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----------At first glance, Samsung’s Slate 700T looks like an ever-so-slightly-cheap iPad. Its 11.6-inch screen is slightly bigger than the iPad’s 9.7-inches, but the adornments are almost identical. Next to the screen you’ll find a front-facing camera and single button, and if you flip it over you’ll see a rear camera and a unibody construction
Turn it on, though, and the similarities end. Whereas the iPad is a
giant version of the iPhone, Samsung’s Slate is essentially a
touchscreen PC. It’s a miracle of modern miniaturisation, packing all
the components into a 12.9mm thick body. Where it gets really clever is
with a small foldable dock that supports the unit at an angle, and a
Bluetooth keyboard so you’re not forever mistyping things on the touch
----------Above: Is it a PC? Is it a tablet? Is it a notebook? But, most importantly, is it any good?
A Wacom Digitizer stylus is also supplied with the unit,
and it just about turns it into a full-blown graphics tablet, complete
with a screen. Anyone who’s used a Wacom pen will find it familiar: a
button on the side controls right-clicks, and the (awkwardly placed)
button at the top switches it to eraser or selection mode.
The hybrid screen mixes 10-point capacitive touch with the stylus. Although it’s a little thinner and lighter than the Wacom pens we’re used to, it’s a good starting point. We tried it out with a pair of apps – Adobe’s Photoshop Elements and Autodesk’s Maya – and it proved to be versatile enough for both. The size of the screen is going to limit your creations, but it’s still slightly bigger than the iPad’s.
------Above: Well-spaced keys offer good feedback when typing. Ideal for when working at home or on a hard surface, but not so handy for on the go typing while travelling.
The Slate ran both applications well, which is one of the benefits
of having a fairly beefy Intel Core i5 processor. It flicked between
multiple layers in Photoshop with ease, and the bright, high-contrast
screen displayed colours vibrantly and realistically. Filling up Maya
with 3D objects caused a few slight screen distortions on our review
model, but despite this it rendered everything without falling over.
We managed to get just over four hours of moderate use out of the Slate before it required recharging. It’s about what we’d expect from a decent laptop, but still lower than the six hours-plus we’ve achieved with an iPad. Like Apple’s device, it’s a sealed unit, so there’s no way to carry a spare battery when you’re on an extended trip.
------Above: A Wacom Digitzer stylus with interchangable nibs brings some much-needed touch sensitivity to the tablet market.
While Windows 7 means that full-blown programs can be run on the device,
it’s just not designed for a touchscreen interface. Compare it to
Apple’s sleek iOS or even Google’s Android and it feels clunky. Yes, the
Slate does have the best iteration of Windows 7 touchscreen we’ve seen,
and the stylus made our taps and swipes far more accurate. But without
it we were left wondering if we need to lose some weight from the end of
Windows 8 is imminent, and unlike Windows 7’s bodged touchscreen interface it’s been built from the ground up with touch and tablets in mind. If you’re really keen on the Samsung Slate – and it is a really decent little unit with a screen resolution to run the full Metro experience – we’d recommend holding out until Windows 8 is released.
ImagineFX rating: 4/5
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- 4GB DDR3 memory
- Intel Core i5 processor 2467M
- Intel HD Graphics 3000
- 64GB solid-state hard drive
- 2.0 megapixel webcam
- 11.6-inch touch screen
- 4 cell battery
- Bluetooth keyboard
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