MBA vs. Samsung Series 7 Slate?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Alkiera, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. Alkiera macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2008
    I currently own a first-gen MBA. (Bought the first weekend of release, February 2008) I seem to have gotten one of the 'good ones', in that while I've had some minor issues with core shutdowns and heat, I've not had nearly the issues others had with those early machines. However, it's been 3 years, technology has marched along, and I'm kinda interested in getting a new machine. My SO has been in love with my MBA since I got it, so I'll probably just pass it along when I've got a replacement.

    As for what I do with my MBA; mostly websurf, some productivity type stuff (edit documents, spreadsheets, etc), and write code, either Java for Android, C# for random projects via Mono, or html/javascript/ruby/php/perl for various web-related tasks. Every now and then I'll use it to watch a movie, tv show, or a random YouTube thing.

    I've been drooling over the new MBA's, trying to decide if I want to go smaller to the 11", or stay with the 13 for the extra screen real-estate, CPU, etc... And then the other day I saw mention of the Samsung Series 7 Slate. It's a tablet PC, based on the hardware in their Series 9 laptops; i.e. basically exactly the same hardware as the current MBA: Core i5 CPU in the 1.6 Ghz range, 4 GB RAM, 64 or 128 GB SSD. It has an ~11.5" display, the 1366x768 resolution of the smaller MBA, and claims 6-7 hours of usage. Ships with Windows 7.

    The big kicker for me, is the screen is capacitive touch, has a Wacom Active Digitizer built in, for stylus input (notes, drawing, etc.) and it has a SIM Card slot for 3G data.

    The 128GB model comes with the pen, a bluetooth keyboard, and a dock/stand/port replicator for a bit more than the base level 13" MBA... $1349.

    So, OS X vs Win7 issues aside... I'm trying to figure out why I shouldn't get this as my replacement, and not coming up with anything. If it was running MacOS, and had an :apple: on the back, it'd be a no-brainer. I like MacOS. However, Win7 is also pretty good, and Win8 (Metro UI crap aside) looks pretty awesome. I think I could trade MacOS for a full touchscreen and 3G data with no problems.
  2. macbookpro45 macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    the more versatile devices become the less capable they are of performing at their maximum level at a given task. i.e. if this slate can function as a computer, tablet, active writing stylus, and so on, it will probably have software issues. why do you think tablet PCs come and go so often? its because they suck :O
  3. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Windows 7 isn't well equipped to take advantage of slate screens. This might change when Windows 8 comes out, but my view is to wait for Windows 8 to actually come out to see whether the Samsung is worth it.
  4. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    By what you sound like you are doing, it doesn't sound like it would be that big of a transition. But just remember that W7 is really NOT designed around touch screens. So more then likely you'll be using it in normal laptop mode (mouse and keyboard) and occasionally as a tablet (maybe).

    The trade off is yours.
  5. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    Windows 7 is not designed for touch screens, so I wouldn't recommend any windows 7 slate. I would get the MBA if I were you. Though the new ultra books are a good alternative if you want to move to windows 7.
    There is a reason that tablets did not become popular before the iPad. No tablet had been truly designed to do what it was supposed to do. This is still true with tablet PCs
  6. Alkiera thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2008

    I expect to do all the productivity stuff with a keyboard, and likely a mouse too (I already own a bluetooth mouse that I use with my MBA), but for surfing the web, video, etc, the touchscreen tablet format is fine. Heck, I use third-party aids for the trackpad in my MBA (Additional gesture support), I expect to do the same here. Also, not displayed in the article I've read recently, but in a few, they mention a UI layer app built by Samsung to help with some of the touch issues; kinda like the home screen on an Android device (widgets, etc) along with arrays of larger than average application icons.

    Reviews I've read all seem to say this is the best Windows tablet they've ever used. Not sluggish thanks to full-scale CPU, decent RAM and SSD hardware, and high quality display (Samsung's IPS clone, not TN). Samsung is also promising Windows 8 support when it is released.

