Nov 22, 2011

Samsung Series 7 Slate - Touch And Pen Input

Gear: Samsung Series 7 Slate.

The video is packed with information. Hopefully it answers many questions.


10 Touch Points
This is a Wacom based tablet that according to Samsung supports up to 10 touch points (source: Samsung). From my MS Paint test I can only get up to 8 touch points. In a way it doesn't really matter because on a tablet of this size we are not going to be doing anything with 8 or 10 touch points. Most of the time we'll use one finger. Sometimes two, three, or four fingers. When it comes to marketing things 10 touch points sounds better than the competition's 4 touch points, right?

Operating System
This unit has Windows 7 which is a desktop focused operating system that has a few touch features. Since it's desktop oriented it's not the most touch friendly operating system, iOS and Android are better. However, a desktop operating system gives you many more possibilities.

So far the programs/software that come with the operating system are not the most touch friendly that you can get. That of course is changing and Samsung did add better touch programs. We can expect even more touch friendliness with the release of Windows 8.

Flicks make navigating through Windows 7 a lot easier. Instead of having to reach for buttons we can just perform a flick. The basic flicks are: Forward, Back, Drag Up, Drag Down. Of course you can add more flicks and customize them to suit your needs. If you do a lot of web browsing you can customize them to optimize your experience.

Unique Touch Gestures
  • 2 Fingers Down - Opens/hides Touch Launcher program
  • 3 Fingers Tap - Launches a Utility Bar with file management, magnifier, and numerical keypad options.
  • 4 Fingers Tap - Launches the virtual keyboard (useful for some programs that ignore TabTip)

Tablet PC Input Panel (TabTip)
You can customize this to make your life easier. If you set it to "Point" instead of "Tap" you can easily open it up with a single press.

Swype will be covered later on.


You will receive a Wacom ditizer that has: a tip, right click button, clip, and an eraser. It's a very slim pen. The reason you would want to use the digitizer is because there are things that the pen can do better than finger touch.

FYI this is a digitizer pen that is an electronic device. A "stylus" is very different and usually is not an electronic device,they are nothing more than a stick.

Digitizer Functions:

  • Better Precision - Your fingers are not a very precise input method and it's going to be easier to navigate through Windows menus with a digitizer.
  • Write Notes - Your fingers can do this... but with the pen you can view what you are doing.
  • Draw Sketches and paintings - Many artists and graphically minded people use pens for their precise work. They may have stopped doing finger-painting back in kindergarten.

Some programs support pressure sensitivity and this feature gives your drawings and notes a bit of personality.

Hover State and Palm Rejection
The hover state of the pen kicks in at about 1CM, and goes out at about 2CM. It will behave just like the "mouse over" state of the pointer (which is beneficial on websites).

There is palm rejection technology but you must be aware of the proper method. The pen must make contact (enters hover state) with the screen before your palm does. If you set down your palm first then you are going to get accidental palm clicks. Also keep in mind that once the pen gets out of that "hover" state the finger touch becomes active and your palm is recognized as touch point.

I have tried several Wacom based tablets including the X201T, X220T, and now the Series 7 Slate, and they have similar behavior. Usually Wacom digitizers are fairly precise in the middle areas. Once you move the digitizer to the edges the accuracy is reduced, sometimes it feels like the pointer is pushed out.

Calibrate Screen
One thing you can do to improve the accuracy is to calibrate your screen.  It will also reduce that weird edge behavior.

How to calibrate screen:
  • Hit Windows key
  • Type "Tablet PC Settings"
  • Click "Calibrate..." button
  • Follow along with the 16 points (the second time is only 4 points)

This calibration does not fully remove that edge behavior.

Touch Layer
The Series 7 Slate touch layer's texture has a bit of "gummy bouncy" feel.  This is different from other tablets that I have tried which have a firmer glass like feel.  Personally I like how the pen feels on the screen of the Series 7 Slate.

Vs N-Trig Digitizer
The N-Trig pens have a few negatives compared to Wacom. Some of these negatives are:
  • Louder tip - The Wacom ones are quieter.
  • AAAA battery will need replacement - Wacom doesn't need replacement batteries.
  • No eraser - N-Trig doesn't have an eraser, Wacom pens do.
  • Blockier lines - Wacom beats N-Trig when it comes to creating smoother lines.

Overall I'm very pleased with the touch and pen input features of the Samsung Series 7 Slate. Thanks for watching/reading, and hopefully you got something out of this post.


  1. I think that's enough touch-friendliness for me. My main concern is the screen resolution. I'd be interested in using the device for sketching and drawing but 1366x768 sounds a bit too little. Or is the pen input bottlenecking the drawing precision anyway? (Sorry if I'm not making myself clear, English is not my native language) And about the battery life. How long does it actually run, Aero disabled? Boot time is awesome and I guess the i5 will handle basic photoshopping and drawing, so I'm pretty tempted, though the concerns linger.

    1. If the resolution concerns you then use vector based drawing programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape. Vector graphics can be resized without loosing quality. Bitmap based programs lose image quality when resizing (Photoshop, Paint.net).

