Initiate docking sequence, captain
Windows 8 has a perfectly good on-screen keyboard, which works in both the Modern UI and desktop environments. You can even split up the alpha keys so that they're all accessible under your thumbs. That's all well and good for firing off a quick e-mail or entering a URL in Internet Explorer, but it's not ideal if you have a 20-page report to write. For that, you'll want to plug in the 700T1C's keyboard dock.
The dock adds about a pound and a half to the 700T1C's weight. It includes a full-sized QWERTY chiclet keyboard, a touchpad, and a pair of USB 2.0 ports—handy if you ever need to plug in a mouse.
The 700T1C anchors itself to the dock using two mounting holes. Out of the box, those holes are hidden behind removable plastic covers, which you'll have to pry off with your fingernails. That seems like an unnecessary step, but I suppose the covers do help prevent lint and dust from getting into the docking holes. The covers might be helpful if you make seldom use of the dock.
The next step is simply to lower the tablet portion onto the dock's hinge. The mating process is entirely seamless—almost too seamless, in fact. I would have preferred a satisfying click to indicate a successful attachment. As it is, you may want to try lifting the tablet off the dock to make sure it's fastened securely.
Releasing the dock is a simple matter of pushing the big button in the middle of the hinge. Easy as pie.
Since the dock is lighter than the tablet, the whole arrangement feels a lot more top-heavy than your typical laptop. The hinge doesn't allow the tablet to bend back more than 120° or so, though, so there's little chance of it toppling over. Just be careful if you're using the system on your lap.
Our 700T1C came from Samsung's Canadian headquarters. As a result, it had a bilingual Canadian keyboard. Folks ordering the U.S. version of the system can expect a standard U.S. layout with a flat enter key, proper backslash, and none of those funny accent labels. (I hear the bottom of each keycap is also engraved with a bald eagle weeping with pride over the Stars and Stripes.)
|Total keyboard area||Alpha keys|
|Size||280 mm||100 mm||28,000 mm²||168 mm||52 mm||8,736 mm²|
|Versus full size||98%||91%||89%||98%||91%||89%|
The keys are a decent size, and the keyboard feels reasonably crisp. There's a little bit of flex in the middle, but that's standard fare in the world of chiclet keyboards. All in all, typing on the 700T1C's keyboard dock is surprisingly comfortable.
The touchpad is mediocre, though. It feels too tiny, and it doesn't always respond promptly to input, especially when you're using multi-touch gestures or trying to drag and drop something. Sometimes, the touchpad proved frustrating enough that I found myself giving up and using the touch screen. Too bad some UI widgets in Windows 8's desktop environment are too small to control comfortably with the touch screen alone.