    I'll miss MacOS, really. Maybe with Jobs moving further up the chain, someone not so stylus-averse can get something like this through. :)
  7. eckthroi macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    So are you actually asking for our opinions or are you just trying to use this forum to 'push' this pc tablet. I have heard several different reasons given to you on why you should not go with the slate- however you apparently have made up your mind already. So why not quit trolling and go join a forum for the slate you apparently are soooo in love with.

    I get so tired of wasting my time in reading these threads that try to appear as non-biased but once I take the time to read it I realize it the OP is nothing but a 'PC Hugger'
  8. macbookpro45 macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    Agreed with the poster above me. This is a MACrumors aka Apple users who have had good experiences and like Apple products. What do you think we're going to suggest ;o
  9. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    Set aside the OS considerations, and the fact that this is a Mac Forum.

    I use both Win 7 and OS X and like them both a lot. Although I will admit I have a strong preference for Mac if I was limited to only one machine.

    However that said, the tech support and warranty coverage for Samsung laptops is less than average. I know, as I have had first hand experience with a few of them in the last three years.

    Apple is number one and far superior. Over the years, and many Apple laptops, I have enjoyed truly excellent service from them. I highly endorse Mac Laptops.
  10. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    He says he is an original MacBook Air owner. To be fair, the Samsung looks nice and the Series 9 is a close competitor to the current MacBook Air. If the slate version works out for him, what's the issue? I'd actually be interested to hear, since it's clear that Microsoft sees tablets running "full" operating systems, while Apple does not (at least not yet).

    If the Samsung slate takes off, especially after Windows 8 comes out, then perhaps it will become a common format.
  11. Alkiera thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2008
    I was and am interested in everyone's opinion. Primarily I was curious about the MR MBA forum folks given the marked similarities between the hardware involved. I used to be a regular on this subforum, and the lack of apples-to-apples (hardware-wise) comparisons to the MBA were a common topic of discussion, as were wishes for a touchscreen on a full Mac OS device.

    The only time I hug my PC is when I carry the beast outside to blow dust out of it. My MBA goes with me everywhere. I'm a platform agnostic; I own a Windows desktop, yes, which I mostly play games on. I also have a Linux server, a Mac laptop, and an Android phone. I've written applications for all 4, sometimes with native tools, sometimes with cross-platform tools. I've done an awful lot of .Net programming on my MBA thanks to the Mono Project, for example, then copied the binaries to my desktop and run them there, too.

    The first is a bit of a fear of mine; Windows laptops are often annoying from a quality point; I've built all the PCs I use at home. The experience with Apple has been amazing, which is probably a good bit of why their marketshare is so much higher in that market. I had the hinge on my MBA die (plastic was splitting, making a weird clicking noise when opened or closed) about 30 months after I bought it, and the repair took about a week at the local Apple Store, and cost me nothing thanks to Apple Care. Paid for itself in that one visit.

    To KPOM, that's basically my thought as well. It'll be an interesting few years here, as both major consumer OS companies try to figure out where to go from here. They both seem to be moving towards more tablet-like experiences on the desktop, converging their mobile and desktop OS variants. Can they do that for consumers while maintaining a windowing environment for productivity users, and keep things well balanced between them? No one knows the future, but we'll find out; just be patient.
  12. danijelzi macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2011
    My Slate 7 Impression

    I've played a little bit with the Slate 7 on the IFA Show and I can tell you it feels like a high quality device: fast performance, nice build quality of the case with brushed metal lid, good screen...

    Although the touch responsiveness is great, my feeling was that Win 7 is just not an OS for a tablet. Icons, tabs, dialog boxes, and other stuff really need to be big for touch use. Right before Slate, I used Samsung Tab 7.7 with Honeycomb and that was far more usable and simpler, although Tab's screen is almost 4 inches smaller.

    I've also noticed that the device feels heavy when compared to 10.1 Android tablets and there's a great amount of heat on the back of the Slate, on place where you hold left hand in portrait mode, as far as I can remember (there's an i5 CPU inside).

