June 11, 2012, 10:04 AM — The Samsung Series 7 Slate takes a different path from that of other recent Windows 7 tablets, packing more-powerful components that include an Intel Core i5 processor and a 128GB solid-state drive. But the fancy ingredients aren't cheap: The Series 7 starts at $1100, and the configuration we tested costs $1350 (prices as of June 1, 2012).
Samsung is no stranger to the tablet world, but this model is its first attempt at a Windows-based slate. The Series 7 Slate benefits from Samsung's overall design experience; at 0.51 inch thick, the Series 7 Slate is the thinnest of the six Windows 7 tablets we've tested to date. Nevertheless, a number of recent Android tablets are thinner, as is the third-generation Apple iPad (at 0.37 inch).
Thanks to its dual-core 1.6GHz Core i5 CPU and 1GB of graphics memory, Samsung's Series 7 Slate is virtually an ultraportable with the keyboard chopped off. The machine comes with a generous 4GB of RAM, four times what you'd find in a typical Android tablet, and twice what the other Windows models we've seen offer. It also has either a 64GB or a 128GB solid-state drive (we tested the 64GB version).
The 11.6-inch IPS display supports 1366-by-768-pixel resolution. Viewing angles are expansive, and our panel of judges gave high marks to the color and contrast in our display testing. The 16:9 aspect ratio on a screen of this size display does seem oddly wide, and (conversely) unusually tall and thin in portrait mode.
The touchscreen's responsiveness is great. In my hands-on testing, I experienced no missed taps; and with the larger screen, I could expand the onscreen Windows keyboard to near-touch-typable size. The tablet instantly recognized my swipes and flicks.
The Slate comes in at just under 1.98 pounds, but the Slate feels reasonably well-balanced for two-handed holding.
Samsung equips the Series 7 Slate with two cameras: a 3-megapixel camera on the back, and a 2-megapixel forward-facing camera on the front.
On the right side of the case, you'll find the power button (with a blue LED to indicate charging) and a rotation lock switch. The bottom houses the dock connector and two speakers. On the left side are the AC adapter jack, a micro HDMI port, a volume rocker, a combination headphone/microphone jack, and a full-size USB port. The top hosts a MicroSD card slot and dual built-in microphones.