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on 8 April 2014

I have purchased the Samsung XE700T ATIV Pc Pro 64Gb version, although admittedly not from my preferred supplier of Amazon (sorry), but the alternative offer was too tempting to pass up. (£399!)
Typically, I do my research on the product before making a purchase.
Because even though I thought it was a real bargain which I'd got on this product.
£400 is still a lot of money to spend on a single transaction.
(Plus I had to do much grovelling before the other half would let me buy it!)
One of the places where I came for further information on this product before making a purchase is Amazon.
And with the current low ratings for this product, I felt compelled to provide my own account of the experiences of owning this product and re-dress the balance on the ratings.

(DISCLAIMER This is going to be a long review)

So what do you get out of the box?

1. Tablet PC
2. Docking keyboard
3. Charging power supply
4. Manuals and warranty (1 year parts and labour from Samsung) that people tend to ignore

Everything is very well presented and packaged.
Each layer in the box was appropriately cushioned with foam.
It's exactly how you would expect to find a household name like Samsung would sell you a product.
If you are still curious there is a youtube unboxing video available.

After prying open the contents.
Now the first obvious thing you would do is power on the unit.
But my first attempt ended up in complete and utter failure.
This is largely down to my uncontrollable state of mind, with excitement and adrenaline pumping through my veins at that time.
I pressed the button but it didn't turn on.
I thought that the unit was defective or broken.
Yes...you know that horrible feeling in your gut where your huge excitement and expectations rapidly turn to despair and disappointment.
So I thought, maybe the unit had been in the store house too long and that the battery had run too low.
It can happen.
So the next thing I did was to plug in the charging power supply and then wait 1-2 minutes before trying again.
Some observations.
The charging plug is tiny and so didn't seem to fit snugly into the tablet unit.
You have to push it and even rotate it a little until the device recognise it.
Although the fit into the base unit (keyboard dock) is much better.
So now, when I need to charge the tablet, I would rather just attach the tablet to the keyboard dock instead.
Also, I was a little worried about how long the tiny pin connector might last.
I think it would take just 1 snag on the cable whilst being plugged into the unit and it could quite easily bend the pin, as well as drag your tablet pc straight to cold hard floor, (unless you have carpet!)
Sadly there is no charging light to indicate that the unit is currently charging, or when it is fully charged.

So those were the initial concerns.
Anyway, I did manage to turn on unit.
You need to just press and hold for a little bit on the power button to start it.
Simple you would think!!
So back to being all excited and happy again! :)
I'll be honest, I should have expected this, as all current smartphones / tablets operate like this when they start from cold boot.
For some unfathomable reason, I was expecting it to behave like my other PCs, which when you press the power button they turn on straight away.

Well once I got in, you are greeted with the typical registration and setup for Windows 8 user.
Easy, simple and straight forward.
After you get through to the new Metro interface, it looks a lot like my xbox screen.
You will find that unit can sometimes stutter and pause.
Do not panic!
This is just windows downloading and patching itself.
Depending on your internet connection, this can take a considerable amount of time.
For me it was around 1.5-2 hours...I was not entirely sure.
Because at this point, I kind of left the unit for charging and had dinner.
I came back and restarted the unit.
86 updates to go...
More waiting...
And whilst we wait, I'll tell you a bit about the new Windows 8 Metro UI.

For me, this is my first experience with Windows 8.
Having been a user of all flavours of Windows, since 3.11 Windows for Workgroup...
And having to adjust from Windows 7, it took a little getting used to.
Some quick tips,
Swipe in from the left of the screen - Application switching
Swipe in from the right - Charms
Swipe in from the top to the bottom - Application closure
Swipe in from bottom - displays list of application options

Tap on screen = left click
Tap and hold = right click

There quick short cut windows keys like:
Win = Metro UI / last application
Win+D = desktop
Win+L = lock screen
Win+C = charms menu
Win+Z = application options
Win+U = accessibility menu
Win+X = advance management menu
Win+TAB = application switcher

There are quite a few more, and you still have access to the old favourites, like copy / paste (CTRL+C, CTRL+V) and ALT+TAB for app switching will all still work.

