Hands on: Samsung Slate PC Series 7

A slim, 11.6in tablet that runs Windows 7 and an Intel Core i5 CPU; great for business or pleasure

Samsung's Slate PC Series 7 runs Windows 7 and is powered by an Intel Core i5 CPU. It's a tablet that's both comfortable to use and powerful and we think it will become a popular model among business users as well as home users.

Samsung's Slate PC Series 7 runs Windows 7 and is powered by an Intel Core i5 CPU. It's a tablet that's both comfortable to use and powerful and we think it will become a popular model among business users as well as home users.

Samsung's Slate PC Series 7 has a hardened, 11.6in capacitive touchscreen with digitiser technology and it can be navigated with your finger or the supplied digitiser pen. In a brief hands-on session at Samsung's headquarters today, we were able to play with a pre-production sample of this tablet running Windows 7 Pro and a specially designed touch interface overlay. The overlay offers a touch-friendly way to launch popular apps and utilities and you can easily minimise it to get to the main Windows 7 interface if you wish.

The tablet is run by a low-voltage Intel Core i5-2467M CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB solid state drive in its thin (13mm) chassis and it has vent holes and a small dynamically-controlled fan to keep the components cool. The battery is sealed inside the unit and has a 40 Watt-hour rating. We'll have to wait and see how long it can last, but it should do quite well, especially in standby mode, in which a snapshot of the current state of the system is saved to disk rather than RAM and then accessed as soon as the Slate is woken up -- similar to hibernation, but with much quicker start time (as we witnessed). Samsung says this helps to prolong the standby life of the unit.

The hardware itself felt great to hold (despite being a little creaky due to being a pre-production model) and we observed a very bright screen (it's rated at 400 nits) with wide viewing angles. The screen uses PLS (plane line switching) technology and has rated viewing angles greater than 170 degrees. We had no problems viewing the screen no matter which way we held the slate and the orientation of the screen changed automatically as we turned it. There is a dedicated button on the side for changing the rotation manually, too. There are cameras on both the front (2-megapixel) and rear (3-megapixel) of the unit and you get micro-HDMI, USB 2.0, micro SD and audio ports, too. You also get 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, but 3G connectivity is optional.

Accessories for the Slate include a little dock and a Bluetooth keyboard that can transform it into a regular computer -- and because it runs Windows 7 and has a speedy Core i5 CPU in it, it does feel like a normal computer when you use it this way. The dock also supplies Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 and HDMI, as well as power. Because the dock is so small though, we had to attach it by bringing it up to the Slate and plugging it in while holding both devices, rather than just dropping the Slate into the dock as it rested on a flat surface. But this is because the dock is so light, which is key if you want to take it travelling with you.

We think that anyone who needs a tablet device as well as a notebook (or anyone who has been considering a tablet-convertible notebook PC) might be drawn to this product because of its speed and keyboard accessory. Unlike tablet-convertible notebook PCs, the Slate PC Series 7 is not bulky and the touch interface doesn't seem to be an after-thought. It also has fast start-up and resume capabilities.

Perhaps the most positive aspects of this slate PC are its size and performance. At 11.6 inches and just under 900 grams, it felt very comfortable to hold and the system seemed swift during our brief time with it. It's a device that we think will be great for hand-written notes. We could easily take notes on it while resting the palm of our hand on the screen and its accuracy was as good as we've seen from other tablet PCs. It uses Windows 7's built-in tablet features for handwriting recognition, so you can insert your scribbles into Word or whichever applications you want to use. If you're a graphic designer, you might even want to give it a go as a drawing pad; however, it might not be an optimal device for high-end graphics programs.

Basically though, we think this device is bound to find its way onto the wish lists of not only business users (and integration into existing business networks should not be a problem due to the use of Windows 7 instead of Android) but also home users and students who want something that can be used to create content in addition to consuming it. You can easily sit in front of the TV while using this slate PC to write notes or browse the Web.

The only thing that might be a hindrance for many people is the price point, but for a slate that runs a Core i5 CPU in such a thin chassis, and for something that runs Windows 7 as well as a custom touch interface, we think it will compare well against tablet-convertible notebooks PCs from the likes of Fujitsu (which is perhaps the most prolific brand when it comes to tablet-convertibles) and other notebook vendors. In terms of form factor, its closest competitor will probably be Lenovo's ThinkPad tablet, which runs Android, and Fujitsu's Stylistic, which runs Windows 7 Pro but is very underpowered due to its Intel Atom CPU.

