Samsung ATIV Smart PC: Introduction

The Windows 8 tablet space at launch consisted exclusively of Tegra 3-based or Core i5/i7 ULV-based systems. That changed with the release of Krait and Clover Trail tablets like the ATIV Tab and Acer W510, respectively, but with 7W IVB and AMD Z60 on the very near horizon, we’re seeing the Windows 8 tablet market start to expand and evolve quite rapidly. After a very positive initial experience with the Windows RT slates, I was very eager to get my hands on an x86-based tablet. So when Anand gave me the chance to review one, I jumped at the opportunity.

And so we have the Samsung ATIV Smart PC, which is also known as the Samsung Series 5 Slate 500T in other parts of the world. It’s an 11.6” 1366 x 768 Clover Trail tablet that ships with Windows 8, 64GB of NAND, a laptop dock, and an MSRP of $749, and shouldn’t be confused with the more expensive ATIV Smart PC Pro (11.6” 1080p, Core i5, 128GB, Windows 8 Pro) or the no-longer-available ATIV Tab (10.1” 1366 x 768, Krait, 32GB, Windows RT). It’s pretty bad, though not quite as ridiculous as ASUS trying to make the distinction between the VivoTab (Clover Trail 11.6”), VivoTab Smart (Clover Trail 10.1”), and VivoTab RT (Tegra 3 10.1”).

Somehow, nobody has broken it to many manufacturers that the name of a product does really matter and just tacking on a suffix like RT or Smart PC means nothing if people don’t grasp the difference between them. The confusion generated by the naming schemes in use is a major factor in the somewhat lukewarm market response to many of the high profile Windows 8 devices. Part of the reason is down to the confusion generated between Windows 8, Windows RT, Metro, Modern UI, and the various other brand names used by Microsoft in relation to the latest Windows release, but the manufacturers haven’t helped things along much either. Microsoft itself can be pointed to as a culprit here as well, unless you think “Microsoft Surface with Windows RT” and “Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro” roll off the tongue easily.

Nomenclature concerns aside, I was actually pretty excited to check out the ATIV Smart PC. It, along with the VivoTab TF810C, were the two slates I had marked as most interesting in my mind during the lead up to the Windows 8 launch. Clover Trail meant good battery life and x86 compatibility, the inclusion of Wacom active digitizers were exciting, and the 11.6” PLS/S-IPS displays seemed promising. The two are very comparable devices, though the ASUS is priced higher at $799, and doesn’t include the laptop dock anymore (it did at launch.) That gives the Samsung a pretty sizable price advantage, as $749 is only about $50 more than the 64GB Windows RT tablets when the keyboard accessory cost is included—more than worth it given the disparity in features and capability. This is even more true when you consider that the street price of the ATIV Smart PC has been fallen to $549 without the laptop dock or $729 with (though we've seen it at $649 at Amazon on occasion).

Tablet Specification Comparison
  Samsung ATIV Tab Apple iPad 4 Google Nexus 10 Microsoft Surface RT Samsung ATIV Smart PC
Dimensions 10.46 x 6.62 x 0.35" 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.37" 10.39 x 6.99 x 0.35" 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37" 11.97 x 7.46 x 0.39"
Display 10.1-inch 1366 x 768 IPS 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 IPS 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 PLS 10.6-inch 1366 x 768 PLS 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 PLS
Weight 1.26 lbs 1.44 lbs (WiFi) 1.33 lbs 1.5 lbs 1.64 lbs
Qualcomm APQ8060A
Apple A6X
Samsung Exynos 5 Dual
NVIDIA Tegra 3
Intel Atom Z2760
Connectivity WiFi WiFi , Optional 4G LTE WiFi WiFi WiFi , Optional 4G LTE
Memory 2GB 1GB 2GB 2GB 2GB
Storage 32-64GB 16GB—128GB 16GB or 32GB 32GB or 64GB 64GB
Battery 30.0Wh 42.5Wh 33.75Wh 31.5Wh 30.0Wh
Starting Price $499? $499+ $399+ $499+ $549

It seemed like the ATIV Smart PC would offer a good compromise between the mobility of the ARM-based slates and the power and features of the Intel Core-based ones, something aiming for the sweet spot of the Windows tablet lineup. After spending an extended amount of with it, I think it’s close, but there are some definite areas of improvement.

Samsung ATIV Smart PC: Design
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  • beginner99 - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    Suspected that but makes the whole benchmark even more flawed it is in the first place. It doesn't even mention the browser used, at least not easily visible. I assume it was IE then considering the crappy performance.
  • Kidster3001 - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    Kraken ( and Sunspider ) are not CPU or even system benchmarks. They are Browser benchmarks only. Clovertrail and Clovertrial+ scale perfectly with frequency as compared to Medfield when they use the same browser.
  • kyuu - Monday, March 18, 2013 - link

    Hope a review of the Vizio Tablet PC with the AMD C-60 is incoming soon!
  • kyuu - Monday, March 18, 2013 - link

    Er, Z-60.
  • nikon133 - Monday, March 18, 2013 - link

    What about Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2? I think proper docking station option (with LAN, external screen and a few USB ports) makes it really interesting among Clover Trail tablets, but it is not being mentioned here at all. Is it available in US?
  • hughtwg - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    Yes, it's available in the US. Mine is on Ebay at the moment.

    I think docking the tablet directly to a keyboard like the Ativ, or Envy X2 is much more practical than a dock like that provided by the TPT2 since the keboards have essentially the same ports as the non mobile dock for the TPT2. I bought the TPT2 for the stylus support but found it rather disappointing due to a combination Windows 8 and Lenovo issues.
  • sprockkets - Monday, March 18, 2013 - link

    Still no Nexus 10 review...
  • A.J. - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    Pls try using the same Google Chrome/MS IE10 in Octane or Kraken javascript benchmark test!
    It's totally ridiculous to have the javascript benchmark score with different browsers. Am I looking at a browser test?

    with Chrome25:
    I got 2580 on Octane bench,
    about ~900ms in Sunspider,
    and ~12000ms in Mozilla Kraken.

    Intel Clover Trail Atom is way better than old cortexA9! Even close to cortexA15 in some cases.
    And with the remarkable 1.7W TDP, it totally smashes the A15 in efficiency!

    Curious to see 22nm BayTrail quad-core Atom vs Tegra4.
  • paulbram - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    Although in general I agree it is not fair to compare different browsers, I think you also need to remember that Chrome on a Windows 8 CT chip is really not NEARLY as good as IE10 is. In fact, I've been incredibly impressed with IE10 perf on mine. So, sure you could run Chrome if you want to see poor benchmark results, but why not give the machine the best chance at success?
  • Kidster3001 - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    Javascript benchmarks are "Browser" benchmarks, not CPU benchmarks. They are completely dependent on the javascript engine used in the browser.

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