Asus launches the Eee Pad Slider tablet in the US and Canada

Asus Eee Pad Slider

The Asus Eee Pad Slider is a 10 inch Android tablet with a slide-out keyboard which hides behind the screen when you’re not using it. Asus has been showing off the Slider since January, but it finally goes on sale in the US and Canada this week.

The Slider is up for order from Amazon, B&H, and Newegg. A model with 16GB of storage will run you $479, while a 32GB version is also available for $579.

I got a chance to check out the Slider recently, and the sliding mechanism is pretty solid… and inexplicably fun to use. I’m a little less enamored with the keyboard. While I’d certainly rather type out long email messages or documents using the physical QWERTY keyboard than the on-screen keyboard you get with most Android tablets the keys are small and cramped and will probably take a little getting used to.

There’s also no trackpad, which means that you can’t quite treat the Slider like a normal laptop computer. You’ll need to reach your hand up to the screen any time you want to tap or scroll. This might not sound like a big deal, but reaching up to the screen instead of moving your hand laterally to a touchpad or mouse is slower, less efficient, and a little more frustrating. The good news is that you can use some keyboard shortcuts to minimize the number of times you’ll need to tap the screen at all.

While the keyboard is the tablet’s stand-out feature, it’s no slouch in the specs department. The Eee Pad Slider has a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS capacitive multitouch display made from scratch-and-damage-resistant Gorilla Glass.

You also get 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 25Whr battery (good for up to 8 hours of run time with the screen on), a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor, and Android 3.2 operating system. There’s a front-facing 1.2MP camera and a rear 5MP camera.

The tablet measures 10.8″ x 7.1″ x 0.7″ and weighs about 2.1 pounds. It’s available in brown or white.

Asus loads up the tablet with some custom apps including software for streaming digital media over a home network and the POlaris Office suite for viewing and editing documents.