Samsung ATIV 500T Smart PC

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Product: Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T
Provided By: Samsung Canada
Price: 

Introduction: 

Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? Nope, it's the new Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T.


Samsung has a pretty good lineup of tablets, as well as a nice lineup of laptops, but the ATIV lineup of products looks to merge laptop and tablet into one. The ATIV 500T is basically a tablet that comes with a keyboard dock to add laptop functionality to the ATIV tablet which is running Windows 8.


I'm very interested to see how the ATIV 500T performs and if it can actually replace two devices with one. The idea of combining both my laptop and tablet into one device is exciting, let's see if the ATIV 500T is the device that can do it.

 

Closer Look:
 

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Samsung ATIV - Packaging
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Samsung ATIV - Side View

 

While docked the ATIV 500T looks and behaves similar to other notebooks. As you'll be able to see in the next few sets of pictures, the overall looks of the ATIV 500T is pretty nice with a brushed aluminum finish.
 

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Samsung ATIV - Side View
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Samsung ATIV - Front View


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Samsung ATIV - Open View
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Samsung ATIV - Keyboard


To release the tablet from the dock all you need to do is push the big silver button at the top of the keyboard. I think the docking system is better than other products I've seen, but like with anything, if you slam the screen into the dock like a maniac I would think you could probably break the dock over time.


Once docked you can obviously close the system like a regular laptop (as you have seen in the pictures above). The one odd thing, and kind of a big drawback, is the angle at which you can position the screen while docked. In the pictures above (left) you will see the maximum angle at which the screen can be set at. For desktop usage this angle is great, however, when you go to set this unit on your lap you are unable to tilt the screen back anymore which can make viewing the screen and typing a pain in the butt. At first I didn't think this would be much of an issue, but after a couple weeks of usage I encountered a couple times where I was trying to use the ATIV while in a vehicle and found the lack of tilt on the screen to be an annoying nuisance.

 


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Samsung ATIV -  ATIV Undocked
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Samsung ATIV - Dock Connectors


So there we have it, the ATIV 500T from Samsung. As we saw in the pictures above the finish of the ATIV 500T is very nice and looks more expensive than the price tag it carries. In the next section we'll take a closer look at the specifications that the ATIV 500T carries.

 

 



Samsung ATIV 500T Specifications:
 

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Features:
 

It’s Not Just an Ultra-Thin Tablet

It’s a fully functioning PC. The Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T runs the programs you need on a Windows 8 operating system in a sleek, lightweight form. Take advantage of longer battery life and the dual-core, four-thread, 1.80 GHz Intel Atom processor Z2760 processor featuring Intel® Burst Technology and Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology. Featuring a docking keyboard, S Pen™ functionality and touch screen, the ATIV Smart PC connects you to your PC—and your world—as never before.

 

Take Advantage of an Intuitive, Ultra-Thin Design

Empower your mobile life with the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T. The lightweight design and long battery life can take you anywhere, while the docking keyboard provides the flexibility to shift from notebook to tablet effortlessly. Use the S Pen™ to take notes, sketch instructions and send messages in your own handwriting.

Get the Full PC Experience on a Tablet

It may be small, but this tablet is mighty—the same power and speed as a desktop computer. Featuring Windows 8 so you can run your favorite software, including Microsoft Office. The Samsung ATIV Smart PC can create, edit and share documents with anyone safely, and without compatibility issues. Or multitask wherever you go: Powerful processors can run multiple apps at once, simultaneously, browse the Web, and help you do all you need to do—just like a desktop.

Share Apps and Content Across Multiple Devices

Connect your Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T with multiple compatible devices via WiFi or the Internet. Use SW Update to update and download AllShare™ Play technology to share new content or share existing content to a Samsung Smart TV, smartphone or camera. Plus the docking keyboard quickly connect to your Smart PC and also your MP3 player, camera and other USB devices.

