- Review Price: £999.00
Read the full Windows 8 review here
In case this is the first time you’ve come across the ATIV Smart PC range, it’s Samsung’s full Windows 8 version of the Asus Transformer form factor which combines a tablet with a keyboard base to make a laptop. All the ATIV Smart PCs support touch and Wacom stylus goodness.
Wondering which Windows 8 device to get? Have a read of our
Best Windows 8 Laptops, Tablets, Convertibles and PCs roundup
Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro Design and Build
Though the Smart PC Pro is definitely at the premium end of the market, the tablet itself is constructed using plastic, albeit with a nice brushed metal-effect finish. This is to keep its weight down, as because of the power it packs in the tab alone weighs 884g, considerably heavier than inevitable comparisons to the iPad.
Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro Keyboard Base and Cover
However, the keyboard base is made of metal. This lends it a very premium feel at odds with the tablet part, yet again there’s logic behind the difference: this was done to increase the keyboard base’s weight (bringing the entire package to 1.6kg), so that it balances the tablet part and avoids the falling-over-backwards flaw that plagued the Asus Transformer.
Mind you, the dock does not contain an extra battery as does the more budget-oriented Samsung Smart PC’s one, though it does give you extra connectivity. This is a real shame, as the powerful Pro tablet inevitably already offers shorter battery life than its Atom sibling.
The tablet itself is a very svelte 12mm thick, and with keyboard attached matches many Ultrabooks at 22mm. However, if you’d rather have a thinner tablet without losing the physical keyboard, there will be a Microsoft Surface-like keyboard cover that’s a mere 4mm thin.
Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro Connectivity
The Smart PC Pro tablet is well-endowed in the connectivity department. The tablet itself sports a headphone jack, full-size USB 3.0 port and microSD card slot for expanding its storage along its top, plus a microHDMI for video output along with the volume rocker on its left.
A physical rotation lock is a welcome touch too. Wireless is particularly comprehensive thanks to Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 4.0 and 3G/4G wireless broadband with accompanying SIM slot.
The keyboard dock adds a further two USB 2.0 ports (the data interconnect between tablet and keyboard can’t cope with USB 3.0) to the equation, though alas no full-size SD card reader. This is annoying for photographers, and we can only hope Samsung will bring out another dock down the line with a battery and full SD card slot built in.
Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro Usability
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.
Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro S-Pen Stylus
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.
Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro Screen
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.
Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro Specs
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 Ativ Smart PC Pro Price and Configurations
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.
How we test tablets
We test every tablet we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the tablet as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.