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Samsung Ativ Tab 3 10.1 review

Samsung Ativ Tab 3

We take an early look at what Samsung is calling the world's thinnest tablet to run the full version of Windows 8 - the Ativ Tab 3 10.1

At only 8.2mm, there’s no question that Samsung’s newly-announced Ativ Tab 3 is thin. At the company’s London-based Premiere event, Samsung called it the World’s thinnest tablet running the full version of Windows 8, but until we can verify such a claim, you can read our hands-on impressions.

Samsung Ativ Tab 3

With a 10.1in, 1,366×768 display, white plastic finish and rounded edges, you’d be forgiven if you mistook the Ativ Tab 3 for the existing Galaxy Tab 3. The internal hardware and operating systems may be different, but the two devices share a clear design ethos. From the front, the only giveaway is the Windows button below the display, which hints at the software within.

Picking the tablet up, we found it was surprisingly light – at 550g, it’s lighter than Apple’s iPad 4, although that’s mainly due to the amount of plastic used in its construction. It doesn’t feel like a premium tablet, but we couldn’t spot any signs of flex in the casing. You’ll find MicroSD and SIM card slots on the top edge of the tablet, along with a volume rocker and power button. A headphone jack, micro-USB port and Micro-HDMI port sit to the sides, with a pair of stereo speaker grilles.

Samsung Ativ Tab 3

Although it isn’t part of Samsung’s Note range, the Ativ Tab 3 comes with an S Pen stylus, along with some extra software to make use of it, but it didn’t appear to be pressure-sensitive. Handwriting-to-text, Easy Clipping and Air View will all come pre-installed, along with a free version of Microsoft Office 2013, which apparently works well with a stylus input on tablet devices – we’ll withhold judgement until we can spend some more time with one.

Internally, the Intel Atom Z2760 processor runs at 1.8GHz and is paired with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Meagre specifications these may be, but we had no trouble loading Windows applications. That being said, there was no way to fully push the system during the event, so heavy multitasking may well be out of the question.

Samsung Ativ Tab 3

Although it won’t ship with the tablet, Samsung has produced a keyboard cover specifically for the Ativ Tab 3. It looks like a hybrid between an iPad case and a type cover for the Microsoft Surface, completely covering the tablet and opening up into a docked typing position. The keys had a surprising amount of travel for such a thin keyboard, and the cover stayed shut when we flipped it closed thanks to a set of magnets.

The screen wasn’t particularly impressive, especially compared to the incredible high-resolution Ativ Q, but it seems fine for general use. Light reflections were a little troublesome at the event, but viewing angles were above average and colours looked vibrant.

Samsung Ativ Tab 3

Samsung has yet to confirm a price for the Ativ Tab 3, or say exactly when you’ll be able to buy one – only to expect a launch here in the UK later in the year. When it does arrive, we’ll be bringing you a full review.

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First Look