Notebookcheck

Review Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C Convertible

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 12/28/2012

Wintablet. Tablet + keyboard dock = too little for an innovation? We are testing Intel's tablet platform based on new hardware for the first time. Can the new Atom processor keep pace with a genuine 32-bit Windows 8?

Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: A dream for Windows fanboys: A full-fledged Windows 8 on a tablet convertible. The perfect tool?
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: A dream for Windows fanboys: A full-fledged Windows 8 on a tablet convertible. The perfect tool?

For the original German review, see here.

Tablet or Windows PC? Let's simply do both! Samsung faces up to the convergence of tablets and Windows-clamshell laptops with a new series. The brand name ATIV includes smartphones ("S", Windows Phone 8), tablets ("Tab", Windows RT), Atom convertibles like our test device (Smart PC, Windows 8) and Intel Core convertibles (Smart PC Pro, Windows 8).

Our ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE is technically a netbook although Intel's Atom Z2760 (Clover Trail) and the integrated PowerVR SGX545 consume much less power than the prior Pine Trail range. How will the SoC (system-on-a-chip), specially designed for tablets, fare with a normal version of Windows 8? Mind you, Windows RT is not the Smart PC's brain like in Microsoft's Surface tablet.

Case

Samsung prioritizes tablet use and opts for the docking concept. This is only one option for turning a tablet into a subnotebook. Other possibilities are flip-frames (Dell XPS 12), slider mechanisms (Sony Vaio Duo 11Toshiba Satellite U920t) and a 360 degree lid (Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga). Asus takes the mechanically easiest solution and inserts a second lid into its 11.6-inch Taichi 21 subnotebook. HP and Acer, like Samsung, rely on dock screens (HP Envy X2Acer Iconia W510P).

Dell XPS 12
Dell XPS 12
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Lenovo Ideapad Yoga
Acer Iconia W510P
Acer Iconia W510P
Toshiba Satellite U920t
Toshiba Satellite U920t
Sony Vaio Duo 11
Sony Vaio Duo 11
Keyboard dock
Keyboard dock
Massive hinge
Massive hinge
Closed looks
Closed looks

The advantage of the docking solution is that you don't have to carry around a bulky and heavy casing when you don't need the keyboard. The drawback is that the tablet has to accommodate the battery and computing power. However, even much thinner tablets accomplish that too. The Clover Trail Atom does not need active cooling and is more energy-efficient than a Tegra 3 (Android tablets) in some cases. Consequently, a big 60 watt hour laptop battery is not at all needed.

Now a closer look at the 11.6-incher's massive metal hinge. Two bolts secure the tablet firmly and the lock is released mechanically by pushing a big button in the center. The connection features a good mount and the tablet stops firmly in the widest opening angle. This is favorable because the device fits securely on the keyboard dock in laptop mode and touch inputs find a suitably fixed surface. However, the hinge cannot prevent the heavy "lid" from rocking.

We did not like the narrow opening angle of merely 120 degrees in laptop mode. However, we suspect that it is so narrow because the heavy tablet would otherwise lift up the fairly light keyboard dock. But what's worse is that the "screen" falls back onto the keys by itself; except for the final stop, the hinge does not provide a hold point. This becomes aggravating when the ATIV is not only used on a table but is carried around in laptop mode. The "lid" constantly shuts itself and that is annoying. We cannot imagine what purpose this "loose" hinge might have. But it must be intentional because a slight resistance has to be overcome at approximately 5 degrees by using the second hand.

We really like the actual tablet's stability and workmanship. The screen features a very good pressure resistance like known from premium non-Windows tablets. The sleek, clear coating on the back has the same feel as the front and is as usual soon covered with fingerprints. We deem the back as unsuitable because it is so slick that the tablet might slip out of the hands.

The keyboard's base does not match to the tablet body's stable impression. It can be warped with relatively little effort and you can see how the metal hinge tugs at the keys' plastic base when opening it.

Connectivity

The combination of tablet and keyboard dock let the connectivity of Android devices look inferior. Three (full-size!) USB 2.0 ports, one of which is on the tablet, and a micro HDMI are the highlights. A SIM card slot for the integrated 4G/LTE modem is also available. Micro SD memory cards fit into the ATIV just as well as standard 3.5 mm jack plugs for microphones / headphones (headsets).

