Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T user review

CompuME as well as others in Egypt now have the Samsung Ativ 700T in stock. This devices is one of the first Windows 8 devices that will show you the full potential of Windows 8. The device can be used as a tablet and can be docked to the keyboard to tun into a lightweight ultra book. The model they had was a higher spec model than you usually find in Europe which was surprising. For nearly 12,000LE you get a Core i5( dual core, 1.7 Gigahertz ), a super-fast 256GB SSD, and built in 3G modem with a mini sim slot, the rest of the usual specs for this device is a full HD 11.6 inch touch screen.

I am no fan of Windows 8 really but on such a device using Windows 8 is much more natural feeling than on a normal notebook. Still Windows 8 is very far from being good and the expected updated within a few months from Microsoft might make it better. Even though I hate Windows in general and Windows 8 in particular, this review is not really about windows 8 it is about the Samsung device.

 

Ativ PC Pro 700T next to the First Gen Ipad and the keyboard of the Ativ

Ativ PC Pro 700T next to the First Gen Ipad and the keyboard of the Ativ

Tablet.

As a tablet the Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T is nice. It is heavier about 200 grams heavier than the ipad, but then again it is bigger and has a 11.6 inch screen as opposed to 9.7 inches on the ipad this you can see in the photo above where the original ipad is right next to the Samsung Ativ 700T and its keyboard. The tablet is easy to carry and hold for short periods of time, but this is not the kind of device that you will want to hold in your hand for a half hour session of reading or browsing. Still unlike the Ipad you get a full sized USB port on the tablet itself. Unlike the ipad its main orientation is horizontal not vertical and that can be seen by the positioning of the home button. Although you can hold it in any orientation and the screen will revolve when windows 8 is in tablet mode, Microsoft is clearly telling you to hold windows 8 tablets horizontally.

Ativ PC Pro 700T in its keyboard dock next to Ipad.

 

Screen.

The Full HD screen is gorgeous. The resolution is amazing in such a small screen, and the colors are second to none really. In bright sunlight as with most tablets the ipad included you will find it hard to read the screen, but in the shade things are much better. The touch sensitivity is great, but when you need to work in windows mode you will find yourself reaching for the stylus. The s-pen stylus uses the same technology as that in the samsung note series of tablets and phones, as a matter of fact my Samsung Galaxy note 2 stylus works on the Ativ 700t and visa versa. The size of the styli is different, so you will not be able to put the phone stylus in the storage slot of the Ativ, but still this makes life easier if you are vested in the Samsung eco system like me.

Sound

The Ativ Pro 700 has amazingly good sound for a computer of its size,  I would say it sounds better than most computers and tablets. The sound is loud enough for a couple of people watching youtube or for listening to music at close range.

Keyboard.

First of all the best thing about this device is the keyboard and the worst thing about it is the keyboard. The keyboard is amazing for such a small device I can easily touch type and the keys have plenty of feedback that touch typists love. The bad thing about the keyboard dock has nothing to do with the keyboard itself but with the weight of the dock. The Tablet alone weighs about 880 grams but with the keyboard dock it goes up to 1.6kg! The Keyboard dock is a whopping 725 grams. This weight total takes it out of the high end Ultrabook weight range which should be up to 1.3kg. The reason for this is that the weight is needed to stabilize the tablet when it is put in the keyboard dock. See the whole computer is in the tablet, which is not the case with all notebooks and ultrabooks where the screen is the lightest part so when it is extended at an angle greater than 90 degrees the weight of the main notebook still maintains the balance and does not allow the notebook to fall back. This is common with these types of tablets that dock to become notebooks. But still it makes me crazy since really the computer is very light and I could get a bluetooth keyboard that is under 200grams easily and then I would need to move with only 1kg not 1.6kg.

 

3G

I tested the Ativ with etisalat and it worked quite well. The only problem is that you need to cut the sim to be a mini sim. I did that at a mobile shop that had the cutter and kept the cut part, this allows me to put the cut part back and turn it back into a full sim if I need to use the same sim with another device or usb modem.

Speed

Now for the wow. This little device boots in 7.5 seconds straight. The SSD and windows 8 work magic, and 7 seconds is nothing short of amazing. When it wakes up from sleep it only takes one to two seconds to become fully functional. In day to day usage I felt that it was responsive enough for my usage, in browsing it is fast. The graphical controller can allow you to play many games on low settings but this is not a professional gaming machine. I would not dream of putting World of Warcraft on it, but it is possible and I believe it will play at lowest settings well. To me the 7 second booting is the real deal with this device. And I am sure for anyone who’s main usage is email and office this machine will fit the bill.

Battery life

In my normal day to day usage and usage at the beach as a light browsing device, I could get between 3 to 4 hours of real world usage maybe a tad bit more. In stand by a full charge will last for a few days, I measured it as 1.5 hours of stand by for every 1% battery lost which would make 6.5 days of standby to loose a full 100% charge. Of note is the fact that the charger for this device is amazingly small for a computer but so are the chargers of most ultrabooks.

Problems

Honeymoon aside, as with any computer, device or human the Ativ 700 is not perfect. First of all the keyboard dock connection to the tablet is not 100% secure, ever so often even when the tablet is in place it disconnects and reconnects alone, you know this since it gives a beeping sound on connect and disconnect. This is not a major issue for me and happens very infrequently but others have reported more frequent disconnects. The touchpad also seems to hand frequently in a strange way, all I need to do to make it work again is remove my fingers totally from it and put them back again, to me this seems like a software issue and will most probably be corrected by an update.

My biggest issue with the device is the weight of the keyboard. A lighter weight but larger keyboard that has support behind the docking mechanism would have given better stability at a lower weight or alternatively a lightweight keyboard and a stand at the back of the tablet itself would have also solved the overturning issue and given us a stand to use in tablet only mode when you want to watch videos and place the tablet on a table by itself like the Microsoft Surface tablet does.

 

Who is this for?

Well if all you need is a tablet then a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 would fit your needs better and cost much less, if simplicity at the expense of features then ipad would also work better as a tablet. Both such devices have a longer battery life and are much lighter, and both have many keyboard accessories if that is what is holding you back. But if what you really need is a full computer on the go, that can also be a tablet, then this is the device to buy. I see this as a device for people that either need the full Microsoft office on the go or any other PC only software and are willing to sacrifice one of the core values of a tablet which is weight to get it. Let us not forget also that there is no comparison between even the highest end ipad’s 64Gig storage and the 256 Gig storage of this Samsung Ativ model. The Ativ is much more than a tablet, it is heavier but it is also faster, more flexible, has more storage and runs the real deal windows ( or Linux if you choose to install it ).