Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T Unboxing, Test and another Keyboard Problem.

Posted on 16 February 2013 by



I took the Lenovo Lynx back to my retailer today (because of this keyboard issue) and came away with a Samsung ATIV 500T and docking keyboard. I’m desperately looking for a good, long-battery life Windows 8 Touch writing / blogging laptop and even though the Samsung ATIV 500T is expensive and doesn’t come with an additional battery in the keyboard dock I decided to give it a try. I’ve unboxed it, presented it and tested the keyboard in the video below. I’ve also hit a deal-breaker. The connector between the keyboard and the tablet isn’t working properly and the keyboard disconnects if you move the tablet. You have no idea how annoyed I am at Samsung. The rest of the device was looking near perfect (Note:for me.) Sigh!

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At this stage I’ve simply pushed the ATIV to the side of my desk. Clearly it needs to go back to the retailer again but I just can’t face going back-and-forth because of  poor quality control on an 800 EURO ATOM-BASED convertible. Why should I waste my time? You’ll see my frustration on the video.

I’ll continue to try and get hold of test models for UMPCPortal but I’m pulling out my 800 Euros investment until I can be 100% sure of a good product.

15 Comments For This Post

  1. meengla yip says:

    Chippy: I thought the Acer W510 was enough as a touch, blogging, long battery life device? We all know there are some annoying track pad issue but more than one person has reported that Acer has fixed the issue for them (after shipping back to Acer)?
    Anyway, I hear your pain about these devices with issues. I did let the Acer Tech Support guy know yesterday on phone that Acer has probably lost some business because of the issues with W510 track pad issues. These bozos have created an almost perfect hybrid device, at least for me, at a relatively affordable price, but have let bad QA to hurt them. Shame.

    PS. And shame on me too: Lost a bid on Ebay yesterday for a W510 (32 gb) WTIH the keyboard dock by only $11. I wanted that for my wife.

  2. jjrdias says:

    Just go for the Asus Vivo Tab, Chippy. 15 hours of battery life, and properly engineered by guys with proven experience in tablets with keyboard docks. Of course, it doesn’t have a digitizer but, hey, at least the keyboard works.

    Chippy Reply:

    The Asus is my last, but most expensive option. Too expensive. 929 euro is another 130 euro more than the Samsung. 330 euro more than the w510. More expensive than a touchscreen Samsumg Series 5 Ultra with Core i5, 128gb sata ssd, centrino 2×2 wifi, usb 3 and 6hr battery life! Im testing the series 5 ultra touch ssd right now and its a fantastic bit of kit. not a tablet though, of course!

  3. MobileHG says:

    I can see the frustration Chippy. I was lucky that the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T I tested worked perfectly, no keyboard disconnects. On the other hand, the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T had the keyboard disconnect issue. I returned it two times and on the third time I got a good one. No more disconnect issues. I agree Samsung is really dropping the ball on this. They need to fix this issue with the keyboard dock disconnecting.

    The other 10-inch device I really like is the Asus Vivo Tab Smart. Yes no dock able keyboard but has a cover case keyboard with BT connection. I’m testing the Asus Vivo Tab Smart, looking for a good 10-inch tablet for portable use. I’m thinking of testing the ThinkPad Tablet 2 and compare what would be better, the Asus Vivo Tab Smart or ThinkPad Tablet 2 with digitizer.

    Quick view of the Asus Vivo Tab Smart.

  4. jjrdias says:

    Expansys has the Vivo Tab with keyboard dock for 729 euro – even though they present it as a Tegra 3 device, by mistake. And contrary to what i thought, it does have a Wacom digitizer layer.

  5. matt says:

    What about the HP Envy x2? It has a solid connection with the keyboard dock, a battery in the dock and a full size SD card slot in the dock (micro SD slot in the tablet). If it had the Wacom digitizer, it would be nearly perfect. I’m waiting for my Ativ 500t to be delivered. I hope I don’t have the same problem you did. But I plan on I using mine mostly as a tablet, so I may never notice.

  6. John in Norway says:

    Have you updated everything on the ATIV including the BIOS? When I bought my ATIV in January I had all sorts of problems with it, mostly because of sleep issues, or lack thereof. As it was the last one they had in stock and they had a 30 day return policy, I decided to persevere. After installing Windows 8 for the third time I now have a fantastic device. The only problem I have now is that if I have the keyboard attached (very rarely) I have to remember to put it to sleep by the power button and not by closing the lid.

