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Samsung ATIV S
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Samsung ATIV S unboxing and hands-on

It's here, it's finally here! Well, almost anyway. The Samsung ATIV S does actually exist and is starting to hit markets as we head into 2013. We've managed to get hold of a unit, thanks to Clove UK, and have taken a few shots while using the Windows Phone for a fair few hours. Our initial thoughts? It's a solid smartphone.

Samsung's AMOLED displays never fail to impress when properly implemented and the ATIV S is no exception. Colours are sharp, contrast is superb and overall performance, responsiveness and clarity is simply stunning. While the actual display itself is a whopping 4.8" (be sure to invest in some new pants to fit the handset in), it doesn't suffer from lower quality results.

The Windows Phone is both thin and light (only 135g and 8.7mm thin), which is surprising when the specification sheet is analysed - particularly the 2,300mAh battery. A dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 chip powers the system, while 1GB RAM and 16 / 32GB internal storage ensures enough memory is presently available. 

All the bells and whistles are featured in the ATIV S, including NFC, Bluetooth and WiFi. The rear shooter is an 8MP camera with auto-focus and LED flash, while the front-facing camera is a 1.9MP. Samsung has also bundled a number of apps with the Windows Phone, these include: ChatON, Family Story, MiniDiary, Music Hub, Now and Photo Editor.

Check out the device in action with our quick visual walkthrough below.

We're happy with what Samsung has delivered and believe the ATIV S to be a worthy Windows Phone that's definitely going to accumulate fans. The expandable storage, impressive display technology and overall design will win consumers over who are struggling to choose between Windows Phone flagships.

We'll have a full, in-depth review up soon. In the meantime, check out more photos below (click each to view larger version).

Samsung ATIV S     Samsung ATIV S

Samsung ATIV S     Samsung ATIV S

Samsung ATIV S     Samsung ATIV S

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Samsung ATIV S unboxing and hands-on

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Only crack, meth, Krylon, ice, shrooms, coke, pills, PCP, solvent, and acid... But, I don't drink because that stuff impairs your vision, and it'll kill you!

Didn't mean to exaggerate that it looks nothing like it, but the front looks different, the back looks almost the same tho. Lol.

I take it you have the WPCentral app set to download images in low quality when you don't have WiFi?

Yeah you guys are right. They look fine. The images seem to look better when I select them from the menu, not click on the from the article..

I'm using the HTC OneX because Android devices are better in every way than any WP device!!...

Just joking.. Lol! I'm using a shiny red L920.. That's why I was asking if they were taken by the 920 because I know it can do better than that... Funny story... This weekend, while at the bar, once everyone saw how good my 920 took pictures in low light they all were asking me to take pictures of everyone and send them to their iPhones, GS2's, and GS3's.. They didn't even want to use their phones anymore!! Nokia kicks ass with the 920,, I'm so proud!

This is an awesome story. Would have loved the L920 when I used to frequent the bars. It would have illuminated all those skanky bar flies for all the goodness.

Why didn't Nokia include this on the spec sheet! Picking up women is something that other phones just can't do..

If you go over to the WP blog you will see that I have the most comments, even more than Michael Stroh himself. I have been personally called by the drivers of the Cafè Mango trucks to meet them in specific locations here in Dallas to help promote WP. The WP team has sent me numerous WP collectibles in the mail, including t-shirts, posters, note pads, stickers.. Really, I have a huge collection of WP stuff. I have attended both the WP night out party, and have been to Microsoft's corporate technology center in Irving Texas for the Lumia 900 event where I gave input to WP team Members, and Nokia representatives. Not to mention the numerous people I have turned on to the platform. Honestly, IMHO I do consider myself the biggest WP fan! If you know of somebody else whose bigger tell me because I would like to shake their hand. Lol

The screen is so bright! Then the rest looks dark. I find the pictures very good cause the AMOLED screen is so hard to take a picture of.

I have been waiting for this great phone! My US contract is up in Feb., just in time for the US arrival!

I retured my 920 and waiting for this one. 920 was great but too bulky for me, I could not make peace with it.

Good luck getting software support from Samsung, to them windows phone is a side project they can stop anytime. Nokia are in the game for the long run.