The Samsung Slate Series 7 is not meant to compete against the iPad or any Android tablet devices. During our brief hands-on session, we thought it looked good and felt comfortable to use and we see it as being a valuable productivity tool in addition to a media consumption device. We can't wait to give it a full review.

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Elias Plastiras

Elias Plastiras

PC World

30 Comments

A.J.

1

It's all about the WACOM...
Pls. be sure to mention Wacom in your review. This is a Major deal for the Tablet fanatics. This is first (modern) Tablet to include Wacom digitizer technology.
The ASUS EP121 also has Wacom, but S7S (or SS7) is a little smaller, faster & with better Battery Life.

BChau

2

Yes, the Wacom pen is a major drawcard here as you can draw/paint with precision. It also has a better battery life than ASUS slate. I think it is ideal for use in classroom. It is pricey though for students.

Carlos

3

Please include decent content creation software when reviewing this slate. I'm considering getting it for photoshop, ZBrush (or at least sculptris), Sketchbook Pro or Toon Boom Storyboard. You can get any of these as a trial for 30days. It would also give some credibility as to the pen capabilities and the graphics power of the slate.
Oh, and how hot does the tablet get when using such demanding programs.

Thank you!

Zbrush fan

4

OMG hope Picologic is paying attention and making sure that Zbrush and Sculptris UI is tablet friendly. Keyboard not needed. Like having "floating" virtual hotkeys...

Rohan

5

"This is first (modern) Tablet to include Wacom digitizer technology".

Actually, that's incorrect A.J.

Motion Computing already use Wacom Digitizer Pens in their J3500 and F5v model tablets, and have been for many years.

jc french

6

If you consider the battery, I don't believe Samsung when he says 7 hours. It's rather half : what disappointment.

jc french

7

I apologize for my stupid comment above.
It's truly 7 hours and I'll buy it.

Dan

8

The samsung is fantastic. It has all the power you ever want, its thin, pretty light, runs windows 7, has usb/other ports. However the screen size is just not in proportion. If you have a look at all the videos about the samsung series 7 slate everybody holds it in landscape as it is simply not practical to hold it in portrait as they screen is way to long or wide. This really bothers me. An ideal screen size is that of the ipad i believe. Why did they stuff the screen size why why why!!! However the rest is excellent!

Robert Flavell

9

Tablets with digitisers are perfect for school - MS OneNote the perfect app when combined with pen - bring on Windows 8 and hopefully better battery life. This Samsung has the right weight and form factor too - hopefully more manufacturers follow this path...

SaderX

10

There is a few thing that must need in the full review.

1) heating issues I have a fujitsu tablet PC it's great and powerful however weight and heat was the biggest issues, well price too.

2) screen scratch resistance, sure screen protector is a must but it make the world of difference with a good screen, less worry

3) price my fujitsu cost me approx $2500+ AUD this I will say $3000+ AUD let's hope not.

4) lasting & maintenance. Technology always get out date quickly like tomorrow how long will it last, as I said heating can be an issues so how long will the hardware last and how easy to repair.

So far I see these are just some issues I can think of out of my head at 4am

Larry

11

I'd also like to be sure that this will run Windows 8 OK. That is where I think the tablet wars will become very interesting with a real alternative that is very attractive to business people.

The available apps are also a concern. I would love to have Outlook on a Tablet (or even my iPhone). It is painful having to use another app to book meetings/send invitations and then synch with the iPhone Calendar, and then synch with Outlook when I am back in the office.

lukempower

12

30 chishlm.st ainslie 2602

andrew1953

13

Really like the look of this device. It is exactly what I had hoped Blackberry would do with their Playbook but sadly havent.

Tim

14

Too bad the screen seems to be separating from almost all sold units in the US...

Hunter

15

Sounds quite a nice machine but I will stick with my Motion. They are an excellent machine, particularly with the view anywhere screen. Would be nice to see a review here.

