Today we are going to examine if the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500t can be a laptop replacement. Can it satisfy both the ability to serve as a good tablet, and the need to get work done? Part 1 went into the device as a whole, answering the tablet portion of that question. The answer was mixed. To me it has the potential to fill the tablet role, but it just needs a little more "Metro" apps (I know Microsoft changed the name from Metro, but I am still going to refer to it as Metro).
Using the device with the desktop mode, definitely makes the tablet more functional than something like the iPad. But to be a proper tablet, I feel that you should use the touch interface and not relay on the desktop mode.
What the desktop mode is for is to getting work done. It does a pretty good job of delivering depending on what your usage entails.
Lets start with the keyboard. It feels like a full laptop keyboard, unlike most of the iPad or Android keyboard solutions. This really makes a huge difference, especially when using Microsoft Office. I mentioned some problems with the trackpad in Part 1; and while the trackpad is not perfect, I managed to tweak the settings to improve it slightly.
While using the device in the desktop mode I did notice more sluggishness at times. For example: using Chrome and then trying to open the File Explorer gave a few seconds of delay when it opened. This is not detrimental to the experience, but it does affect your workflow slightly.
Sometimes it takes 10 seconds or more to open the File Explorer and, being impatient, you click it again. Then after 10 seconds multiple windows open up. The same thing happens when downloading files from the browser. You will hit download and wait for 10 seconds, press it again, then multiple prompts appear asking you where to save the file. Things like this do get annoying.
But other than those issues, for the most part, everything ran well on the desktop mode. You will notice some slow down when browsing flash heavy sites, but install a flash blocking plugin and your good to go.
Using Word has been a flawless experience thus far. Typing on it seems more fluid than other word processors. Also the new design works well with touch.
When it comes to watching HD video, I watched an HD movie (720p) in VLC and it played fine.I didn't notice any slowdown or dropped frames.
Overall most things you want to do in the desktop (other than playing taxing 3d games through steam) work fine. Also if you need to do some video editing, or other professional tasks, like 3d composting or rendering, this won't work for you.
If you are one of those professionals who use powerful desktop tools then you probably already have a dedicated desktop machine for those tasks. So you know what you need when you think about purchasing an ATIV tablet.
I am one of those people. I have a powerful desktop with maxed out specs for programs like Avid and 3ds Max; for editing video and composting and rendering VFX. However, I am very happy with the overall capabilities of the ATIV tablet. I don't need it to be a powerhouse machine. I just need it to write documents, browse the internet, work on a PSD file(Photoshop does work fairly well) and maybe preview some footage.
The ATIV is a good addition to an existing workstation. It gives you the mobility, but doesn't sacrifice too much of the PC experience.
So my final verdict on this device is, if your looking for that all-in-one laptop/tablet this won't be powerful enough for you(maybe take a look at the ATIV 700t). But if you already own a machine than can handle resource hogging tasks, then the ATIV is a nice addition.
It is a lot more productive than an iPad or Android tablet, and if your looking for a tablet first and getting a full PC as a bonus, than this is for you. But if you are looking for a powerful laptop first, tablet second, there are some interesting designs that trend in the opposite direction. Such as the IdeaPad YOGA or the Dell XPS 12 Convertible Touch Ultrabook. These devices are laptops first and tablets second.
If any of our readers own an ATIV 500t let us know what you think in the comments below.