 

Discover the New, Beautiful, Fast and Fluid Windows 8

Reimagined to be all about you, Windows 8 lets you personalize your desktop and gives you instant access to all your favorite people, apps, sites and more. Use SW Update to keep your PC running smoothly with the latest software and drivers, and to download Samsung’s Quick Starter feature, which adds a toolbar and start button for easy navigation in the desktop view. Plus, connect to SkyDrive® and store files, photos, videos and more, so wherever you go, you’re connected to the cloud.

 

Specifications:

Operating System
Operating System Windows 8 (32-bit)
Processor
Processor Intel® Atom™ Processor Z2760
CPU Clock Speed (Max.) Up to 1.8 GHz”
CPU Cache 2 x 512KB
Model
Series Series 5
Model Number XE500T1C-A01CA
Display
Screen Size
11.6"
Type LED HD
Resolution
1366 x 768
Brightness 400 nits SuperBright™ Plus Technology
Memory
Standard System Memory 2GB
Memory Type DDR2L
Max. System Memory 2GB
HDD
Hard Drive 64GB
RPM eMMC
Graphics
Graphic Chip Intel® SGX545 Graphics Media Accelerator
External or Integrated Integrated
Maximum Graphics Memory
Shared
Sound & Camera
Speaker
0.64 W x 2
Sound Effect SoundAlive™
Internal Mic Yes
Web Cam
2.0 MP HD(Front)
Connectivity
Wireless LAN
802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Wired Ethernet LAN
Gigabit LAN
I/O Ports
HDMI Micro
USB Ports (Total)
1 x USB 2.0
Headphone Out Yes (Headphone/MIC combo)
Microphone In Yes
Multi Card Slot 1 Micro SD
RJ45 Available with dongle
Docking Connector
Yes
Input Devices
Touch Pad / Track Point
Available with Keyboard Dock Accessory (included)
Power
AC Adapter 40 W
Number of Cells/Cell Type 2 cell / Li-Po
Watt Hours 30
Dimensions
System Dimensions (W x D x H)
11.6" x 7.2" x 0.38"
Weight
Weight (lb.) 1.65 lb.
Warranty
Warranty 1 Year Standard Parts and Labor

 


 

Samsung ATIV 500T Testing - Features:

I'm going to break this first section of testing down into a few different categories where I go over individual components of this system.

 

CPU:

The Intel Atom Z2760 isn’t the fastest CPU on the block (Samsung does offer a version of the ATIV with an Intel i5 CPU), but for everyday desktop apps the Atom CPU is good enough. If you are hoping it will keep up with your laptop in terms of performance, you will be disappointed (as you will see in the next section of this review in our benchmark section).

 

Hard Drive:

The ATIV 500T features a 64GB Sandisk SSD. After formatting and all the space reserved by the system you’ll end up with around 51.4GB of usable capacity. After Windows installation you’ll end up with about ~38 GB of usable space, which isn’t anything too impressive and might become an issue for some people. For the price of this unit (~$650 CDN), you can’t be too upset about the lack of hard drive space, but the lack of space could be a problem for the person who would like to use this device to replace their existing laptop. Luckily there is a MicroSD slot as well as USB ports which allow you to add additional storage if you need it.

Connectivity:

The ATIV features on the tablet itself, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 MicroSD card slot, 1 mini-HDMI port, and 1 Headphone/Mic jack. Once docked into the keyboard, you’ll gain an extra 2 USB 2.0 ports. 3 USB ports in total should be enough for most users and is a nice feature to have when compared to other tablets.

It would be nice to have at least 1 USB 3.0 port, but for most “tablet” users this probably isn’t a deal breaker.

 
 
Keyboard/Dock:

I was pretty happy with the dock that comes with the ATIV 500T. The keyboard is comparable to other Samsung laptops and has a nice feel to it. The dock feels solid and the latch that holds the tablet into the dock seems like it is decent enough to take a little abuse (I would obviously recommend against dropping the entire unit if possible). Once docked, the entire assembly functions just like a laptop and hinges closed like a regular laptop would.

