Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro Review

It’s a tablet, but you may not know it by looking at it. While it isn’t massive by any means, the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro is appreciably heavier than the base ATIV Smart PC model.

In fact, in some respects Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro, also named the 700T, is closer to the laptop side of the spectrum. It’s a bit bulky, but it also packs an excellent high-definition display and plenty of power.

Look and Feel

As seems to be the case all too often, Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC Pro simply feels cheap. It’s not built particularly poorly, but the hard plastic feel and basic design create an impression that doesn’t match the high-end aspirations that the hardware and display would suggest.

The tablet measures in at 11.96-by-7.4 inches and .46 inches thick. It weighs a very hefty 1.95 pounds (0.88 kg), or 3.5 pounds (1.59) with keyboard dock attached. The size and weight of the Smart PC Pro can be taxing during continuous use, so it may be better suited as a tabletop device with the dock attached.

Tablet Tour

Button placement on the Smart PC Pro is not terrible, though it is somewhat cluttered. The top of the device, in particular, appears very busy.

The power button and auto-rotate switch can be found on the left side, but their close proximity and similar shape make it too easy to accidentally press one instead of the other. To the left of the power button is a headphone jack, while the right features a covered USB 2.0 port and a microSD slot.

The volume rocker and mini-HDMI port adorn the left side of the device. The bottom features the attach points and magnetic connector for the dock.

The Big Picture

The Smart PC Pro’s large 11.6-inch display is among its primary selling points. The full high-definition, 1,920-by-1,080-pixel display is an impressive upgrade over the 1,366-by-768-pixel resolution of the base Smart PC 500T model.

The display features SuperBright Plus Technology, pushing brightness to a very nice 400 nits. Color and contrast are quite good, making for an impressive all-around display. The only drawback to such a high-resolution display is that it can sometimes be difficult to touch small objects such as web links, but it isn’t a major problem.

Under the Hood

In keeping with its more-laptop-than-tablet theme, the Smart PC Pro boasts an extremely impressive specification sheet. The tablet is built around Intel’s 1.7-gigahertz Core i5-3317U processor, coupled with four gigabytes of DDR3 RAM.

The tablet also features a lightning-quick 128-gigabyte solid state hard drive, though the true capacity is closer to 108 gigabytes. A 49 Watt-hour battery ensures acceptable battery life, especially considering the heavy-duty hardware.

Comparison with similar tablets

Perhaps the most natural comparison for the Smart PC Pro is Samsung’s own Smart PC 500T. In this case, price may be the determining factor. The Smart PC 500T is considerably cheaper than the Smart PC Pro, and it offers a fairly similar overall experience.

However, the impressive upgrade in display and performance offered by the Smart PC Pro ought to more than justify the price difference for those who can afford it.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro offers a more intriguing tablet comparison. The Surface Pro offers a slightly smaller 10.6-inch form factor, though the weight is similar. The smaller display translates into a slight boost in pixel density which, while not dramatic, does produce slightly cleaner text and small objects.

They boast similar hardware under the hood as well, and the build quality feels a bit better with the Surface Pro.

Customer Impressions

Positive feedback for the ATIV Smart PC Pro has focused on several key features. The most popular feature is the full Windows 8 operating system with x86 compatibility.

Combined with the beefy performance specifications, customers are able to have a much more PC-like experience than can be had with many competing tablets. The display also makes the Smart PC Pro ideal for media consumption.

Conversely, the most common complaint among consumers is the excessive weight and girth of the device. Though the device seeks to blur the line between laptop and tablet, the size and weight may have tipped the balance too far in favor of a laptop. For those who demand high portability and usability, this can be a problem.