Wah wah wah. Updates will be fine on the ATIV S. I have a 920 from AT&T and honestly I'm a little disappointed with it. I want a larger screen and my proximity sensor is broken (pretty common issue on the 920). I might get it replaced (I'll get a refurb for a phone I bought just a little over a month ago) and get the ATIV S if AT&T picks it up or I can manage to find it unlocked for cheap on eBay.

The Ativ is over a 1cm taller, a bit wider I think too in the order of a mm or two, but ~2mm thinner, so overall its a bigger phone.
If you don't like big phones then I think the 920 and ATIV won't be your thing, I would really like to see Nokia drop the size of the 820 next time around to 4" (or release a new 700 series to fit that gap).  But they do seem pretty nimble when it comes to releasing new phones these days.

I just want go ahead and throw this out there. Thank you Nokia for not putting external memory (sd slot) in the Lumia 920. The less ports the better. Unibody is the best way to go. Ok, I'm done.

Dude, stop it.  That's rediculous.  I have the 920, and the main things I do not like about it is the non-expandable storage.  And it's weight.
 
I'm just slightly happy that no US carrier has picked up the ATIV S, as it makes me not have to wonder if I should have gotten that instead of the 920.  Not that I'm regretting the 920 outright, but it'd be a close call compared to the ATIV S.

Did you just say "gorgeous?" C'mon lol. Samsung have some of the ugliest, least imaginative aesthetics on the market. It's definitely a phone for the style-challenged. You want beauty? Look to European design... specifically the various Nokia Lumias, especially the 920.

The AVIV was the first WP8 device I fell in love with when it was anounced and my heart was set on it...until I played with it on display and it just felt too plastically and cheap with it's feel and fake chrome look, although It wasn't a problem with my Focus, but playing with the Lumia 920 kind of raised my standards. It's again personal preference, but I was totally surprised I didn't buy the phone I went in to buy after obsessing over it for so long, but was won over by Nokia.

I can agree that this completely subjective, even though I think their design is boring they do make magnificent screens.  I had both of the first Galaxy S phones and enjoyed them quite a bit, though the cheap plastic has always annoyed me.  The Galaxy S III seems to be of somewhat better/sturdier build than the it's predecessors, though it still isn't on par with the likes of the Nokia Lumia line of phones.
 
I'd also like to point out that their phones have a very dejavu look to them, they dont really bring much new to the table in terms of design.  The past few years you've had iPhones and their clones (Samsung you there?), HTC's phones (most notably the One X", the Lumia line and a slew of very similar android devices (many resemble Samsung phones)

Though yea, I think its an utterly boring phone that's flimsy/cheap.  I want something that's solid and gives a sense of quality when you pick it up, though that's just my opinion of course.

Edit: Galaxy S I and II where my last two phones, now I'm rocking a Nokia Lumia 920.   I know a lot of people love Samsung's design so it's good to see that they're releasing a WP8 phone. :)

I happen to love the design. Even more so if the metallic finish was actually made of the real materials and not plastic.

I have to agree with Rich here. I was planning to buy and unlock a Rogers 920 to use on my Bell plan with my income tax return, and likely still will, but then my HD7 stopped taking a charge, so I got the Ativ S on an early upgrade, and it is a beautiful, premium-feeling device, that is much less bulky than the 920 in spite of the larger screen. I'm typing this on it, and I've given a more in-depth review in the forums. Battery life is superb, too.

premium feeling - that's exactly what did NOT come to my mind when I held it for the first time, sorry :)
 
enough trolling, enjoy Your new WP8 :)

I'm with you. Nokia gave us the little brother again. I'm tired of that treatment. T-Mobile we need this one.

They look the same because that is the current design model they use.

All companies do this. GS3 is incredibly successful and much of that is the design.

GS3 is sucessfull among spec-whores, android-fanboys and people who don't know any better and just blindly follow the former crowd.
No person of taste and sane mind likes the cheap plastic toy design of the GS3.

Got my new Samsung ATIV S last Friday -- launch day for this phone on TELUS on Canada. It's a very nice phone. Big screen, great performance, battery is awesome, camera is great (much better than I expected), yet very light and thin. Oh, and although I liked the sturdy unibody design of my previous Lumia 800, I now prefer having the option to replace the battery and add storage. I don't feel handcuffed any more.

