SAMSUNG ATIV SMART PC: Hybrid Wonder

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SummaryItís a laptop! Itís a tablet! No, itís both. We are talking about the Samsung ATIV Smart PC, that combines the power of a notebook computer and the convenience of a tablet with a unique and revolutionary convertible design.

A stylish Windows 8 tablet that will appeal greatly to consumers with its high-end features

Itís a laptop! Itís a tablet! No, itís both. We are talking about the Samsung ATIV Smart PC, that combines the power of a notebook computer and the convenience of a tablet with a unique and revolutionary convertible design. Basically it is a convertible Windows 8 tablet that docks into a hinged keyboard to create a small laptop. It is a combination of many features and capabilities that make this device smart.

The evolution of the tablet computer is due to the fact that consumers want something more portable than a laptop, more powerful than a netbook, and more comfortable than a smartphone and a tablet PC fills all of those needs pretty well. Tablets are already feature-rich enough in order to be suitable laptop replacements. The new, tablet-friendly Windows 8 operating system is also there in the marketplace. No wonder, established PC makers are looking for a foothold in the exploding tablet market with portable gadgets that are a little of bothóa tablet as well as a laptop.

I recently spent some time with Samsungís latest device. The Smart PC is a convertible laptop, closest in design to the Asus Transformer. Samsungís convertible design is a little bigger than the Taiwanese companyís product. The ATIV Smart PC is an 11.6-inch tablet where the Transformer is 10-inch. However, Samsung has kept the tablet slim. At 9.9 mm thick and weighing 744 grams, it is only a little bigger than the latest generation iPad, which is 9.4 mm thick and weighs 652 grams. As a result, the Smart PC is highly portable and perfectly comfortable to hold one-handed. Even with the keyboard attached, it measures just 18 mm thick and weighs 1.45 kg: about the size of a netbook.

Take my word, you get the power of a PC and the freedom of a tabletóin a single portable package. Basically, it merges a laptopís processing capabilities with the user-friendliness and portability of a tablet. The Smart PC ships with the 32-bit version of Windows 8 installed. The processor is Intelís Atom Z2760. In other words, smart performance for work as well as play is assured.

The slender Samsung tablet has a nearly full-size keyboard, but the keyboard is included as a detachable accessory. The keys on the keyboard are a little slippery, but they are nearly full size. You can also dock the Samsung Smart PC to its keyboard, carry it around and use it as a standard clamshell laptop. Sounds pretty cool, isnít it?

In terms of hardware specs, the device ships with 2 GB of DDR2 memory and 64 GB flash storage. The 11.6-inch screen is 1366 by 768 pixels. It has no retina display, but the text is clear. It comes with 10-finger touch capabilities, letting you pinch, zoom, rotate and scroll with greater dexterity. The aspect ratio is 16:9 on an 11.6-inch display. By any standard, the screen is large for a tablet. It comes with 10-finger touch capabilities, letting you pinch, zoom, rotate and scroll with greater dexterity.

The power button, volume controls, a power jack, one USB 2.0 port and a microSD card slot are built into the tablet. The keyboard dock includes two additional USB 2.0 ports and a power connector. But what sets the ATIV family apart is the accompanying S Pen stylus. You can use this slide-out, pressure sensitive pen with the touchscreen for precision work. This has been ported over from the Galaxy Note 10.1-inch tablet. In other words, if you are looking for a tablet with the ability to take notes, the ATIV Smart PC should fit the bill for you.

The range of connectivity options available on the Smart PC is better than you would expect from a tablet. There is a USB 2.0 port, microSD card slot, micro HDMI port and headphone socket. It supports wireless 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

In my test-run, the Smart PC proved pretty responsive in most normal Web browsing. When attached to the keyboard dock, typing and editing documents, email and similar tasks worked with no major issues. The capacitive touchscreen is responsive and quick, and multi-touch gestures work smoothly.

I streamed some music from YouTube and it sounded pretty good through the built-in speakers. I surfed video search engine Blinkx with no fuss. Video playback also worked just fine, and looked pretty good. When connected to the keyboard dock, the Smart PC behaves well as a decent light duty laptop.

Battery life is another place where the ATIV Smart PC shines. The 30Whr battery offers a claimed battery life of up to 13 hours. In my test-run, it yielded a battery life of 9 hours, 40 minutes.

Here are my takeaways: a stylish device with high-end features, capable of attracting users at first look.

Estimated street price: Rs.53,990

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