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Microsoft Surface Pro: Is Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T Better?

By Jordan Mammo , Apr 29, 2013 06:26 PM EDT

Microsoft put a lot of thought and effort behind the Surface Pro and Surface RT tablets. Whereas the RT versions aren't quite as capable as we would've liked to see, the Surface Pro was Microsoft's flagship. Essentially a laptop in tablet form, it was the ideal product to showcase the new Windows 8. So is it possible that Samsung could've already leapfrogged the device with the ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T?

Samsung has been reluctant to jump on the Windows 8 tablet bandwagon, but the ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T came to the market as a laptop/tablet hybrid. Compared to the Surface Pro, it's supposed to offer comparable performance in hybrid shape.

Some have even declared the ATIV Smart PC Pro a better buy than the Surface Pro, but how do they really stack up?

According to David Pogue at the Sydney Morning Herald, the ATIV Smart Pro has some things going for it, but it's not quite on the same level as the Surface Pro.

The ATIV Smart Pro packs an Intel i5 Processor similar to the Surface Pro, a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and a screen under 12 inches. Without the keyboard attached it weighs about the same as a Surface Pro does, but add the keyboard and it's obviously not as light or as portable.

"Yes, the Samsung [ATIV Smart Pro] weighs less than 1 kilogram, but that's the weight of the detached screen (the tablet) alone. With the keyboard attached, the whole thing weighs 1.6 kilograms," Pogue wrote. "So right off the bat, this machine isn't comparable to the Surface Pro, which weighs less than 1 kilogram for everything."

Since the machine's major components, such as the processor, battery, memory and what not, are all packed into the top tablet half, too, the Smart PC Pro can feel like awkward to handle since there's nothing going on inside the base aside from the keyboard.

Meanwhile, battery life is a little better than the Surface Pro in practice - the Smart PC Pro gets you about five hours compared to Microsoft's four or so - but not my much. Still, it has other advantages.

"No question about it: The Samsung beats the Surface Pro in a few categories," Pogue said. "You get a keyboard with more spacious keys and deeper travel. You get a bigger screen (11.6 inches versus 10.6). You get more storage. And you can adjust the screen angle on the Samsung; the built-in kickstand on the Surface has a fixed angle. That said, the Samsung's hinge doesn't permit as wide a screen angle as real laptops do.

"Unfortunately, you're also paying more (the Surface Pro is $US1130 with the good keyboard cover) and getting a hybrid that's much thicker, bulkier, heavier - and uglier."

In the end, it seems like Samsung's offering could be a good alternative depending on what you're looking for. It lacks other expected laptop features like an Ethernet cord, though, so perhaps the device is stuck in that middle ground between laptop and tablet while not quite nailing either function well.

If you've used either the Surface Pro or ATIV Smart PC Pro, let us know what you think in the comments.

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