Since it's the only WP8 at Telus, I've decided to love it.  Actually, I also checked out the dummy version and it looks and feels great.

comments:
1. handset gets warm when charging & it seems to discharge if you use it while charging..  
2. handset doesn't get warm in regular use, unlike the 920 which seems to generate heat if you are using programs like Beem Plus, or internet games like Words with Draw Something.
3. Default automatic brightness is set to LOW.  I set the screen brightness manually to Medium for best settings; high seems overkill.  
4. Default settings for Text and Email notifications are set to none.  Easy to update these in 'settings'.  
5. Crashes: No system crashes from playing the new Zynga games.  However, it refused to complete the WPBench test upon first run and I had to force restart, but then it completed fine; I got a 232 rating (slightly lower than my 920).

Hopefully the comments wont be filled with '920 is better' posts, and the discussion will be more constructive.

Says the person who is ironically HTCrap fanboy and only care about its trivia sound enhancer on the phone...

You can get this phone everywhere in Ontario, canada, no matter the carrier. They all seem to have them in stock.
Had I not been so impatient I would have picked this over the 920. Just for the expandable memory and bigger screen.

It looks great until you turn it on. The design and grey bezel doesn't flow with the WP-ui at all. Far from gorgeous imo.

I had an S3 and now i have the 920, which i just love. Beautiful design and the build quality is just top notch.. The ativ looks boring and cheap.
 

I am actually using the Ativ S and the Lumia 920 parallel about a week and have to say that Ativ S is better to handle, despite the bigger size. Don't get me wrong, I love my Lumia, it's a beautiful device. But if I have to write a email or browse the web for a longer time, I choose the Ativ S.

There are so many STUPID Windows Phone fans. Supposedly they want the platform to succeed but they're always dissing non-Nokia phones. I have a 920 but the Ativ S sports some impressive hardware, we should be happy to have it in the Windows Phone lineup. Remember the poor hardware we used to get under Windows Phone 7, morons!

Well said. The most important thing is the platform not who makes a better handset. As long as people buy a WP8 mobile then they'll be models to fit everyone's taste. Personally I think the Ativ S looks great and will wait with profuse enthusiasm for a WPCentral review then I will decide which model I will upgrade my Lumia 900 to.

+1. This is ides that a WIndows Phone fan should have in mind. we should welcome more manufacturers enter this field with their handsets so that WP8 can be a better and more popluar OS than Android. We should welcome Samsung, HTC, and APPLE as possible. :)

You are wrong. I've seen plenty of HTC-fanboys with low self esteem about themselves and the device they have chosen. Sure those Nokia-fanboys can be very annoying some times, but HTC owners are as bad(or worse actually) as well. Luckily AtivS doesn't seem to have any fans. Atleast not yet..

Is ATT getting this? Never paid attention because I wanted 920. Now that I have 920, I can't wait to be rid of it. Epic fail from Nokia. Function over form for me. Samsung does make some ugly phones, but at least they work. Pos just locked up again during post.

Samsung work? I had a Samsung vibrant and a simple GPS doesn't work even with replacement the same issue and being an Android it lags and freezes.

Stop blaming nokia for your defective unit... My Lumia 920 never locked up. Anyway in case you have been living under a rock , there is a firmware update coming tomorrow that will fix any instability problems you may be having.

If you get a defective product you can't blame the manufacturer unless a significant number of the phones are shipping defective. It is impossible for a manufacturer not to ship some defective phones especially when they are ready way behind schedule and its a brand new phone. So,as long as you can easily get your phone replaced for a working one it is ridiculous to blame the manufacturer

Battery life sucks and I've tried everything short of hard reset which has been known to lock up phone. I can't use any features and make it through the day on one charge. Haven't seen a Nokia exclusive app that didn't cause problems. My phone doesn't freeze all the time. Happens about once a week. Camera was over hyped. I have Moto Razr Max with better camera day and night. And its 2 yr old tech. I don't like to post edit all my pics to remove glowing eyes and soft appearence. I'm sold on WP8, W8 and RT. Love my Surface but 920 has more problems than its worth. So yes, its Nokia's problem. I'll wait and read the reviews next time. I've owned iPhone 3gs, BB9810, and Razr Max. They all have better battery life with 1-2 yrs on battery than Nokia out of the box. I can accept a few problems but for $450, this phone has been a huge disappointment. And from the looks of the forums mine is not a defect. It seems to be the norm. Hope Nokia gets it figured out. The phone looks amazing but it doesn't live up to my expectations. Function over form.

