My first week with Windows 8 convertible: Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T

I have been a heavy user of “tablet” PC’s for a while now with my first being a Fujitsu T4020, then to a Samsung Series 7 slate, Lenovo X220t, then to a Surface RT then to this new ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T…yes what a crap name is the first thing that came to my mind. So I guess what I’m saying is I’ve been round the block for the l last 7 years.

The 700T is based on an Intel Core i5-3317U processor. Priced at USD$1,199.99, the Pro comes with a 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM which is about the same price as the Surface Pro once you buy the Type keyboard.

Build

There is a 500T which runs RT, the pro is slightly heavier at 1.89 lbs. but lighter than the Surface Pro. I went to look at the Pro the day it was on sale and found it felt too heavy for me even though it’s only like 0.2lbs different. The Surface Pro does look sexier than this a little and more identifiable, the 700T could be mistaken for an Android device for sure.

The build quality is 1000 times better than the Samsung Series 7 Slate that felt like it flexed too much in your hands. The former device used to get damn hot sometimes too, which they seemed to have fixed in this one. I’m still not that happy with the USB port covers, I’m tempted to just cut those off.

Stylus

I am a huge user of stylus…I spend a lot of time discussing software architecture design approaches over Lync and OneNote. I LOVE the fact that the S-Pen slides into the slate itself…rather than the stylus on the Surface Pro. Some may find the stylus too small, and it is missing the standard top tip that acts as an eraser…but you can use another larger stylus for that.

Battery

I have been testing this all week whilst I was at the MVP Summit, I was getting around 6.5 hours of full time use on Wi-Fi which I’m thoroughly impressed by. I did find that the power pin that plugs in is extremely thin and looks like it’ll bend easy. It’s the same one that was in the Samsung Series 7 slate which did in fact have the same socket. Definitely not as innovative as the Surface port.

Screen

The 700T has 10 finger touch unlike the 500T that has 5, so you can have more grubby fingers on your screen at once. I found the touch extremely responsive and have found the shiny gorilla glass much better than the matt finish of my old Lenovo X220T. It’s a nice bright screen also and very clear, I haven’t really tested it too much in sunlight just yet to give feedback on that. The resolution is 1920×1080 by default and I did find it a little small at first, but I’ve grown to love the resolution on this screen.

Monitor output

Obviously a VGA port isn’t on this device as its too thin, instead there is a mini-HDMI port, you can purchase a cable to convert to VGA and it outputs well on all the projectors I’ve tried.

Keyboard

There are some complaints from a few reviews that the keyboard feels too flimsy. It is extremely light and plastic, but the hinge that the slate hardware drops into balances well even though the slate part is heavier. The keys are great compared to the Type cover and as I am right now, can have the keyboard on my lap wobbling and all the key presses turn up. I found the Type cover needed to be on a flat solid surface. The key layout is great with a full set of function keys, it took me a little bit to get used to the Fn key being between CTRL and ALT as I’ve been using a Lenovo where it’s the other way around.

The keyboard does not light up, to be honest I’ve never had one that does, but I know that’ll be a drawback here over other Ultrabooks.

Touchpad

I have found that the touch pad is well positioned and doesn’t get in my way when I’m typing. There is no hard left and right buttons, so you have to push in the touchpad, but it works well. I have found the clicking noise you hear when you push it down is really loud.

Dock

The benefit of this form factor over the Surface Pro is that I can treat this like an ultra book and have the screen at more angles, as the Surface Pro is fixed. There have been some gripes about the docking. You do need to push it in hard to make sure it is all the way in, but after a few times you get used to it. I mean it doesn’t “click” snap when you put it together…which means Samsung won’t be doing a advert with a bunch of school girls doing backflips swapping keyboards…because that’s such a real world scenario!!!

It would be great if they built a dock for the office you could drop this onto and give you a full blown experience on 2 full size monitors.

[UPDATE 26 Feb] I finally set up the Lenovo USB 3.0 Dock, it’s pretty impressive, I can have my laptop screen plus two other displays at 1600×900. It has a network cable port for wired connection, 5 USB3 ports, 2 DVI outputs and all I do is plug it into the 700T via a USB Cable.

Ports

The keyboard has 2x USB3.0 ports and there is one on the slate itself. It also has a MicroSD card slot, head phone socket, mini-HDMI, and built in microphone.

Speakers

I do carry around with me a Jambox device, but to be honest, the speakers on this are loud enough to watch a movie whilst in a hotel room on the end of the bed, which I heard the Surface Pro isn’t.

Webcam

It has built in webcams front and back, I do a lot of Skype Video calls back home and have found in florescent light its worked well.

Noise

Although it has very thick grill near the top edge, I’ve yet to hear the fan really going crazy which is good.

SIM

I didn’t get the model with SIM card support, but apparently it supports 3G/4G but not sure what this costs extra.

Wrap up

All in all, I’m extremely happy with the device and would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a Windows 8 Pro convertible device. I know a lot are waiting for the Lenovo Helix device to surface too (excuse the pun).

5 thoughts on “My first week with Windows 8 convertible: Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T”

  1. I’ve had an ATIV Pro since January and have been using it more and more. I agree 100% with what Jeremy said here. I like it a lot!!!

  2. Hey Jeremy,

    Glad you’ve got one that works! I went through two faulty docks and gave up. That was my only gripe though. I loved it except for that one major flaw (which I’m guessing must be fixed now). Samsung were dumbfounded when I took my second one in. :/

    Tristan

  3. So do you recommend this over the x220t? what about note taking in portrait mode which is better? I read/watched video that the x220t has an angle and therefore writing in portrait mode with it is awkward. Or you have to carry the whole device ~3lbs .. which is why I htought something that you can separate from the rest of the pc would be cool.. that is something like the samsung. What is your verdict? Which did you end up using more often and why?

    1. I loved the X220t, but I’ve moved on now. I have a Lenovo W530 for workstation stuff. I have a Surface Pro for office meetings and travelling.

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