Volume, micro HDMI
Volume, micro HDMI
Docking connector
Docking connector
USB 2.0, screen rotation, power on, audio combo
USB 2.0, screen rotation, power on, audio combo
SIM card slot, micro SD
SIM card slot, micro SD

 

Communication

The tablet's connection to the network via draft-n Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n) and 4G/LTE modem is state of the art. This is also appropriate because fast internet access from the client's side is standard for 700 Euros (~$921) including a keyboard dock. Bluetooth 4.0 finishes off the mobility bundle.

Accessories

Samsung's ATIV Smart PC is also available without the keyboard dock. Strangely, offers found without the dock are more expensive than with one (700 Euros, ~$921). Regardless of that, the buyer should opt for the keyboard in any event since it is necessary for the tablet to mutate into a small Windows laptop.

A stylus pen (passive, no battery) is inserted into the tablet's chassis. Invisible yet present, the tablet sports an accelerometer, position sensor and gyroscope (stabilizing gyro, detects the tablets position e.g. in games; standard in modern tablets).

Software

Samsung restrains itself when it comes to software. Besides S-Note, S-Player, Photo Editor and Norton Internet Security (90 day trial) there is only the familiar Easy Settings tool. However, the user does not have much storage capacity for personal programs. A shockingly low 20 GB of the 64 GB flash memory is free. We recurrently found the limits and had to delete games/benchmarks right away. If you are planning to use the ATIV as a small work device, you will definitely need a micro SD memory card (64 GB approx. 50 Euros, ~$65).

The BIOS is more than Spartan. No settings can be made apart from the booting order and TPM module's activity. The Smart PC sports such a module for uniquely authenticating the device. Larger IT infrastructures employ this technology.

Warranty

Samsung includes a 24 month warranty with a flexible service. This means an on-site repair service rather than pick-up service. An upgrade to a total of 48 months costs approximately 139 Euros (~$183).

Stylus pen
Stylus pen
Manuals, no DVDs
Manuals, no DVDs
No on/off option for the light sensor
No on/off option for the light sensor
Tools: S-Note
Tools: S-Note

Webcam

2.0 megapixels (front) and 8.0 megapixels (rear) transforms the ATIV into a gigantic camera. Unfortunately, the picture quality is anything but compelling because focused pictures with fairly natural colors should be possible even in overcast conditions. The Smart PC's 8 MP rear-facing camera exhibits an absolutely satiated red and an imprecise focus. The front-facing camera reproduces more natural colors but the focus is also weak. The Vaio Duo 11's 8 MP cam does a much better job.

Overcast, front 2 MP
Overcast, front 2 MP
Overcast, rear 8 MP close-up
Overcast, rear 8 MP close-up
Overcast, rear 8 MP distant
Overcast, rear 8 MP distant
Overcast, rear VGA distant
Overcast, rear VGA distant
Rear, 50% digital zoom
Rear, 50% digital zoom
CF: Vaio Duo 11 rear FHD
CF: Vaio Duo 11 rear FHD

Input Devices

Keyboard

Using the keyboard and touchpad is logical when working in classic menu trees. The stylus pen is useful for triggering icons, markings, etc. more accurately, but recurrently picking up the pen while typing seems unreasonable.

The key bed regrettably does not fit as tight as we would have wanted for a crisp pressure point. The keys therefore produce a coiling stroke that vibrates in the center. That is too bad since the good key drop and clear pressure point alongside the clearly arranged layout would have created a very good keyboard. The 13 mm keys (desktop 19 mm) feature a big gap of 4 mm, which allows accurate typing.

Touchpad

The wrist rest features a pleasant size and allows incorporating a sufficiently sized touchpad for its dimensions. The 9.6 centimeter in diagonal field touchpad is a ClickPad with buttons incorporated beneath it. The pad's just sufficient key drop is not as agreeable when a mouse click is performed in the center. The right and left mouse button underneath the pad's front feature a long, smooth drop and firm stop. The keys' click noise is very loud and will soon get annoying in, for example, the library.

