Though we've spent a lot of time writing about laptop / tablet hybrids running Windows 8, we've so far spent precious little time actually playing with them. In part, that's because we've been so preoccupied reviewing convertible Ultrabooks, but it's also because many of the biggest-name hybrids have only just begun to go on sale. That means, then, that we haven't gotten to test any new Samsung devices: both of the company's new Windows 8 offerings take on the hybrid form factor, with one packing an Atom processor and the other, an Ultrabook-grade CPU.
We'll save that last one for some other time, but for now, let's take a look at the ATIV Smart PC (formerly known as the Series 5 Slate), which has an 11.6-inch display, a dual-core, 1.8GHz Clover Trail chip and a 4,080 mAh battery promising up to seven hours of runtime. In particular, we tested out an LTE-capable model available on AT&T for $700 on contract, with the keyboard sold separately. (The tablet costs $800 off contract -- again, with no dock included. A WiFi-only model retails for about $750 with the keyboard.)
The problem is, even if you can do without that LTE radio, that's some lofty pricing: competing WiFi-only tablets cost between $500 and $600 with no dock. Even if you'd rather have the whole package, it's possible to find a similar model for $850, keyboard included. So is there any reason to pay a premium for this particular model, let alone sign on AT&T's dotted line? Let's find out.
Note: We haven't had the chance to test the ATIV Smart PC with the optional keyboard dock. In fact, AT&T isn't even offering it right now. Since AT&T is already selling the Smart PC as a standalone tablet, we decided to review the tablet itself, and to update the review if and when we can get a hold of the dock.