A tablet at heart

Nandagopal Rajan        Print Edition: February 2013

  Samsung Ativ Smart PC
Price: Rs 53,990
Specs: Windows 8, 11.6-inch touch display, Intel Atom Z2760, 2GB RAM, 64GB flash, Intel graphics, Wi-Fi, SD card, 8MP camera, 744g (1.45 kg with clamshell)

With Windows 8 hybrids you will always be wondering if this is a tablet that can become a laptop or a laptop which can become a tablet. With the Samsung Ativ Smart PC, there is no scope for any ambiguity. This is a tablet at heart, and a very good one at that. The 11.6-inch tablet is the core of the device, with a majority of the ports the power button and the volume controls. But that does not mean you can get rid of the keyboard and use this only as a tablet. For, the power port is here and you need this to charge the device. The keyboard is good, though we felt that the trackpad was a bit stubborn. Yoked to its keyboard, the Smart PC looks and feels a lot like a netbook.

And like a netbook it also have an Atom processor, which thankfully does not affect its processing powers as a tablet. If you start looking at the device like a laptop then things could get a bit tricky. For instance, we tried to test the device with the 12MB hi-resolution picture that we use for similar test on laptops. This one took almost a minute to open the file. Zooming in and out was also sluggish, so was rotation. But then there is a Pro version of the Smart PC which come with and Inter Core i5 inside. If you need more power, buy that.

But then we think you should look at this device primarily as a tablet. One that also comes with another input option. Touch, without doubt, is the primary input method here. Just the way it was intended to be. The touchscreen is very responsive comes with Samsung's popular S-pen. So you can use the S-Note and other Samsung apps with the stylus. You can also use it with the handwriting recognition that is part of the Windows 8 keyboard. This is the best execution of handwriting recognition on any computing device and with the stylus things only get better, more accurate. In fact, if you are comfortable with the 11.6-inch form factor of the tablet just tear away the keyboard and use the stylus to write like you would on paper and then convert it to text.

The only dampener for us with the device was the docking mechanism. It takes a while to actually understand if you have been successful - there are faint beeps for connect and disconnect. Also the flap that holds the tablet in place is a bit of an eye sore. Still, this is among the most affordable Windows 8 hybrids.

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