You also still have a desktop mode, mainly to use traditional windows applications where you may want to use a mouse / keyboard combination.
The Metro screen is to use newer applications, which are more suited to touch interface.
The new windows application model, is similar to iOS and Android.
And therefore it's installation, update and removal is also like those systems too. i.e. very clean, quick and simple.

If I am being honest, I think the hardest thing to get over in Windows 8, is trying to figure out how to configure or change a setting.
There seems to be like 3-4 different ways.
But not always intuitive...
As a self-confessed tinkerer or power user as some people would like to call it.
It can be a little bit annoying / frustrating.
But come on!
Lets be fair, it is the same for ANY operating system that you use and it gets updated.
I had the same thoughts when Apple upgraded iOS 6 to 7.
Likewise, Google and Android Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich.
IT / Computing is the most rapidly changing field / industry.
Change is inevitable, so you need to just adapt to it...Except for Windows Millennium Edition...no one needs to adapt or ENDURE that OS!! ;)
...So the point is to bear in mind that you will need to spend some time to re-learn where everything is kept, apart from that, everything is cool.

The tablet section is very well built.
Haven't notice any flex and it is certainly hefty enough.
The back plastic is coloured to look a bit like brushed aluminium.
Some might say that it doesn't feel like a premium material like aluminium, or the rubber coating that you find on say the Nexus 7 tablet.
But I think that if Samsung chose to use those materials, it is likely to increase the cost, as well as the weight of tablet even further.
So for me it is a sound decision and a good compromise.
Just to mention that the internal frame seems to be made of metal, to lend some confidence in its ability to survive some accidents.
On the back there are some inlet holes.
And you get the normal intel i5 (-drool) sticker as well as the Windows 8 one.

The screen is bright and sharp with its 1080p resolution.
I haven't noticed any light bleed on my unit, unlike another reviewer's.
There is also an ambient sensor, that can be used to adjust the brightness based on the surrounding light levels.
If you try and boot the unit when in a darken room.
It will ask you to press the windows button, or the side volume button to confirm that you want to start the machine.
Colours look good, not as good as the iPad 3+.
But definitely miles better than most budget laptops (up to around £500).

Around the tablet
Micro hdmi - you can connect it to the big screen using a cable, for VGA, just get an adapter
Volume rocker
Power button
Power light
Auto rotate button - onscreen message to show when activated / deactivated
Full size USB3.0 - full flexibility to insert a device of your fancy
Micro SDXC card reader - tested with a Sandisk Extreme 64Gb, sadly it would seem that the reader has only USB2.0 speeds. When the card is plugged into the reader, I get 22MB/s READ, 19MB/s WRITE. Plugging it into a Kingston USB3.0 reader and then into the USB3.0 port, I get 43MB/s READ, and 41MB/s WRITE using the same card. A shame considering that expansion will be high on most people's list.
Digitizer pen - works with the built in Wacom digitizer, it is small and has 1024 levels of pressure, with 1 side-button (acts as right click), no erasure, approx 4 inches long.
Docking port - remember to remove 2 plastic tabs at the bottom, before you can insert into the keyboard dock

Note all ports are covered by their own little plastic tabs, so helps to keep dust out of the ports.
Good job Samsung!

You need to firmly push the tablet down onto the metal hinge to attach to the keyboard dock.
When it is in place, it is held securely.
I don't have the same problems as some when touching the tablet display whilst connected to the keyboard that it disconnects.
But I have had incidents where the keyboard, for what ever reason lose communication with the tablet and I had re-dock to get it back.
I suspect it has something to do with the power management software in Windows.
The keyboard is made of plastic and has the island style keys.
Personally I find it perfectly adequate to touch-type on.
But I know that any preference over a keyboard is definitely one of opinion.
I got the UK keyboard, with double height Enter key.
It has got secondary function buttons on the Fn keys.
F1 - Samsung settings program
F2 - brightness down
F3 - brightness up
F4 - 2nd monitor
F5 - touchpad disable/enable
F6 - mute
F7 - volume down
F8 - volume up
F12 - wireless disable/enable

