The Samsung ATIV Tab has decent features under the hood and an attractive design that makes it an adept alternative to Microsoft's $499 Surface RT. The ATIV Tab though doesn't stand out against the market-leading iPad, as well as other Windows RT tablets.
Resembling the Android-running Galaxy tablet with a Windows logo underneath the screen, the ATIV Tab has a classy build quality. It has a 9mm-thick brushed metal body, subtle curves, and is among the lightest Windows 8 tablets weighing in at only 1.2 pounds.
The tablet has decent hardware, which include a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, an SD card for additional storage, front and rear cameras, NFC for contact-less payments and data transfers, Bluetooth and a full-sized USB port to connect to accessories. It has no 3G or 4G connectivity, thus will connect to the Internet only via Wi-Fi.
The 10.1-inch screen on the ATIV has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, which gives a pixel density of about 155ppi. Although the resolution is miles away from the 264 ppi Retina display of the fourth generation iPad, its still a bright, crisp and clear display at normal viewing distances.
While pre-installed with a trial version of Microsoft Office 2013, the ATIV Tab, like the Surface RT, is unable to run legacy software or desktop programs available for Windows 8 or previous versions. Only apps designed for the new "Metro" interface, which so far only total 10,000 in Microsoft's own Marketplace, can be downloaded to the device.
For Windows fans looking for an entry level tablet, the ATIV Tab should be a decent choice. But users who want a device that's able to run their desktop apps or want cellular connectivity should instead opt for the full-blown Windows 8-running and the cellular-ready Ativ Smart PC or the Ativ Smart PC Pro.
Need to know: Samsung ATIV Tab
1. Slim and light-weight design. (The Good)
2. Bright, crisp and clear display. (The Good)
3. Other than the NFC and full-sized USB not found in the iPad, the ATIV Tab offers basic functionality. (The Bad)
4. Windows RT devices have yet to gain ground in the tablet market and have limited apps available for download. (The Bad)