Touchscreen

The 10 finger multi-touchscreen can be used with either the fingers or stylus. In keeping with Samsung's concept "The pen makes the difference", as used in the Galaxy Note, a small plastic pen belongs to the tablet. It is extremely useful for navigating in the desktop environment or on websites. The cursor displays its position 10 millimeters before it touches the screen. That increases the accuracy and enables handwritten inputs (tool: S-Note). The touch feature can also be disabled in Easy Settings.

Keyboard features clear pressure point
Keyboard features clear pressure point
Touchpad (ClickPad without keys)
Touchpad (ClickPad without keys)
Multi-touch for 10 fingers - can be disabled
Multi-touch for 10 fingers - can be disabled

Display

The 11.6-inch HD LC screen (liquid crystal, TFT) features a low resolution in comparison with other convertibles. Its identically sized Smart PC Pro brother supplies 1920x1080 pixels. Most convertibles use the latter resolution: Dell's XPS 12, Vaio Duo 11, Asus Taichi 21.

We could not perform the contrast measurement due to a driver incompatibility (calibration failed; GMA driver does not support any adjustable gamma curves, so-called video LUTs). Consequently, we cannot provide a color gamut comparison. Subjectively, the colors looked a bit pale but not faded. It will likely be a midfield contrast between 350 and 700:1 (estimate).

340
cd/m²
367
cd/m²
364
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
354
cd/m²
363
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
333
cd/m²
356
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 367 cd/m²
Average: 348.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 293 cd/m²

The brightness is automatically adapted to the lighting conditions via an ambient light sensor (beside the webcam, front). This results in an average brightness of 354 cd/m² in daylight (AC mode). The mobile user has a maximum of 293 cd/m² on battery power in bright daylight, which is more than most laptops have to offer.

Depending on the quality, tablets occasionally even achieve 350 to 450 cd/m². Most manufacturers deem a high brightness to be a waste of power and consequently limit the brightness on battery power. However, using a tablet on sunny days is pretty difficult due to the intensely reflective touch surface. Although this shortcoming, which applies to all tablets, can be lessened by a high brightness, it cannot be eliminated.

Frontal view, sunny
Frontal view, sunny
Lateral view, reflections
Lateral view, reflections
Frontal view, shade
Frontal view, shade

The screen's viewing angles correspond to that of IPS (in plane switching; TFT screen model) displays. Large deviations from a central seating position are possible both vertically and horizontally. We could look at the screen at an angle of 85 degrees from the side and the top/bottom and did not observe ghosting or unwanted dimming.

Viewing angles: Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
Viewing angles: Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE

Performance

The system-on-a-chip (SoC) Atom Z2760 (Clover Trail) is Intel's answer to the massive distribution of Nvidia's Tegra SoCs found in Android tablets. The chip should be as energy-efficient and scalable as a Tegra due to the 32 nm build. Moreover, Intel wants to benefit from Microsoft's affinity to the x86 architecture and Windows fan community. The Clover Trail is also available for smartphones as the Atom Z2000 and Z2580. This is Intel's attempt to prevail against the ARM and Tegra competition. 

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Motherboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info GPUZ
System info HWinfo
DPC Latency: Idle OK
DPC Latency: Wi-Fi on/off latencies
System information: Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE

Processor

What does the computing performance look like in relation to the other Atom generations? We can relax: the 2008 N270 (Diamond Ville; Eee PC 1002HA) is 50% and the 2011 N2600 (Cedarview, Aspire One D270) is 9% slower. Seen on a low level, this is remarkable because the load power consumption is virtually halved (see stress test).

Before we engage ourselves in window-dressing, a look at both latter laptops shows that even weak low voltage Celeron/Pentium processors in budget laptops are 80 up to over 110% faster in multi-core calculations. We add another device with a Core i5-3317U (Z930-119) for comparison. The Smart PC Pro's big brother (XE700T1C-A02DE) is one of many devices equipped with this ultrabook CPU and could calculate 327% faster with it (providing Turbo Boost similar Z930).

To prevent the impression that Intel has not made any progress with this Atom, we take a look at smartphones and tablets in Geekbench 2. The Z2760 can keep up with the currently fastest smartphones here.