Track pad has 2 buttons and supports multi point gestures.
At first this was setup to mimic the windows swipe functions.
Which was so frustrating!
i.e. swipe from the left to switch application, swipe from right for charms etc.
Luckily this function can be re-configured. PHEW!
Look for this program C:\Program Files\Elantech\ETDSimpleUI_Win8.exe
Then you can disable it.
And enable something more useful.
Like pinch to zoom gesture, 4-finger swipe to switch to desktop mode.

The keyboard dock communicates over USB to the tablet.
And replicates 2 Full size USB2.0 ports to either side, which again are covered by port covers.
This might be handy if you want to easily attach a usb mouse to work with.
Although with a 10-point Touch interface, a track pad, and the digitizer pen all as potential input device.
I can't honestly see why you would want to.
Also don't forget that the tablet supports Bluetooth v4.0 communications, so you can always add a bluetooth wireless keyboard/mice combo.

When docked, it is true that the whole machine is a little top heavy.
But how hard must some people need to poke the screen to knock it over??!
They must use all of their strength.
Any way, I have no such complaints, with a sensitive capacitive digitized touch screen, I can lightly tap with the pen or my finger and the machine stays perfectly still.

It has got plenty!!
And it is one of the main reasons for getting this tablet above others.
It's got an intel i5 3317U Ivy Bridge running inside this thing.
With speedstep, this processor will operate between 800Mhz to 1.7Ghz, with turbo frequency of 2.6Ghz!!
It can quite happily run Adobe photoshop, or anything that you would expect an ultra book to be capable of.
This was borne out by the Windows Experience index of:

Processor: 7.1
Memory: 6.9
Graphics: 4.6
Gaming graphics: 6.4
Primary hard disk: 7.4

Total: 4.6 ->determined by the lowest component score

As you can see, it is only the desktop graphics that is letting the overall system down.
In reality you won't really see the effect of this.

The only thing is that the 4Gb of RAM can be limitation.
But thankfully Microsoft has done a great job with Windows 8. (Credit due where it is due)
On a fresh instance, the idle memory usage is under 1Gb.
So not too bad.
It is early days, but I'm pretty confident that I shouldn't need more RAM.
The only scenario where the RAM will be a limitation is video encoding, or serious photo editing.
For video encoding you have quicksync to help out.
Either ways, I will still turn to my i7 32Gb RAM 500Gb SSD desktop, if I really wanted to do this kind of work.
For the tablet, it was never the usage model I purchased this for.
So it is a bonus that I know it can even do it...on a one off basis...unlike some other options.
For those interested.
Samsung chose a quality SSD for the 64Gb.
I feared the worse when I saw the description of eMMC instead of SSD.
Because in the past eMMC were considered much slower than a true SSD hard drive.
Also, it is typical that for smaller capacity drives, the performance usually takes a hit also.
And that the best performing parts are usually found on the largest capacities
But worry not, the unit installed is a Sandisk U100 series, which is a good one.
Looking at the specs sheet, the 64Gb unit is capable of up to 450Mb/s read and write operation!
That is fantastic and although I haven't benchmarked it, it certainly feels plenty fast enough and shown in Windows Index scores.

This is good and much better than I expected.
It is specced with a 4-cell, 49Whr battery.
Which is approx half of what you will find in a Nexus 10 tablet, but that tablet is good for at least 10hrs.
For the Samsung XE700T, I get roughly around 5hrs usage.
And that is the usual browsing the internet, watch some video and some light gaming.
It is not bad at all.
I do try to turn as many of the battery saving features on as possible, when it is not on charge.
The Samsung power profile is actually very aggressive in this respect.
But if you desperately need more power / responsive, you can always configure it for maximum power instead.
The interesting thing about battery life is that it will vary from person to person.
But for me, it can comfortably beat most budget and even mid-range laptops, with a normal typical productive usage.
You might think why compare to those machines?
Well for me, that is what I think it resembles the closest and it is the reason I bought it for.
If you compare with tablets from the iOS or Android stable.
Then you might think that the battery life is a bit rubbish.
But don't forget what you can achieve on this great piece of kit that you simply cannot with the others.

