Samsung ATIV S Review

Samsung's ATIV S is a strange kind of Windows Phone device. Not because it does anything wrong, but because it really stands out from the first batch of Windows Phone 8 devices. While Nokia and HTC are trying to come up with most lively and cheerful colors, Samsung has decided to go with the strict, business kind of look with the ATIV S, resembling some of the company's old Windows Mobile devices. But can “strict” and “business” go hand-in-hand with “Windows Phone 8” – a platform which Microsoft is desperately trying to market to consumers?

The ATIV S differs from the rest in the WP8 universe with one more thing – in a typical Samsung fashion, it offers a very large display, measuring 4.8 inches. Although there are other options with pretty sizable screens, none is really that big. But the typical Windows Phone customer may turn to be different from the Android one. The ATIV S is a WP8 smartphone that can tell us if Samsung will be able to repeat the tremendous success it has seen on the market for Android devices. Let us examine!


Omnia reborn? Well, yes and no. The ATIV S reminds us of a cross between an Omnia and a Galaxy S III. While the back side has that metallic and heavy look (it's still plastic), the front is a glossy greyish plastic that doesn't necessarily match the style of the back. Still, the combination isn't that bad, and the back is downright pretty.

You can compare the Samsung ATIV S with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

This is one big phone. It's as big as a Galaxy S III, even a tad higher, which makes it somewhat uncomfortable to hold and operate, especially if you want to use just one hand for that. The Home key below the screen is very well made, and the same can easily be said about the other physical keys on the device. The camera key is a bit more protruding that we'd like, though, and it's second step doesn't have that reassuring click feeling.

Of course, the handset comes with a standard microUSB port and a 3.5mm headset jack. The ATIV S uses the now-standard MicroSIM slot and also features a microSD card slot for easy storage expansion.

All in all, the ATIV S has an interesting design with a hint of business style to it, which isn't something that we see too often nowadays.


As you can expect from a Samsung handset, there's a Super AMOLED display somewhere in the equation. The resolution is pretty high – 720 x 1280 pixels, which, when combined with the 4.8” size makes for a smooth 306 pixels per inch. The colors are a bit on the colder side, but just a bit. Due to the not so strong brightness levels, the screen of the ATIV S isn't very easy to see outdoors, but if you have it on maximum (or simply automatic), you shouldn't have that much of a problem to read a short message or a status update.

One of the positive sides of the AMOLED screen technology is that it has very good viewing angles, and the same is absolutely evident on the ATIV S. Basically, everything remains perfectly visible as you are widening the angle, though there's a noticeable color degradation.

Samsung ATIV S 360-degrees View:



1. TheLibertine

Posts: 484; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

For me when it is Windows Phone it is either Nokia or nothing.

3. smallworld

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

And then Windows Phone is doomed.

57. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

That purple phone on the first page is so fat and it looks like an iPod

12. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 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: Oct 01, 2012

Like they did when nokia did not enter into WP market. Your comment does not make sense, sorry.

21. AmitMajumder

Posts: 178; Member since: May 21, 2012

Windows Phone gained interest after Nokia entered. Their marketplace have grown much bigger after nokia started to make WP devices

48. RichieRich379

Posts: 25; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

I like nokia, but thats complete bull, Window Phone starting getting noticed when Microsoft decided to get serious about WP.

45. x88yunkw

Posts: 134; Member since: Aug 20, 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: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 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: Aug 28, 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: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 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: Aug 28, 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: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 2011

@chaoticrazor 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: Aug 28, 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: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 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: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

46 people that must be from finland hahaha

75. juusitu

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 03, 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: Sep 03, 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: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 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: Aug 28, 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: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 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: Aug 28, 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

90. CellularNinja

Posts: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 2011


27. AnTuTu

Posts: 1621; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

I know why you didn't mention Samsung here. Because you are A 4 Apple :)

59. bvalde09

Posts: 191; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Mmm Nokia its fine but I think Samsung Ativ S is a monster

78. yajia1

Posts: 151; Member since: Aug 22, 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: Aug 28, 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: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 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: Aug 28, 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: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 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.
  • Display 4.8" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2300 mAh(18h 3G talk time)

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