Samsung Ativ Tab 3 review: first look

Samsung-Ativ-Tab-3-ISO-800-3-462x306Along with a raft of new Windows 8 hybrid and laptops, Samsung has also unleashed the Samsung Ativ Tab 3 Windows 8 tablet.

This doesn’t quite have the glamorous appeal of its larger siblings. There are no fancy hinges to play with, nor an ultra-high resolution display to gawp at, but there’s plenty else to like about this slimmed-down, full-blown Windows 8 tablet.

For starters, it’s the lightest, most slender tablet of its type we’ve yet laid hands on. It has the same size screen as the Microsoft Surface Pro, but weighs 39% less at a ludicrously low 550g. It’s far thinner too, at only 8.2mm compared with a chunky 14.2mm.

Samsung-Ativ-Tab-3-ISO-640-462x306Physically, it’s more similar to the company’s range of Android tablets than anything Windows-based we’ve seen. It’s finished in glossy white plastic, just like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, and comes with an S Pen stylus, so you can take full advantage of Windows 8’s handwriting recognition tech, and edit photos with more accuracy than with a mouse or finger. It’s good to see Samsung has given it a place to live, too: the stylus stows away neatly in the corner of the Ativ Tab 3.

The internals of the tablet go some way to explaining the light weight and slim design. The Ativ Tab 3 sports not a full-blown Haswell chip, but one of Intel’s more frugal Atoms – in this case, the dual-core 1.8GHz Atom Z2760. It’s backed up by 2Gb of RAM, and an impressively large allocation of storage space. The Ativ Tab 3 has 64GB of eMMC flash memory as standard (although Windows will chomp through at least 20GB of that), and a microSD slot for adding more.

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Before you get too excited, though, the Ativ Tab 3 can’t compete with the Surface Pro when it comes to pixel count. It has a standard 1,366 x 768 resolution stretched across its 10.1in diagonal, delivering a lowly pixel density of 155ppi.

Elsewhere, the tablet is equipped with a Micro-HDMI output, a 720p camera, and has – so Samsung claims – a battery life of ten hours. That’s nothing special for an Atom tablet, though. The Dell Latitude 10 we tested lasted more than 27 hours with the larger of its batteries in place, although admittedly it’s a much chunkier device. More notably, perhaps, the Ativ Tab 3 also comes complete with a bundled copy of Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student.

With such a modest weight, slender design, and the inclusion of the stylus and Microsoft Office, the Samsung Ativ Tab 3 is certainly an appealing prospect. However, given its mid to low specification, a lot will depend on the price. Samsung hasn’t yet announced how much the Ativ Tab 3 will cost when it appears in the shops later this year, but if it comes in at below £400 we can see it garnering a legion of fans.

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