Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T review: An ultrabook that pops its top

Front and rear cameras offer better resolution than the Surface Pro's 720p offerings, at 2MP for the front-facing shooter and 5MP for the rear one, but neither was especially speedy, and both exhibited a lot of noise. Your average smartphone camera would fare a lot better.

Samsung includes some pre-installed software, including a few useful apps. S-Note is a nice note-taking app and a good demo platform for the S-Pen. SW Update is a one-stop driver-updating tool. S Player handles photos, music, and videos, S Camera is a basic camera app, and there's also S Gallery (a photo-album app) and AllShare connectivity for media sharing between Samsung phones/tablets/TVs.

Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T Average for category [ultraportable]
Video Micro HDMI HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jack Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0 (in keyboard), Micro SD 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader
Networking 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ethernet (via dongle), 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive None None
Sarah Tew/CNET

Ports and features
Matched up against the Microsoft Surface Pro, the ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T has very similar features, from Bluetooth 4.0 to a single USB 3.0 port in the tablet itself to a Micro SD card slot. The keyboard base adds a few USB 2.0 ports. This tablet/laptop still lacks dedicated Ethernet or an SD card slot, even though there was clearly room for both in the keyboard base.

Performance
The internal specs of the Smart Pro PC 700T I reviewed are exactly the same as the Surface Pro: a 1.7 GHz Core i5-3317U, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD.

The specs are familiar, and match the basic components of your average ultrabook, so it isn't surprising that it performed equivalently in our benchmarking tests. Test for test, the ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T was a couple of seconds slower on average than the Microsoft Surface Pro, but not enough that anyone would notice. Boot-up time is especially fast, at less than 10 seconds. Look at the charts and you can see that the best part of the Smart PC Pro is its speed; it's about as fast as the Lenovo Yoga 13 . It's a real laptop under the hood, without a doubt.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The included Intel HD 4000 graphics are good enough to handle some general games, but I wouldn't recommend diving deep into that; the rear vents and fans kicked in even under basic Web browsing use.

Multimedia Multitasking test
(In seconds, shorter bars indicate better performance)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T
471 
Dell XPS 12
517 
HP Envy x2
2,367 
Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test
(In seconds, shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell XPS 12
199 
Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T
277 
HP Envy x2
992 
Apple iTunes encoding test
(In seconds, shorter bars indicate better performance)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T
126 
Dell XPS 12
148 
HP Envy x2
718 
Video playback battery drain test
(In minutes, longer bars indicate better performance)
HP Envy x2
452 
Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T
319 
Dell XPS 12
283 
Load test (Average watts)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Envy x2
12.58 
Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T
24.3 
Dell XPS 12
27.2 

Battery life
The Smart PC Pro 700T's battery lasted 5 hours and 19 minutes. Roughly 50 minutes more than the Surface Pro is nothing to sneeze at, especially when both aren't terribly stellar. Getting over the 5-hour hump matters to a day's work. It's also notable because both the Surface Pro and Smart PC Pro weigh about the same, and Samsung's tablet has a larger screen size. Again, that keyboard base doesn't add any extra battery oomph.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Worth the upsell?
When you do the hard math, the cost of full Core i5 ultrabook-like Windows 8 laptop-tablet hybrids don't make a whole lot of sense. The $1,100 cost of the ATIV Smart PC Pro isn't outrageous, but you can get a budget touch ultrabook now for as low as $700. Samsung makes some good ones, too. You're paying $400 more for that added detachable screen functionality. Would you be better off simply buying a small, cheap tablet plus a laptop?

The clever magic trick that the Surface Pro performs with that Type Cover is, in a sense, that it never stops being a tablet. The cover folds up and becomes part of the tablet experience, and adds to the overall portability. By comparison, the Smart PC Pro 700T feels and looks like...well, like a Chromebook. Its closest look-and-feel cousin is probably the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook I reviewed last year. It's a far different beast under the hood, of course, but this four-pound machine isn't all that thin or different in appearance -- or size -- from a 12-inch laptop. The keyboard, while comfortable, doesn't add a lot to the equation other than a couple of USB ports. Yes, the Smart PC Pro feels like a laptop, but it doesn't transcend being a laptop most of the time.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I didn't feel all that compelled to detach the Smart PC Pro all that much. Maybe that's because it works well enough in laptop mode. Maybe I simply feel like an 11.6-inch tablet is just a bit too large to be practical. That 1.98-pound tablet feels best when docked in the keyboard base...in which case, why not skip getting a tablet hybrid altogether?

If the Smart PC Pro 700T faces that level of identity crisis in my eyes, odds are you'll find even less use for it yourself. It can't bend into clever shapes like the Lenovo Yoga. It can't even bend back all that far compared to a regular laptop.

At $800, I'd have warm feelings towards the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T. At $1,199, it's a little less easy to embrace.

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations

Samsung ATIV
Windows 8 Pro (64-bit); 1.7GHz IntelCore i5 3317U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 32MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000; 128GB LITEON IT SSD

Microsoft Surface Pro
Windows 8 Pro (64-bit); 1.7GHz IntelCore i5 3317U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 32MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Micron SSD

Acer Iconia W510P-1406
Windows 8 Pro (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 747MB (Total) Intel GMA; 64GB SEM64G SSD

Dell XPS 12
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 32MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000; 256GB LITEONIT SSD

Acer Aspire S7-391-9886
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 128MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000; 256GB Intel SSD

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 3317U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Samsung SSD

HP Envy x2
Windows 8 (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM 1066MHz; 747MB (Total) Intel GMA; 64GB SSD

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Quick Specifications See All

  • Operating System Windows 8 64-bit Edition
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Color black
  • Weight 31.4 oz
  • Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • CPU Intel Core i5 (3rd Gen) 3317U / 1.7 GHz
Hot Products