Samsung ATIV S Review
Not that much has changed with the UI of Windows Phone since version 7, no matter what some may try to convince you. If you've used a Windows Phone 7 handset, you'll feel right at home with Windows Phone 8. In fact, you may not notice that you're using a different device at first. Not that there's anything wrong with that – we really like this UI, because it's very different from anything else on the market, and it's also very good. Still, we think that Microsoft should think of some slight form of personalization for its hardware partners to use, because having exactly same UI across all WP devices is bound to become boring at some point. Plus, device manufacturers will surely like to have a more substantial way of differentiating their products.
At first, we thought that the metallic, down-to-business exterior of the ATIV S doesn't really fit the cheerful, multicolored nature of the Modern UI, but then we remembered that we can try to change the color theme and find something more appropriate. Thankfully, we found such a color combination, and just like that, there was peace between the look of the phone and the look of the UI. This comes to show that while there aren't any profound personalization options in Windows Phone 8 — at least not such that can be compared to those in Android — the platform still allows you to drastically alter its appearance in order to make it fit your exact color tastes.
As we said, we quite like Windows Phone 8's approach to UI and think that is holds great potential as a consumer platform. It's good-looking and fun to use, full of cute effects that make the whole experience especially lively. The Live Tiles are a great idea, which Microsoft has managed to implement almost flawlessly. Why almost? Well, why should the user need to repeatedly tap on a small Resize button each time when they want to change the size of a tile? Why not just let us hold the bottom right corner of the tile and resize it to the desired size with a single motion? But aside such small issues, the whole Windows Phone 8 concept seems to work really well.
multitasking is implemented. If you've seen what multitasking looks on a Sense-powered HTC Android smartphone – it's pretty much the same here. You get a horizontally-scrolling list of your opened applications, in which you only see one app at a time. That's quite inconvenient, as you might guess.
At first we thought that the generous 4.8” screen will allows us to type very conveniently on the virtual QWERTY keyboard, but that wasn't exactly the case. While the portrait keyboard is quite good indeed, the landscape one's layout is somewhat weird. Strangely, they landscape QWERTY doesn't take advantage of the whole screen, but instead sits in the center, with some empty space to its left, and the context menu options to its right. Actually, we believe this is the reason why Microsoft wanted to keep it that way – since it couldn't remove the options which are present on the right hand side of the landscape QWERTY, they've decided to keep some free space to its left in order to have it centered on the screen. It's rather unfortunate, if you ask us, so we hope that Microsoft will find a solution in the future versions of the OS. Overall, this layout will take some getting used to, but after that initial period you should be able to type comfortably on the keyboard.
Processor and Memory:
Windows Phone is not really a dream come true for specs lovers, as Microsoft has strict requirements about the hardware that can be used. In the case of the ATIV S, that includes a Snapdragon S4 Plus chip with two Krait cores clocked at 1.5 GHz. The GPU in use is the Adreno 225. We would say that this configuration is quite potent, although we know that it's not anything unseen. But why should it be? After all, the ATIV S's performance is top-notch, as pretty much everything that we tried to do with the phone was executed in a buttery-smooth manner.
The ATIV S is equipped with a healthy 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal memory, which should be enough for most users out there. Still, if you crave more space, you can always have it thanks to the presence of a microSD card slot for high-capacity cards.
The version of Internet Explorer 10 that Microsoft ships with Windows Phone 8 is a wonderful browser. It loads pages quickly and performs admirably, with no visible slowdowns or glitches. Users will surely get the same smooth experience that's present throughout the whole OS, but that's not all. In addition to pinch-zooming, double-tap-to-zoom has also been implemented spectacularly, allowing you to zoom in precisely on the object that you're targeting.