Cinebench R10
Shading 32Bit (sort by value)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
363 Points ∼2%
Asus Eee PC 1002HA
282 Points ∼2% -22%
Asus Eee PC 1005PE
306 Points ∼2% -16%
Acer Aspire One 725
1219 Points ∼8% +236%
Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb
828 Points ∼6% +128%
Asus EEE PC 1015PX
306 Points ∼2% -16%
HP Pavilion dm1-4200sg
1690 Points ∼12% +366%
Acer Aspire V5-531
1567 Points ∼11% +332%
Acer Aspire V5-431-887B4G50Mauu
1824 Points ∼12% +402%
Toshiba Satellite Z930-119
3993 Points ∼27% +1000%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit (sort by value)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
1700 Points ∼5%
Asus Eee PC 1002HA
862 Points ∼2% -49%
Asus Eee PC 1005PE
894 Points ∼3% -47%
Acer Aspire One 725
1344 Points ∼4% -21%
Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb
1548 Points ∼4% -9%
Asus EEE PC 1015PX
1654 Points ∼5% -3%
HP Pavilion dm1-4200sg
1654 Points ∼5% -3%
Acer Aspire V5-531
3038 Points ∼9% +79%
Acer Aspire V5-431-887B4G50Mauu
3597 Points ∼10% +112%
Toshiba Satellite Z930-119
7264 Points ∼21% +327%

Legend

 
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE Intel Atom Z2760, PowerVR SGX545, 64 GB SSD
 
Asus Eee PC 1002HA Intel Atom N270, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950, 160 GB - 5400 rpm
 
Asus Eee PC 1005PE Intel Atom N450, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3150, 250 GB - 5400 rpm
 
Acer Aspire One 725 AMD C-60, AMD Radeon HD 6290, Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS
 
Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb Intel Atom N2600, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3600, WDC Scorpio Blue WD3200BPVT-22JJ5T0
 
Asus EEE PC 1015PX Intel Atom N570, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3150, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K320 HTS543232A7A384
 
HP Pavilion dm1-4200sg AMD E1-1200, AMD Radeon HD 7310, Toshiba MK3276GSX
 
Acer Aspire V5-531 Intel Pentium 967, Intel HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge), Seagate Momentus Thin ST320LT020-9YG142
 
Acer Aspire V5-431-887B4G50Mauu Intel Celeron 887, Intel HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge), Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVT
 
Toshiba Satellite Z930-119 Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, TOSHIBA THNSNS256GMCP
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
SGX545, Z2760, 64 GB SSD
1410 Points ∼10%
HTC One X
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
609 Points ∼4% -57%
Apple iPad mini
SGX543MP2, A5, 16 GB SSD
750 Points ∼5% -47%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1440 Points ∼10% +2%
Lenovo IdeaPad A2109
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 16 GB SSD
1471 Points ∼10% +4%
Google Nexus 7
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 8 GB SSD
1599 Points ∼11% +13%
Apple iPhone 5
SGX543MP3, A6, 32 GB SSD
1648 Points ∼12% +17%
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
363
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
1700
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
604
Help

System Performance

The system finished PCMark 7 quite well despite the processor's weak performance. The ATIV is 50% better than the current netbook generation (Atom N2600Aspire One D270) and only 8 to 15% inferior to Pentium or Celeron laptops (low voltage): The reason for this is doubtlessly the flash memory that outclasses all HDDs in the comparison devices by a good 40% (System Storage score).

PCMark 7
Score (sort by value)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
1263 Points ∼19%
Asus EEE PC 1015PX
591 Points ∼9% -53%
Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb
668 Points ∼10% -47%
Acer Aspire One 725
805 Points ∼12% -36%
HP Pavilion dm1-4200sg
878 Points ∼13% -30%
Acer Aspire V5-531
1362 Points ∼21% +8%
Acer Aspire V5-431-887B4G50Mauu
1450 Points ∼22% +15%
System Storage (sort by value)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
2526 Points ∼35%
Asus EEE PC 1015PX
1438 Points ∼20% -43%
Acer Aspire One 725
1434 Points ∼20% -43%
HP Pavilion dm1-4200sg
1458 Points ∼20% -42%
Acer Aspire V5-531
1406 Points ∼20% -44%
Acer Aspire V5-431-887B4G50Mauu
1480 Points ∼21% -41%
3.2
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
3.5
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
4.6
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
3.6
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
3.2
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.8
PC Mark
PCMark 71263 points
Help

