Skip to main content

Samsung ATIV Tab Review: A Tablet To Hold Your Breath For?

ATIV Tab On Hold: Did Samsung Make The Right Call?

Microsoft took a lot of its partners by surprise when it disclosed that it was working on its own tablet, particularly since the company had already been guiding the likes of Dell, HP, Samsung, Acer, and Lenovo through what it wanted to see, design-wise. This might not have been awkward if the Surface was a flop. But it's actually a good-looking, well-built piece of hardware. The kickstand and cover combination is both clever and practical. And we think that magnesium chassis is great.

How does Samsung's ATIV Tab compare? Well, by virtue of its Qualcomm APQ8060A SoC, it serves up better battery life. And that's from a lower-capacity power source in a lighter package. Our benchmarks also tell us that the Tab offers superior color performance from its display, though the difference is nearly imperceptible.

At the same time, we're not fans of the plastic shell, just as we criticized it on the ATIV Smart PC 500T. There's also no kickstand (I had to prop it up against a picture frame to get the shot above). And although the Tab is clearly meant to be complemented by a docking station of some sort, we still haven't seen what Samsung has planned as an optional upgrade for folks who can get their hands on this tablet overseas. 

Does the ATIV Tab deliver a better experience in Windows RT than its competition? Not really. The same limitations we ran into on the Surface apply here as well. Samsung's device does wield faster hardware, but IE10 still stutters if you ask too much of it. Moreover, in a multi-monitor configuration (something we're partial to), simply moving your mouse around causes skipping if you're watching video on YouTube.

Of course, given confirmation that Samsung isn't releasing the ATIV Tab in North America just yet, it'd seem the company came to the same conclusion as us, just a little sooner. Nothing prevents Samsung from revisiting our market later in 2013 though, particularly if its concerns about Windows RT are addressed.

Should that happen, we'd advise Samsung to mind its pricing. At least in the U.K., 32 GB Tabs are selling for £525, or just a little less than a 64 GB Surface. In a head-to-head against Microsoft's Surface, we'd be looking for the ATIV Tab at a discount, and even then only if Samsung were to make a sturdy docking station available as an option.

We're definitely looking forward to getting our hands on tablets with Qualcomm's recently-announced 600- and 800-family SoCs, but Samsung's decision to hold off on the ATIV Tab in North America, at least for the time being, was the right one to make. This isn't a bad tablet by any means, but better Windows RT-equipped options already exist.

  • tanjo
    Power consumption graphs says this tablet has Z2760.
    Reply
  • kyuuketsuki
    While we were at CES, however, we met up with Lazslo Kishonti, CEO of Kishonti Informatics and the developer of GLBenchmark. He pointed out that Atom-based tablets running Windows RT are more likely to deliver different levels of performance.
    Er, you mean Atom-based tablets running Windows 8? (Page 6, Paragraph 11)
    Power consumption graphs says this tablet has Z2760.Our setup is pretty basic: we set BrowsingBench to run in battery life mode, which prevents the browser from caching data. Instead of
    Where's the rest of this paragraph? (Page 6, Paragraph 13)
    Reply
  • kyuuketsuki
    Also, I'm not sure what's up with the Futuremark Peacekeeper and Rightware Browsermark results, but we know damn well the Krait S4 in this tab is a better performer in every way to the Tegra 3. Not sure why go with the S4 Play with the dual-core Krait and Adreno 225 instead of an S4 Pro with quad-core Krait and Adreno 320, though, especially in a tablet form-factor.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    KyuuketsukiNot sure why go with the S4 Play with the dual-core Krait and Adreno 225 instead of an S4 Pro with quad-core Krait and Adreno 320, though, especially in a tablet form-factor.Because Win8 is already a battery hog compared to Android, and adding power hungry cores will make that worse.
    I dont see any issues with S4 pro and Android.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    KyuuketsukiEr, you mean Atom-based tablets running Windows 8? (Page 6, Paragraph 11)Where's the rest of this paragraph? (Page 6, Paragraph 13)Fixed!
    Reply
  • dokterprio
    Why there is difference in power usage between ativ tab and ativ smartpc 500t. I think they are the same, except the screen size.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    tanjoPower consumption graphs says this tablet has Z2760.Apologies, fixed now.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    dokterprioWhy there is difference in power usage between ativ tab and ativ smartpc 500t. I think they are the same, except the screen size.Sorry, we had the charts labelled the same. The ATIV Smart PC 500T has an Atom and runs Windows 8, while the ATIV Tab has an ARM-based chip from Qualcomm and runs Windows RT - they are actually very different devices.
    Reply
  • ojas
    BrowsingBench scores: are the ipads in correct order?
    Reply
  • adamovera
    ojasBrowsingBench scores: are the ipads in correct order?Seems to be, I haven't used this benchmark yet myself, and I'd have to check with the author to be sure, but I'd guess that these results are inversely reflecting the resolution of the different iPads.
    Reply