Of course, one thing that users will not be able to enjoy with any Windows Phone 8 device is Flash Player. In fact, Microsoft has never had an intention to bring Flash to Windows Phone, so if you had any secret hopes left, better put them to rest. However, you will get to enjoy a pretty cool implementation of tabs. We really liked it, at least. The Tabs window is actually hidden under the context options of IE, and so at first we thought that opening it will be a bit too slow to be convenient for regular use, but it turned out we were wrong. Getting to the tabs screen is both fast and fun.
Finally, we'd like to mention another awesome feature, which makes the browser automatically increase the size of certain fonts on a web page. For example, this can make the text of an article bigger, allowing you to read it more easily and without much need of zooming. The iPhone's Safari browser has this feature, and Windows Phone has implemented it too, making the browsing experience on many pages even cooler. It doesn't always work completely the way it should, but in most cases it does it right.
The ATIV S features a very fast HSPA+ radio which allows it to achieve up to 42.2 Mbit/s down, but only 5.76 Mbit/s up (which isn't such a pain, in case you aren't uploading large files via cellular).
1. TheLibertine (Posts: 484; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)
For me when it is Windows Phone it is either Nokia or nothing.
57. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
That purple phone on the first page is so fat and it looks like an iPod
12. ajac09 (Posts: 1110; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
Nokia is the reason why windows phones are doing so bad. Samsung and HTC will bring it back
14. JamesHunt (Posts: 37; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
Like they did when nokia did not enter into WP market. Your comment does not make sense, sorry.
21. AmitMajumder (Posts: 79; Member since: 21 May 2012)
Windows Phone gained interest after Nokia entered. Their marketplace have grown much bigger after nokia started to make WP devices
48. RichieRich379 (Posts: 21; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)
I like nokia, but thats complete bull, Window Phone starting getting noticed when Microsoft decided to get serious about WP.
45. x88yunkw (Posts: 42; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)
sorry to say that htc n samsung have produced wp since years ago but nobody aware what is wp phone.
until.... lumia appear in the market.... people start to recognize what is window phone.
interesting is, human remember ' lumia ' rather than ' wp '
56. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
I agree in that I think Nokia doesn't help Windows Phone at all. Sure it's unique but most people don't want a big thick phone anymore. Thin and light with a georgeous big screen is where it's at. AKA Samsung.... and htc too
62. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
not true, there are those that want heavier phones aslong as the trade off is worth it i.e. better camera
not everyone wants thin flat slabs
77. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
Oh I know, of course some people do. That's why in my comment I said 'most'. 'Most' people do want a thin, light phone with a big flashy screen. And I think Lumias are great, but as far as appealing to the massses, I don't think it really does. I could be proven wrong, in fact I hope I am. But as of now I disagree with claims that Nokia put Windows Phone on the map.
80. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
well id disagree with you saying nokia didnt put windows on the map. just like how when people say android most think samsung when you say windows most will think lumia. sure its only starting.
second again you said ''most'' you cant say most as i could say most just want a mid range phone so none of these devices matter to them anyway
83. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
I would be interested to see the statistics, but I wouldn't have thought that most people go for mid-range. Most of the people I know get the best phone that is out there at the time. But regardless, I said that I don't think the big thick Lumias will appeal to the masses. That doesn't change even if more people go for mid-range devices.
85. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
lol so you had to take a stab at the lumia's weight, the note 2 is a heavy phone its doing just fine so weight cant be brought into it. its not a valid problem
second there are many who arent tech knoledgable and just want a all round good phone that wont break the bank and mid range phones are what they get. us on here dont make up the market. the everyday customer is someone who knows little, the basics and just want a phone to get the job done.
how can the lumia's not appeal to the masses. easy to use, stylish ( no one can say they arent good looking phones) excellent hardware, smooth and fresh. people do look for the newest different thing. it comes in colours too which can be marketed to all ages. the lumia's have as much appeal as any other high end phone
87. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
Agreed! I don't know how many times I have to say I think Lumias are good! This isn't about whether they are good or not. I think when a newbie to the market walks into a store and looks at a thin, light samsung phone with a flashy screen, they will pick that over what looks at first to be a bigger, chunkier phone. Regardless of actual goodness. I love samsung, but know all that Nokia offers, I would probably pick a Lumia as well. But a lot of what is great about Lumias aren't right on the surface. Great camera with that awesome image stabilization, Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, exc. But those aren't things that these less knowledgeable people we're talking about would know.
