Heads up, mobile pros: Samsung's excellent ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T tablet has arrived on AT&T. Samsung keeps everything we loved about the $1,199 Wi-Fi edition -- including strong Core i5 performance, a full HD screen and an integrated S-Pen -- and adds AT&T's fast LTE network. You also get a slightly faster CPU. However, you'll pay handsomely for that built-in broadband, as this version of the Smart PC Pro 700T costs $1,599. Find out if this is the best Windows 8 slate for road warriors.
Editor's note: Portions of this review were taken from our original review of the 700T.
Made from high-density plastic, the black rear panel of the Pro 700T looks attractive and provides a decent grip. Although it feels somewhat slippery, the panel does an excellent job of keeping smudges at bay. A 5-MP camera sits along the top left side of the panel, above a set of four large vents. A chrome Samsung insignia sits in the center, adding a bit of flair.
The handsome Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T has a few subtle design elements that separate it from other tablets on the market. Most notable are the slim, black speaker grilles on either side of the display. A Samsung logo sits in the glossy top bezel, below a 2-MP camera. The bottom bezel holds a chrome-lined Home button, emblazoned with the Windows 8 insignia. The rear bottom right corner of the tablet holds a dock for the S Pen.
A USB 3.0 port, microSD slot and SIM-card slot -- all of which have plastic covers -- sit along the top of the tablet, along with a headphone/microphone jack, buttons for power and rotation lock, and another heat vent. The left side of the Pro 700T holds a Micro-HDMI port and a volume rocker. The port for the power adapter sits on the bottom of the tablet, along with a pair of slots to connect the Pro 700T to its keyboard dock, and a magnetic connector. While we like all of its connectivity options, the 700T doesn't look as sleek as the Microsoft Surface Pro.
At 11.97 x 7.46 x 0.47 inches, the Pro 700T is a hair smaller than the Acer Iconia W700-6465 (11.6 x 7.5 x 0.47 inches), but larger than the Microsoft Surface Pro (10.8 x 6.8 x 0.53 inches). At 1.8 lbs., the Pro 700T is slightly lighter than the W700 and Surface Pro, each of which weighs 2 lbs. However, the 700T's weight jumps to 3.6 lbs. when snapped into its keyboard dock.
The Pro 700T's 11.6-inch screen delivers a full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), along with good color saturation. At 385 lux, the 700T tops the 366 lux tablet average, as well as saturation on the Acer W700 (369 lux). However, the Surface Pro was slightly brighter, at 394 lux.
The capacitive touch-screen display is very fluid. The panel responded quickly and accurately to our presses, and we executed Windows 8 gestures easily.
Text on Bing News and CNN.com was nice and sharp. While watching the 1080p trailer of "Thor: The Dark World," we could make out fine diamond patterns in the Norse thunder god's armor. However, colors were on the dark side. Thor's red cape still popped against the dreary gray landscape, but it looked more ruddy than vibrant.
We're glad that Samsung placed the speakers along the front of the ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T. As a result, sound is aimed directly at the listener's face. However, the speakers barely managed to fill our small test room.
We were bombarded by a tinny, synthesized din on Ciara's "Body Party." The speakers seemed overwhelmed when they had to deal with more than one piece of the track. The 700T fared slightly better on Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," delivering clear piano and crisp percussion.
The Windows 8 touch keyboard on the Pro 700T is positively huge. The keyboard nearly stretches to the ends of the display when held in landscape mode. It also monopolizes more than half of the display. Portrait mode is more forgiving, taking up only a quarter of the screen. The gray keys are large and have good spacing, but they lack the haptic feedback that we're used to on Android tablets.
We wish Samsung could have found a way to include the trace technology it usually implements on its tablets and smartphones. However, we did appreciate the different keyboard options Windows 8 provides, especially the handwriting-to-text layout.
The Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro docking keyboard comes in handy when you want to write longer emails or use this tablet as a notebook. The accessory, which costs $149 if purchased separately, is made of black, high-density plastic.
The dock features an AC-adapter port and a pair of USB 2.0 ports. This accessory weighs 1.8 lbs., so when it's connected to the Pro 700T, its overall weight jumps to 3.6 lbs. In laptop mode, the Pro 700T definitely feels top-heavy, making it somewhat awkward to use in a lap. Still, that's better than the Surface, whose kickstand design is primarily geared toward desktop use.
