Samsung Ativ Tab review

This 10in Windows RT tablet aims to outshine Microsoft's in-house effort with a Qualcomm chipset and nine hours of battery life. But is it worth the high-price point?

IT Pro Verdict

Sadly, despite decent hardware from Samsung, the Ativ Tab and its skinny take on Microsoft’s Windows RT fails to make the truncated OS any more usable – and at £550, this lack of utility is hard to swallow.

The Samsung Ativ Tab follows the Microsoft Surface RT, bringing tablet-centric Windows RT to the masses.

Unlike the Surface though, Samsung makes its slender slate using a hyperglazed coating. Samsung also powers it along with a Qualcomm processor instead of an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip and loads a considerably better camera combo around the front and back. But with the standalone slate costing around 549 from suppliers such as Expansys - is it worth it?


Although not the sharpest out there, the display on the Ativ tab is bright, punchy and is responsive to the touch with fantastic viewing angles. Its 1366 x 768 pixels resolution pales in comparison to the iPad with Retina display (2048 x 1536)or the Google Nexus 10 (2560 x 1600), but is the same as that of the Surface RT and looks on par.

Samsung Ativ Tab - Live Tiles

The screen display provides plenty of real-estate, but the automatic sensor can be annoying

We managed 9 hours of continuous use with the 8200mAh battery and it should get you through the day barring intensive usage. We did notice that the the auto-brightness sensor is aggressive, and borders on annoying as it can work overtime to conserve power.

Thin-dows RT

At just 8.9mm thick, the Samsung Ativ Tab is skinny. The chassis isn't much thicker than a full sized USB port, so it's a wonder Samsung managed to cram one into the top side of the Ativ Tab - and that isn't all. The top also houses the microSD card slot and micro HDMI port.

The next thing you notice about the Ativ Tab is the Hyperglaze finish. This is the name Samsung has given to the treatment it give to plastic on their Galaxy S3 and Note 2, making it resemble something almost metallic. This means the tab can look rich without being heavy and expensive to manufacture.

Samsung Ativ Tab - Back and side

Samsung Ativ Tab - Back and side

Thin and light is the order of the day with a thickness of 8.9mm and 570g weight

Sadly though, we're not as sold on it across a 10.1in tablet given the sheer surface area this fake metal effect gets. It misleads you to visually assume the tablet is metallic when in reality it is shiny, slippery plastic.

Skinny and light is novel for anything running Windows at present with even Windows Phone 8 smartphones such as the Lumia 920 being considerably chunkier than the competition. It even looks good and is easy to carry around, throw in a bag or briefcase. As soon as you touch it though, it starts to feel cheaper than the 549 price-point would suggest.