i will say it again, whatever problems you are having with your battery will obviously be resolved with the upcomming firmware update or you have a defective phone. how do I know this? I know this because my lumia 920 lasts easily through a day with heavy use. Last´s much longer than my lumia 900 ever did. "Haven´t seen a nokia exclusive app that didn´t cause problems" really? Either you are making up stuff or you are the only person on earth that is experiencing problems with nokias apps which are ALL rated 5 stars in the marketplace and are trully excellent. "moto razr max with better camera day and night" this is so ridiculous it pretty much shows that you are making stuff up... it´s pretty common knowledge by now that NO PHONE can beat the lumia 920 in low light photos, not even the mighty 808 let alone your moto razr. From the forum´s 2 things are pretty clear: First only a few people are having these problems. Secondly the great majority of them seem to be from ATT 920´s, which leads me to believe that it´s a firmware problem. Either way after the firmware update let me know how your phone is performing.

I'm glad your experience has been great. If I based my opinion off of your experience I would have to blindly love 920. But I don't. It is from my experience. I don't have a defective phone. My problems are no where near as bad as some I have read here. If update doesn't fix, I will return it and probably end up with a phone with same problems as some here have done. And then it will get retired to a drawer somewhere. If update fixes problems, then I will only be mildly disappointed.  I purchased a flagship phone.  I didn't purchase low end junk. I have  OS that I really like but can't use due to the hardware/software issues of Nokia product. So who is at fault if not Nokia?  It is their half baked software. It's not MS issue as my Surface works like a dream. Possibly ATT as it wouldn't be the first time. You can be a fanboy and take every critique as a personal insult, but I'm a realist and I'm a little disappointed at this point with 920. And yes the camera is better in low light on my Razr. Why? Because I don't have to mess with the settings to make it work. Point, click, done. 920 required trial and error to get best results and I still have to post edit pics to remove glowing eyes. I'm no photographer. I want point and click and done. The only Nokia apps I tried were Nokia Maps, Nokia Music, City lens and Drive. Drive is useless and battery issues, Bing Maps is much faster and finds what I'm looking for. Nokia music, why when there is Xbox music and City lens caused constant freeze. So, if you want to be a blind fanboy, by all means. I'll stick with what works and the 920 doesn't. For me anyway.

The more choice the better. Originally I was waiting for the Ativ S but got sold on the 920 while handling it. Maybe getting this one as a dev device as my Titan just broke.

If this had been a available on AT&T at launch I would have been tempted between this and my Lumina. I love me some Super AMOLED and Nokia apps aren't a dealbreaker for me. I love the ATIV's big removable battery and expandable storage.

I use (and love) my Lumia 920. But miss the ability to side load apps using SD card... Another plus for the ATIV... But i wonder if the choice is really between an 820 and ATIV. Lumia 920 trumps them both

I don't know who is worse Apple fanboys, or Nokia fanboys. There is really no reason to read the comments anymore, anything that is not Nokia related is barraged by 920 trolls. The forum community is really becoming a fanatical Nokia cult. In all honesty this website has become Nokia central, I remember a time when Windows phone users seemed to be the impartial third party who chose practicality and function over the Apple obsession and convoluted Android OS. Does anyone know a good site dedicated to Windows Phone 8 instead of Nokia? 

I understand your frustration, though you'll just have to ignore the Lumia 920 comments as this site otherwise has a rather superb coverage of general Windows Phone-content.

I'll admit I've become something of a Nokia-fanboy after purchasing my Lumia 920, though I really like the design of the 8X and I have a feeling we will be seeing some interesing smartphones from competing brands in the coming months. :)

Either way, the fact that a smartphone that ISN'T an iPhone has garnered such a cult-following of fans/devotees is really only good news for the platform as a whole.  The way I see it, Windows Phone 8-users in general will benefit from this as the platform needs any kind of substantial momentum even if it means fanboys.

