Samsung Ativ Tab review: Hands-on

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Can the South Korean firm's Windows 8 powered tablet take on the market-dominating iPad?

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The Samsung Ativ Tab comes equipped with a bevvy of exciting features, as well as the new Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft

2012 is the year that Android and Windows take the fight to Apple - can the might of Samsung, backed by a new OS, work?

After establishing the biggest Android tablet in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Samsung is hedging its bets and backing Windows ahead of Microsoft's own Surface tablet as iPad increases it's dominance in the market.

Samsung Ativ Tab: Build

Like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 but darker, smoother and silver - this tablet wants to be at home in the office and the home - the Windows logo beams from the face of the machine and looks new if a bit weird on first look.

Rugged and curvy, the build is impressive and matches the enhanced variations of the original Galaxy Tab body which have hit the market in recent times. It's light too at 570g.

Samsung Ativ Tab: Features

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 4S chip is at the heart of the machine, while there's MicroSD and HDMI out sockets - something that Windows phones don't yet allow.

Microsoft Office is pre-installed and works well, while there's a 5 megapixel camera that can be used by many apps.

The Samsung Ativ Tab is actually more powerful than you might expect and the storage options are commendable - the big question is whether you will need a keyboard for the traditional Microsoft applications like Word and Excel.

Like Pages on iPad, typing long passages on the Samsung Ativ Tab still feels a bit awkward on first attempt.

Samsung Ativ Tab: Screen

A 10.1 display matches the sister Galaxy Tab 10.1 and looks as good, exaggerated by the bold colour squares of Windows. The screen is responsive but showed signs of smearing, much like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 when used alongside an iPad.

Samsung Ativ Tab: Performance

Windows runs perfectly and menus and apps can be opened and closed at speed - we've yet to see any apps which will really tax the capable processor, however and we're hoping that - in time - we will.

The 5 megapixel camera produced average results but the way apps embrace images and video feels slick and polished in a way that Android doesn't at all times.

During intense use at IFA 2012, the Samsung Ativ Tab remained cool to the touch too, with little heat transferred to our hands through the plastic shell.

Samsung Ativ Tab: Verdict

The Samsung Ativ Tab is a well made tablet and a natural design evolution from the Galaxy Tab 10.1. As a Windows tablet, it's up against the home grown Microsoft Surface and the Dell XPS Duo 12 PC hybrid.

The new Windows debuts on October 26th and we're expecting early adopters to look at the Microsoft option first - if it can match the Samsung hardware, it'll have a good proposition on the table.

But Samsung has been in the tablet business for years and the polish and future price (unannounced but expect it to be competitive) could see the Samsung Ativ Tab become the perfect entry point for students and Windows fans to explore the world of tablets for the first time....

Samsung Ativ Tab availability: TBC

Samsung Ativ Tab price: TBC

Words: Richard Melville

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