    What really can't compare to MacBook Air is the included keyboard, which has no touchpad, so if you prefer touchpad over mouse, the keyboard won't be of use. I've tapped the table below the keyboard a couple of times :).
  13. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    That's what I would expect. I have an Asus Ep121 and it has dual fans and the much less power hungry ULV cpu. It doesn't get hot, but they obviously put a lot of effort into the thermal characteristics .

    No way you can put a regular portable chip into a form factor like that, with a metal chassis, and a single fan an NOT have it get hot. :D

    And since it's meant to held in a hand, it doesn't really add up, does it? (unless you wear gloves).
  14. coldmack macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2008
    What the difference between a 'PC huger' and an 'Intel based Apple fan'? Hardware casing!

    Now is number one stat fact or opinion, because I know for a fact that Apple is middle of the pack when it comes to reliability and service. Factually, Apple has gone down the hill in these marks since the move to Intel. Plus, you have to remember this, three years ago Samsung didn't have many of their laptops infesting the North American market. Now they do.
  15. Alkiera, Sep 12, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011

    Alkiera thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2008

    Actually, there are several notable differences between an Intel-based Mac and a PC, at the hardware level. The CPU is about all they have in common. Mac computers use an Extensible Firmware Interface to initialize hardware at startup; this allows individual hardware items to manage their own initialization. With a PC, you have BIOS code that must contain support for every type of hardware; usually this is done by having all hardware support extremely basic standards for purposes of startup, until the Operating System with better drivers can be loaded.

    This is part of why you often can't just stick a Mac PCI card in a PC or vice-versa; the Mac version has extra firmware on board to provide drivers to the EFI framework. This process is similar to the OpenFramework boot system used on the PowerPC Macs.

    As for reliability ratings, Apple is still on the top of the heap in any chart I could find; these being from 2009/2010, all Intel-era stuff. Samsung doesn't appear to have sufficient US sales to come up in polls I've seen, but the few that do seem to have not had many significant problems.
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Newer Windows PCs also use EFI, but they use a different implementation that is incompatible with Apple's implementation, which is why Boot Camp is still necessary to install Windows on a Mac natively.
  17. Alkiera thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2008
    I just read this was true; apparently on on the IA-64 branches of older windows (2000, XP, Server 2003, etc) which ran on Itanium hardware, and then the x64 branches of Server 2008, Win7, and possibly later service packs of Vista x64. No 32-bit branches of Windows support EFI, apparently due to lack of vendor support for the system.

    EFI support from the hardware is often disabled by vendors way before the hardware sees consumers on the PC side; Intel chipsets support it, but the vendors (Asus, MSI, etc) add a BIOS and hide/break the EFI layer in the engineering process; probably because that is what they've always done. It's easier than training their engineers in EFI programming, introducing new potential software bugs, and avoids being 'different' which may limit what other hardware your motherboard can support.

    It will take someone with the weight of MS saying 'Thou Shalt Support EFI to be able to use the 'Supported by Windows 8' sticker' before they will move in any numbers.
  18. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    windows 8 looks awesome. i saw a video a few days ago and actually got pretty excited about it. then i read that its something like a year away and familiar sadness returned.

    anyways, windows 8 will hopefully be awesome when it arrives. for now, windows 7 seems fine to me too. (obviously there are some nice details to OSX, and part of why windows is better now is because it's copied some things from OSX, but at this point, Mac-only software aside, i don't get why 'typical users' would find windows 7 unacceptable as compared with OSX.)

    i'm considering the Samsung slate as well. i've been absolutely hell bent on upgrading to a new Mac for over a year now, but now i'm not so sure. (part of this is because i find the screens hard to look at; i haven't been using LEDs, so i may be just as screwed with anything new.)

    i use a Thinkpad X61 tablet currently, on which i do math and draw; it's a 'convertible' tablet, a laptop whose screen flips down. a real stylus on a tablet is critical to me. (try drawing a happy face or writing your name with a stylus on an ipad.)

    as i said in the other thread on the SS7 Slate, i wish this had a laptop-like dock, so that you could clip it in and use it like a laptop, with the keyboard, and then pop it out and use it like a slate. if this were the case, it would probably seal the deal for me. sadly, Samsung did not share this wish. for now, it looks like i may go with the X220 tablet. but who knows, the SS7 does look nice. i'm probably waiting till next month either way. we'll see.

