Samsung Sliding PC 7 Series hands-on preview (video)

If you're an avid Engadget reader, you're familiar with a dream of ours -- we have always wanted a netbook / tablet hybrid (netverible as we like to call 'em) that actually works really well. We don't want to get our hopes up too much, but the Samsung Sliding PC 7 Series could be it. While we got a chance to see the 10.1-inch tablet with its slide out keyboard just a few days ago, we caught some one-on-one time with the device behind closed doors here at the show and came out having a lot of hope in the product. The unit we saw, and the one being shown on the show floor here at CES, is still pre-production, but even so the sliding mechanism worked pretty smoothly. That's not to say it doesn't still feel delicate, but it actually auto-slides open once you start to push up the screen. As you'll see in the video, it's a rather exhilarating process, although, we were slightly worried that the back of the screen was going to shave off a keyboard key or two. Speaking of the keyboard, those smooth, shiny chiclet keys feel pretty good, though as you'd expect the layout is a little bit cramped.

When held in tablet mode the 2.18-pound device is a little heavy for one-handed use, but it's nowhere near as thick or bulky as the Dell Inspiron Duo. However, to maintain those trim dimensions, Samsung has had to cut out a full sized USB port, and instead, the device will use its mini-HDMI port -- it will come with a mini-HDMI-to-USB 2.0 adapter. It also has a MicroSD slot and 3G-card insert, and both front- and back-facing cameras. We didn't get to spend too much with Samsung's Touch Launcher, but it's one of the nicer looking Windows 7 layers we've seen in our day, and it can be launched by just touching that bright blue strip on the screen bezel. Of course, we're slightly worried that it will be sluggish, but Samsung is using Intel's forthcoming 1.5GHz Oak Trail processor, which we've heard will speed up Win 7 and improve battery life. As for the 340-nit, 1366 x 768-resolution screen itself, it was nice and bright on maximum setting, and the viewing angles seemed to be fairly decent. Unfortunately, it's also fairly glossy, so we'll have to see how it holds up outdoors. It also supports up to 16 points of contact -- we're not sure how useful that is on a ten-inch screen, but it's a nice bragging point. Samsung maintains the Sliding PC 7 Series should be hitting for $699 in May -- don't let us down Sammy, we've got dreams.

Sam Sheffer and Sean Hollister contributed to this report.

Updated: The price is said to be $699, not $599. We've heard different things on the release time frame so we're sticking to May at the moment.