The much anticipated ASUS EeePad Slider emerged at IFA 2011, and we were lucky enough to grab a hands-on with this mythical portable at the Nvidia stand at the show.
You can't look at this tablet without getting down to its raison d'etre, and that's the built in keyboard which is revealed by sliding back the screen.
It's smaller than we'd have hoped, and more cramped than the Asus Transformer, which is its main competitor. If you have fat fingers then you'll need to find a different tablet to write your memoirs, but even chunky-digited folk will still be able to write an email comfortably.
The keys were basic and plasticky, but this is a pay-off for keeping the immensely thin design. We were expecting the presence of a keyboard to make this a chunky tablet, but it's no thicker than most of its 10.1-inch competitors, and remains supremely light.
Inside is an Nvidia Tegra 2 1GHz chip, with 32GB of storage. We found the system to be extremely responsive, and loved the vibrant screen.
One thing we noticed is that the mechanism which slides the screen and keyboard wasn't as smooth as we hoped, and there was a slight grating which didn't leave us with the best impression. It's likely that this was a pre-production sample - and no doubt abused by enthusiastic IFA-goers - so we'll stay optimistic that the final release will sort this issue.
A browse of the built-in apps revealed Polaris Office 3.0, which is also shared with the EeePadTransformer. This is great for anyone wanting to work on the move, and proves that the EeePadSlider can stand out from the rest of the competition, in what is becoming a market crowded with similar, unspectacular tablets.
We were pleasantly surprised by the EeePad Slider. The added keyboard doesn't make this a bulky Android tablet, but something that gives you all the benefits of Honeycomb, with the option to get down to business when you need it. Those who really want to type will still be better served by the more spacious Transformer, but this fills a niche that we're sure will be appreciated.
There's still no word on the EeePad Slider UK release date or pricing, but watch this space for more information.