Not too much to say, except that it is an Intel Wireless Centrino 6235 a/b/g/n.
It has a strong signal and solid performance.
There is also a bluetooth 4.0 chip in there.
I haven't tested the speed, but very easy to connect and use my logitech bluetooth keyboard / mouse combo.
Finally an interesting addition.
The tablet supports Intel WiDi, wireless display protocol.
This allows you to stream your screen, straight to a compatible device like TV or monitor.
Just like what you can with a Kindle Fire HDX and miracast.

64Gb is admittedly not very much to work with.
But there are ways that you can maximise the amount of free space available.
First of all, before doing anything, best backup the machine, so you have some way back to the original factory state if you mess something up.
I choose to make a drive image first and safely store that away, before I make the following changes to reclaim space:
- Un-install Norton. Windows Defender is perfectly adequate.
- Take a copy of the tablet user guide pdf, User_guide_eng.pdf. Then I un-installed the software, saving 500Mb of space!
- Un-install unwanted games.
- Un-install Reminder software.
- Un-install Infineon TPM software, it didn't seem to be working in the first place!
- Un-install Intel App Update software
- Remove recovery partitions, 12 Gigs
- Stop hibernation (powercfg -h off) and delete hiberfil.sys
- Reduce or set Swapfile to 0.
Total free space = 36Gb

People with non-responsive or stuttering touch screen.
This is a problem with the installed Wacom driver.
The culprit is a program called ISD_Tablet.exe.
During some occasions when the machine is put to sleep for a long time.
It creates a memory leak, and this application ends up using 3Gb+ of memory.
The fix is simple.
1. Download the latest version of Wacom tablet drivers from this page:
2. Un-install the old drivers by running:
C:\Program Files\Tablet\ISD\setup\Remove.exe
3. Reboot.
4. Install the new drivers.
5. Reboot again.
6. Search Windows and find Device Manager.
7. In the Device manager, under Human Interface Devices, right click Wacom device, select properties, select power management tab.
8. Remove the check next to "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power". Click OK and your done!
Just to mention that the pen worked much better after I had done this and the calibration software worked a treat.

Windows 8.1 Update.
A 3.29Gb download and it's free with many new fixes and enhancements to the OS.
Highly recommended.

- i5 processor, high performance in a tablet form factor
- Full Windows Experience giving maximum flexibility and compatibility with peripherals
- Bright and high resolution 1080p screen
- Built in wacom digitizer and pen
- Full size USB3.0 port
- Storage expandable with micro SDXC card (64Gb)
- Mini HDMI port and Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) for easy output to big screen
- Integrated keyboard dock to tranform into ultra book form factor

- 64Gb version limited, out of the box and after software patches, only 13Gb of free space
- 4Gb RAM might be limited for the heaviest of applications
- Quite heavy as a tablet, weighing almost twice that of an ipad air, at 880g.
- Top heavy when attached to plastic keyboard dock
- Missed opportunity for adding additional power in dock
- Out of the box, takes a good while to patch up to the latest software

