In a bid to provide users with combined benefits of a tablet and a laptop, Samsung today rolled out a set of tablet-cum-laptops, its new Series 5 and Series 7 Slate PCs. These machines comprise a touchscreen tablet that connects to a hinged keyboard base, effectively transforming the device into a laptop on the fly. This new generation of Slates improves on previous iterations, which came with a less-elegant docking station for the tablet that supported a wireless keyboard and a mouse.
Hybrids like these appear to be the future of computing in the increasingly mobile enterprise. Rival Asus, for example, unveiled its Taichi laptop-tablet hybrid in June, which is essentially a laptop with a second display on the back. Acer, too, has taken a stab at a hybrid system: The Iconia W510 functions as a Windows 8 tablet but also can be plugged into a docking keyboard.
The new Slates weigh in at less than two pounds, according to Samsung, and the keyboard dock attaches with a mechanical hinge so that users can pick up the device with one hand without fear of the pieces separating. They also come equipped with the Samsung S Pen, a stylus for sketching, doodling, and writing with such features as handwriting-to-text conversion.
Samsung had Windows 8 in mind in designing these new systems: Alongside a Start menu for the forthcoming OS, which pops up at the bottom center of the screen, Samsung provides a control panel that unites settings from the Windows Control Panel and Metro Settings.
Among key differences between the Series 5 and Series 7 Slate: The Series 7 was designed for power users and comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. By contrast, the Series 5 Slate comes loaded with an Intel "System on a Chip" CPU (formerly known as Atom), 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD.
Both the Series 5 and Series 7 Slates feature an 11.6-inch display, but the Series 7 display is 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, whereas the Series 5's is 1,366 by 768.
The Series 5 and Series 7 Slates will be available starting October 26. Pricing for the Series 7 Slate starts at $1,199; for the the Series 5 Slate, it starts at $649 (sans keyboard dock).
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