70. ajac09 (Posts: 1110; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
46 people that must be from finland hahaha
75. juusitu (Posts: 4; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
It's just BECAUSE of Lumia 920 everybody has starting interested for WP. With only Samsung and HTC it would NEVER have become popular OS. Get the facts, you are only make laughing matter of yourself, stupid kid!!
74. juusitu (Posts: 4; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
It's just BECAUSE of Lumia 920 everybody has starting interested for WP. With only Samsung and HTC it would NEVER have become populas OS. Get the facts, you are only make foolstupid kid!!!
82. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
I'm sorry, I'm not sure if you're referring to me as the stupid kid that doesn't know the facts, but I can see that you are both big Nokia fans, which is great. And its fine we can both have different opinions. I don't think Lumia phones are good enough to have single-handedly put Windows Phone on the map. I believe that improvements that came to the OS with Windows Phone 8 is what got people interested, and Nokia happened to come in around that time. Saying that HTC and Samsung would never help the OS get popular is purely false. HTC and Samsung (mostly Samsung) have built a huge name for themselves on Android, so people like and trust those manufacturers as much if not more than Nokia.
84. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
see obviously i can say your an android if not samsung fan, thing is the everyday average person wont really have much knowledge on wp8 as a whole but will instead connect the os to a manufacture.
like android = samsung the first thing people will think when you say wp8 is lumia or nokia. not saying the improvements didnt help but nokia have to be given credit for giving wp8 traction.
besides even though nokia's not in the greatest position most people still know the name and alot see nokia to mean excellent build quality
nokia should become what samsung is to android
86. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
Okay, I see what you're saying. When I think of Android I don't think of Samsung, I think of the OS. But maybe you're right and most less techy people would do that. And don't get me wrong I like Nokia! I'm very glad they're doing well so far on Windows Phone (I think). I hope it saves there company. My main point was just that I don't think they saved Windows Phone. I think they helped it. This is again my opinion, not claiming it to be fact. But I see where you're coming from.
89. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
i never said nokia saved windows, just there the driving force to bring it to the market and will (if they do it right) be associated and the first thing the average customer thinks when considering a wp8 device
what saved windows phone is the os itself, if it hadnt evolved then no amount of marketing or great device could have saved it. so i get what you mean and wp8 on its own should be given the credit it deserves
27. AnTuTu (Posts: 595; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
I know why you didn't mention Samsung here. Because you are A 4 Apple :)
59. bvalde09 (Posts: 171; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Mmm Nokia its fine but I think Samsung Ativ S is a monster
78. yajia1 (Posts: 103; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)
WP did not start getting famous because of lumia. It is because Microsoft became more serious with the OS and created WP8. Stupid people. I don't even see anyone with lumia 900/800 anywhere and I travel a lot. Everybody either has Galaxy SIII or iPhone 4/4s
81. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
you should look harder then, i hardly see anyone with a gs3. seen more notes then them
and lumia 800/900 ive seen many of, dont try to invalidate an entire os by claiming you havent seen them
88. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
Saying that you hardly see anyone with the gs3 doesn't mean anything. Because in pure sales numbers you can see that gs3 was the most successful Android phone ever; it sold over 30 million. Nokia phones, while I think they're very good, have no such numbers.
91. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
maybe but all im saying is just because you dont see them day to day doesnt mean there not out there
if your going on sales, look how many iphone 5's were sold...i still havent seen one person with one
people who write comments like that are only doing it to invalidate an opposing choice to there proffered os and it gets boring
92. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
How can you accuse me of trying to invalidate an opposing choice? I have done nothing even close to that. If you think saying that the Lumia is a great phone over and over and saying I would choose Lumia over other phones is invalidating it then you need to touch up on your vocabulary.