In summary, for the price, performance, value and flexibility, it is hard to deny that this is an excellent machine.
It can function well as both a tablet or as an ultra book.
And it gives you all of the flexiblity of running on a full version of Windows.
I listed a few of the con's of this machine, but for me, these are definitely things that you can live with...or without for that matter.
As the pros far out-weigh the cons.
I was considering a potential Intel Bay Trail tablet too, but unfortunately these are currently shipped with 32-bit Windows 8.
And I would prefer to standardise on using only 64-bit apps across all my PCs without having to download 2 versions of each of my favourite apps.
Also, there is the real fact that the i5 is still 2-4 times faster than the Atom processors.
The only thing you might miss out is the better battery life of those device.
But again, that's the trade off you have to make between performance and power.
I say if you want an entertainment and consumer of information device, go for an iPad or a Nexus.
They are brilliant devices and I own them too.
BUT! If you truly want to do real work, then there is no other choice, but an i5 Windows tablet is the only real option.
And this tablet being similar to the significantly more expensive MS Surface Pro machine, and at £400 it really was a no brainer.
Truly excellent.
44 Comments| 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 March 2014
Visually this looks like a great tablet/laptop convertible. Sadly the reality isn't so great.

To be fair on this laptop I'll mention the good things as well as the bad.

The Good:

The tablet itself appears well made, with a solid feel.
The i5 is a dual core CPU with hyper threading and onboard graphics featuring Quick Sync.
The screen resolution is high and looks great with HD video playback.
The tablet is silent under low load and fairly quiet under heavy load.
Battery life seemed quite good, however this may be down to a very tightly tuned, low performance power option pre-set by Samsung.

The Bad:

Price. Even at 60% of the full RRP, this laptop is a poor performer.
The keyboard is flimsy and light, making the tablet section top heavy when used like a laptop.
The screen has some light bleeding/over brightness towards the left and right sides of the screen, but is still better than a budget laptop.
The speakers are terrible. The left speaker on mine distorted sound a great deal, so I would suspect it wasn't very well attached inside.
The WiFi driver out of the box is quite bug ridden. Updates took more than a dozen attempts and auto-reconnect would not work on bootup.
Disk space for Windows itself is 47GB with around 20GB of free space out of the box. The remaining space used for a recovery partition. During updates I saw the free disk space reduce right down to 8GB, with System protection consuming so much disk use that the system was not responsive.
The touch screen regularly stopped responding to touch and quite often the keyboard and track pad would unmount from Windows (with no notification).

The Ugly:

In the description above Amazon state "Full Windows 8 Pro Experience with TPM". The version of Windows is actually the standard version. Upgrading to Pro costs £80+
To get reasonable performance out of the laptop I had to disable the page file, disable system protection, remove Norton, and update to Windows 8.1. Performance still wasn't great. I have an Asus TF600T Windows RT tablet with a quad core NVidia CPU that is more responsive browsing the web than this laptop.
The recovery software to restore to factory defaults does not function properly. The application refused to accept the recovery image installed by Samsung. I tried to use the export function to place the recovery image onto a USB stick. Firstly, I tried using the option to create a FAT32 formatted bootable USB stick, but it failed at 4GB of files (This was not file-size-limit related as the restore image is not a flat file type). Secondly, I tried creating a non bootable NTFS formatted USB stick and successfully copied all recovery files correctly. However, Samsung's recovery application refused to find or allow browsing to the USB stick, both within Windows and in the bootup recovery environment. I suspect the recovery application is produced by a third party with restrictions that have gone un-noticed by Samsung.

After finding so many issues I decided to return it for refund.
11 Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 December 2012
First impression is its heavier than I hoped it would be in tablet mode. The tablet alone is 880g , nearly 1kg, about 250g more than an iPad. Its also too wide.

3 hours in and its still updating so the out of the box experience is pretty poor. Confusingly Samsung's own software update programme is buggy out of the box and ironically needs updating itself before you can get anywhere with it. Then, when its updated , Samsung's update programme is hardly intuitive. Then there are two other update programmes installed on the device - one from Intel and the Windows standard update. I think the average user would be very confused.

The trackpad set up Samsung has on this means its pretty easy to accidently switch between apps when doing anything with the left of the trackpad. I've probably switched applications by accident 5 times just typing this review. It's possible to switch this off I think. This is a feature of windows 8 - swiping from the left changes application, swiping from the right accesses charms. It's a good idea but the way it's configured out of the box hinders normal trackpad use.