Don´t take it personally, I, for example, consider Nokia phones as being of a superior build quality second to none, but I welcome any additions to the WP 7/8 family and believe that the more choices out there the better for the ecosystem overall. Try to understand that Nokia has undeliably done more the WP than all other OEM´s combined (with htc only now starting to do something about it) and that alone gives it a huge fanbase in the WP universe.

This phone has the best specs, and is probably the best windows phone out, but I like to be different so I want a red 8x or red 920..

i would like to see the screen in person, but the design doesnt look so nice like the htc 8x or the nokia 920

Saw a Demo model at Rogers today and I'm glad I went with the 920. It's really nothing special. I'd even get the 8X over the Ativ S

I was gonna get the 900 but ended up with the Titan2. Then I was sure I was gonna get the 920 but I have feeling I'll end up with this one :) we'll see..

I was reluctant to purchase the Samsung ativ s. However. It is the best phone I have ever owned, and I have had over 30 cell phones.

Here's something I'd like to see in the official review: Battery life comparison with Lumia 920. Honestly, it's going to be the deciding factor between the two, for me. The ATIV S has higher battery capacity, but depending on internal components, that doesn't necessarily mean longer life. I'd like to see the two compared against each other, and see if there's a significant difference in battery life.

300 mAh and different screen technology.. Left it charged over night in the office, will see in the morning how much juice is left. Have same setup as on my 920.

so came to work just now, after 6pm - 9:40 am standby the Battery level shows 61% (2 days, 4 hours and 51 mins remaining).
My Lumia charged 100% in the evening (some time before midnight, maybe 11pm) showed 89% remaining around 8:30am.

Got a chance to play with one too ar work. Got used to 920's screen to much that now the amoled looks too saturated to me too, coming from 800, mind you. Also I don't like the build. Even though it's frame is aluminum (or whatever) it just feels "cheap" in hand. Opening the back is ridiculous. cricky-crack.. And it's too light, if you know what I mean =)

but hey. Big screen, SD slot, 2300 battery, might suit someone =)

Believe me that I'm not trying to take anything away from your ativ s, but I promise you that once you hold and play with a 929 for a bit you will cease to think that the ativ S is a premium device. The quality is on different levels. I have a 920 and frequently let people play with it and no one even ever though about calling it bulky and are usually busy picking their jaw from the floor...

Windows Phone has 3 awesome options: The advanced Lumia 920, the great look and feel of the HTC 8X, and the versitility of the Ativ S with its expandable memory, replacable battery and giant screen.
I think this phone is great and will be one of the most appealing phones to new Windows Phone buyers. Giant screen, light-weight and thin is very popular today.

I went into a store today just to feel the htc 8s and i have to say the screen of my 920 has spoilt me. One will notice the difference once one has had the 920 and felt the screen several times over, i doubt the Ativ s will be able to trump that. I intially wanted to get the ativ s but i am now glad i didn't waste my time waiting for it. Well i'll still go and check it in the stores to see how it feels.

Just look the device when its in off.. Sexy man... Nd size?? Its a biggy... So alover its a big sexy device... Thanks sammy for gift us such a gorgeous sexy device... :D

For those people who have the Ativ S, what turn-by-turn navigation does it come with?
The HTC comes with none, but the Lumia's come with Drive+.
Totally worth any 'sacrifice' for the heavier phone.

Looks like a pretty good looking WP device was going to get one when it would have come to the US but I'm totally happy with my 920! Truth be told, the WP button on the Ativ S would have driven me crazy since it doesn't light up like the back and search buttons do...makes it look sort of weird to me now that I see it running.

Love my 920 and was considering this before, but Samsung amoled screens are complete crap!!! The blue tint to it kills me and it has the lowest ppi out of the high end WP8 devices... all in all I'm glad I went with the 920, much better build quality and honestly, 32g on my phone is plenty of space

Finaly a S3 with a OS that will work :-) This will convert plenty of Samsung fans to WP8. The worst thing about the S3 is Android... here that will be fixed!

I picked up a fake ATIV S at a Telus store this Saturday and the thin-ness is great (of course the fake ones don't have the same weight as the real ones). I don't like the fake metal look and the cheap looking button at the bottom but I wouldn't mind having one especially because of the weight and the expandable storage.
Featurewise I prefer the Lumia 920 and looks/feel wise I prefer the HTC 8X.