93. CellularNinja (Posts: 259; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
I haven't even barely mentioned android! This discussion is about whether Lumia put Windows phones on the map or not. I have not tried to convince you that a different OS is better.
94. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
no i ment the original comment not your comments was trying to invalidate
and touch up my vocabulary , no mate i dont im fine as i am thanks go talk down to someone else
2. smallworld (Posts: 360; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
So 8 for the HTC 8X, 8.5 for the ATIV S and 9 for the Lumia 920 ?
Phonearena is so predictable.
16. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2953; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
It's this 8 for the 8X
8.5 for ATIV S
9 for the 820
And 9.5 for the 920!! XD
32. smallworld (Posts: 360; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
It's impossible for the 820 to have 9. More like 7.5-8.5
34. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2953; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
What a small-world!!! Sometimes it's better just to enjoy the joke and not comment something silly!!
41. Adithya7184 (Posts: 236; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)
so true...according to phonearena ativ S's camera and call quality is poor....and then why the hell is gsmarena mentioned it as Excellent...
4. bayhuy (Posts: 245; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)
The only real Windows 8 phones are HTC's and Nokia.
5. Aeires (unregistered)
It's an average sized phone, what's the problem with the size? Note is large, iPhone is small, this is average, don't see why that is a negative.
7. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 271; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)
I agree with you, the Samsung Galaxy S III did not get any cons for being too large though it is exactly the same size (.02 mm inches shorter -.-), I would, rather, place the GS III and Ativ S in a medium-large category. I think 4'3 and 4'5 is medium sized phone (normally), the Note is just a monster.
42. Adithya7184 (Posts: 236; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)
and also 920 is 10.7mm x 8x is 10.1mm x Ativ S is 8.7mm
so in this comparison ss is winner...why it is not mentiond in this review....
6. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 271; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)
The Lumia 920 and now Ativ S have both gotten remarks regarding lack of detail in photos. I hope this is not software based (Windows 8 processing) that's pulling a Sony with their point and shoot models (loss and smudging of detail to look better at higher isos). Time will tell.
8. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
How is this too big compared to 8X and 920?
It's almost the same footprint, yet much thinner and a much bigger display.
Add to that the large battery, expandable storage and you get the best WP8 phone
9. Kronic (banned) (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
Ignore this review and wait for lumia 920
38. flexile (Posts: 61; Member since: 03 Jun 2012)
Can't agree more with you. It will be hard to get into Nokia's territory.
10. josephnero (Posts: 176; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)
its reviewed by Ray S.thats why its considered big.
11. Leo_MC (Posts: 371; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)
Metal painted plastic?
No, thanks, we all know how quickly the paint wears off.
13. Nikolas.Oliver (Posts: 1260; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
The galaxy s iii should have been looked like this
15. JamesHunt (Posts: 37; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
Yesterday i watched the Lumia 920 review. Some canadian guy was the first person to receive his lumia from Rogers. Great phone ,to say the least!! I m excited about it !
17. pyradark (Posts: 626; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)
Hoping for a sony wp. X1 is there best wp yet
23. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
That's a WM, not a WP, but yes, Sony hardware with WP would be excellent. Really the only company I imagine not making WPs is Motorola, since they're owned by Google.
19. twens (Posts: 336; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)
Not that I hate wp8 but must all windows phone have almost same specs? I guess they all ran same with same speed? That must be boring,there won't be any much difference between a lumia 920,HTC 8x or ativ from Samsung.most difference will be from camera finish. Till there can be a difference in windows phones like the way Samsung is killing it with android I will pass all the time.
24. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
There is something to be said for consistency. Android phones have similar consistencies, and some use the same hardware as the new WP8s. Makes costs lower, development easier, and reduces chances for possible fragmentation.