Replacement for EP121?

Discussion in 'EP121 Slate' started by johnh, May 25, 2014.

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  1. GiGo

    GiGo Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Has anyone thought anymore about a 'replacement' to the EP121?

    My battery is now on it's last legs last 2 hours at the most, some times 45 mins before it shuts down, I can't trust it :( the fans are also buzzing like mad and it's getting irritating :(

    The EP121 is a fantastic machine, it's been running perfectly for 2 years, it's hardly ever turned off, just put on standby, but the battery life is severely limiting what I can do with it.

    I need a touchscreen, a USB port or two, bluetooth and a good size display.
     
  2. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Hey GiGo, the buzzing fan problem is due to an axis misalignment/wobble which may have been caused by chassis shock. You can probably get ASUS to replace the fan to correct that.

    As for replacements, hah, I'm sure pretty much every EP121 user is pining for an upgrade, I listed the possible slate candidates, but currently it looks like there is no perfect solution out there :(.

    But you know what? After trying out all these new slates, I honestly have to say I still love the EP121. The digitizer's the most accurate Wacom I've ever used, it runs silent, and has bright, clear screen. Sure it last only ~100 minutes, but I realized you can actually get good a chunk of work done in that time ;). I am now content to wait for another 1-2 years for one manufacturer to get it right.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  3. GiGo

    GiGo Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I agree with you, there is no decent replacement out there! I still love my EP121, so much in fact I bought one for my step son that I found on ebay brand new fir just under £400 (the price I paid back in 2012 for mine!)

    My EP121 has been a god send, it really did change the way I worked with 4 hour battery etc... portable light(ish) it was to me the best thing since the internet! I have used my EP121 everyday since I bought it, it gets used for roughly 6 to 10+ hours a day!

    I will look into getting the fans replaced and see what ASUS say about cost etc... I'm sure I can do it myself, just need to find them, then there is the battery issue, when I checked on ebay, £90 for a new one! A little expensive when I could put that towards the cost of a new machine :(

    I'll solider on with my EP121 until someone brings out a suitable replacement at a decent price!

    Thanks for your reply :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  4. webkrawler

    webkrawler Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I see people selling fans and other parts for the EP121/B121 on Ebay all the time. At least in the states.

    I almost traded my B121 in for a Surface Pro 2 last week. Even though I bought my B121 off Ebay for $190.00 a few
    months back, Amazon quoted me a trade-in price of $368.00. Nearly enough to get a refurbished Surface Pro 2.

    I had 7 days once I submitted the trade-in request to Amazon to back out (by simply not sending it to them). Over the next week
    I really put the B121 through its paces and I decided to keep it. The battery lasts between 3 to 3.5 hours and it runs very smoothly
    with Windows 8.1 Pro (64-bit).

    I have purchased a new Wacom stylus from Amazon ($29.00) and I now have it. It works extremely well!

    I am very happy with my B121. I still do not get how I was able to buy it for $190.00. It happened kinda fast at that.
    I was surfing the web with my Asus Vivotab RT and I was on Ebay looking at Surface Pro 2 prices. I then just
    did a generic search for "Asus tablet" because I know Asus has many different tablets out there. This one popped up
    with 1 bid of $180 with an hour left. I spent the next 20 minutes researching the B121 and it looked like exactly what
    I wanted. The Vivotab RT was nice but it was S-L-O-W and I was wanting some basic Windows functionality above
    the Modern UI interface. So, I placed 1 bid with a max price of $220 (the most I had on hand to spend) and just
    left the computer and went and had lunch and enjoyed the rest of my day. I assumed I would not win the
    auction. I checked back about 6 hours later and the $190.00 it had bid it up to had stood, no one else
    bid, and I got it for $190.00.

    Honestly, when it came in the mail I was expecting it not work very well. The seller said "Does not have power
    cord. But, seems to work okay". On the auction. And that was pretty much the ONLY thing that was stated
    on the auction besides the Asus B121 name. That might be why no one else bidded on it.

    It came in the Asus leather case (which had not been disclosed in the auction) and I had already
    purchased an AC adapter from Amazon for $10.00 waiting on the unit to arrive. It charged right up,
    worked flawlessly, and I have been very happy ever since.