Storage Devices

CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
HD Tune
HD Tune

Fast storage device? We wanted to take a closer look at that. HD Tune and CrystalDiskMark clearly fail the normal level of current SSD storages with 52 and 80 MB/s respectively. We used slate and convertible PCs for comparison. The good access speed is achieved by the feasible 4K throughput. 7MB/s is not perfect, but much faster than the ~0.4 MB/s of a conventional HDD.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0
Read Seq (sort by value)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
SGX545, Z2760, 64 GB SSD
80.62 MB/s ∼5%
HP Slate 2 Wi-Fi + 3G
Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 600, Z670, Samsung MZMPA064HMDR
161.4 MB/s ∼11% +100%
Samsung Series 7 XE700T1A-H01DE
HD Graphics 3000, 2467M, Samsung MZMPA064HMDR
254.3 MB/s ∼17% +215%
Dell XPS 12
HD Graphics 4000, 3667U, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZMPC256HBGJ-00000
452.7 MB/s ∼31% +462%
Sony Vaio Duo 11 SV-D1121X9EB
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP
457.6 MB/s ∼31% +468%
Read 4k (sort by value)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
SGX545, Z2760, 64 GB SSD
7.201 MB/s ∼17%
HP Slate 2 Wi-Fi + 3G
Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 600, Z670, Samsung MZMPA064HMDR
11.28 MB/s ∼26% +57%
Samsung Series 7 XE700T1A-H01DE
HD Graphics 3000, 2467M, Samsung MZMPA064HMDR
16.05 MB/s ∼37% +123%
Dell XPS 12
HD Graphics 4000, 3667U, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZMPC256HBGJ-00000
17.7 MB/s ∼41% +146%
Sony Vaio Duo 11 SV-D1121X9EB
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP
19.64 MB/s ∼45% +173%
64 GB SSD
Transfer Rate Minimum: 23.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 543 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 51.8 MB/s
Access Time: 0.5 ms
Burst Rate: 42 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5.8 %

Graphics Card

The PowerVR SGX545 (IGP) in the SoC lags very far behind in comparison with other integrated solutions from AMD or Intel. It can only excel over the old GMA 950 and 3150 (see Cinebench R10 Shading 32-bit above). AMD netbooks (Aspire One 725) feature a much superior GPU performance.

Due to the lack of an HDMI adapter (executing 1280x1024 not possible), we compared 3DMark05 (1024x768) with the Atom, AMD, Pentium and Intel Core system used in CPU performance. The old Atom GPUs (GMA 3150 / 950) are clearly defeated, while AMD (E1-1200) wins.

HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge) and HD 3000 calculate much faster and can thus even be used for gaming in low details. This is not the case with the PowerVR SGX545 due to the lack of DirectX 10 support. Even the undemanding FIFA 13 fails in low settings for the first time (including graphic errors FIFA, World in Conflict).

3DMark 05 - 1024x768 Standard AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
SGX545, Z2760, 64 GB SSD
640 Points ∼2%
HP Slate 2 Wi-Fi + 3G
Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 600, Z670, Samsung MZMPA064HMDR
265 Points ∼1% -59%
Asus Eee PC 1005PE
Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3150, N450, 250 GB - 5400 rpm
310 Points ∼1% -52%
Asus EEE PC 1015PX
Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3150, N570, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K320 HTS543232A7A384
320 Points ∼1% -50%
Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb
Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3600, N2600, WDC Scorpio Blue WD3200BPVT-22JJ5T0
772 Points ∼2% +21%
HP Pavilion dm1-4200sg
Radeon HD 7310, E1-1200, Toshiba MK3276GSX
2585 Points ∼7% +304%
Samsung Series 7 XE700T1A-H01DE
HD Graphics 3000, 2467M, Samsung MZMPA064HMDR
3498 Points ∼9% +447%
Acer Aspire V5-531
HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge), 967, Seagate Momentus Thin ST320LT020-9YG142
4540 Points ∼12% +609%
3D Mark
3DMark 031674 points
3DMark 05640 points
3DMark 06
 1280x720
367 points
Help
low med.high ultra
World in Conflict - Benchmark (2007) 81fps
Far Cry 2 (2008) 7.68fps
Left 4 Dead (2008) 11.8fps
Anno 1404 (2009) 5.2fps
Risen (2009) 4.4fps
Mass Effect 3 (2012) 1.7fps
Fifa 13 (2012) 9.7fps

Emissions

System Noise

The Smart PC does not sport a fan and is cooled passively.