      When it comes to battery life I'm still testing it. Different screen brightness levels will give you different results. With a low screen brightness you can expect about 6 hours (up to 6:30 sometimes). With max brightness expect about 4 to 5 hours. This is with Aero enabled. Of course what you are doing with the tablet will change those numbers. Usually intensive programs will reduce the battery lifetime, and light programs will extend it.

      Note: For English not being your native language you are doing a fantastic job. English isn't my native language either so it took me some time to be somewhat proficient at it.

  2. Are you planning to install Windows 8 DP on the tablet? I think that would be really cool to see.

    1. No plans for Windows 8. I'm not interested in testing it until it's ready.

  3. Now that you have had the slate for a while are you having any screen separation issues?

    1. I'm seeing some flexing on the bottom bezel (near the Touch Launcher button). It's not a full on separation as I have seen on some images. Since the plan is to return the system and get my money back (because I'm broke and Samsung told me that they are "not collecting reviews anymore") the screen separation issue will be my reason. :)

      I'll make sure to do a post about it to advice anyone who's watching the videos so they know what they are getting themselves into.

  4. Hi
    I Just received my tablet. I cannot get the pressure sensitivity to work in Photoshop CS 5.5 Also, my Fujitsu T901 allows me to assign modifier keys to the pen buttons allowing me to assign the Alt button to a button for cloning in photoshop. Although my Fujitsu pen works on the Samsung, the Samsung control panel is basic and does not allow this. I have downloaded several drivers and both "problems" remain. Any ideas? Thanks for your help.

    1. I'm not entirely sure on how to solve this and I am not sure which tablet you are talking about. Wacom may blame Samsung/Fujisu/Lenovo for not having the support, or the companies blame Wacom. So what can you do?

      Update drivers through Samsung's website. It's under the name of "Wacom Digitizer Pen (Driver) (ver.". http://www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/product/XE700T1A-A01US

      Update drivers through Fujitsu's website. The T901 touch + pen drivers on the support site are not there, however they are in the T900 page. Go to http://support.fujitsupc.com/CS/Portal/support.do?srch=DOWNLOADS and select: Notebook PC, T Series, T901 or T900

      Attempt to update drivers through Wacom's website. If the Tablet PC versions do not work then download one for the Bamboo tablet drivers. http://wacom.com/en/CustomerCare/Drivers.aspx?model=Tablet+PC&os=

      More info regarding Adobe Creative + pressure sensitivity:

      Hope that helps. (10m)

  5. Hi Jesse, which pen do you recommend using with this table? Any new experiences since the video was made? Thanks for your help,


    1. The default pen works well enough. There are other Wacom based pens that work with the Series 7 Slate, although they may not have all the features due to not being able to install Wacom software from Wacom's website (the 7 Slate uses a modified Wacom driver from Samsung).

      If the Wacom software from Wacom's website worked then you could use a Fujitsu Lifebook Digitizer.

    2. Could you recommend a wacom pen for the slate ? I find that the default pen works ok, but it does not have
      pressure sensitivity when working with Painter12 and also the eraser end of the pen only works on text and not splashes of pencil or paint.

    3. The default pen should work on all programs that support pressure sensitivity. The problem is not the pen, but the program. Some programs support pressure sensitivity, and others don't. If the program supports it, but you don't see pressure differences, then it might be the settings of the program (or even the "brush").

      Corel Painter 12 has pressure settings on each individual brush.

      If for some reason the pressure sensitivity is not working properly, then it could be the Wacom drivers.
      [updates released in April 2012] - http://www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/product/XE700T1A-A01US


  6. Hi there, do you know if it's possible to turn the pen's hover state off? i.e only see the cursor when the pen is physically touching the screen?

    1. Maybe. I know that Win 7 Pro (and up) have a few extra features regarding touch. I don't have the Series 7 Slate anymore so I cannot confirm it.

  7. Hi Jesse, how to turn off the touch input since I only want to use pen input in my series 7 slate? I am frustrated by wrong touches of my fingers and palm. Thank you very much.

    1. There may be a way, and it would be similar to the X230T's method:

    2. Dear Jesse,

      No, the option in the lenovo is not available in my samsung. Anyway, having done several trials, I found how to disable the touch input: in the windows, click start/control panel/hardware and sound/in the pen and touch click change touch input settings/touch/untick "use your finger as an input device"/apply/OK..it works well. By the way, thank you very much for your video demonstration, it is very helpful.

    3. I was wondering about doing that method and I thought that the driver would be reinstalled as soon as the system restarts. The X230T method is a bit more elegant, and it easily allows the activation/deactivation of multi-touch. Well with my X230T the "pen input only" works quite well for inking in MS OneNote, and it should be the same with the Series 7 Slate.

    4. Hi, Jesse
      Indeed, the inking method also works well in the series 7 slate. Anyway, do you have any idea how to do inking in the SPSS (statistic) software since the software does not have a kind of add-on options for inking, like in ms office software? Thanks again.

    5. I am unfamiliar with that software, sorry.

  8. Hi Jesse,

    I plan to get the Samsung Slate with Windows 7. Today when I visit my customers and taking orders I just use a paper template I created in Excel. With the Slate I hope to get rid of my papers and get the orders in "digital" form.
    Can I use the pen to input data in Microsoft Excel?

    Stockholm, Sweden

    1. Yes. Excel, Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint have support for inking.