We braved a massively busy Samsung stand at CES 2013 to get a play with Samsung’s Ativ Smart PC tablet, which can be hooked up to a keyboard dock to stay productive on the go.
Running Windows 8, the Samsung Ativ tablet is on the large side with its 11.6-inch screen. The plastic body feels reasonably tough, although we did notice some flex at the left and right edges, near the speakers. Still, it slides effortlessly into the keyboard dock and can be quickly removed again at the push of a button.
The keyboard itself is well designed, thanks in part to its spacious layout. The keys are isolation-style, and you get the usual shortcut keys for browsing to the Windows desktop, controlling your media and more. You also get a compact touchpad, but we suggest sticking with the tablet’s touchscreen.
Speaking of the touchscreen, you can either manipulate it with your fingers as usual, or crack out the S-Pen, Samsung’s much-lauded stylus, for greater control. This can be stored in the Ativ when not in use and works exactly as it does on the Galaxy Note 2 smartphone and Note 10.1 tablet.
The Ativ comes in two different flavours - standard and ‘Pro’. The normal model uses a low-power Intel Atom processor for basic mobile performance, and boasts a long battery life (9.4 hours of video playback was quoted by our demonstrator). Meanwhile, the Pro model crams in a powerful Intel Core i5 processor which should handle the latest games and all of your HD media with ease, although battery life will likely take a hit. Which model suits you best depends on your priorities.
The Pro model also sports a higher resolution 11.6-inch screen. A Full HD 1920 x 1080 screen produces stunning images, although the standard Ativ Smart tablet still does the job with a 1366 x 768 resolution. If you’re an HD movie buff you’ll want to splash out on the Pro model, though.
Ports-wise, the Ativ tablet has a covered HDMI port and Micro SD card slot, as well as Micro USB for charging. Docking the tablet gives you full-sized USB ports for adding storage keys (although the Pro model comes with up to 256GB of storage as standard), but there’s no extra battery to increase life. You also get a front-facing and rear-facing camera, which are 2 megapixel and 5 megapixel respectively on the Pro model. This is expected be the same for the standard model when it arrives in the UK in the next month or so.