Noise Level

Idle 29.5 / 29.5 / 29.5 dB(A)
HDD 29.5 dB(A)
Load 29.5 / 29.5 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

100% CPU load @ installation + 1080p video (jerky)
100% CPU load @ installation + 1080p video (jerky)
20% CPU load @ installation
20% CPU load @ installation
Stress test, stable 1.8 GHz
Stress test, stable 1.8 GHz

Like Tegra-based devices, the ATIV Smart PC does not sport a case fan. This is possible despite the Atom processor because Intel designed the Z2760 as an energy-efficient tablet CPU. As the power consumption shows us, the former Atom generations in netbooks were downright energy wasters. Thus, an active case fan was almost always installed. Though it was principally possible to passively cool the Atom since the second generation (N450, etc.), the manufacturers shied the weight and dimensions of larger heat sinks and preferred conventional fans.

Since a flash memory is used as the storage device, there are no other movable parts inside the tablet that could produce noise. Consequently, the ATIV always remains absolutely silent.

This is not a drawback for possible heat. The ATIV was always within an inconspicuous range during all operating states we tested. The user should not experience any restrictions in tablet mode with a maximum surface temperature of merely 32 °C on the back and up to 34 °C on the screen. We recorded the temperatures on the tablet's front and back. The keyboard dock remained at room temperature since it does not contain circuits or a battery.

The ATIV runs through the stress test (load: Furmark + Prime95) with a stable CPU clock of 1.8 GHz. Since we noticed that the mouse cursor recurrently jerked during simultaneous activities (parallel installations), we checked the CPU's capacity. In cases like this, the Atom is constantly loaded to 100%.

Max. Load
 31 °C33.8 °C27 °C 
 27.8 °C27 °C25.2 °C 
 27.2 °C26.6 °C27 °C 
Maximum: 33.8 °C
Average: 28.1 °C
26.1 °C32.2 °C30.9 °C
26.6 °C28 °C29.3 °C
26.8 °C28.5 °C27.2 °C
Maximum: 32.2 °C
Average: 28.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  28.2 °C | Room Temperature 22.1 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The built-in speakers at the tablet's edges provide an acceptable sound for quiet background music or a movie when the volume is properly adjusted. The maximum volume lets the speakers overdrive slightly and the sound loses some of its quality. Low ranges and bass are disappointing since they simply do not exist (treble-heavy sound). A standard 3.5 millimeter combo audio jack is available for earphones and is the perfect solution for headsets.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption ranged between 1.6 - 4 watts in idle and a good 6 watts during load via 3DMark06. This extremely low power consumption is on the level of 10-inch Tegra tablets and thus no longer comparable with the Windows convertibles we have previously tested. The Vaio Duo 11, featuring the same screen size but the i5-3317U ultrabook processor, consumes 5 - 11 watts in idle and 34 watts during load. The computing power of this genuine PC hardware is naturally much higher than our Intel Atom based ATIV Smart PC. 

The 40 watt PSU is apparently oversized for this power consumption. However, recharging the battery consumes 23 watts. When added up, we have 31.5 watts during maximum load. A complete recharge takes almost three hours when the device is on.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.8 Watt
Idle 1.6 / 4.1 / 4 Watt
Load 7 / 8.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Runtime

Read test: 883 min
Read test: 883 min
Load (Classic): 270 min
Load (Classic): 270 min

We test three battery runtime scenarios: The minimum possible battery life (screen: maximum brightness, no timeout) and the maximum runtime in idle with disabled Wi-Fi module and minimum screen brightness. The third scenario is Wi-Fi surfing at a brightness of 150 cd/m² (brightness sensor is fully exposed) and a script opens various websites every 40 seconds. It also includes playing many videos.

