I recently had a chance to play with a Samsung Series 7 Slate loaded with Windows 8 Consumer Preview. It was an eye opening experience. I’ve been using an iPad for the last couple of years but I’ve never had a chance to use any other tablet until now.
The hardware was high quality and solid. The aspect ratio is wide screen which I’m not sure I like. I understand this makes more sense of your main purpose for the device is to watch HD movies, but I tend to use it more as a reading, productivity and gaming device.
The device was very responsive and quick. Display was clear and sharp.
As for Windows 8, I wasn’t sure that I liked what I heard about it, but after playing with on the slate and on a laptop, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. The interface is quite intuitive, and easy to navigate once you get used to the drastic change from previous versions of Window. The tiled start screen, similar to the phone, gives you a good summary glance at relevant data, such as weather, messages, etc. The interface works beautifully on a touch device.
Since the Samsung Slate runs an Intel processor, the device is able to run legacy apps which is a huge win in opinion. I find the tablet specific apps fall short on the productivity side. Sometimes I just want to carry my tablet with me when working on a word document, but the limited interface and lack of true document fidelity in the 3rd party apps make this impossible. With a full blown Windows OS on the tablet, I can run Microsoft Word and have full capabilities and fidelity at my fingertips, without lugging around a 2 ton notebook.
Another significant feature was the ability to quickly switch between background apps and split the screen to run two apps at the same time. This is a feature lacking on the iPad which has frustrated me during meetings while taking notes and wanting to check my calendar or email.
On the downside, I wasn’t able to test video quality. The device had no videos preloaded, and I could not get YouTube to work. The html5 videos were incompatible, and the flash plugin was crashing IE10. Battery life was estimated at about 4 hours versus the 7+ hours I’m used to. Also, the app store did not have the selection of the Apple store.
Honestly, I’m looking forward to see what other devices are released. This Slate is currently going for $1000 which is a bit beyond what I want to pay. Lenovo and HP have announced Windows 8 devices. Currently Lenovo has some really nice ARM based devices, but such a device would not be able to run what Microsoft calls the Legacy apps (applications developed for previous Windows OS).