Samsung Series 7 Slate PC

The Samsung Series 7 Slate PC is a tablet computer with an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display and support for both finger input and pressure-sensitive input using a digital pen. That’s because it has both a capacitive, multitouch display and a Wacom active digitizer.

The tablet also has a relatively powerful Intel Core i5-2467M processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a choice of a 64GB or 128GB solid state disk. It comes standard with Windows 7 Home Premium, although Windows 7 Professional will also be available.

All in all, the Series 7 Slate is one of the most responsive Windows slate computers I’ve used (although to be fair, most of my experience with slates has been limited to 10 inch tablets with Intel Atom processors). The Series 7 blends some of the best elements of classic Windows tablets, such as handwriting input, and modern consumer tablets such as finger-friendly gesture support.

I got a chance to check out the Series 7 last night, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to navigate the Windows 7 user interface on the 2 pound tablet using my fingers. While Windows 7 does include some touchscreen support, it generally isn’t as finger-friendly as iOS, Android, or the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

But Samsung has applied some tweaks so that when you tap on an icon, the mouse cursor is likely to actually register in the right place (some other tablets I’ve used seem to expect pen input and when you use a finger instead, the device often has a hard time figuring out exactly what you’re tapping on).

Unlike old-school convertible tablets though, the Series 7 doesn’t have a built-in physical keyboard for when you want to type. But Samsung will offer a Bluetooth keyboard accessory which works quite nicely.

The keyboard features an island-style layout, with flat keys and a little space between each. The keyboard itself is about the same width as the computer, and it’s very thin and light. Samsung designed the accessory so that you can easily slip it into the same carrying case as the slate.

There’s also an optional dock accessory which props up the tablet and gives you a few extra ports including an HDMI output and USB port. The tablet actually has HDMI and USB ports of its own, so the dock isn’t an absolute necessity, but you can use it to charge the tablet, connect peripherals, and prop up the tablet for typing, watching videos, or just looking nice.

Samsung will ship the Series 7 Slate PC starting October 2nd for a starting price of $1099. You can also get a bundle which includes the keyboard and dock for $1349.

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4 replies on “Closer look at the Samsung Series 7 Windows tablet (and accessories)”

  1. True, Slates designs go back over 20 years but the old PC Slates were never really successful.  So when most people refer to old school tablets, they mean the more successful convertibles that most of them actually either seen, heard about, or actually used.

    Btw, Motion Computing was founded in 2001 and that was well after Convertibles had already come out back in the early 90’s.

    Like the convertible GRiD Systems 2260, launched in 1992!

  2. I have a hard time holding a 10 inch 1.6 lbs tablet for extended periods.  I wonder how it would be like to hold an 11 inch 2 lbs tablet for long?  Also wonder what kind of battery life it gets?

    1. Well, from a artist viewpoint, it’s still quite a bit easier to hold and use than a Wacom Cintiq. 

      Then there’s the fact that Lithium batteries degrade over time.  So I dislike integrated battery designs and prefer replaceable battery options.

      While run times varies with use, efficiency of the system, and size of the battery.  So giving a straight run time answer is often misleading if your usage doesn’t match the example, but also keep in mind these slates also provide much more performance than the smaller systems.

      However, the Asus EP121 (based on the older Core i-Series i5) has been noted to run around under 3 hours on average.  While the Samsung Series 7 Slate (based on the newer Sandy Bridge i5) hasn’t been tested yet but claims up to 7 hours and Samsung is good at optimizing idle power usage settings.  So it’s possible you could reach those claimed run times for at least minimal usage. 

      While next year we can look forward to Ivy Bridge from Intel and that should further improve weight and run times for these slates to better compete with their lighter, smaller, and usually much less powerful competition.

  3. A few comments:

    * Thank you for using the term “island style” to describe the keyboard.  I’ve never cared for the gum reference that most people use.  Plus, when Sony brought it to market, this is how they described it.  I’ve noticed that most Apple fans say “chiclet”, but they also don’t realize that Apple copied the design from Sony.

    * While I agree with you the Windows 7 is quite serviceable with just a finger, the finger-only experience of iOS or Android is probably better, as you’ve mentioned.  Still, it would have been more balanced to point out the other side of that argument: When you attach an array microphone, mouse, keyboard, touchpad, or active digitizer to a Windows 7 device you get a significantly greater amount of usefulness and a much higher experience than you do in iOS or Android.  As it stands, you highlighted the one area in which Windows 7 is slightly bested while ignoring all of the other input areas in which it obliterates the operating systems under comparison.

    * “Unlike old-school tablets though, the Series 7 doesn’t have a built-in physical keyboard for when you want to type.”  Uhhh.. Seriously?  “Old school tablets”?  I think you mean “convertible tablets”.  It’s important to remember that the slate form factor tablet PRE-DATE convertible tablets.  You make it sound like the first event in the evolution of the tablet was that one day somebody decided that there should be a slate mode for a device and the way to get that would be to allow a traditional clamshell device to convert into it.  Nope.  The clamshell and slate form factors both lived together side-by-side before somebody decided to make a hybrid device which would offer both form factors in a single device.  That’s where convertible tablets came from.  I know that it’s convenient to redefine “convertible tablets” as “old-school tablets” in order to keep up the fantasy that slates aren’t “slates” but rather “tablets” (if that’s confusing, then it’s because of your own terminological prison), but the reality is that Motion Computing and Fujitsu made slates before companies like Toshiba brought along convertibles, and they were just the business side of the industry.  Rugged manufacturers were providing military slates for tablet computing before that.  People don’t realize that this could even be true because people like to sustain the fantasy that “windows needs a keyboard”, but the reality is that, from Windows 95 on, the Microsoft Windows is an operating system that REQUIRES a mouse and TOLERATES a keyboard.  That is the VERY first thing that all of Microsoft’s developer support materials told us.  It is the touchscreen, either via finger or pen, that provides this cursor control for a slate, which is why we’ve been able to have slate computers for nearly 15 years (actually, it’s been a lot longer than that in the non-PC product lines).  Sorry, but “convertible tablets” aren’t “old-school”.  On the contrary, slates are the old-school tablets, so it may be more appropriate to say that the Samsung Series 7 tablets are actually MORE like old-school tablets than they are UNLIKE old-school tablets because they are slates.

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