updated 02:25 pm EST, Fri January 7, 2011
Both devices aimed directly at Apple
Following Samsung's unveiling of the Sliding PC 7 tablet hybrid and 9 Series notebook, Electronista took a closer look at late-stage prototype models previewed this week at CES. The PC 7 represents Samsung's latest iPad rival, larger than the Galaxy Tab and geared for tasks that prove difficult without a desktop OS and full keyboard.
Several companies offer tablet hybrids, but the PC 7 features a unique slider mechanism that does not require users to dock a tablet to a separate keyboard. We like the new design, however we wonder if the company has completely worked out the engineering surrounding the slider. Company representatives were reluctant to let anyone deploy the keyboard to gauge the build quality.
As expected, the keyboard dimensions are closer to that of a netbook rather than a full-size notebook. Anyone who is already acquainted to a netbook keyboard will not have a problem making the transition to the PC 7.
Windows 7 may not be the first choice for a completely touch-based device, but Samsung has worked to customize the UI to compensate. The company seems to be on the right track, but we still found the implementation more awkward than iOS or Android when using the PC 7 as a tablet.
Moving over to the 9 Series, which is aimed at the MacBook Air, we found the prototype to be rough around the edges. On paper, the device appears to be a very close match to Apple's alternative. Despite extensive use of aluminum and attractive styling, the prototype felt much more fragile than the Air.
The performance was impressive for a small notebook, due to the Core i5 processor and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. We could not try the battery life, but it is claimed to reach a formidable time of 6.5 hours. Hopefully Samsung's production models disprove our first impressions regarding overall build quality.
The Sliding PC 7 is set to ship in March for $699, while the 9 Series will arrive in February with prices starting at $1599.