I have had 2 solid weeks to put in some serious time with the Series 7 Slate (S7S), 40+ hours of sketching and rendering. Most of the time has been using SB Pro and Photoshop CS5. Overall my impressions of the machine are positive, but it definitely has it’s short comings.
Unfortunately there is some really bad moire effects going on when I photograph the screen which makes it looks pretty terrible, it’s not, it’s a gorgeous screen. I will try to update the thread with new images next week.
I’ll begin with the reasons why I personally picked the S7S over the alternate options, because there are other slate/tablet offerings that may fit your personal needs better:
- I needed to work with a full version of Photoshop and other programs, not a watered down app version
- I needed a machine that could run 3D sculpting programs like zBrush and Mud Box
- I wanted the flexibility of being able to run some light CAD on the machine like Rhino if need be.
- Needed to keep the total cost at around $1200 USD or less
- Mobility was a plus, but not critical since 90% of the use will be at my apartment or in class, very little road use.
With these constraints there were only 3 viable options, that I knew of: S7S, Asus ep121 (specs are slightly worse), Lenovo thinkpad X220 (nearly twice the price)
Running the full version of Windows 7 means that I don’t have to worry about running or waiting for watered down versions of programs that I need. Of course this comes at the trade-off of being a Windows machine and all the baggage that comes with that (viruses, blue screens of death, etc). I’m a long time Windows user, so I am ok with troubleshooting the occasional snafu. If you are looking for a beautiful, seamless user interaction experience this is not the Slate you want.
Dual multi-touch and Wacom Penabled input is nice. I still haven’t figured out how to map virtual touch hotkeys to the screen, and have been using the slate in conjunction with my keyboard off to the side for hotkeys. However, the unit does pick up my palm on occasion instead of the pen. This can be frustrating especially if I don’t notice it immediately and only find out there is an errant mark minutes later.
Screen quality and viewing angles are gorgeous, color reproduction is really nice and I think this would be a great screen for showing off work digitally during an in person interview. At full brightness the screen is crazy bright, even at its lowest setting it is very usable.
Overall it is a very quick and snappy machine, boot time is really quick and I have been able to open and work with large files in both Photoshop and CS5 with relative ease.
Battery life is respectable, I will be mostly using the slate in places where I have access to an outlet, but on the couple of occasions that I have used it outside of my apartment I have seen around 4-5 hours of sketching, and still had some juice left, this is with brightness turned down and no wifi on. With more use I’ll get a better idea real world battery life.
Sketching feels pretty nice. I have been working on a 12 inch Cintiq at work for the past 2 month and I prefer the feel of sketching on the S7S, the felt tip that comes with the pen has nice friction with the screen. I think that I might look into pen replacements in the future, but for now the standard pen is fine. I’ve never been a fan of the chunky cintiq pens, this one feels closer to a ball point in the
The glossy screen can be a bit annoying at times and reflects any bright lights that are behind me, and it is a finger print magnet. I still haven’t found any good screen protectors but I will probably get one in the future to see if it can remedy these two issues.
This is NOT a road warrior machine, at all. The build quality, unfortunately is pretty crappy. Apparently to save on internal bullk samsung did not mechanically fix the bezel to the inner frame, but instead if seems to be adhered to something. It does not really solid at the corners, and in fact a lot of people have had issues with the bezel coming loose. This could definitely be a deal breaker for some, personally I can deal with the issue, my slate isn’t going to see much of the road anyways so as long as in stays intact on my home and school desk I will be ok. But if you want an option that you can take with you daily and may see some wear and tear, I think you would be disappointed.
The ambient light sensor default settings are extremely annoying, the screen is constantly dimming when my hand waves over one of the sensors. There has to be a setting to turn this off, haven’t found it yet but it is extremely annoying!
The S7S is not the perfect slate, it might be quite a while before we see the perfect ID slate on the market, but I have found it to fir the bill for what I need right now. I feel confident that I can I will easily be able to recoup the costs of the machine in productivity over it’s lifespan. As of right now I do not have any regrets with my purchase, but I will be sure to keep the thread updated on any big changes in the future.
Will update with some sketches later on, all the work I’ve done on it so far is confidential freelance work.