Review: Samsung ATIV Tab (GT-P8510)

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Last year on the 29th of august at IFA’s unpacked event Samsung announced their Windows 8 line up, one of these products was the ATIV Tab. The tablet is running on Windows 8 RT which is a version that is optimized for ARM processors. The expectations were that the tablet should hit the shelves in Q4 in most countries with a price tag of 699 euros. Unfortunately the product is not available at the moment only in a few countries, in the upcoming months the ATIV Tab will be available in more countries.
We’ve played for about a month with the ATIV, so lets find out if we’re impressed with the product!

Our version is from the UK, it’s the 16 GB version. In the box you’ll find the following things:
– ATIV Tab
– Charger
– Manuals

What’s interesting to see is that the charger is not a USB charger but more an odd small pin proprietary charger. We had hoped that  Samsung would have used a more advance way to charge your tablet like magnetic latch like on the Microsoft Surface or even a standard micro USB would be fine.
What’s missing are the normal standard 3.5mm headphones, our version also received a small converter plug for UK to EU.

Looking at the ATIV Tab you’ll clearly see the same design language from previous products that Samsung released last year, like the Galaxy Tab 2 series and the Galaxy Note 10.1. The ATIV Tab has the same hyperglaze finish on the back and the speakers are placed on the front. The ATIV Tab is available in a metallic grey finish and we assume that there will be a chance that more colors will be shown later this year. Just like Galaxy Note 10.1 the ATIV has the same thin form factor with just 8.9mm and with 570 grams its about 30 grams lighter than the Galaxy Note 10.1.
The tablet has a glossy finish but we noticed that the back isn’t a fingerprint magnet, unfortunately this problem has moved to the front which surely a fingerprint magnet. It’s not that we didn’t expect this since its obvious that fingerprints will be visible on touch screens but since the fingerprints aren’t visible on the back we hoped that Samsung managed a way that they wouldn’t be so much visible on the front.

The ports are all placed on the bottom or on the top of the product. On the top you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack, lock button, volume rockers, micro HDMI port and micro SD card slot for expanding memory. On the bottom you’ll find a small hole which is meant for charging and dock the connector for using a keyboard.
The 5 megapixel camera with a LED flash is placed on the back of the tablet. On the front are besides the 10.1 inch LCD screen also the Microsoft home button, a couple of sensors and a 1.9 megapixel front facing camera.

Overall we are pleased with the design of the ATIV Tab, although it’s not a new design. We are also pleased with weight and the thinness which makes it a nice and portable tablet.

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Operating system and apps
The ATIV is running on Windows 8 RT, this version is as we mentioned earlier optimized for ARM processors. Samsung has used for the ATIV Tab the Qualcomm APQ8090A Snapdragon which is a powerfull dual-core processor. Windows 8 RT is Microsoft’s way to compete with the iPad and Android tablets, main difference is that Window 8 RT is almost a full-fledged OS which for some users will be enough as a desktop/laptop replacement.

Samsung has pre-installed some applications and these are already pre organized under the name: Samsung Apps. They’ve installed the following apps:
– ChatOn, Samsung’s own messaging client unfortunately it’s not the latest version which is already available on Bada and Android.
– Family Story, writing and sharing stories with friends and family
– Box, easy and safe sharing of content.
– AirSync (doubleTwist), WiFi syncing between tablet and PC. You’ll need to install additional software on your PC (Windows or Mac)
– Photo Editor, most used options for editing your photos are included. This application is UI wise and feature wise almost the same as on Android.

There are no UI customizations from Samsung, they’ve only installed some additional camera settings. It’s also possible to delete the pre-installed application that you’ll find out of box.
What’s interesting to see is that Samsung hasn’t installed their own app store, like on Android you have Samsung Apps. We assume that this may come in the feature.

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The ATIV Tab has a 5 megapixel camera on the back with a LED flash and it has a 1.9 megapixel camera on the front.
Samsung preloaded some extra camera settings, but don’t expect the extended options that you’ll may know from the Galaxy devices. The extra settings are just for adjusting the white balance, adding effects, focus mode and flash options. The options are also available in video mode and are limited available when you are using the front facing camera. It’s also possible to adjust the resolution of the photos, videos can be taken in 480p or in 720p.
The quality is average as we expected, its nothing to write home about but its fine for taking some snapshots.

Below you will find some snapshots:

Below you will find a sample video

During daily usage we didn’t encountered any performance issues. Most of the time we hadn’t any issues regarding responsiveness, only we were fast switching between some heavy apps we noticed some slowdowns but overall we’re very pleased with the smoothness and fluidness of the device. But it’s not all good, during the time that we have tested the tablet we immediately noticed that the loading times of most apps were slow, actually very slow for a device with such powerful hardware.
The first time we were booting the tablet we noticed some issues with opening pictures or playing music from a SD card and one time the touchscreen didn’t registrate our input when we’re trying to select a WiFi network. Most issues resolved with a fresh boot, but its clear for us that Microsoft has some work to do.

Samsung is claiming that you’ll able to playing videos for 12 hours long, well we didn’t test this specific but we can say that general battery life is really good. We didn’t noticed any heavy battery drains, not in standby and even not with heavy usage. With normal to light usage we managed to charge the tablet just once a week!

In terms of design and hardware the ATIV Tab is a not a revolutionary product but the software is new and even in this stage with some issues it’s still delivers a good user experience. The gestures based navigation is easy and natural to use. We liked the split view option were you can open 2 apps, one app will take ¼ of the screen and the other app will take ¾ of the screen, but we hope that in the feature it will be possible to simply split the screen in ½, because if an app is only using ¼ of the screen everything is very small and can be difficult to actually use the app.

Design wise it perfectly fits between other Samsung Tab’s, yes its still has the same glossy plastic made back cover but yet it is durable and light. Like almost all tablets that Samsung is making the ATIV Tab is no exception in design, the weight and thinness, with all we are very happy!

Samsung is selling the ATIV Tab for an advice price of 699 euros, you will may find it for a little bit less online but for a first generation product we have to say that the price is high. In fact its the highest priced Windows RT tablet at this moment, tablets from competitors like the Microsoft’s Surface and Asus Vivo Tab are priced for about 200 euros lower than the ATIV Tab.
Considering that it’s a first generation tablet and it hasn’t got any unique selling points over other Windows 8 RT Tablets we are making the assumption that the sales will be low and we believe that price will slowly fall down to compete with other Windows 8 RT tablets.
Bottom line it is a very good tablet which scores high with an easy to use operating system, but for its price you’ll may look at other options.

Gesture based UI
Smooth and fluid performance
Attracting and engaging live tiles

High price
Slow loading speed applications
Some software related issues

Reviews 3
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