Samsung ATIV Tab 7 Review
Tablet/laptop hybrids are here, and the ATIV Tab leads Samsung's charge.
You Will Learn by the Numbers
By the numbers, this tablet is a bit all over the place—its processing power and basic performance were great, but its battery lacked stamina. Still, that may have more to do with its split objectives: Being a good laptop and a good tablet requires some tradeoffs, and Samsung seemed to manage them well enough. Just be sure that you're okay with those tradeoffs before buying, though.
Nothing to write home about
As far as screens go, the one used in the Samsung ATIVsmart PC Pro is fairly mediocre. It works perfectly fine for most usage, but the calibration is a bit... strange, to say the least. For example, it shifts blues to a more cyan-ish color, and undersaturates reds just a bit.
Contrast performance is a bit mixed: The peak brightness (357.68cd/m2) is more than adequate for use in several lighting conditions, but the black level (0.55cd/m2) is quite high, and leads to a relatively narrow contrast ratio of 650:1. In its defense, its gamma is near-perfect, with a measured slope of 2.09, which is ever-so-minor in terms of tablet screen issues that it's barely even worth mentioning.
This tablet does not have a "retina" display, but for most users with imperfect sight, that should work well enough—the screen has a full 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), and when you consider its physical dimensions of 10.0625" x 5.75" we get a pixel density of about 190 pixels per square inch. This makes the resolution fairly appropriate, but nothing crazy like an iPad or Nexus 10.
Performance comes at a price
Honestly, it's not all that surprising that power-hungry components chew through battery life quicker than smaller ARM processors do. Considering the difference in performance, it's to be expected that taxing the hardware will result in poorer battery life, so take these results as you will.
The Samsung ATIVsmart PC Pro did not do so well in our tablet tests: It was able to play video continuously for 4 hours, 22 minutes at max backlight and all wireless disabled, then reading War and Peace on the Kindle eReader app for 4 hours, 27 minutes after a fresh charge. While that places it firmly in the "less desireable" category for tablets, keep in mind that there's only so much space in the chassis of the tablet for the battery, and there is a lot of machine crammed in there.
Also keep in mind that because we test with the backlight cranked, you may be able to add some time to your use of the Samsung ATIVsmart PC Pro by turning on auto-brightness, or manually dropping the backlight. Additionally, using resource-intensive processes and wireless connectivity will also drain the battery faster, so expect your battery life to vary depending on what you do with it.
Impressive for a tablet, pretty good for a laptop
It's very unfair to judge a tablet on a few less-than-ideal problems. So, as we continue to broaden our scope in tablet reviews, I've collaborated with the laptop reviewers for Reviewed.com to give you a great range of benchmark scores.
On the whole, this tablet does very well in terms of overall graphics and GPU performance as both a laptop and a tablet, which is very cool to see. Even more demanding contemporary games like Skyrim can be played with an acceptably good framerate—if you were to play Portal 2, you could expect to see 126.22 frames per second (fps) on low quality, and 46.73fps on highest quality. Even compared to the laptops we've tested so far, this is a respectable result.
Using PC Mark and Geekbench, we discovered that the Core i5 processor also holds its own in terms of raw CPU performance as well, scoring a 4421 and 6750 in each test respectably, putting this tablet near the top in benchmarks even among laptops. This is a tablet that is equipped for bear—or at least a high-polygon rendering of one at a usable framerate.
|PC Mark (Higher is better)||4421||Good|
|Geekbench (Higher is better)||6750||Very Good|
|3D Mark Vantage (Higher is better)||P2618||Average|
|Portal 2 (Higher is better) Low settings||126.22fps||Excellent|
|Portal 2 (Higher is better) High settings||46.73fps||Excellent|
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