    Lenovo just came out with an android tablet that works with a (real) stylus. i'm hoping we'll see more stuff in this direction, touch and stylus, and that both OSs will adapt in that direction. touch is cute, and i'm all for it, but it doesn't really help with work. a (precise) stylus on the other hand is extremely useful, though i know for many people the benefit may be limited.
  19. Alkiera thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 11, 2008
    Microsoft just gave away 5000 of these at their developer conference, running Windows 8 Developer Preview edition, with new dev tools, etc on them. Which is why people pay the $3000+ ticket prices for that event.

    Those comments from Samsung about ensuring Windows 8 compatibility just gained a LOT more weight...
  20. Tmoen macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2011
    Wait until 8

    As an owner of a MBA AND a Series 7 Slate, and in full disclosure, being loyal to both Apple, where i worked for over a decade and Microsoft, where I also worked for over a decade, I can tell you there is no comparison between these two devices. The fact that you are "trying" to compare them is, well, goofy.

    Comparing the Samsung 9 to MBA would be closer but again as previously posted here, you can run MacOS and Windows on the MBA. The Slate is an good device but by the time I pack a keyboard, video (micro hdmi and others) my external HD (only 60 GB free on the 128 GB internal--i found and bought a 64 GB micro SD for $180 but has not yet arrived), power adapters, case and other items, I am better off with a MBA or series 9 than a series 7. If you do not present, do little typing, and need a ultra portable and have access to win 8, then the slate may work for you.
  21. matrix07 macrumors 601


    Jun 24, 2010
    You are confused.
  22. zeigerpuppy macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2009
  23. Maven1975 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    I bought one of those slates from my local Microsoft store and returned it within 48 hours. I loaded W8 on it and dialed it in as suggested on other forums.

    The problem for me was the weight, graphics not as advertised (Really Bad) heat/fan noise, light sensor placement.

    For me, it just too much to work with a full OS on a tablet. They are making good strides with W8, but once you pierce through the first layer of W8, you back to a W7 OS thats still not friendly with touch devices. File management, scattered placement, too many jumps to complete tasks, task bars/ ribbons with too may options for error presses. (Office)

    iOS and Android have the advantage here. Yes, they have their limitations, but I would rather be scaling up with these OS, rather than painfully watching them scale backwards.

    I like WP7 and hope to see more advances in the future. This is where MS should be focusing, because the writings on the wall for Intel and x86. Sure, there will be need for computers with raw processing power, when an average consumer can put a friggin' PS3 in their pocket, the need for these large power hungry monsters are fading.

    Wow.. total tangent there! :)
  24. tonycarreon macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2008
    i have one of the samsung series slate 7 ( bought it for development purposes). i won't comment on the fact that it's running windows 7 and not os x, that's fairly obvious and you can make your own decision on the OS type you want/need.

    if you plan on using it as a windows-based laptop and bringing your own mouse and keyboard, then it's fine.

    if you expect it to be a computer that you can carry around, you'll be disappointed.

    of course since it's windows 7, there are issues related to touching elements on the screen. after getting it i can see 100% why apple didn't put the full os x on the iPad and instead opted for iOS. it just doesn't make a lot of sense trying to close windows, hit the little buttons here and there, and typing on the popup keyboard is mind-numbing and frustrating. samsung tried to address some of those things by making buttons appear larger, having a program launcher similar to android / iOS's home screens, but underneath it all you're still running windows.

    not to mention as others have pointed out the placement of the ambient light sensor. if you hold it in portrait orientation your screen will appear to pulse as it brightens and darkens. not to mention the fan (a FAN on a handheld?!) vent is right where you want to hold it on the left side.

    i've gotten so used to my iPad and iPhone's home button that i find myself hitting the windows hard button expecting to get "home" but instead just seeing alt+tab.

    speed wise it's fine, no complaints there. however i would not use this as a primary computer.
  25. stevenpa macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2011
    For me, just holding the laptops in my hand is enough, something seems missing from the Samsung.

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