We got a chance to check out the Samsung Sliding PC 7 Series notebook during our tour of the (massive) Samsung booth. The concept intrigued us when then official announcement came through, but Windows 7 on a tablet always gives us pause. However, the company is on a roll in the design area, and this product is no exception.
The Samsung Slider is one of many hybrid devices we’ve seen at this year’s CES. In one mode it’s the essential Windows 7 tablet, albeit with a more touch-friendly UI and widget scheme on top of the mostly not touch-optimized OS. The 10.1-inch system features a capacitive HD display (1366 x 768) and runs on Intel’s Oak Trail Atom Z670 CPU. Though it has a netbook CPU, the rest of the specs are more tablet like. There’s 2GB of RAM and a choice between a 32GB or 64GB SSD. This relatively small amount of storage space holds the Slider 7 firmly in the companion device category, even with the nice keyboard attached.
Transforming from tablet to netbook mode is simple, though the sliding mechanism is currently a bit stiff. The models we got a chance to see aren’t final production, and Samsung knows that this needs to be much smoother and sturdier in the final build. That said, we like the ease of switching between keyboard and tablet, and that the unit remains steady enough to use on a lap as well as on a table.
We’re fans of the overall aesthetics. In particular, the blue keys are a nice touch. They mirror the color on the little bar on the display portion of the device, which acts as a kind of Home button in the UI. The isolated layout on the keyboard is a now familiar element of the Samsung design. The keys didn’t feel stiff and offered good travel. And the touchpad, while small, was at least responsive. Given that the 7 Series has a touchscreen, the undersized touchpad isn’t as big of a deal, but it might take a while to train your brain to reach for the screen instead of the deck.
At just 2.18 pounds it’s light enough to carry everywhere. Plus, if you get tired of holding it in tablet mode, it’s easy to switch and set it on your lap or a flat surface. You’ll need that versatility if it lasts as long as the promised 9 hours.
We like the look of the UI Samsung created to make Windows 7 a little more touch friendly. The responsive screen is also a plus. However, Samsung can’t control every aspect of every program, so the same issues we’ve encountered on other Win7 tablets will crop up here, too. Having the keyboard and touchpad easily accessible could mitigate these problems, but we’ll have to spend more time with the device to be sure.
The Samsung Sliding 7 Series is due to hit the market in March and will cost $699.