Top positive review
28 people found this helpful
Best all round productive and entertainment tablet
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.
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...
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
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:
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.
HINTS and TIPS
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:
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.
- 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.