EDGE 2015 is starting in

Find out more EDGE 2015
Menu
Samsung embraces Windows 8 with new device

Samsung embraces Windows 8 with new device

Sim Ahmed considers whether Samsung will replicate its smartphone success in the PC market

When Microsoft's Windows 8 launched in late October, manufacturers released a plethora of devices to take advantage of the touch-inspired OS.

Among them is the Samsung's ATIV Smart PC. The Korean manufacturer has been making strides in the mobile industry where it is leading the Android pack, and is now looking to replicate that success in the PC market.

Hardware

Looking through Samsung's Windows 8 line up it seems the company is throwing different form factors at the wall to see which ones stick with consumers.

The Smart PC, along with its more expensive sibling running Windows 8 Pro, is best described as a hybrid laptop with a screen that detaches to function as a standalone tablet. It's a great bridge between device portability, and the inevitable need to use a keyboard for business productivity.

The tablet part of the Smart PC looks very much like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, with better (but not completely faultless) build quality. It even has a stylus. Correction: the Smart PC uses Wacom's digitizer technology, although using the stylus feels less accurate than on the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Meanwhile the main body is one solid piece of plastic fashioned to look like the brushed aluminium Samsung uses in its high end Ultrabooks. The curved sides are mostly free of clutter apart from a mini-HDMI output and volume rocker, and the power button, USB, and micro-SD slots are located at the top.

The flaps covering the peripheral slots are flimsy and attached to the device by small plastic hinges. The micro-SD card flap wouldn't sit flush with the body after opening it once. These little hardware quality faults, while not a major deciding factor, do continue to be a problem with many Samsung products.

Overall, the build quality of the plastic keyboard is good, and the most important element, the hinge, is made of metal, which is reassuring. The keyboard has two USB ports which lets you connect external drives or a mouse to the tablet, again the flaps for these ports are flimsy. The two components together weigh 1.45 kg, which is lighter than the current range of MacBook Pros but not quite as light as a MacBook Air.

Display and camera

The Smart PC's 11.6-inch screen has a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels, which means you can watch high definition videos.

A pixel density of 135 pixels per inch may only be half of what's available on the latest iPad, but nonetheless the image quality is excellent.

The Smart PC has a front-facing 2 megapixel camera, and an 8 MP main camera which takes very clear images.

Windows 8 and software

The ATIV Smart PC runs a full version of Windows 8, powered by its Intel Atom processor and 2 GB of RAM. The performance of apps is very stable, even when multitasking with multiple apps pinned to the screen.

I have no qualms admitting that I don't enjoy Windows 8 on desktops or laptops. With a mouse and keyboard the horizontal tiled layout feels restrictive. However, when it comes to touch interfaces, tablets in particular, Windows 8 is the clear front runner with its minimal UI. It takes a while to get used to, but once you do, you wonder why Apple and Google haven't got around to doing the same. If the app ecosystem was stronger my next device would be a Windows 8.

Samsung pre-installs some apps on the Smart PC, but thankfully it's mostly been untouched by bloatware. One of the Samsung apps is the S Note app, similar to the one on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which lets users draw notes on the device using the stylus.

A trial version of Microsoft Office also comes pre-loaded, and the Smart PC's keyboard means this productivity app is not excruciating to use, unlike the usual experience with touch-only keyboards.

Battery

Samsung says the Smart PC offers 14 hours of battery life, or 10 hours while playing video. This definitely wasn't the case for my review device.

A full night's charge would usually keep the Smart PC going for around eight hours, which is still fantastic for a device I'm treating as my personal computer.

The Smart PC doesn't have separate battery inside the keyboard - which is a shame as this is a killer feature for devices like the Asus Transformer Prime.

4 Stars

SPECS

Dimensions: 304 x 189.4 x 19.9 mm

Weight: Tablet 744 g , Tablet + Keyboard 1.45 kg

Display: 11.6 inch LCD, 1366 x 768 pixels

Processor: Intel Atom with 2 GB RAM

OS: Windows 8

RRP: $1299

EDGE 2015:: For all the latest on EDGE 2015 including the keynote speakers visit the EDGE mini-site now

Follow Us

Join the ARN newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 8PCATIV Smart PCSamsung Electronicshardware systemsComponentssoftware

Upcoming

Slideshows

In Pictures: 7 things we hate about Twitter

In Pictures: 7 things we hate about Twitter

You probably either love Twitter for its quirkiness and brevity or see it as a pointless waste of time. After nearly a decade on the social scene, Twitter still needs to improve its user experience and fill in notable gaps in the service. These seven problems are long overdue for a fix.

In Pictures: 7 things we hate about Twitter
IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 - Sponsor Briefing

IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 - Sponsor Briefing

With EDGE 2015 rapidly approaching, ARN and Reseller News NZ held a Sponsors Briefing where ARN publisher and president, Susan Searle, and Events Manager, Alexandra West, ran through the considerable logistics in detail. Attendees then enjoyed some splendid canapes and drinks. EDGE is designed to bring the A/NZ channel together in a collaborative and educational environment. Themed around channel channel leadership, EDGE will be held at the Sheraton Mirage, Port Douglas, July 20-23. Photos by MIKE GEE.

IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 - Sponsor Briefing
In Pictures: Robots that cook, clean, sing and dance

In Pictures: Robots that cook, clean, sing and dance

Cooking, learning language and doing the laundry are a few of the human skills demonstrated by.real humanoid bots featured in the National Geographic movie Robots.

In Pictures: Robots that cook, clean, sing and dance

iasset.com is a channel management ecosystem that automates all major aspects of the entire sales, marketing and service process, including data tracking, integrated learning, knowledge management and product lifecycle management.

Show Comments