    I did sell my Vivotab RT for $150.00 which nearly covered the original auction for the B121. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  5. johnh

    johnh Pen Pal - Newbie

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    l'm going to try out a Surface Pro 3 i5 (according to UPS it should be delivered today) Since I replaced the EP121 's battery in January, it has not performed consistently (switching off spontaneously without warning). l think it's a heat regulation problem. If I had to take the decision on replacing the battery again l think l would return it to Asus. Apart from this shutdown problem the Asus has performed very well. I've learned to live with the lack of calibration down the right hand (landscape) margin (and, yes, I have tried the multi-point calibration discussed elsewhere on this from). The Surface seems to offer a couple of advantages: a better (for me) aspect ratio; quite a lot lighter; probably better performance (if throttling doesn't kick in too hard). I'll report back after l've had a go on the Surface for a week or so.
     
  6. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    I'm pretty sure the performance on the Surface Pro 3 will be leaps better than the ep121 even when throttling on occasion. Ep121 was also quite thermally limited, and I remember mine lagging heavily when trying to animate in Flash...
    Looking forward to your thoughts on the SP3 coming from the much-loved ep121
     
  7. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    There are 3 key performance optimizations for the EP121 to get stable, snappy performance:

    1) Most important: flash the mooded to disable over-aggressive throttling. Read step one of my Win8 upgrade guide for more details.

    2) Use an upgraded mSATA SSD and keep about 10-20GB of the drive free to be used as virtual memory. In my experience, virtual memory space has a surprisingly large impact on general performance on this machine.

    3) Use the modded Win7 video drivers for graphics intensive apps (also in guide). In addition, to providing greater openGL support, you get significantly faster 3D performance.


    With the unlocked bios, I have pushed the temps to sustained ~80C with no problems. With such a wide thermal envelope, this machine performs better than what the "paper specs" might suggest relative to newer, but more thermally-constrained ultrabooks. It's not an Ivy Bridge, but 1st gen Core i5s can actually hold there own quite respectably.

    I run a fairly heavy workload of Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition and Premiere (sometimes simultaneously), which I can run quite smoothly on this machine. I have even done "on the fly" video editing with clients, where even I was surprised at how well it handled the HD video footage.

    So don't count this guy out in the performance category (relative to other slates). With good setup and clean system (and a plug for longer sessions :p), it's quite capable for good chunk of graphics/production work.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  8. johnh

    johnh Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Five days in, my experience is on balance positive. The screen is great, and it's (obviously) much lighter and thinner than the EP 121. Some notes on particular issues follow:

    Calibration
    On my machine pen calibration out of the box was not particularly good. And it's taken me quite a lot of trial and error to set up accurate calibration (and it does now seem to be pretty good across the whole screen). I achieved this by deleting calibration data, after which the calibration screen gives 16 crosshair points. I clicked accurately on these crosshairs with a pen in a natural position and then saved the calibration data. I then checked for misalignment in different parts of the screen. There was a slight offset in the top left corner, where the drawing point was about a millimetre to the right of the pen tip. I then calibrated a second time, correcting for this offset by tapping a millimetre to the right of the top left crosshair (second and subsequent calibrations use only four points). The result (so far) is good calibration across the screen. This is an improvement on what I was able to achieve on the EP 121.

    Pen and Touch
    I had some difficulties with confusion of pen and touch input. With the EP 121 I usually worked with stylus only (with touch switched off). A lot of the work I do involves being fairly precise with input positioning which implies using the stylus, however to be accurate it's often quite useful to rest part of your hand on the screen. The stylus priority works quite well, but only if you ensure that the stylus tip is close to the screen before you make contact with the hand or palm. It will take some practice to do this consistently.

    Performance
    Dictation using Dragon 12.5 works much better than on the EP 121. I think I didn't know what I was missing!

    Statistical calculations (in R) run nearly 2 1/2 times as fast as on the EP 121

    On-screen keyboard(s)
    I don't like the fact that you can't resize the default on-screen keyboards. Also, the OSK under Windows 7 could be activated by an icon that generally popped up whenever the cursor was in a text field. This doesn't seem to happen under Windows 8. There is a resizeable keyboard which can be accessed through the accessibility functions, but this has to be activated explicitly, and when it is opened while focus is in a text entry field, this focus is lost and you have to click into that field again to start writing. The EP 121 wins out in this area for me.

    Niggles
    I find it very easy to accidentally activate the capacitive Windows button on the right hand (landscape) margin.

    Windows 8
    This is my first Windows 8 machine, and I've had what seems to be the usual share of WTF moments! However, I'm beginning to get into its way of thinking. I think of the RT screen as being the place for consuming stuff: news, music, weather reports etc and the desktop layer as the arena for production. I find this helps organise where different pieces of software should appear. The Windows App Store is disappointingly thin.

    Bottom line…
    I think I shall be making the change. I might look into "downgrading" the OS to Windows 7: any thoughts on that?
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
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