Home' LAPTOP Magazine : February 2011 Contents tabletS
w w w.exopc.com
The ExoPC Slate is not your typical Windows 7 tablet.
It covers Microsoft’s desktop with an innovative
custom interface that includes its own app store. Add
in a high-definition 11.6 -inch screen, a front-facing
webcam, and multiple USB ports, and you have a
tablet that truly stands out from the crowd.
At 11.6 x 7.6 x 0.6 inches and 2.2 pounds, the
ExoPCSlate is the largest slate we’ve ever reviewed.
It’s significantly heavier than the iPad and more
than twice as heavy as the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
However, the ExoPC has a much larger display and
has to accommodate larger components such as
a fan to cool its Atom N450 CPU.
The all-black design is simple but classy. We
particularly like the grippable soft-touch rubberized
back. Unfortunately, the screen smudges quickly.
The 1.3 -megapixel webcam provided images
of acceptable quality. When speaking on Skype,
we saw slightly blurry images.
At 1366 x 768 pixels the large display offers
more screen real estate and resolution than other
tablets. However, even at maximum brightness,
colors seemed dim, particularly in a room with
lighting that bounces off the glossy screen.
Rotating the tablet activates the accelerometer,
which switches from portrait to landscape mode.
Unfortunately, the accelerometer alternated be-
tween being too sensitive and failing to change
even when we shook the tablet. When the display
does change orientations, the screen goes black
and takes as much as 5 seconds to finish, com-
pletely interrupting your workflow. The capacitive
touchscreen supports two-fingered gestures, but
there was a noticable lag.
Sound quality was surprisingly good, both when
watching videos and listening to music.
ExoPC has developed its own immersive UI
layer, based on a slick circular grid design. (On
our test system, the software was still in a beta
form.) The screen is divided into three sections.
A bar on the left or top contains a button that
switches to the Windows desktop, an Off button
that closes the UIentirely, a battery meter, a clock,
and a Plus button that launches the app store. The
home screen is filled with large circles (shortcuts)
in a grid pattern. To switch between apps, you
simply tap the little disc you want. Icons that lead
to sub-pages are distinguished from shortcuts by
a tiny orange circle.
The custom ExoPC virtual keyboard wasn’t present
on our test build, so we used the stock Windows
7 virtual keyboard. While it works fine, the narrow
keys make it a less-than-ideal input option.
Rather than a toolbar, the ExoPC browser has
a simple home screen with only two text fields,
an address bar, and a search box. There are no
bookmarks or tabs. Otherwise, the browser ren-
ders pages just like Internet Explorer and allows
ExoFiles allows you to browse the storage drive’s
folders like you would in Windows Explorer. We ap-
preciated the large, touch-friendly icons. Among
sub-pages, the Games page contains 21 casual,
touch-friendly titles such as Air H ockey.
The Headphone page has a few cute
music apps, and the Demo page has
a few sample apps including one that
lets you sort photos. To add additional
apps, hit the plus button in the left/top
control zone to open the app store.
The tablet alternated between being responsive
and sluggish. On PCMark Vantage, the Slate scored
a bit better than the average netbook (1,338).
The 32GB SSD booted into Windows 7 Home
Premium 23 seconds faster than we’d expect.
However, this drive’s write speeds were some of
the slowest we’ve ever seen. HD video playback
was choppy. The ExoPC Slate’s mediocre score
on 3DMark06 was similar to those provided by
10-inch netbooks with integrated graphics.
If you compare the ExoPC Slate’s 3 hours and
44 minute runtime to the Samsung Galaxy Tab,
which endured nearly 6 hours in 3G mode, its
battery life is not impressive.
To be sure, the $599 ExoPC Slate is a beta
product. Its software is quirky and the tablet
hardware had some performance issues. That
said, we generally like the touch-friendly interface
and can’t wait to see where it goes next. If you’re
an early adopter who likes the idea of a Windows
tablet with a gorgeous and compelling UI, the
ExoPC Slate is worth a look.
Compelling and unique user interface
Large, hi-res capacitive touchscreen
Fast boot time
Jerky HD video playback
Difficult to wake from sleep
Lackluster battery life
Laptop | February 2011
a variety of
Links Archive January 2011 March 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page