The ATIV lasted for 270 minutes before it was drained in the load scenario. The read test ran for 883 minutes before the battery gave up. We could browse through websites for over seven hours (434 minutes, Wi-Fi test). That is a decent runtime for the 30 Wh battery.

However, Microsoft's Surface RT (932/./516) lasted longer and most 10-inch Android tablets are online for up to three hours more in the relevant Wi-Fi test. Here's a short list: Huawei MediaPad 10 FHD (883/312/417), Medion Lifetab S9714 (683/216/416), Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch (855/183/456), Lenovo IdeaTab S2110A (1182/223/494), Apple iPad 4 (1264/252/555), Google Nexus 10 (1030/212/653).

The convertible contenders using an ultrabook platform cannot keep up with these figures: Sony Vaio Duo 11 (440/106/227), Dell XPS 12 (578/91/334), IdeaPad Yoga (385/119/269), Asus Taichi 21 (308/77/195).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
14h 43min
WiFi Surfing
7h 14min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 30min

Verdict

Samsung launched a versatile Windows tablet on the market with its ATIV Smart PC. It is aimed at Windows users who want to work just as productively as on a Windows subnotebook but without an App Store (Windows RT) and with a dockable tablet keyboard. Samsung won't win over Android fans because those who simply need a keyboard will buy a tablet stand and a Bluetooth keyboard. Moreover, the Android hardware is much less expensive than the almost 700 Euros (~$921) ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C plus keyboard dock.

So we'll stick to the Windows fan who wants to get comfortable with the Smart PC without a cloud printer and alternative software. However, a big hurdle has to be overcome: The 64 GB flash memory is definitely too small. We only had 20 GB available in state of delivery. A micro SD with an additional 64 GB has to be inserted right away.

The Atom Z2760 naturally does not provide a speedy performance, but a comparison with laptop processors would be unfair for the tablet CPU. Unfortunately, this does not interest Windows 8 much. If you are used to jumping back and forth between several windows, you will still be able to work fast enough. However, even the cursor starts to jerk as soon as the processor is put under load (copying, program installations, etc.). Buyers should realize that they are purchasing netbook power that is far below the work speed of simple laptops (Pentium / Celeron). The flash memory improves the work speed a bit and makes non-power use quite pleasant.

Memory too small, processor too slow - why not buy the big Smart PC Pro (XE700T1C-A02DE) with a Core i5 and a 128 GB SSD right away? The answer could be yes if it were not for a small price difference. It costs 1500 Euros (~$1974).


Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: Perfect entry tablet for Windows fans - but it's a lot of money for little computing power.
Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: Perfect entry tablet for Windows fans - but it's a lot of money for little computing power.

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In Review: Samsung ATIV Smart PC + Keyboard-Dock (XE500T1C-A02DE)
In Review: Samsung ATIV Smart PC + Keyboard-Dock (XE500T1C-A02DE)

