I have the opportunity to spend some time with the Atom based Windows 8 tablet from Samsung and wanted to share the experience I had so far. Being an 11.6″ tablet, this tablet’s form factor takes some getting used to. While the larger screen is awesome with the new Windows 8 start screen, it takes some getting used to while using it in a vertical position as it makes for a long and narrow reading surface. Not that it’s impractical, just strange at first. While not too heavy, I do notice that the increased screen size makes it a bit too heavy for single hand use for a long period of time.
I’m fairly surprised with the performance of the tablet with only an Atom CPU. Navigating and starting apps in Windows 8 is smooth and quite responsive. I can basically run any of the standard apps I use on a daily basis (Office, VS 2012) along with the new Windows App Store Apps!? (you, know the Metro stuff). Using the tablet in conjunction with an XBOX 360 through the Smart Glass application is fantastic. The Play To works flawlessly. Some of the new Windows 8 specific apps are starting to grow on me, especially the Bing application that allows to be docked on the side with the results while having IE docked on the other side to check out the pages. Clicking each result in the Bing app, opens up a new tab in IE while still keeping you in the context of your search. I’m trying the music app along with the free month pass for XBOX Music Pass and I’m enjoying the access to unlimited streaming and the Smart DJ functionality that allows me to discover new music.
It’s unfortunate but I do have negative points regarding the build quality and packaging of the tablet. First of all, one of the speaker on the tablet is broken as there’s a buzzing sound that’s getting worse as the volume increases. There’s also a problem with the power socket in the tablet as I have to fiddle a bit with it in order to get the tablet charging. A slight touch to the power cord stops the tablet from charging, which is a bit annoying. I’ve started to type this post using the soft keyboard on the tablet but at one point, the touch functionality on the tablet stopped responding, which prompted me to finish this post using a USB keyboard attached to the tablet. I guess that’s one advantage of using a tablet with a USB port! The one thing I wished I could test is the digitizer. Thanks to Samsung, the pen is not included in the Canadian package (hello?) while being almost as expensive as the US version that includes the pen and the docking.
I’m supposed to test in the upcoming days the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, which is smaller, lighter and will include a pen… Fun times ahead!