Samsung ATIV Smart PC Review
Unlike Windows RT, which only runs Modern UI apps written for ARM processors, and enters a limited desktop interface just for MS Office, Windows 8 must have been a tough nut to crack for Microsoft, as it had to ensure backdoor access to the legacy desktop, as well as force the future upon its base with the Live Tile Modern UI front and center.
It did a pretty good job with the hybrid interface, as found on the ATIV Smart PC, by simply running the old desktop view as an app accessible with one tap from the home screen, but starting in the tiled interface. Thus you can run any legacy program written for Windows on Samsung's Atom-based slate, on top of all the new apps you can run on an RT tablet, like the Microsoft Surface.
Gestures for closing apps, swiping between them and calling the Charms Bar on the right are quite basic and easy to learn, yet if you don't want to bother with the “new stuff,” you can directly go into desktop view and never leave, with the added benefit of Win 8 booting and resuming much faster than ever before possible in Windows. Samsung has even thrown in an app dock at the bottom of the screen for those who miss the Start button in desktop mode, and for quick access to other settings.
Here we have to make a note of the S Pen stylus availability, which allows precise navigation, Air View functionality, doodling or handwriting with the S Note app, cropping screen areas for sharing and numerous other ways to make that third input method useful. So, apart from mind control, the ATIV Smart PC has all input methods – touch, stylus and keyboard – at your disposal at all times.
Processor and memory
The 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2760 processor, however, might be battery-efficient, but can't measure up to the “Core i” family of Intel, and 2 GB of RAM don't help much either. For everyday tasks like using Office, browsing, watching videos, light picture editing or basic games it performs fine, but there is lag and stuttering with more demanding tasks, and even in the desktop interface when things get busy. The ordeal somewhat defeats the ability to run legacy programs, as even Photoshop moves much slower than you'd like, let alone heavy stuff like AutoCAD and the like.
You also don't get much storage to install such complex Windows programs anyway, as out of the 64 GB of internal storage, you get about half as user-available from the box. Granted, there is a microSD slot and SkyDrive or other storage services, but even the lowliest netbook with a hard drive would laugh at the maximum storage amount possible on the ATIV Smart PC, so you'd better get one of those Wi-Fi-enabled hard drives with a battery as a companion.
Internet and connectivity
The new Internet Explorer 10 app in the tiled interface launches a fast and slick-looking browser with a very clean and minimalistic Modern UI, though it is annoying that you have to manually add permissions to display full Adobe Flash content in other than the Microsoft-approved sites.
It is also confusing that we have an Internet Explorer browser in desktop mode, too, but it is actually the IE9, complete with full Adobe Flash support and the typical Windows interface.
Alternatively, you can just install any browser you like, like Chrome or Firefox, and forget about being force-fed the future, as once you set it as default, the IE10 tile hides, and links open in the new browser.
We had the ATIV Smart PC version with a 4G/LTE cellular connectivity, but the basic version sports just Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 radios, and we noticed that reconnecting to the router upon system resume lagged the UI loading a bit.
As for wired connectivity, we get a microHDMI port and a dedicated charging one, as you can't charge through the full USB port, which is on top of that only USB 2.0-compliant, not the much faster 3.0 standard.
1. sonisoe (Posts: 277; Member since: 06 May 2009)
stay away from this device, i have one and its buggy. keyboard-dock screen connectivity is patchy youll be frustrated. buggy ie. freezes time to time, atom is still slow... worst crazily overpriced.... and amnot the only person with these issues...
6. lucasho2312 (Posts: 18; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
im dying waiting for the transformer book. that was 8 months since the teaser.
3. Joshing4fun (Posts: 965; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
That screen is terrible but probably used it to keep costs down. Still crazy how a $300 tablet can have an awesome display but you have to shell out $1000 if you want a pc with even a decent display.
4. fsahin (Posts: 45; Member since: 17 Mar 2012)
It is shame to copy ASUS Transformer series!stop copying please!
8. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 260; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)
I'd rather take the Surface with the high price and shorter battery life. Atom processors are just unimpressive at this point. What a disappointing device.
9. 7thspaceman (Posts: 720; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
there is an update for the Atom processor windows 8 tablets that takes away some of it's bugs