Samsung Ativ Smart PC Review (Part 4)

4/22/2013 9:23:47 AM

There are many things that you can do with a tablet’s camera, especially when the stock camera application of Windows 8 is so light in terms of scene mode and optional settings. However, the 8MP camera (which is able to record 1080p videos) captures some very beautiful photos, with the more-less balanced colors. (Check out our gallery and you will see some photos in which red and orange seem to be oversaturated). Sometimes, we ruined our photos, but most of the photos were nice enough, especially when we reduced the resolution to a more friendly level for websites.

Like any respectable tablet, the Smart PC Pro has both a camera on the front and the back.

Like any respectable tablet, the Smart PC Pro has both a camera on the front and the back.

In addition to the native camera app, Samsung also included its own, a program called S Camera. Unlike ASUS, which has been bundling a camera app that mimics the UI on the stock version, S Camera has a completely different layout, along with different icons and options. Notable features include one-touch flash controls, a sliding lever to toggle between video and stills, and manual brightness, contrast and exposure controls. What's especially interesting is that while the Windows app uses the whole screen as a shutter, Samsung's app takes a more traditional approach with a dedicated shutter. It's an improvement only because it feels more familiar; either way, you can't tap to focus, so it's not like Samsung is saving all that screen space for something else.

Except for the native camera, Samsung also included its own software called S Camera. Unlike Asus, which provided the copy camera application of IU in the last version, S Camera has a brand new layout, with different icons and options. The notable features consist of the flash one-touch controls, a sliding lever to toggle between videos and photos, and a brightness, contrast and exposure adjustments. What’s especially cool is while Windows applications used the entire screen as a shutter, Samsung approached by a traditional way with a dedicated shutter. It was an innovation because it seemed to be more familiar; either way, you cannot tap to focus, because Samsung was saving all of that screen space for something else.

Price and competitors

It should not be told, but if you plan to purchase a LTE version of Smart PC, you will do it via AT&T. to recap, the price is $800 without a contract, and that price does not include the keyboard. (AT&T does not sell the keyboard, but you can find it yourself through other retailers with $130). If you sign a 2-year contract, the up-front price of the hardware decreases to $700. It is not a good enough encourage committing with a new 2-year contract, but $800 is too expensive for an independent tablet without the dock keyboard.

AT&T logo

AT&T logo

If you can live without always-on internet, Samsung also sells the Wi-Fi only version of the tablet, ATIV Smart PC 500. Remember that Sammy does not sell the product directly; you have to go to the website version of your country and look over the local retailers’ products. At least a quick search on the US site usually gives you a more reasonable price. For instance, B&H accepts to order the tablet and keyboard with $750 in total.

Fortunately for future customers, there were many Atom-powered tablets that offered long battery life and optional keyboard. The most promising option, as we implied, is HP Envy x2, which starts at $850, accompanied by dock. With that money, you have the relative Atom 1.8 GHz processor and 2 GB RAM, with 64 GB of internal storage, 11.6 inch IPS screen and a dock with 2 USB ports and HDMI out. Generally, the industrial design somehow looks nicer than what Samsung imagined. However, we did not have chance to check the battery life, so pay attention when you keep the idea of purchasing for the product.

Meanwhile, in the low-price segment, Acer is selling Iconia W510 with for above $500 (considering that dock is sold separately). In our extended preview, we found out that the build quality is quite cheap, especially for the dock keyboard, which provides a less uncomfortable typing experience than anything else that we have played with. However, the tablet itself is good enough, and of course cheaper than Smart PC, whose price is hundreds dollar more expensive. The IPS screen on W510 is good and as you usually see here, it has the similar processor and the same memory distribution as other things in this category, so the performance will also be similar.

Finally, Lenovo has 2 models in this segment: IdeaPad Lynx, an 11 inch consumer tablet and a ThinkPad Tablet 2 a hybrid 10 inch tablet for businesspeople. On many aspects, Lynx overwhelms with its specifications, with the same processor as Smart PC, but has the 1.4 pound lighter design and longer battery life (6800mAh). Like Smart PC, it supports the 3G/4G connection, with LTE network of AT&T being the spectrum of choice in US.


We are not sure whether Samsung or AT&T is to blame, but we are sure that the LTE version of ATIV Smart PC is such a trouble product. Although you can forgive the hard-to-use outfit or the cheap build quality, it just has too many errors to become a real useful product as tablets or laptops. During our tests, we confronted many crashes and frozen applications that forced us to execute the hard reset many times. AT&T says a software update will be coming soon, but at least at this time, the performance is truly unreliable.

Meanwhile, the ATA&T version of the tablet is just nothing less than a watered-down version of the Wi-Fi only model that you can purchase of order through other retailers. There is no pen-input support, so although you provide your own pen, it simply cannot respond to it. The optional dock keyboard is also a trouble product, and it is still not available through AT&T. For the exchange, what you receive is the fast and reliable LTE speed. However, is that worth it when you can buy any other tablets with 3G/4G data? We would be pleased to re-visit the Wi-Fi only version with S Pen applications, but for now, at least, we are quite sure about that paying $700 on contract is a bad idea.

It has a price of $700 on contract.


·         High-speed LTE


·         Unstable performance

·         Expensive, even on contract

·         Not supporting pen-input in AT&T version

·         AT&T does not sell dock keyboard

·         Quite heavy and hard to use


·         ATIV Smart PC of Samsung seems to be very promising with the role of hybrid Windows 8 computer, but AT&T version has many trouble and expensive with less features


What you receive is the fast and reliable LTE speed.

What you receive is the fast and reliable LTE speed.


·         Processor: Intel Atom Z2760 1.8 GHz

·         Memory: 2 GB LPDDR2 800 MHz

·         Hard Drive size: 64 GB eMMC

·         Operating system: Windows 8

·         Media drive: Micro SD card reader

·         Dimension: 11.6x7.2x9.38 in (294.64x182.88x9.65 )

·         Ports: 3 USB 2.0 (1 tablet, 2 keyboard), Micro HDMI, Headphone output/ Microphone input combo, Dock connector, SIM card slot

·         Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n

·         Graphics processor: Intel SGX545 Graphics



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