Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T: An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet

Battery Life And Recharge Time

Battery Life & Recharge Benchmarks (Background Info)

The ATIV Smart PC 500T's six-hour battery life is unremarkable compared to tablets with ARM-based SoCs. When you compare it to tablet PCs like Samsung's Series 7 11.6" Slate, however, which only run for roughly three hours, it represents a major improvement.

We were naturally dubious of Intel's claims that it could match the battery life of ARM-based architectures, but here we have the 500T just under the Kindle Fire HD in our H.264-encoded playback test.

Let's try another workload less affected by fixed-function resources.

On the back of its two x86 cores, the 500T fares even better in our Web browsing and MP3 playback workload, passing a number of older tablets. Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD are both standouts in this test. Aside from those two, the Atom-powered system hangs right in there with the iPads and Surface.

Normalized Brightness Benchmarks (Background Info)

Though it might be common to use your mobile computing device with its screen at maximum brightness, that's not necessarily a balanced way to compare battery life. So, while we continue to include those numbers as an example of real-world use, we normalize to 200 nits for a re-match.

At first, doing this hit the ATIV Smart PC 500T particularly hard, knocking it to the bottom of our stack. It's hard for us to rail too hard on Samsung here; the 500T still delivered more than seven hours of run time in the video playback and Web browsing workloads. However, it's possible to get 10, 11, or 12 hours from competing tablets in the same tests.

Right before we published ARM Vs. x86: The Secret Behind Intel Atom's Efficiency, Intel let us know that new firmware and drivers were available for Samsung's tablet that should help its battery life. In fact, representatives mentioned, vendors continue tweaking their software infrastructures to further optimize what they're able to get from available battery power. So, we went back and updated any driver versions that had been released after our first round of numbers was run. H.264-encoded playback went up by 30 minutes, and our Web browsing workload picked up 23 minutes, just about tying Microsoft's Surface.

Now, that's not quite as impressive as what Intel showed us in its lab using Acer's Windows 8-based tablet. Again, though, the company readily admits that each vendor is doing something different, and our workload involves different power-consuming components, too. It'll take running battery numbers on more devices to get a clearer picture of how the Atom-equipped tablets fall in with the ARM-based competition.

Perhaps as a result of its pared-back graphics engine, Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T delivers some of the best battery life available in a gaming environment. Originally, it was bested only by Apple's iPad 2. But after our driver updates, the ATIV Smart PC 500T finishes in first place.

We also noticed that all of the graphics effects (blur, splashes, etc.) that were supposed to be exclusive to Nvidia's Tegra 3 are also present on the ATIV Smart PC 500T. On an Android-based platform, you have to have a device with Tegra 3 inside to get those features. On iOS, you need an iPhone 5 to get them.

Vector Unit, the developer, tells us that Riptide GP normally detects hardware before turning up the detail settings. However, when the company published to Microsoft's Windows Store, hardware detection was removed altogether. As a result, you'll see the nicer graphics on any system running Windows 8, including Samsung's Atom-based tablet.


The ATIV Smart PC 500T’s charging time to 90% capacity is just under two hours. To reach a full charge, you only need two hours and thirty-seven minutes. That's slightly faster than Microsoft’s Surface, but significantly faster than the first-, second-, and third–generation iPads.

In short, for every minute you spend charging the ATIV Smart PC 500T, you get a little over two minutes of use (at maximum brightness). With the Kindle Fire HD, every minute hooked up to the wall returns less than two minutes away. The third-gen iPad gets you between 1-1.5 minutes away for every minute of charge. In short, this is one of the ATIV Smart PC 500T's strengths.

We already know that Samsung's docking station contains no supplemental battery, unlike Asus' Transformer family. That means it doesn't matter if you have the keyboard attached or not; recharging time on the 500T is the same. The Transformer Prime's battery life nearly doubles with the docking station connected, but we're not including those numbers here because our focus is on the tablet alone.

  • knowom
    Way overpriced would much rather just get a laptop.
  • tanjo
    Too bad tablets can't get drunk and hook up; we'd love to see what the kids of Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T and Microsoft's Surface would look like.
    Don't know about the looks but they'd name it Samsoft.
  • mayankleoboy1
    i wonder what a Surface with a Quad core Krait S4 would look like.
  • DjEaZy
    ... An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet... two terrible things put together...
  • hp79
    I got one of these from Staples for $600 when they first released it.
    The battery life is amazing for me. Probably due to that fact that I never blast the brightness because it'll hurt my eyes. I usually recharge the battery overnight, once in 1-3 days. It's like a cell phone (I actually charge my Galaxy Note every night), where it stays connected. Press the power button or standby in the Windows menu, and the screen turns off, but everything else is still going on in the background. I can listen to music and press the power button, and it's just like a smartphone. All this while sipping very little power.
    I can play movies on my 1080p TV using cheap hdmi cable, and after watching 4 hours of movies, it still has 60% battery left.

    I really like the digitizer too since I also use OneNote 2010 on my x230t, which gets synched on the xe500t's OneNote 2010.

    Because I don't have to worry about the battery life at all, sometimes I just keep it on, running a movie or something while working on my desktop or laptop.

    Now the bad things are obviously the slower CPU, and everywhere-glassy plastic feel.
    There are also bugs in the drivers where the touch interface often stops working, especially in Skype. There were several updates on the drivers and bios, but I think they better keep working on it.
  • jonjonjon
    this is so ridiculous how bad ms screwed this up. windows 8 could not be more a disaster. why would you release a arm and intel x86 version of the same tablet? with that said why use arm at all. maybe i don't see ms's infinite wisdom. if i buy a windows tablet i'm expecting that i can run all my x86 programs on it. i would love to be in some ms management meetings i'm sure you could get some good laughs. poor ms i almost feel bad for them.
  • demirci
    "72% of Nvidia's Tegra 3, and 92% of Qualcomm's S4 Pro"
    This is not correct according to the graph.
    Talk to me when a tablet can run Crysis 3 on its highest settings. Then, I'll buy one. Then, the Desktop PC will be dead.
  • killerclick
    Windows Vista had 2.2% after two months on the market.
    Windows 8 market share after two months - 1.65%, meaning it gained only 0.6% Nov 26 - Dec 26
    At the same time Windows 7 gained 0.4% to just over 45%.

    Metro is dead, it should be obvious even to Microsoft now.

  • killerclick
    JOSHSKORNTalk to me when a tablet can run Crysis 3 on its highest settings. Then, I'll buy one. Then, the Desktop PC will be dead.
    No problem, they'll make Crysis 3 for Windows tablets, so it'll run exactly the same on the PC. It's what Microsoft is expecting devs to do with their apps.