Nokia is seemingly the only smartphone manufacturer interested in selling and marketing Windows Phone devices as of yet, but that may change with the expected release of Windows Phone 8 in late October. One of the first smartphones to run Microsoft's new mobile OS will be the Samsung ATIV S. It features a large 4.8in super AMOLED HD screen, has an 8-megapixel camera and boasts an aluminium chassis. See also Window 8 review.
The large screen of the Samsung ATIV S seems to be the highlight of this device, but we're just as impressed with its design. The ATIV S is only 8.7mm thin and has a brushed aluminium chassis. This is somewhat of a rarity for Samsung given the company's tendency to use plastic casing on its Galaxy Android devices. The ATIV S only weighs 135g so Samsung seems to have worked hard on minimising its footprint despite a large screen. We also like that Samsung has opted for a physical Windows button below the display, rather than a touchscreen, capacitive one. As you can see, the button is emblazoned with Microsoft's new Windows logo. Take a look at Group test: What's the best smartphone? too
What we don't like is the ATIV name. Samsung should really have learnt from its Galaxy range of Android phones. The Galaxy name is catchy, easy to remember and very marketable. We're not sure what ATIV stands for but surely Samsung's marketing department could have come up with something better?
The Samsung ATIV S' large screen does seem impressive, at least on paper. It's a super AMOLED HD panel with a resolution of 1280x720 and it's coated in the latest gorilla glass 2 in a bid to prevent scratches and cracks. A pixel density of 306ppi puts the ATIV S in line with the Samsung Galaxy S3's screen and not too far behind the excellent HTC One X (312ppi) and the iPhone 4S (326ppi). This should mean the Samsung ATIV S displays super crisp text with minimal visible aberrations.
The Samsung ATIV S has relatively impressive specifications, too. It's powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and will be sold in either 16GB or 32GB variants. Thankfully, there's also a microSD card slot for extra storage along with NFC connectivity. Previous Windows Phone devices were hamstrung by Microsoft's strict hardware requirements — there was no expandable memory on any Australian models, the processor was limited to a single-core chip and the display was only allowed a maximum resolution of 800x480. The much improved specifications of the Samsung ATIV S bring it in line with many of the best smartphones on the market.
Microsoft has already released some details of its new Windows Phone 8 operating system but we'll learn more closer to its release date, expected to be in late October. What we already know is that there's a completely new interface with support for small, medium and large tiles, more colour customisation options, built-in Skype integration, a data use monitor, and a revamped backup system that now includes the ability to backup SMS messages.
Other features of the Samsung ATIV S include a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls along with a 2300mAh battery that should provide enough juice for a full day of use. The ATIV S is a quad-band 3G smartphone, but there's no 4G connectivity.
Samsung hasn't announced the ATIV S's release date in the UK yet and there's been no word on pricing or availability for any overseas markets either.
You can see the new Windows Phone 8 home screen that will feature on the Samsung ATIV S below: