Powerful performance; Compelling Samsung apps; Sharp 1080p display; Fast boot time; Keyboard included; Dock for stylus
Relatively heavy; Inconsistent touchpad; Pricier than many Ultrabooks
The inclusion of an S-Pen and keyboard dock help make the Core i5-powered Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T a formidable multitasking tablet.
If anyone should know how to make a Windows 8 tablet PC, it should be Samsung. Not only did the company see some success with its last Windows-powered device, their Series 7 Slate PC, but it also gained experience with the Android-based Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Note 10.1. The Windows 8-based Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T blends some of the top features of its previous tablets and smartphones into a 11-inch Windows 8 device. This $1,199 tablet features a fast Core i5 CPU, a built-in S Pen, and a bevy of apps to facilitate content creation. Read on to find out whether the Pro 700T is worth the expense.
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-megapixel 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.
At 11.9 x 7.46 x 0.47 inches, the Pro 700T is a hair smaller than the Acer Iconia W700-6465 (11.61 x 7.52 x 0.47 inches), but larger than the Microsoft Surface Pro (10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 inches). All of the tablets weigh 2 pounds, which while lighter than Ultrabooks, is heavy for a tablet.
Text on Bing News and CNN.com was nice and sharp. Watching a 1080p trailer of "Gangster Squad," we could see the deep wrinkle lines etched into Sean Penn's face. We could also see a splash of freckles across Emma Stone's face. The colors were darker than we would have expected, despite being able to toggle display color in the Settings menu. Viewing angles were shallow, barely able to accommodate two people.
Samsung includes a Display Color control panel in its Settings utility. Comprised of Standard, Movie, Movie (Bright), Sharp and No Effect, the panel enabled us to adjust screen color for every viewing situation. Movie delivered the richest color while Sharp gave us the best detail. However, the display was never particularly bright on any of the settings.
We wish Samsung could have found a way to include its 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 dock features an AC adapter port and a pair of USB 2.0 ports. This accessory weighs 1.6 pounds, so when connected to the Pro 700T, the overall weight jumps to 3.6 pounds. 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 towards 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 simply with its magnetic design.
The island-style keyboard has generous spacing with better tactile feedback that the Surface Pro's Type Cover. We averaged 53 words per minute with a zero percent error rate on Ten Thumbs Typing Test, a little below our normal 55 wpm/1 percent error rate. 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 fairly inconsistent. Multitouch gestures such as two-finger touch and rotate and three- and four-finger flick were smooth. However, dragging and dropping icons on the desktop was more of a crapshoot. There were a few instances where we experienced some jerkiness.
The S-Pen offered a comfortable grip and delivered precise, fluid movement whether 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 "House of Cards" on Netflix, the underside of the tablet measured 83 degrees Fahrenheit. The area near the rear webcam was the tablet's hottest spot at 93 degrees. Both of these temperatures are below 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, including recording voice memos, adding images, clip art and text boxes.
Desktop apps include Quick Starter, a small bar that resides at the top of the screen. It has icons for Customer Support, Norton Online Backup 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.
Third-party apps include StumbleUpon, Evernote, Skype, Amazon Kindle, FreshPaint, Netflix and Music Maker Jam, a program that lets the musically inclined create their own tracks.
MORE: Top 25 Windows 8 Apps
The Pro 700T's 128GB SSD has some serious speed. It completed our File Transfer Test (duplicating 4.97GB of multimedia files) in 30 seconds for a transfer rate of 170 MBps, almost three times faster than the 58.4 category average. The W700 and Surface Pro, which also have 128GB SSDs, returned slower transfer speeds of 138 and 124 MBps, respectively.
When we turned the tablet on, the Pro 700T booted Windows 8 in 13 seconds, breezing past the 0:31 tablet average. However, the W700 and Surface Pro were slightly faster at 0:10 and 0:11.
During the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro Test, the Pro 700T paired 20,000 names with their matching addresses in 5 minutes and 50 seconds. That's faster than the 13:30 average, but not enough to beat the Surface Pro (5:33) or the W700 (5:49).
On the "World of Warcraft" test the Pro 700T delivered a sorry 18 fps frame rate at 1080p on Good. When we adjusted the resolution to 1366 x 768, the rate rose to a still-unplayable 23 fps. The Surface Pro scored 17 fps at 1080p and 31 fps at 768p.
The front-facing 2-MP camera was also sharp, as we were able to pick out individual hairs on a coat. As with the rear camera, colors were a little washed-out.
Configurations and Warranty
At this time, Samsung is only offering one configuration of the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T. The $1,199 unit has a 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U CPU, 4GB of storage, a 128GB SSD and an Intel HD 4000 Graphics chip. The Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T comes with 1 year standard parts and labor. See how Samsung faired in our Best & Worst Brands Report and Tech Support Showdown.
Overall, the $1,199 Pro 700T is the best Windows 8 tablet in this price range. It's not nearly as sexy or sturdy as the Surface Pro, but it offers longer battery life and makes better use of its integrated pen. Plus, the Pro 700T's keyboard dock feels more laptoplike in your lap, making it a better choice for typing on the go.
|CPU||1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U|
|Storage Drive Size||128GB|
|Storage Drive Type||SSD|
|Display Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics Chip||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Front-Facing Camera Resolution||2.0MP|
|Card Reader Size|
|Warranty / Support||1 Year Standard Parts and Labor|
|Size||11.9 x 7.46 x 0.47 inches|
|Weight||2 pounds (tablet) 1.6 pounds (keyboard dock)|