant to be)
  4. dsmwookie

    dsmwookie Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I m in the same boat as you in wanting the original Ep121 and I would've paid more for the added dock. Unfortunately they did not implement a way to add this down the line.

    It is not a superb option but it is cheaper if you considered the Dell Duo. It is pretty cheap and meets your requirements. I am currently considering it and the Samsung 9 (2.2lb laptop/ 13 inches/ I5 processor).
  5. coldpenguin

    coldpenguin Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I think I discounted the dell duo fairly early on, as being more of a flimsy gimmick than a real contender. It isn't really anything other than a convertible netbook. At 10" screen, reasonably high resolution it might be.
    I think when I looked at it, it was pretty under-powered. The RRP was £450, and if I were going for a netbook, I didn't see much benefit of it over a £200 one.
  6. storebror

    storebror Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I shoot my share of photos aswell and see a few ups and downs of using a tablet for thethered shooting with a tablet.
    A big plus for the ep121 is ofcourse the IPS panel which is superior to most TN panels.
    Something to consider about any tablet(except possibly the adam with it´s pixelQi screen and there will be someother out with a "transflective" screen that might be good outdoors) is the glare from the sun.

    When it comes to typing on the machine I have no actual experiance in the virtual keyboard on touchscreens, but if it performs well I would actually prefer to just have a tablet lying in my lap and type on the screen as opposed to a laptop that is rocking back and forth in my lap. That depends on the feel and performance of the virtual keyboard function ofcourse.

    I do think that the bundled keyboard of the ep121 looks really nice though, but I haven´t seen any pic of how they intend for the tablet to be propped up while using the keyboard. :S

    A slightly of topic issue I have with it is that they will ship it with a leather case, this makes for a moral dilemma for me as I usually don´t buy leather goods or eat meat. :/

    Not very informative reply by me this, but hopefully my thoughts are to some use. :)

    EDIT: Here is a link to engadgets lineup of forthcoming tablets presented at CES:
  7. nheel

    nheel Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Acer is coming out with a tablet like this (they showed it at CES). No word on price or availability though, or even if it will hit the market.
  8. species5618w

    species5618w Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I think the EP121 will soon have a third party dock station with bluetooth keyboard and touchpad.
  9. thierryb

    thierryb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    The main advantage for me of the dock should be the battery. Hope third parties will not forget this feature.
  10. koao

    koao tm2's great.

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    The Acer Iconia series should be the next closest thing.

    Not the big one.

    Acer Iconia Windows 7 tablet hands-on -- Engadget

    That one. $550. AMD Fusion; has keyboard dock.

    Cons: 10.1", Keyboard looks SO CRAMPED, no digitizer? (not sure, doesnt say.)

    The EP121 to me, is almost perfect, except yeah, for the keyboard dock. I wonder what made them say, "Let's remove it." I'm still happy with my tm2 though, so I'll wait a while.
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