Hands-on with the elusive Windows Phone 8 Samsung ATIV S

Hands-on with the elusive Windows Phone 8 Samsung ATIV S

Summary: Microsoft has been pretty coy about letting its upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices off the leash, so we haven't seen much about them. Here's a glimpse of the ATIV S - essentially the Galaxy S III, with a different OS.


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  • Make no mistake; Samsung isn't taking a huge chance here. The Windows Phone 8 ATIV S is essentially the Samsung Galaxy S3, but running Microsoft's newest mobile OS.

    While that's unlikely to win over Android fans, it could well prove appealing to the platform-neutral (or indifferent) contingent. I dare say Windows fans could well be impressed.

    Hardware-wise, the phone (Samsung GT-I8750, to use its formal name) is no slouch with a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and 1GB of RAM on board to keep it ticking along nicely. From my limited time testing the device, it did just that - opening several apps and browsing without lag.

    It's also about the same depth as the Galaxy S3 too, at just 8.7mm thick (pictured). The Galaxy S3 is 8.6mm thick.

  • The cameras on the ATIV S are pretty well specified too, with an 8-megapixel one on the rear and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing one for HD video calling.

    While it does have on-board photo editing capabilities (pictured), I did find myself missing some of the more advanced photo features found on the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820, even if these are a bit of a novelty.

    Storage is provided in 16GB or 32GB capacities and can be augmented through use of a microSD card. This is a good thing. I've seen too many Windows Phones lately that don't provide for expansion, including the Lumia 920 (thankfully the 820 does). There's also 7GB of free SkyDrive storage too.

Topics: Smartphones, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Samsung

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • Ben....Have you had a chance to??

    Try Lumia 920???...I want to get a Windows Phone (have had the Lumia 800 before, currently using an iPhone and an Xperia T), not interested in HTC, so so fan of Samsung (since Galaxy S2), which one do you recommend?
    • Why

      Why not HTC? I have HTC Desire Z (Android) and love it but I never had something else to compare with. I also read that HTC is faster with updates than others and update for longest time period. Thanks
      • Second that

        Agree. I've gotten all the windows phone updates on my HD7
  • galaxy note1 is not even good.

    i crave for that quad core windows phone, as i might search my system fast and open and close pictures fast. not like my 11GB half full built in memory gnote (beaten by my 1.8GHz year 2004 amilo pro lap top).
  • I could go with ATIV S, but I am used to

    Nokia EcoSystem, erm, apps for Windows Phone like Drive, Maps, etc. and 920 sounds right. Other than that ATIV S is a good phone.
    Ram U
    • Drive and Maps

      are available on all WP8 devices. I would go for the Nokia 920 without a doubt if it were on Verizon, but since I don't plan on going to ATT I'll likely go with the ATIV S or HTC 8X. Can't decide which.
  • I would go for the Nokia 920 without a doubt if...

    Sme here LiquidLearner; if Verizon would offer the Lumnia 920 I'd get that as soon as my currrent contract expires.
  • Dimdows Phone Always Gets The Mediocre Hardware

    Note the GSIII is quad-core, while this Ativ thing is only dual-core.

    We saw this with the HTC 8X as well, which was a bit lacking compared to the One X Android equivalent.

    And even Nokia' Lumia 900 was a cut-down N9.
    • Cont'd Due To ZDNet's New "Profanity" Filter

      It's like Windows Phones can never have the best hardware, there must always be something missing compared to the competi-tion. Since Microsoft dictates all the hardware specs, it must something Microsoft itself is insisting on!
      • Look at it the otherway, ldo17

        How poor is the coding in Android that OEM's sre forced to create more expensive high spec phones in order to get it to run as fast and smooth as Windows does on less expensive hardware, even though there's nothing extra on the Android phone in comparison to a Windows 8 phone?
        William Farrel
        • Re: OEM's sre forced to create more expensive high spec phones

          The beauty of Android is, it offers a choice. The latest version runs perfectly fine on a single core, and single-core Android phones still outsell multi-core ones.

          Look back at those HTC phones, for example; the Android-based One series comes in one-, two- and four-core variants, while the WP8 models offer only two or four cores. So funnily enough it is Windows Phone, not Android, that "forces OEMs to create more expensive phones".
    • Not a fair comparison

      Windows Phone does not require as much processing or memory power as Android phones. You can't compare specs when comparing both. Windows Phone performs faster than Android phones with similar specs.
      Andrew La Russa
      • Re: Windows Phone does not require as much processing or memory power as An

        Really? Then why is it that the latest version of Android will still run on a single core, while Windows Phone will not?
    • not all GS3's are quad-core

      the international version of the GS3 is dual core, so they've probably adopted that to keep costs low.
  • Re: the international version of the GS3 is dual core

    Here in NZ the version of the GSIII we get is presumably the "international" version, and that is most assuredly quad-core.
    • Dual Core / Quad Core variance

      If memory serves, originally the dual core variant had a different radio (cell, not WiFi) embedded in the chipset to allow it to work with a broader range of 4G networks. This isn't a technical restriction anymore as there are chipsets in existence that allow 4G and quad-core processors, so presumably it is a cost limiting exercise. Besides, the recent spate of iPhone 5 comparisons with the quad core S3 suggests that in real world use, the quad core processors just aren't showing any real benefit at the moment. Until parallel processing is fully utilised in programming techniques (and that's still an issue on desktops, never mind mobile), the true benefits just won't be seen.
  • The Lumia 920 is 185g remember. It's heavy!

    My money is on the Samsung ATIV S with it's removable battery, more powerful battery and MicroSD slot. Second up would be the HTC Windows 8X.

    p.s - The SG3 in Europe has a Quad Core chip, so not exactly the same.