  7. J in US says:

    I’ll second John in Norway. The SW Update utility is essential. Click near the bottom of the Install & Update button so you can choose the BIOS and drivers, not the One Click arrow. The only problem I have is if I let it go to sleep by closing the lid, sometimes it does not go to sleep and then it has to be reset. Using the power button works. “powercfg /energy” shows some USB sleep issue with the keyboard.

    Using it as a tablet is excellent. The handwriting recognition is excellent. Hoping for a software update to address this only problem.

    More info on my setup: In SW update I first selected Find Model, then Save Setup Files. This creates a folder with an installation batch file for all the software. I only saved drivers and SW Update. I did a clean install of Windows 8 Enterprise, ran the Win8 setup from the recovery utilities.

  8. J in US says:

    I have the Surface RT, and the Samsung ATIV 500. What I really want is a CloverTrail Surface. The Surface keyboard is the fastest switch between tablet and notebook. It also is the thinnest well protected package. I never worry about any kind of case with the Surface RT. I don’t want to give up 5 hours of battery life by going with the Surface Pro. The new Surface Pro with new Intel Core processors at the end of the year or new Atom processors may be perfect.

  9. Jose Nazare says:

    Hi, any chance of a test/review of ASUS Vivo Tab Smart ME400C?
    Thanks

  10. Marauderz says:

    @Matt : The HP website is talking about an optional stylus, is that a digitizer or not? Can you check the system information on your Envy x2 and see what it says under Pen and Touch?

  11. CS says:

    About the keyboard disconnection issues on the ativ 500t – the problem is quite often not the drivers (yup, samsung update app is essential, including bios, but let’s say you’re all updated by now). It’s the grip of the docking mechanism. I’ve read from tabletpcreview forums, that the first lifehack workaround is putting a small piece of paper along with tablet into the docking station, to make the connection tighter, and the second is probably better, from a ~month user – you need to push the tablet deeper into the dock, it actually gets used to this with time and plunges deeper, the guy said also about a more prominent clicking sound accompanying the docking. After some trials and errors he learned to push it just deep enough to forget about the disconnection issues. Hope that helps you.

  12. Louis says:

    Samsung Galaxy S4 looks fantastic anyone got one to talk about. Thanks for you good work, just saying hello from Germany

  13. Bojan says:

    Is stylus on ATIV 500T really useless? I would use it for writing. Does it have palm rejection?

  14. CS says:

    Been using smart pc 500t for over a month now. It all depends on the app you’re using the stylus with. I’ve played with Samsung’s S-Note, desktop & metro Onenote (OneNote MX). All these are designed to work with digital ink. The inking experience is butter smooth in all three, even when doing simple multitasking (say music in the background). S-Note has a convenient button for switching pen-only mode, but browsing notebooks I don’t like. Metro OneNote has sweet minimal UI, but until yesterday you could not control color & thickness – just one black pen, far too thick for my taste. And now, you can make it more or much more thicker, with a few colors.. I like my pen really thin, so I’ve been using desktop OneNote all this month and it rocks! Almost like paper, just.. better. Cause the screen is super smooth glass, it feels really nice on the hand ;)

    Btw, the pen only mode, there’s no dedicated UI button for this in either one of Onenotes – and there should be.. but you can force it system wide (I mean, shut down touch, so the tablet responds to pen only in all apps) using a dedicated Samsung settings app – which is really nice, cause on other devices one has to dig into some weird shell scripts and commands.. some has given it a little user-friendly thought here. Takes a re-login, though.

    After some time I learned to move my hand around in a way that it doesn’t get too far from the screen and I naturally put pen first, without thinking to remember to put it first and only then lay my palm down on the screen – so the software palm rejection works as it should – at which point I just don’t have turn touch off anymore. It was bugging me at the beginning, but now I’m adjusted, inking is completely comfortable.

    Damn, this thing is sooo sweet. Now I’m digital with all my university course notes and a huge load of other notes.

    As for the stylus shape – it felt weird at first (short), after a month, 100% comfortable. The fact that there’s a silo in the tablet, love it. Also the fact that I can ink while charging is incredibly cool – there’s an ac power port on the tablet itself, you don’t need to put it in the dock to charge like you need with asus vivo tab tf810, you can ink all the freaking time. And it just gets barely warm on the backside when charging, screen cool all the time – & nothing near the temperatures I had when playing with Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 just using it. This new intel atom cpu is awesome.

  15. Bojan says:

    Thank you for extensive report CS. Appreciate it :)