Specifications

Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE

:: Processor
:: Memory
2048 MB, LPDDR2
:: Graphics adapter
PowerVR SGX545, Core: 533 MHz
:: Display
11.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, capacitive, multi-touch, Unknown, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
64 GB SSD, 64 GB
:: Connections
3 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo headphone/microphone, Card Reader: micro SD, Sensors: position, ambient light, TPM
:: Networking
Broadcom 802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 LE Bluetooth, 4G/LTE/3G
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20.5 x 304 x 189.4
:: Weight
1.455 kg Power Supply: 0.272 kg
:: Battery
30 Wh Lithium-Ion
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 14 h
:: Price
900 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 32 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: Front 2MP, Rear 8MP, Speakers: 2 x stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, S-Note, S-Player, Photo Editor, Norton Internet Security (90 day), 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
Active and Smart. Is this what Samsung hints with its ATIV branding?
Active and Smart. Is this what Samsung hints with its ATIV branding?
The new device category is also called convertible,
The new device category is also called convertible,
and implements the possibilities of Windows 8 into practice.
and implements the possibilities of Windows 8 into practice.
Traditional working on the Windows desktop and
Traditional working on the Windows desktop and
finger operation in tablet style on the new Metro interface.
finger operation in tablet style on the new Metro interface.
Devices that control both worlds are currently flooding the market.
Devices that control both worlds are currently flooding the market.
The technical implementation ranges from sliders over dual-screens up to 360 foldable displays.
The technical implementation ranges from sliders over dual-screens up to 360 foldable displays.
The goal is always the same: Windows fans fearlessly mutate to tablet users.
The goal is always the same: Windows fans fearlessly mutate to tablet users.
They remain loyal to the group and can continue to use familiar programs.
They remain loyal to the group and can continue to use familiar programs.
The keyboard dock alongside its two additional USB ports is good for productivity.
The keyboard dock alongside its two additional USB ports is good for productivity.
Despite the weak Atom processor, Samsung does not rely on Windows RT "light"
Despite the weak Atom processor, Samsung does not rely on Windows RT "light"
but uses a normal Windows 8 32-bit.
but uses a normal Windows 8 32-bit.
The chassis is characterized by good stability – this applies only to the tablet itself.
The chassis is characterized by good stability – this applies only to the tablet itself.
The mount makes a solid and long-lasting impression.
The mount makes a solid and long-lasting impression.
The less stable and lightweight "base unit" cannot prevent some rocking and coiling.
The less stable and lightweight "base unit" cannot prevent some rocking and coiling.
Samsung installs an ambient light sensor beside the front-facing cam. It is more annoying than useful due to the permanent brightness flickering it induces.
Samsung installs an ambient light sensor beside the front-facing cam. It is more annoying than useful due to the permanent brightness flickering it induces.
The speakers are located here at the tablet's edges and render good tablet-sound.
The speakers are located here at the tablet's edges and render good tablet-sound.
This button mechanically releases the "lid's" lock.
This button mechanically releases the "lid's" lock.
The small PSU as a plug solution would have appealed to us more.
The small PSU as a plug solution would have appealed to us more.
40 watts at a stress power consumption of 8.5 watts seem
40 watts at a stress power consumption of 8.5 watts seem
very oversized. Consequently, overheating is hardly ever an issue.
very oversized. Consequently, overheating is hardly ever an issue.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: Keys feature a crisp pressure point but coil a bit.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: Keys feature a crisp pressure point but coil a bit.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: Multi-touchscreen with high brightness but annoying reflections.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: Multi-touchscreen with high brightness but annoying reflections.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: The keyboard dock featuring keys, touchpad and 2x USB extremely increases productivity with Windows.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: The keyboard dock featuring keys, touchpad and 2x USB extremely increases productivity with Windows.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: The docking hinge is stable and solid. Unfortunately, it cannot prevent the lid from closing by itself.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: The docking hinge is stable and solid. Unfortunately, it cannot prevent the lid from closing by itself.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: Windows users can work either traditionally with a desktop or via finger gestures in tablet mode.
ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE: Windows users can work either traditionally with a desktop or via finger gestures in tablet mode.

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Pro

+Good input devices keyboard dock
+Many interfaces, also via dock
+Long battery life even with dock
+Silent operation
+Low waste heat
+Bright screen
+Good contrast
 

Cons

-Not much power for Windows users
-No gaming power
-Annoying brightness sensor
-Loud touchpad buttons
-Slow and too small flash memory

Shortcut

What we like

The basic idea: Add keys and work productively.

What we'd like to see

Memory capacity. The 64 GB is almost completely full just with Windows 8 and the recovery partition.

What surprises us

The courage to install a standard Windows 8 (32-bit) on tablet hardware. However, this combination will not provide a satisfactory work speed in the long run.

The competition

We used Dell's XPS 12, Sony's Vaio Duo 11, Asus' Taichi 21, Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 13 and Microsoft's Surface RT (Windows RT) in this review. We will shortly be reviewing: Toshiba Satellite U920tLenovo Ideapad Yoga 11HP Envy X2Acer Iconia W510P.

Rating

Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C-A02DE
12/05/2012 v3
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
80%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
63%
Weight
92%
Battery
96%
Display
83%
Games Performance
16%
Application Performance
68%
Temperature
93%
Noise
100%
Add Points
80%
Average
79%
85%
Convertible *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Samsung ATIV Smart PC XE500T1C Convertible
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2012-12-28 (Update: 2013-09- 6)