Overall summary: Try before you buy, due to weight and limited drive space - just 16gb

-Nice keyboard and trackpad
-OK screen, nothing special though. It's debatable whether full HD on such a small screen makes a difference in laptop mode
-Very good handwriting recognition with the pen
-Very responsive pen
-Runs cold in normal use (a surprise)

-Pen is too small (think Argos free pens and you've got the idea). Though it does work with other Wacom pens
-Lots of Samsung bloatware installed - eg Norton which does everything it can to persuade you not to uninstall (do uninstall I recommend Windows Defender is perfectly good and Norton will only slow your device down)
-Screen doesn't tilt all the way back for the reason below....
-Device is top heavy as all the processer etc is behind the screen, hence it easily tilts over if you're not careful when docked. Samsung have tried to stop this happening by the metal connector at the back which connects the tablet to the keyboard, but this also has the undesired effect of restricting how far back you can tilt the device
-Too wide and tall in handheld use -at least 25% wider than the iPad
-Too heavy to hold for a long period of time
-Very expensive for what it is
-Only around 16gb of usable hard drive space after all the system updates are installed
Samsung should be ashamed of themselves for only shipping this with 64GB - the rest of Europe gets 128GB as standard

Also consider:
The intel atom version of this , slower but 200g lighter.
99 Comments| 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 July 2014
I can't understand why this product isn't widely available as its another good product from Samsung. The screen like all their tablet screens is fairly unbeatable. Video streaming is A1 from Amazon Prime, Lovefilm and catch up tv services and streams wirelessly to large screen tv with no loss in quality. The touch screen is responsive and the Wacom stylus excellent if you don't want finger marks but in tablet mode I use both. I have paired with a Logitech K400 wireless keyboard as the included docking keyboard is slightly top heavy and I stream to large tv frequently, so a simple keyboard on lap suits me. A 64gb micro sd card expands the storeage and worked immediately and the various cloud storeage options are what I generally use for photos etc. I have a protective case cover as for all my portable devices and the stand on that helps in tablet mode. Sky go works on this although Sky doesn't support Windows 8/8.1 some programs can be viewed on large screen but due to licencing others have this disabled as on tablets. All in all I am satisfied with this product and at less than £500 is reasonable when compared to other similar tablets and better than the Surface.
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on 24 October 2015
I dont get the negativity toward this laptop. Ive had mine a year now and its great, battery is amazing, lasts way over12-14 on ligth tasks, browsing and such. I5 makes this computer brilliant and fast, the memory is fast. Having a proper keyboard is a great one as other tablet laptops have annoyed me will there lack of keyboard. Though this is by far the best laptop I have had. Wifi is fast and powerful. USB3 at the top is a great feature. Could have a few more, but not really noticed it. Love it though
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on 2 October 2015
I have been a Samsung convert for years, however, I found the unit to be very insecure connection between the keyboard dock and the screen, easy to fall out. The HD capacity is dreadful as there is hardly any room to add your own software. There doesn't seem to be a logical sync between NOTE on the Samsung Galaxy Note phone and the hybrid laptop which I was expecting/hoping. Finally, no sim card slot, which I was expecting.
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on 3 August 2014
A great tablet, but rendered useless by shoddy design and/or construction. The keyboard was ok for a week or two, then kept docking and undocking at random, and now refuses to connect at all. We have a Samsung place here in Sheffield but they said they "haven't been trained" to service this device, despite this very common problem apparently being known about since 2012. As an expensive device with allegedly dockable keyboard it's a complete waste of money.
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on 28 June 2014
Exactly what I wanted. I don't understand what others are on about but to me it's a perfect product that serves the purpose of tablet and laptop. Connecting the tablet to keyboard dock was easy and straightforward, no complications, as long as you read and understand the manual. The only issue is some apps such as Facebook and Instagram can't be downloaded on it.
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on 11 September 2016
The worst laptop ever. Samsung should have recalled the product because obviously there is a docking problem.
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on 17 November 2015
This is an absolute pleasure to use, screen is a bit small for a laptop but right size for tablet use.
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