Samsung Series 5 Ultra Convertible bends over backward to become a tablet

Samsung is showing off an upcoming ultrabook with a 14 inch display at the Computex trade show this week. It can also function as a tablet. There’s nothing surprising about that… it seems to be true of many of the Windows 8 notebooks we’re seeing from Computex this year.

But what makes the Samsung Series 5 Ultra Convertible special is the way it transforms from notebook to tablet mode. Instead of twisting the screen sideways, engaging some sort of slider mechanism, or detaching the keyboard, you just open the lid… and then keep opening it.

The display goes back 180 degrees until it’s resting on top of the back of the laptop.

Samsung Series 5 Ultra Convertible

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this sort of design. The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga display also rotates 180 degrees to transform the notebook into a tablet. But for now, these two devices are the exception, not the rule. This isn’t the kind of design you see very often.

Maybe that’s because it leaves the keyboard exposed, so that even if the keys are disabled, the tablet could be less comfortable to hold than one with a smooth back.

The Series 5 Ultra Convertible features an Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and 24GB solid state disk for cache. It features 3 USB ports, an Ethernet jack, HDMI port, DisplayPort, and SD card reader.

It has a 14 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display. The prototype also has an access panel on the bottom of the laptop that would let you access the hard drive and memory — something you don’t often see on an ultrabook. But it’s not clear if the final version will still have that access panel if and when the Series 5 Ultra Convertible hits the market later this year.

Samsung is also showing off a Series 5 Hybrid tablet with a detachable keyboard and the Samsung Series 5 Touch, an ultrabook which has a touchscreen, but no tablet mode.

via Laptop Magazine and Engadget

  • Someone

    I honestly dislike gimmicks like this.  I don’t want a computer where the screen ‘bends’ over backward like that.  Didn’t like it on the Lenovo Yoga, don’t like it here.  It’s still a PC more than tablet in that even though you have a touch screen you can access without needing the keyboard and mouse, you still have all that weight and heat.  Unlike other tablet PC’s, you get the added ability to accidentally hit keys or the touchpad when you’re holding this one.

    I just don’t see the market for it, and it seems like there are too many design compromises for not nearly enough productivity gain for this to ever become a successful product.

    Then again I guess I can’t complain.  If manufacturer’s want to throw feces at the wall and see what sticks, and I’m not the wall, then whatever.  It’s not like an affront to me personally that this exists.  I just can’t ever see buying one.

    • Jim

      If people don’t buy this design, then perhaps manufacturers will learn their lesson and not make this kind of device. 

      I suspect that more designs will look like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, where the tablet part is removable from the keyboard.

    • http://twitter.com/Grismar Jaap van der Velde

      Quite frankly, I don’t see the compromises you’re talking about. In fact, I think it has quite a few advantages over a detachable like the Asus Transformer. The upside with something like the Convertible or the Yoga is that all the hardware like batteries, interfaces and basic logic (cpu, memory, storage) can be efficiently packed into the two parts making up the entire unit. Folding it doesn’t require putting everything in or behind the screen. The only real argument against it is exposing the keyboard, which might be a problem with dirt or perhaps be a little less pleasant to hold in some cases.

      Whether good hinges or decent connectors will last longer, remains to be seen. But going by modern notebooks, I’m fairly certain the hinges on these devices will outlast plenty of other components.

      Why “accidentally hitting keys” would be a problem, I don’t see. The keyboard is disabled at a certain angle, so that doesn’t do anything. And you “just don’t see the market for it” – I’m sure you mean “I don’t want one” or perhaps this is even a case of “I can’t afford one” and therefore sour grapes?