The second half of Today’s Samsung Premiere event involved Samsung’s ATIV Windows devices. While originally reserved for tablets and smartphones, ATIV now is applied to all phones, tablet, and computers in the Windows 8 Ecosystem. I have to say there were a couple doozies today. We saw an innovative convertible tablet in the ATIV, a fantastic 13.3″ screen, and a stylish all in one. Almost as telling as what we saw is what we didn’t see. We didn’t see a single Windows Phone 8 smartphone.
ATIV Tab 3
With the introduction of Intel Atom powered Galaxy Tab 3s, the ATIV Tab 3 showing up might have been the safest bet out of any the product launches today. However, it did have a bit of a surprise. Instead of Windows RT, the ATIV Tab runs full Windows 8 thanks to that mobile x86 chip. For other spsecs, you get 64GB of storage which can be expanded with MicroSD, 2GB of memory, and a 10.1″ 1366×768 display. Battery life is 10 hours. For those wanting to run classic Windows apps, it comes with an S-pen stylus to get around that touch point issue. Speaking of which, it includes also Office 2013.
As impressive as that Galaxy NX camera is, the product I’m about to talk about made be forget about it for a few minutes. The ATIV Q may be aptly named because I’m half convinced it came from MI-6’s quartermaster division. While it falls under the ATIV name, its a Galaxy as well. It offers single button switching between two touch based-OSes: Windows 8 and Android. While I have to wonder how this will work real world, especially when it comes to storage and resource management, but it was very impressive during the demo. You can even pin Android apps to your Windows 8 start menu. If this was the entire presentation on this machine, it would have been noteworthy. But the hardware may outpace the OS switching when its all said and done.
The ATIV Q is based around a 13.3-inch touch screen… with a 3200 x 1800 resolution. At 275PPI, that’s even higher than the Retina MacBook Pros and not by a trivial amount. The screen has a 178° viewing angle and Samsung says you can see it in bright sunlight. It also adjusts the brightness to current light conditions. The CPU is an Intel Haswell i5 chip, most likely of the ultra-low voltage variety found in Ultrabook and the 2013 MacBook Air. You get 128GB of storage, 4GB of memory, and about the same ports you’d find in an Ultrabook. You also get 9 hour battery life.
The design is as innovative as the screen and the OS switching. It can convert to 3 different postions, though the downside is that the laptop configuration does not have a trackpad. All in all, it’s still under 3 pounds and lighter than the MacBook Air. From a design standpoint, this is a homerun.
ATIV Book 9
With the exception of the lack of Thunderbolt, the ATIV Book 9 Plus pretty much gives you what the Haswell MacBook Air does for Windows, including the 12-hour battery life… with one notable addition. It has the same 3200×1800 275ppi touchcreen as the ATIV Q. A version without the screen and Haswell CPU was also announced as the ATIV Book 9 Lite
ATIV One 5 Style
The name of this AIO is pretty convoluted. The ATIV One 5 Style (no, I didn’t make that up) sounds more like a quarterback cadence than a PC. However, it actually looks to be a well designed entry level all-in-one desktop. You have a 1920×1080 21.5-inch screen, an AMD A6 CPU, and a really decent looking design.
Between the Galaxy NX and the ATIV Q, Samsung made some really bold moves today, but we also got some solid but unremarkable announcements as well. Whether they pay off in the long run may be another story, but I can’t fault them for taking risks with design.