- Windows 8 greatly increases functionality
- Powerful Core i5 CPU won't keep you waiting
- Speakers emit passable audio
- Cooling fan spins constantly
- Less than all-day battery life
- Webcams produce grainy, dark images
Featuring a preview of Windows 8, the Samsung Series 7 shows the promise of Microsoft's upcoming touch-friendly OS and the wave of new business tablets expected this fall.
The Samsung Series 7 tablet is a compact yet flexible machine. This business-ready 11.6-inch slate tablet costs more than an Android tablet and an iPad put together, but it packs more powerful components along with Windows 7 Home Premium, or in our case, a preview of Windows 8.
Our evaluation unit also included a host of accessories, including a Bluetooth keyboard, a wireless mouse, a dock, and a case/stand. With keyboard and mouse in tow, the Series 7 can replace your laptop. And with Windows 8 in particular, the touch interface is superb, whether you are using your fingertip or the included digitizer pen.
Samsung sells seven Series 7 models. We reviewed entry-level model, which, if you are scoring at home, carries the model number XE700T1A-A01US. It costs $1,099.99 and features a second-generation (Sandy Bridge) Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory, and a 64GB solid-state drive (SSD). The total price for our entire kit, which includes the Slate Dock/Cradle ($99.99), the Samsung Stand Case ($49.99), the Samsung Compact Wireless keyboard ($79.99), and the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse ($59.95), comes to $1,389.91.
If your requirements for a tablet go beyond Angry Birds, Facebook, and YouTube videos, the Samsung Series 7 offers the performance and functionality of a laptop. Of course, we base much of our positive experience with the Series 7 on the fact that it was running Windows 8 Release Preview. If you purchase the Series 7 today, or any day between now and October 26, you’ll get Windows 7 Home Premium, which doesn’t come close to matching Windows 8′s loving embrace of the touch interface.
There is a price to pay, however, for a running a Core i5 instead of an underpowered Atom processor or its ilk. And that price comes in the form of a cooling fan, which spins nearly constantly. It’s relatively quiet, but you can hear it when working on the tablet, and you can feel the warm air it pushes out of the vents along the tablet’s top edge. Also, both the front- and rear-facing Webcams are subpar.
For road warriors looking to lighten their load, the Samsung Series 7 packs an impressive amount of functionality into a sub-two-pound package. At this point, however, we’d suggest waiting for the Series 8 or whatever Samsung decides to call its forthcoming Windows 8 slate tablet.
- 11.6-inch diagonal capacitive multi-touchscreen (1,366×768) with pen and touch input
- 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M (Sandy Bridge)
- 4GB DDR3
- 64GB SSD
- Intel HD 3000 graphics
- Windows 8 Release Preview
- Front-facing 2.0-megapixel webcam, rear-facing 3.0-megapixel webcam
- 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0
- 11.7 x 7.2 x 0.5 inches
- 1.9 lbs
- Price: $1,099.99 (excluding accessories)