Samsung ATIV Tab Preview
With Windows RT running on the Samsung ATIV Tab, users may choose between the traditional desktop environment – think folders, taskbar, icons, and all the stuff one can find on a desktop or a netbook PC, or the new Start screen, populated with live tiles in a true Modern UI fashion. Can you guess which one of the two we are more excited about?
The latter, of course! Since we have a tablet on our hands, the live tile interface is a lot more convenient to use as it has been optimized for touch-based input, unlike the desktop interface. Besides, the minimalist, Modern UI is so elegant and simple to use that even newbies will get the hang of it in no time. We just love it how nine out of ten features a casual owner would ever need access to are within a tap's reach, while a number of tiles constantly provide up-to-date information, such as weather data, news headlines, stock prices, and such. In other words, live tiles for the win!
Switching to the boring desktop interface is required at times, however. That is where productivity software such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are accessed from. Speaking of which, using Office on a tablet feels quite awkward, regardless of Microsoft's claims that it has been touchscreen optimized. With their multitude of tiny buttons and menus, the applications in the pack just feel too cluttered, especially considering that the on-screen keyboard takes up the bottom half of the screen.
switching between applications is done with a short right-ward swipe starting from the left edge of the display. Continuing the gesture with a swipe in the opposite direction will bring forth a bar with all apps that are currently open. May sound complicated, but in reality, shuffling between apps has been made really convenient. An upward swipe from the bottom brings forth a button, which takes you to the list of all installed applications when tapped. Pressing the Windows button takes you instantly back to the Start screen. Press it again and the last active window will be brought on display.
The streamlined design principles of the Modern UI have been implemented with the software that comes loaded on Windows RT, which adds consistency to the whole user experience. One of the apps we are quite happy with is the weather application, which provides a rich array of information, including an hourly forecast and radar maps of the surrounding area. Bing Daily and Bing Sports are meant to keep users informed on current events by providing headlines from a number of major news sources. Unfortunately, we were unable to add our own news feed or import our Google Reader subscriptions, which is quite disappointing. Bing Travel is like a catalog for popular tourist destinations from around the globe, but it can also help you with finding cheap accommodation or airfare tickets, should you decide to pack the bags and explore the world. To no surprise, Bing Maps (powered by Nokia) comes included, and provides not only several layers of mapping data, but can also recommend driving directions from point A to B.
Web browser and connectivity:
Internet Explorer 10 is what comes installed on the Samsung ATIV Tab. In other words, you get a proper web browser that acts a lot like the multitude of mobile browsers available on Android and iOS. In other words, navigation is done using touch-based gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom and the likes. Due to the unfinished nature of the tablet's software, it is too early to draw a conclusion about IE10's performance, although we can confirm that it runs pretty smoothly on our prototype unit.
There are no words as to whether a 3G/4G version of the Samsung ATIV Tab will ever be offered, so for now, the only way of hooking up the tablet to the internet is via Wi-Fi. The device also supports Bluetooth and NFC for short-range wireless communication. Finding your way around is possible with the use of its GPS radio, which is also compatible with the Glonass for improved precision.
Samsung ATIV Tab will fare on the tablet market, but we see it as an offering with plenty of potential. On one hand we have the Microsoft Windows RT platform, and Windows is a name that general consumers have been trusting for years. Therefore, potential buyers might be less hesitant to get an ATIV Tab since it will offer an environment they would be familiar with. In addition, the streamlined, buttery-smooth Modern UI is a breath of fresh air in a world choke full of iPads and Android slates.
However, we fear that the initial batch of Windows RT tablets will face a problem Android slates had to deal with for quite a long time – software availability. That is because ARM-based Windows tablets cannot handle code meant to run on Windows 8 or its earlier versions, so developers will have to port their applications to yet another platform. Microsoft promised that the process will require a minimal amount of effort on the developer's side, but how many of them will even bother making their apps run on Windows RT?
Nevertheless, we have high hopes for the Samsung ATIV Tab. Sure, it likely won't turn into a best-seller overnight, but it might be what will pave the way for a whole range of Windows RT tablets to follow over time. And that is when the things on the tablet market might get a whole lot more interesting.
Samsung ATIV Tab Video Preview:
1. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)
Samsung Stealing names... ATIV backwards is VITA ... as in PS VITA
7. doejon (Posts: 360; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)
lol u did not understand what these words means..
(cre) samsung ativ
and vita means life..^^
8. SlimSoulja86 (Posts: 642; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)
Like really? Come on now, you need to get a life
10. e.wvu (unregistered)
But ATIV doesn't spell VITA, so it's not copying. #Dumb###
2. Mozarrt (Posts: 297; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)
So much better than any Android or iOS tablet I've seen before. I wish they could of done something like this for Windows Phone 8.
16. Jelly_Bean (Posts: 109; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
Lolz he is sayin Windows is a name what users have heard before.....!!!
Come on mate 80% of the computer market is owned by Microsoft Windows and Windows 8 in the tablet market would be a great hit....!!
3. Aeires (unregistered)
Not everyone thinks the desktop interface is boring, some actually prefer it over live tiles.
4. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
PA, i have a question, would you review the non-RT units? the ones running x86.
5. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1104; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
A good tablet for WP8 users but even after having a decent feel its still made of plastic. I love Samsung and they have some awesome products. Why cant they just make their stuff out of duralumin like in their Series 9 ultrabook. That would totally rock!
But still one of the best Windows Tabs out there...good job Samsung!
6. kamil (Posts: 115; Member since: 07 Feb 2012)
im going with the sony 11 duo tablet (can remember the name)
9. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1054; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
Looks good now what it's gonna come down to is who has the best keyboard dock. All the tablets are practically the same spec-wise. The dock is the tiebreaker.
11. krimHD (Posts: 106; Member since: 23 May 2012)
to me microsoft surface has the best keyboard dock.
12. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
Looks very good. Can't wait to see all these Windows tablets out and about.
13. ramoman (Posts: 17; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)
only one question will u make any of other windows tablets reviews like the one owe sony please answer me
15. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1145; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
hello folks the interesting thing about windows RT and Windows 8 tablets is their dual nature. if you want to use ether as a Tablet you skip the desktop and use the info tile "Modern UI" interface formerly called "Metro Tiles" People will find them easy to use. When you want to use the Windows RT or Windows 8 Tablet's Desktop you had better break out your good old wireless key board and mouse because it's the best way to use desktop apps on them. Notice that when Microsoft introduced it's "Surface" Tablet computers they had those 2 unique Keyboard cover combo accessories they designed for them. the only draw back to using Office or other desktop programs on a Tablet computer is the size of the screen an 11 or 12 inch tablet would better suit a person who wants to use Old legacy desktop apps for a limited amount time however a 10.1 inch tablet computer can be used to do some production work and that is where the Windows RT shines right out of the box because it has a version of windows office. a lot of folks will buy then because of this. a college student,Business person or average Person will use MS Office with a smile on a Window RT or Windows 8 tablet. they may not have many apps but they can use the internat get and do many things on a Microsoft RT tablet computer