We like how easy it is to switch between laptop and tablet mode. Just press a button to eject the slate and pull it up. However, the Surface Pro makes this process even simpler with its magnetic design.
The island-style keyboard has generous spacing with better tactile feedback than the Surface Pro's Type Cover. We matched our regular 55 words per minute with a zero percent error rate on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test. The Right Tab key and Space Bar are slightly undersized, but we appreciated the inclusion of the direction keys.
We found the 3.9 x 2.0-inch Elan SmartPad to be somewhat inconsistent. Multitouch gestures -- such as two-finger touch and rotate, and three- and four-finger flick -- were smooth. However, two-finger rotate was more of a crapshoot. There were a few instances when we experienced jerkiness.
Similar to the Samsung Note II and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, the ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T comes with an active stylus, called the S Pen. The Pro 700T's pen is shorter and stockier than the S Pen on the Note, and has a more refined tip. However, the stylus is thinner and smaller than that offered with the Surface Pro.
The S Pen offered a comfortable grip and delivered precise, fluid movement, whether we were navigating the desktop or Modern UI. The pen really shines when used in conjunction with Samsung software such as S Note and Mini S Note. The S Pen also came in handy when we wanted to indulge our inner artist in Fresh Paint.
After watching 15 minutes of a movie on Hulu at full screen, the center of the tablet's underside measured 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The area near the rear webcam was 103 degrees Fahrenheit -- above our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Samsung bundled the Pro 700T with a number of branded apps designed to promote seamless integration with other Samsung products. For instance, customers familiar with the Galaxy Note line or the S III will feel right at home with S Note. All of the features are there, such as recording voice memos and adding images, clip-art and text boxes.
A miniaturized version of S Note, called Mini S Note, sits on the desktop. This version of S Note lacks many features of the full-blown version but comes in handy when you need to quickly jot down a note. S Player aggregates all of your multimedia content (music, video, images and slideshows) into one place for quick access. Samsung utilized the Windows 8 Live Tile interface for a clean, easy-to-navigate experience, complete with large preview images of our content.
S Gallery categorizes all your videos and images by date. In case you need to touch up any of those glamour shots, Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 lets you eliminate unwanted blemishes. Samsung's S Camera app provided an intuitive interface with deeper settings than those on the regular Windows 8 camera app. Xerox PhotoCafe is also preloaded for users to create custom scrapbooks.
Desktop apps include Quick Starter, a small bar that resides at the top of the screen. It has icons for Customer Support, Help Desk and Adobe Reader. Best of all, there's an icon for the sorely missed Start menu, with tabs for Documents, Pictures, Computer and Control Panel.
Another favorite utility is Touch Supporter, which displays a series of common shortcuts (Copy, Cut, Paste, Delete and Delete) in a bar at the top of the display. The utility also offers buttons for a number pad and direction keys.
Samsung AllShare Play lets you share content among compatible devices. The Settings utility has controls for Power Management, Display Color and Audio Settings. S Service acts as a troubleshooting service.
Third-party apps include Jamie Oliver's Recipes; Evernote; Amazon Kindle; Fresh Paint; Netflix; Merriam-Webster Dictionary; Bitcasa, a cloud storage service; and Music Maker Jam, a program that lets the musically inclined create their own tracks. There are also 60-day trial versions of Microsoft Office 2010 and Norton Internet Security.
The Samsung ATIV Smart PC 700T is surprising light on AT&T-branded apps; only AT&T AllAccess, the carrier's hotspot locator, is on board.
MORE: Top 25 Windows 8 Apps
Thanks to its 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3337U CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD, the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T can perform productivity and entertainment tasks without breaking a sweat. The tablet delivered an above-average score of 4,471 on PCMark 7, easily beating the 2,877 average. The Microsoft Surface Pro and the Acer Iconia W700-6465 (powered by 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U CPUs) notched scores of 4,721 and 4,439. The Wi-Fi version of the Pro 700T, with its slightly slower 1.7-GHz chip, scored 4,442.
