From IFA: Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro impressions

The ATIV Smart PC Pro (confusingly called Series 7 Slate in the US) is Samsung’s top-of-the-line Windows 8 tablet and turns into a fully-fledged ultrabook when attached to its keyboard dock. The form factor is decidedly more conservative than Sony’s rather unique “Surf Slider”, but it all comes down to the execution, right?

Sadly, the first thing that you’ll notice when picking up the ATIV Smart PC is the cheap plastic feeling. Make no mistake – the back is anything but the brushed aluminum which it is painted to look like. Making matters worse, the plastic additionally has some sort of glossy coating which only adds to the cheap feeling, exemplified by the fact that the keyboard dock, also made of plastic, has a light texture to it and feels much better in the hand.

The docking mechanism itself works well enough and seems pretty sturdy – you just press the button to insert or detach the tablet, though we’d prefer a slider switch as on the ASUS Transformer devices, as the button can be a bit hard to reach. We also noticed that the keyboard gets bumped up from the ground when opening the display part, due to the hinge that connects the two, though that might actually be a desirable effect to get the keyboard positioned at a more comfortable angle.

Since the Smart PC Pro represents a proper ultrabook, it has all the usual specs including a low-voltage Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, 4GB RAM and an SSD with up to 256GB. On the other hand, it’s 11.89mm thick, and needs fans and cooling vents to handle the heat – if you don’t want those, you should consider the Smart PC (without Pro) or the ATIV Tab, which we’ll detail later. The 11.6” display looks very good due to its resolution of 1920×1080.

On the top, there’s a headphone jack, power and rotation-lock buttons, a single USB 3.0 port, and slots for SD and micro-SIM cards. On the left side are the volume buttons and an HDMI port. The keyboard dock provides two additional USB 2.0 ports on each side.

While the specs are decent, the look and feel of the ATIV Smart PC Pro is seriously lacking, especially considering that Samsung also makes the excellent, full-aluminum Series 9 laptops. The ATIV tablet range, on the other hand, seems to share its design more with Samsung’s mobile products which are all characterized by their excessive use of plastic. If you’re in the market for a Windows 8 tablet/ultrabook hybrid come October 26 and care about build quality, you might want to consider other options such as the ASUS Transformer Book, which has similar specs but a much nicer aluminum shell.

  • Bugbog

    Unfortunately there was no better design around when they were making this, so they based their current line off of the Asus Transformer Series.

    You can bet, next time around, they’ll definitely be copying the MS Surface!

    • Veigald

      Brilliant remark! :)

    • techieg

      What a lousy excuse. Why did they have to copy rather than innovate? I thought they were supposed to be a hardware OEM. Copying is exactly what got them in trouble with Apple. What if ASUS sues them for copying too? These hardware OEMs need to stop being lazy and do their part by innovating with hardware, software publishers already do their software innovation. This lazy attitude is also exactly why MS had to deliver Surface since OEMs have only delivered crappy hardware at best and want to modify software UI with their crappy ideas instead.

      • Pookiewood

        10-2. He was being sarcastic.

    • Avatar Roku

      The Surface Pro is not good compared to the Asus Transformer Book. The Transformer Book is thinner, has a second battery, a much better keyboard and trackpad and comes in a variety of screen sizes and Core processors.
      The one and only thing the Surface Pro may do better than the Transformer Book is cooling. If there was one thing I’d suggest all these companies take from Surface Pro it is the perimeter cooling.

      • Bugbog

        I do believe the statement of ‘better’ is rather presumptuous?!
        Also on what basis do you state that the Book is thinner than the Surface Pro? As I’ve yet to see any specific measurements of the Book stated anywhere!

        With the Type Cover included, the Pro is 15mm high, I’m fairly certain the Book (including the bottom keyboard) can’t beat that.

  • Jimbob

    Shut up and take my money!

  • centos

    looks horrible !

  • alukard

    I suggest you people check out the Hp Envy and Dell xps tablets. Samsung were first to show their new range but their not the best, the others have great stuff. The Acer Vivo is absolutely beautiful

    • Livven

      Sadly we didn’t get to check those out, as we were only there for one day. Dell’s tablets were also under lock.

  • Blachlock

    “ATIV Smart PC Pro (confusingly called Series 7 Slate in the US),” is not true. These two units are different from each other and only share a similar look to them.
    The ATIV Smart PC is not the same as the Series 7 Slate.