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Review of the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T

Bottom Line

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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Samsung ATIV 700T

Samsung ATIV 700T

Samsung
The Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T is a Windows 8 tablet with keyboard dock. It offers many of the features found in the Microsoft Surface Pro: a stylus, full HD touchscreen, Intel Core i5 processor, and 128GB SSD--while overcoming the Surface Pro's limited battery life and offering a bit more screen real estate on the 11.6-inch display. If you can get past the issues with the keyboard dock, it might be the perfect Windows 8 tablet-laptop hybrid for mobile professionals and home users.

Pros

  • Fully capable as a laptop, with an Intel Core i5 Processor; excellent performance
  • Bright, sharp full HD touchscreen
  • Accurate stylus for digital inking and drawing
  • Solid typing experience on the included keyboard dock
  • Long battery life of 5-6 hours

Cons

  • Terrible, inaccurate trackpad
  • Tablet does not connect solidly into the keyboard dock
  • No full-size SD card reader
  • Awkward to use on your lap

Specs

  • OS: Windows 8 (64-bit)
  • Processor: 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U
  • Display: 11.6", 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, 400 nits brightness, LED
  • Storage: 128GB Solid State Drive
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Dimensions: 11.6" (W) x 7.2" (D) x 0.5" (H)
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Cameras: 2 MP front, 5 MP rear
  • Ports/Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, micro HDMI, micro SD, USB 3.0 (two additional USB ports on keyboard dock)
  • Weight: 1.89 pounds (tablet only); keyboard dock adds 1.6 pounds
  • Note: Samsung's specs indicate WiDi and Ethernet, but my model does not have these.
  • MSRP: $1,199.99 with keyboard dock

Understated Design, Troublesome Dock

The Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T is an unassuming laptop/tablet with a black plastic cover and a subtle brushed finish on the back, which keeps the Pro 700T from accumulating smudges. The back features a silver Samsung logo and a 5MP camera above four vents.

On the front of the tablet, two very thin speakers grace the left and right edges of the tablet. This is a good speaker placement, since it directs sound towards (rather than away from) you, resulting in clear audio. A handy Windows Home button sits at the bottom of the tablet.

On the top edge, you'll find the majority of the Pro 700T's ports and buttons: a headphone jack, power button, autorotate button, USB port, and micro SD card slot (behind a cover). The volume rocker switch and mini HDMI port are on the tablet's left edge, while the Samsung S-pen is held on the lower right edge of the tablet. Having a silo for the pen is pretty helpful; the Surface Pro doesn't have a holder for its pen, which makes the chances of losing the stylus that much greater. However, when the Pro 700T is docked into its keyboard, it's difficult to get the pen out of the silo.

Overall, although the Pro 700T won't turn any heads the way shiny metallic Ultrabooks might, this is a very solid tablet that also functions as a laptop, thanks to the keyboard dock.

Unfortunately, my main issues with this tablet--which I really, really wanted to love and keep forever (or at least for several years)--is the keyboard dock. It may be simply the unit I received, but connecting the tablet to the keyboard is often hit-or-miss. It seems to snap on well enough, but sometimes requires re-jiggling to get the connection to work, and if you tilt the screen back, it can break the connection. Also, one of the advantages of the Pro 700T's hardware dock over the Surface Pro's keyboard cover is you can use the docked tablet in your lap. This doesn't really work that well, however, because of the limited range of screen angle when the tablet is docked and the keyboard dock is much lighter than the screen, causing an awkward imbalance. Finally, while the keyboard is great for typing, the trackpad on the keyboard dock is terribly jerky.

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