I always pay extra attention to the hinges on any laptop and while the ATIV might not have the best hinging action I’ve ever seen, I think it is adequate for a machine in this price range.

One major complaint I have with the ATIV 500T is how far the screen hinges when open. If you have the ATIV on your desk you won’t have an issue, but if you set this system on your lap and want to tilt the screen open a bit more you won’t be able to. This is a bit annoying and for some people might be a deal breaker.

 

Screen:

The touchscreen works well, I really don’t have any complaints as far as responsiveness goes. The resolution (1366x768) leaves a little to be desired, but for ~$650 bucks (including dock) I can’t be too critical as it is one of the cheaper tablet/dock combos out there.

 

Sound:

The sound on the ATIV 500T is amazingly decent. Like with any laptop or tablet, we aren’t expecting high-end sound or anything, but the ATIV’s speakers are more than adequate and you can easily listen to music or a movie without any issues.

Battery:

Battery life on the ATIV 500T is actually pretty impressive. Watching movies you should be able to get around 5 hours of life out of this unit, which is pretty decent. Obviously the more you use desktop applications the worse the battery life gets, but in most cases you should get around 5 hours of life quite easily and if you are just doing light web usage you could probably expect much more than that and I'd think 7-8 hours could be achievable, which is great for mobile usage.

 

Conclusion:

As far as hardware goes, the ATIV 500T is pretty standard when it comes to mobile units. The raw power of the ATIV 500T isn't going to blow anyone away, but for everyday tasks is more than adequate. Basically I would compare the ATIV 500T to a netbook, enough power to get most tasks done, but obviously lacking if you are hoping to run intensive programs.

In the next section we'll put the ATIV 500T up against some other systems we've reviewed in the past to see how it stacks up.
 



Testing - Benchmarks:

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Before we start I'm going to mention that I've included these benchmarks for reference purposes and in no way expect the Intel Atom CPU that the ATIV 500T contains to be able to keep up with the other systems we've reviewed (most of which contain either Intel Core i5 or i7 CPUs). I'm more interested to see how a tablet CPU like the Atom can compete with a full CPU.

SuperPi:

SuperPi is a great benchmark to show off CPU performance as it calculates Pi to 1 Million places. 


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Well we knew that the ATIV 500T was going to come in last compared to the other systems we've recently reviewed since all of them are using mobile or desktop CPUs and not Atom CPUs like the ATIV.

SuperPi really pushes the CPU and it really shows just how big of a difference there is between something like the Core i5 and Atom CPU.

 

PMCore 1.5

PMCore is a benchmark which uses the CPU to do match calculations and really takes advantage of multi-core CPUs. 


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Just like SuperPI, PMCore pushed the CPU of a system pretty hard so it's not surprising that the Atom once again came in last...

 

3DMark06

3DMark06 is getting to be a bit older of a benchmark, but it is a good example to show how a new system compares to some of the older systems we've reviewed in the past.

 

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The ATIV 500T makes no claim to be a gaming system, but I ran 3DMark06 just for reference sake.
 

Once again, just like in the previous tests, the Atom CPU gets killed by the others.

 

3DMark

Futuremark has just released a new version of 3DMark and we've used it to test the last couple Ultrabooks that have crossed our test bench.
 

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Once again, the ATIV 500T came in last, and wasn't able to run all the benchmarks included in the new 3DMark.


Seeing as the ATIV 500T is basically just a tablet, it's actually kind of impressive that it was able to run any of these tests.

PCMark 7

And finally, we've got PCMark 7.
 

PCMark measures total system performance and gives a final score. This is a fairly new benchmark so we don't have too many systems to compare the ATIV up against.

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As expected, the ATIV came in last, but once again when you consider that the ATIV is a tablet it was actually able to come closer to the other Ultrabooks than I would have expected after seeing the results from the first few benchmarks.

