Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro

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/ Updated: 31 August 2012 3:54 pm BST

Tablets with keyboards attached are evidently the in thing at the moment, as Samsung has just unveiled two of them -- the Ativ Smart PC and the model I'm discussing here, the Smart PC Pro.

The Pro version adds a little bit of girth to its sibling, but in doing so allows it to cram in a Full HD screen and some potentially powerful components under the hood.

There's no word on pricing or availability yet, but stay tuned for more information.

Design

Like its less powerful sibling, the Smart PC Pro is an 11.6-inch tablet, so it's a whole heap bigger than slates such as the iPad or indeed Samsung's own Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. It measures 304mm wide and 189mm deep so it's more likely to fit into your existing laptop case than your tablet sleeve and with a beefy weight of 884g, you might want to build up those biceps now.

Of course, a tablet of those proportions isn't going to be the most portable slate around, so if superlight touchscreens are your thing then you'd be better off looking at slates such as the 7-inch Tab 2 or the Google Nexus 7 . But that size means it houses a much bigger screen which will come in very handy for office tasks.

Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro back
With a screen measuring 11.6 inches and a heft of 884g, this isn't the most portable machine on the market.

It also comes with a keyboard dock that folds up into a cover, making the whole thing look like a regular laptop. I've used this concept on tablets like the Asus Transformer Infinity before now and find it to be a handy way of bashing out a long email without having to type awkwardly on a touchscreen.

Around the edges you'll find a micro HDMI port for hooking it up to a big TV, a micro SD card slot for expanding the already generous 256GB SSD drive and a USB 3.0 port for super-fast data transfer.

Screen and S Pen stylus

The 11.6-inch screen offers a full 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution which is a marked step-up from the 1,366x768-pixels offered on the standard Smart PC. That should make your office documents much easier to see in full while keeping text and small icons sharp -- although exactly how sharp remains to be seen.

It also means you can save your favourite movies in glistening high definition to the internal memory (or on a high-capacity micro SD card if you're saving space) and watch them back without losing any precious pixels. Samsung promises the display is also very bright and bold, but I'll have to leave judgement on that for the full review.

Not only does it offer a keyboard dock for writing long stories about your pets, the Smart PC Pro also comes with Samsung's S Pen stylus, familiar from the Galaxy Note, allowing you to scrawl over the screen with reckless abandon. Windows 8 is clearly designed with touch in mind and I personally find using my finger to swipe around the Metro interface easier than using a stylus, but it comes in seriously handy for writing notes and drawing pictures in sketching apps.

Windows 8 software

The Smart PC will be running the latest and, we're told, greatest version of Microsoft's operating system known as Windows 8. Windows 8 ditches the traditional Windows desktop and Start menu, instead replacing it with a grid of big, colourful tiles.

Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro Windows
It's powered by the new Windows 8 operating system, which has been overhauled for use on touchscreens.

It's undoubtedly not going to be to everyone's tastes and if you've always been a dedicated Windows user, you might find it takes some getting used to. However, it offers some neat tricks like the People app that gives you instant access to all your social network contacts in one handy location.

Samsung has bundled some extra bits of kit with the PC Pro like S Note which helps you write quick, hand-written notes or scrawl some quick thoughts onto your images. It's not the most important piece of software you'll ever use but it's probably a nifty addition.

It's running on either an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, backed up by 4GB of RAM. Even the lower-specced model should provide a serious amount of power for every day tasks and the more beefy i5 model will appeal to those of you looking to run demanding desktop programs like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom on the go. I'll see just what these chips are capable of in the full review.

Outlook

With the handy keyboard dock, S Pen stylus and powerful components under the hood, the Ativ Smart PC Pro is shaping up to be a good choice for professional users who need more grunt than the average tablet can offer. Let's keep our fingers crossed the price is right.

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Where to Buy

Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T (128GB, Windows 8)

Part Number: XE700T1C-A03US
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. UK specs are unavailable.

  • 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