MotorMouth

16

Why would you compare something like this to an iPad? No-one compares desktop computers based only on form-factor. The hardware in this machine seems much more comparable to an 11.6" MacBook Air, which I think is a much better comparison. The MBAir is a bit cheaper but misses out on touch, which I think easily justifies the price premium on the Series 7 Slate (it is cheaper than a MBAir + Wacom tablet).

I stumbled across one at JB Hi-Fi on the weekend and it seems really good. It's a tiny bit bulkier and feels noticeably heavier than an iPad but the stand and keyboard are very handy inclusions. I reckon it would be absolutely amazing running Win8.

Irene

17

I have the Samsung 700 Slate PC, very light, does get hot and it chews the battery very quick. But all in all its good due to the fact that I can do everything on it and just synch it with my computer. Its a shame I can't find any protector sheets for it or cases to fit it perfectly.

Perri5

18

I have had one for a month and love it. am looking for an ipad like smart cover to fit, in the same way Irene is. Also still working out if I can charge it in the car. The bulky lead is still a negative compared with the Apple charger. have successfully used google calendar as my syncing tool for outlook calendars between my slate and desktop. still working out how to get my emails sent to both outlooks, so I can keep track of them all rather than having some on each. if anyone can help me with the last point, that would be great.

brinkerz128

19

@Perri5, ref your last point.
Unless I'm misunderstanding - wouldn't your mail as IMAP to each device or going to hosted exchange help you to achieve this?

Ryan Jones

20

This is going to be ideal for the classroom from the math teacher standpoint. Connect to the promethean board via bluetooth, walk around the room with my slate PC, write on the board, have a student solve a problem from their desk, do examples while facing the students... I am extremely excited to have one of these.

Brandon

21

@perri5
IMAP wont do what you want. in outlook on both devices, tell it to leave a copy of all emails on the server for x number of days.

glenn

22

why can"t you put the sim card directly into the slate like the mobile & Tablet?

Eric Vanderburg

23

It is not the first to include Wacom. My Fujitsu Stylistic slate from 4 years ago has Wacom and that is why I bought it. As Rohan said, Motion also has been using Wacom.

GLO

24

I have a circa 2006, Tatung TTAB-A12D 12.1" slate (Motion Computing rebranded this model and sold out as their own) which came with XP tablet edition, but currently have Vista installed.
This also use the Wacom stylus.

Mind you I am thinking of loading Windows 7 onto it.

I'm trying to determine whether the current selection of tablets such as the Asus Transformer Prime or IPad would provide a more efficient note taking experience in meetings with their instant on ability.

I'd be kern to hear from other Wacom tablet users who have tried the switch to Android or IOS.

Robert

25

I would be very much interested to know about the following points (because of my bad experience with similar tablet pc)
1. Get easily heated
2. while using the pen after some amount of time (probably because of the heat developed) the writing lags the pen behind and is very irritating (whether doing an artwork or doing symbolic manipulation in maths/physics)

Paul

26

I have had a Slate for about a month now. It is perfect.

To Robert - I have found none of the issues that you mention. It has NEVER felt hot to me nor have I had any issues with writing lag.

I would highly recommend it. But wait for a couple of weeks. The 3G version is coming out by the end of the month and this will make a massive difference. It is very irritating not having a 3G version and having to constantly tether it to my iPhone. Other than that it is the perfect business accessory. I have replaced my laptop with it.

Geoff Norway

27

I purchased a Samsung Slate 700T1A about 2 weeks ago. After set-up I noticed that of the 64 gig HDD (usable area 59 gig) it showed Free space on drive 30.8 gig used space 28.2 gig. I have requested info from Samsung Australia re this but no reply yet. Has anyone any idea why such a large chunk of the HDD appears to be used up before I even load my first program?

grind and brew coffee makers

28

Greate pieces. Keep posting such kind of information on your page.
Im really impressed by your site.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Research PC World to find the latest independent product news and reviews. Download our buying and shopping guides to make sure you're getting a good deal today and everyday..
Regards

dan

29

To Geoff Norway...

Applications/programs and OS need to be stored somewhere. They are stored on the SSD. If you check the file size of your OS and then all programmes, then add a few gig for temp files etc that would probably explain the 'missing' storage capacity!

David

30

Hope this is not a stupid question, but how do you load new software? It does not seem to have any kind of disc drive?

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