 

Benchmarking Conclusion

As expected, the ATIV 500T came in pretty low in these benchmarks due to its much weaker Intel Atom CPU. The ATIV 500T doesn't claim to be a gaming system or a high end powerhouse, it's a tablet. I would compare the performance of the ATIV 500T to that of a netbook, enough for everyday applications but lacking the power to handle intensive programs.

These benchmarks aren't really fair since ultrabooks are in a whole different league than tablets but I wanted to see just how much of a difference there was since the ATIV 500T can be used for desktop usage (just like an ultrabook). 

In CPU tests the results weren't even close, but I was actually somewhat surprised with the PCMark7 results (which tests full system performance). The ATIV 500T won't impress power users with its performance, but for someone wanting a system that they can check emails, surf the internet, and other light desktop usage, the ATIV might just be the right choice.


Let's move onto the final section of the review where we give our final thoughts and provide the ATIV 500T a final score.

 


 

Samsung ATIV 500T Final Thoughts:

To be perfectly fair, I’m not the biggest tablet guy out there. I’ve personally owned 2 tablets, and ended up selling them both. For me I find a tablet to be “cool” device, I just don’t find them to provide me with enough value to justify buying another device, as I usually just end up using my laptop instead. A big pet peeve of mine is having data spread out over multiple devices, something which the ATIV actually can help alleviate, since with the ATIV your tablet is your laptop and consolidates two devices into one.


After a couple of weeks I found the ATIV to be a very intriguing device. I normally don’t use a tablet very often, but I really liked the option to undock the ATIV and be able to use it to watch video on it. Normally I would just end up watching video on my laptop because it wasn’t worth the effort to transfer it over to my tablet, but with the ATIV that isn’t a problem because with a simple click of the undock button, your laptop is now a tablet. I found the dock to be very good and it doesn’t feel like you are just attaching a cheap keyboard to your tablet, when docked the ATIV feels and acts like a real laptop.

 

 

The ATIV 500T isn’t the quickest device out there, mainly due to it having weaker hardware specs (Samsung does have an ATIV based on the Intel i5 CPU available), but overall for everyday usage I found the Intel Atom CPU that the 500T to be more than adequate and speedy enough for most light usage. For the price (at time of publishing ~$625 CDN with dock) I think the hardware is pretty comparable to other devices similar to the ATIV and I think it is a pretty good value. If you consider the fact that this device could for some people potentially replace both your laptop and your tablet with one device, this device is a good deal.


The ATIV 500T comes with Windows 8 and thanks to the ATIV’s 11.6” touchscreen (which works very well I might add), the combination makes for a very pleasant user experience. The resolution of 1366x768 might be a drawback for some, but for the price range that the ATIV is in, the screen resolution is pretty standard.


Obviously the ATIV isn’t the perfect device for everyone. If you are a power user and are running all sorts of applications on your computer, the ATIV 500T is going to chug due to the Atom Z2760 CPU. This device is more aimed at the average user who wants a system to check email and run other light desktop applications and the ATIV is more than capable of that.


If you buy the ATIV with the expectations of it being a decent laptop and a good tablet you will be happy. There are obviously laptops out there that are way better than the ATIV, and there are tablets out there that are better than the ATIV, but the fact that the ATIV is able to combine both together in a very usable package for a decent price, that’s where the ATIV shines.


Anytime you can combine two devices into one device that is a good thing, and the ATIV 500T combines your laptop and your tablet and provides you the functionality of both. While this device isn’t for everyone, there are people out there that will be able to replace both their laptop and tablet with the ATIV, which makes this a pretty good deal. Overall I found the functionality and features of the ATIV 500T to be very good, but it fell just short of our Editor’s Choice award. Even though it wasn’t an award winner, I still believe this system for some people is a great choice if you are looking for a great Windows 8 tablet that also offers laptop functionality.

Pros:

  • Good Value

  • Tablet works well

  • Dock is well-built

 

Cons:

  • Not for Everyone

  • When docked, screen doesn’t tilt back very far

 
BCCRating

 

I'd like to thank Samsung to let us take a look at the ATIV 500TIf you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please reply below.