The dock offers a very comfortable chiclet keyboard, and though it’s not backlit, we prefer a good typing experience to fancy lighting. The large touchpad is likewise pleasant to use and fully supports Windows 8 multi-touch gestures. However, you never need to use it as the Ativ Smart PC Pro gives you both touch and stylus interaction.
Thankfully, unlike the Asus Taichi, Samsung has stuck with a Wacom stylus for its premium Windows 8 hybrid. In fact, the Ativ Smart PC Pro uses the very same S Pen model also found on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.
The main advantage of this dinky stylus is that it slots neatly into the Ativ tablet when not in use, an advantage Samsung offers over similar stylus-equipped convertible laptops from many competitors. Naturally, you can use any Wacom digitizer pen with the tablet, such as larger models with an eraser on top.
The Wacom tech in the Samsung S Pen means it can recognise 1,024 pressure levels. What Samsung brings to the party is its custom S Pen software and OS-wide extra features, which is a great value-add and gives you a few more options than rivals do with ‘vanilla’ Windows 8.
The Smart PC Pro gives you a rather lovely 1080p (Full HD) PLS screen with the excellent viewing angles and relatively good colour accuracy we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s panel technology. Brightness is also a nice 400nits which is great for sunny viewing. Naturally the almost Retina-like resolution ensures excellent sharpness.
Like its Samsung Series 7 Slate 700T predecessor, the Smart PC Pro 700T1C will come with a Intel Core i5 processor in the UK, though this time around it is of course a third-generation Ivy Bridge chip with integrated HD 4000 graphics.
It’s backed by 4GB of RAM with a 64GB SSD for storage, which seems a bit stingy. Rival Windows 8 Core-i tablets are offering up to 256GB after all. At least we can confirm the SSD is Samsung’s own make, where earlier products like the Samsung Series 9 900X3B used (arguably) inferior third-party drives.
Samsung will be bringing three editions of the Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T1C to the UK.
The regular Wi-Fi-only, Windows 8 consumer model will cost £999 and comes with the keyboard dock as standard. The basic Wi-Fi-only business model with Windows 8 Pro will also set you back £999, while the all-singing Win 8 Pro 3G model drops the keyboard but will cost you £1,049. The business version also come with a class-leading five year warranty as standard.
Samsung’s Ativ Smart PC Pro leaves us with mixed feelings, though the overall impression is positive. It’s a powerful convertible tablet with a gorgeous screen, generous connectivity, optional 4G, a slim keyboard cover option to match Microsoft’s Surface, and the ever-fabulous, pressure-sensitive Wacom S Pen which slots into its body. On the other hand, it’s a bit on the heavy and plasticky side, and 64GB of storage seems somewhat stingy on such a premium tablet. Still, we’ll be sure to let you know our final verdict in the full review.