The Pro 700T's 128GB SSD has some serious speed. The tablet completed our File Transfer Test (duplicating 4.97GB of multimedia files) in 34 seconds, for a transfer rate of 150 Mbps -- much faster than the 63 Mbps category average. The W700 and Surface Pro, which also have 128GB SSDs, returned slower transfer speeds of 138 Mbps and 124 Mbps, respectively.
The Pro 700T booted Windows 8 in 10 seconds, breezing past the 25-second tablet average and matching that of the W700. The Surface Pro was a hair behind, at 11 seconds.
During the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro Test, the Pro 700T paired 20,000 names with their matching addresses in 5 minutes and 46 seconds. That's faster than the average of 16 hours and 58 minutes, but not enough to beat the Surface Pro's time of 5 hours and 33 minutes. The W700 completed the task in a similar 5 hours and 49 minutes, while the slightly slower Wi-Fi model of the PC Pro 700T notched 5 hours and 50 minutes.
Like many systems equipped with Intel HD 4000 Graphics chips, the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T is good for video-watching and casual gaming, but not much more. The Pro 700T scored 567 on the 3DMark11 benchmark, which bested the Microsoft Surface Pro (424) and the Acer Iconia W700-6465 (412).
On the "World of Warcraft" test, the Pro 700T delivered an average of 25 frames per second at 1080p with the effects set to Good. That's a little below our 30-fps minimum, but enough to top the 21-fps average. At these same settings, the Surface Pro scored 17 fps, while the W700 notched 16 fps.
4G LTE and Web Browsing
The Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T taps into AT&T's 4G LTE network, which covers 182 markets now and will reach 77 more by the summer. However, Verizon is still way ahead, with more than 440 markets. When we ran Speedtest.net, the Pro 700T delivered an average download rate of 6.7 Mbps, with an upload speed of 1.46 Mbps.
Both of these numbers are lower than what we've seen from other AT&T devices in the same locations. For instance, when we tested the HTC One phone at the same New York City location at around the same time, we saw average download speeds of 13.4 Mbps and upload speeds of 2.5 Mbps.
The PC Pro 700T's 4G connection fared even worse at a nearby park, delivering download speeds of 1.3 Mbps and upload speeds of 0.35 Mbps. The HTC One averaged 1.86 Mbps and 5.72 Mbps in the same spot.
The desktop version of the NYTimes.com had an average load time of 4.1 seconds. ESPN.com delivered an average load time of 7.8 seconds, while Laptopmag.com loaded in 6.7 seconds.
Photos taken both indoors and outdoors with the Pro 700T's 5-MP rear-facing camera came out fairly well. We would have preferred a bit more contrast -- darker colors were slightly washed-out -- but images looked generally sharp. A 1080p video captured of New York City traffic looked somewhat blown out and faded, with the exception of bright-yellow taxicabs.
The front 2-MP camera also delivered sharp images, as we were able to pick out individual hairs on a coat. As with the rear camera, colors were a little washed-out.
On the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over 4G LTE), the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T lasted 5 hours and 3 minutes. Over Wi-Fi, the original 700T lasted 6 hours and 38 minutes, so you're getting about 1.5 hours less of endurance with 4G. The Acer Iconia W700-6465 lasted 6 hours and 48 minutes over Wi-Fi, while the Microsoft Surface Pro clocked in at 4 hours and 28 minutes.
AT&T offers three individual data plans on its network. The first is $14.99 per month for 250MB of data. The next, a $30/3GB monthly plan, costs $720 over the course of two years. The $50/5GB monthly plan would cost $1,200 over that same time span.
You can also subscribe to a Mobile Share plan if you have an AT&T smartphone. These plans start at $30 for 4GB, $40 for 6GB, $60 for 10GB, all the way up to $335/month for 50GB. Adding the ATIV Smart PC would cost an additional $10 per month.
Among Intel-Core-powered Windows 8 hybrids, the $1,199 Wi-Fi version of the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 700T is one of our favorites because of the versatile S Pen, handy Samsung apps (including a Start-menu replacement) and sharp 1080p display. The addition of 4G LTE and a slightly faster CPU would seem to sweeten the deal, but $1,599 is a lot to spend for these upgrades, especially when the LTE speeds aren't that fast. But for mobile professionals who need to be connected wherever they go, the $1,599 Samsung ATIV Smart PC 700T could be a worthwhile investment.