The IdentityMine team recently returned from Microsoft's Build conference in Anaheim, CA with a few goodies. As some of you may have heard, all Build attendees received the developer version of Microsoft's Windows 8 Samsung tablet - we were lucky enough to bring back a few of the 5000 handed out.
First off, lets get to the brass tacks of this tablet. The Samsung 700t sports an Intel Core i5 processor, an 11.6 inch screen at 1366 x 768, a UEFI BIOS, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB SSD, sensors, USB, micro SD, HDMI, pen, and a dock with USB, HDMI, and Ethernet. The picture below makes the Samsung 700t look like a desktop, which I love because I want my slate to perform exactly like a desktop PC and be as mobile as my smartphone.
Today, I got a chance to sit down and take a look at the Samsung 700t, so I thought I would write a short post about my first impressions.
First off, the touch optimization is incredible and the stylus included is great for jot down notes. It was extremely easy to take notes on the tablet like I would on a piece of paper, especially with the handwriting recognition software - it would even correct misspelled words that I hand wrote! As a test, I spelled out "wortd", and the program recognized I misspelled a word and auto-corrected it.
Skype worked perfectly for video chat, but Skype messenger is not optimized for the tablet - the on-screen keyboard takes up half of the screen. The front a rear facing cameras are perfect for Skype, but the tablet freezes up when switching between the two cameras.
Now, let's get on to the form factor itself; the body is strong - nothing feels cheap and the plastic feels and looks like like aluminum. The screen does reflect a lot of light, though I'm sure this can be fixed with anti-scratch, tinted film. The Samsung 700t tablet has speakers built in, which sounded great when tested with a movie. The dock that came with the tablet includes an output for headphones/speakers, which makes it incredibly handy to use as a bed-side music station.
Microsoft's new Arc Touch Mouse is incredibly ergonomic; it bends to become flat or round like a traditional mouse (although this is not part of the tablet, I did use it while in desktop mode). Microsoft really thought of everything when they created this mouse. On the back, there is a magnet that holds the wireless USB receiver so it wont get lost. Awesome huh?
One thing that I thought was strange was that the start menu and the desktop seem to have a split personality. Our Senior UX Developer, Laurent Bugnion, has an entire blog post dedicated to that so I won't delve to deep into the subject. I will, however, comment on the fact that the Start menu has a Metro style UI, which I thought would be carried over to the desktop mode, but sadly, this did not happen. The desktop is basically a touch-enabled Windows 7 OS. The major UI change from the Start menu to the desktop mode has me wondering what direction Microsoft is trying to take the Samsung 700t tablet. However, this could all change when the production model is released to consumers.
Overall, I loved the Samsung 700t tablet and would definitely consider it over many other tablets out today. I really can't wait to see what changes and improvements Microsoft makes to this tablet in the coming months.