Mini Review : Samsung Ativ Smart PC and Clover trail
I got my Samsung Ativ Smart PC 500T from staples one day after the Window 8 launch. It was 600$ with a free 1 year staples total protection warranty and a really crappy sleeve imo its a great deal. This mini review is intended to give a sneak peak of what to expect from the upcoming line of clovertrail tablets.
I'm gonna skip the basic specs of the unit as you can find that on the official website. The back of the unit is made up entirely of glossy plastic with a brushed aluminum texture. Aesthetically I don't really have much complaint they got the look imitation down pretty well while the color scheme is not exactly my top color of choice its not hideous by any means. Initially I did have some worries about the plastic back because it does have a hollow feeling but after spending a week with the device most of my worries have subsided. While its not the strongest material it does seem fairly resilient and adequate for normal usage at home or taking it with you to school. It does have a little bit of creaking when I apply some pressure to the back or try to the twist the unit a little from the sides.
My biggest problem with the build of the unit is the S-Pen compartment. While it very tightly secures the pen in place it also makes it extremely hard to pull it out because there is only a very shallow indentation on the pen that you can actually hold on to.
The first thing I noticed with the display was the odd reflection off the screen coating. Instead of the clear glass surface I'm used to seeing on phones and tablets this screen seems to have a thin layer of plastic gel on it if that makes any sense at all. It kind of looks like a new tablet out of box with the plastic wrap still on.
I can't really tell if its got a IPS screen or not, but the viewing angles matches the IPS screens I've seen so far. The colors looks a bit washed out , the live tiles I saw on the surface definitely looks a lot more vivid. The black levels are also not as great as what you would expect on a IPS screen. It does look decent but a little bit below what I would expect from samsung.
I haven't really ran any battery benchmarks as you would usually find in reviews but the battery life seems great so far. During the blackout I watched around 3 hours of movies with the family and still had 80% battery left according to the window battery meter. I spend quite a bit of time in the library with the unit doing light web surfing , reading I generally leave with 50% or more after a 5 hour session. I would say this unit would comfortably last a whole day without the dock.
The general desktop experience is fairly smooth. I rarely find the need to manually close programs to free up memory/cpu. Heavy Flash websites work fine in desktop mode IE or Chrome while I do find some choppy scrolling every now and then but sometimes its just perfectly smooth I have yet to figure out why yet.
The app launch times are a bit longer than I like sometimes, one note takes around 5 sec to launch, same for Wall St. Journal, while IE and mail apps launch pretty quickly at around 2-3 sec. The S Pen works great in the APPS but not so great in the desktop apps. The writings tend to fade out as you write it and comes back after a second or so which was really annoying for me.
I don't have any access to professional benchmarking softwares but I did run the PassMark CPU Mark and got a 630. The Intel Core2 Duo E8400 @ 3ghz got a 2017.... so its definitely no power house. I tried playing League of Legend on the tablet but I was only able to get 12 FPS with the lowest settings.
I think this is a decent device overall and I'm satisfied with performance of Clover Trail. After using it for a week I've really gotten used to window 8 and find it a bit more intuitive than IOS or Android. It offers some light productivity capabilities and the Metro UI should be suffice for most of your consumption needs. It makes alot of sense for someone like me who is looking to consolidate the devices I carry and doesn't need a huge amount of computing power on the go.