Editorial: Samsung Ativ S – a Windows Phone that should not be

I managed to get my hands on a Samsung Ativ S recently and to play around with it a bit. This post is about my experience.

First, of course I am happy about every OEM that releases a Windows Phone Device. But Samsung achieved something I never thought it would happen to me: I wish they would have not released the Ativ S.

Ok, let’s check the device itself:

If you open the package and see the device, you will see immediately that the Ativ S is a revamped device. It looks identical to the Samsung Galaxy S3. Even the lock screen wallpaper is the same. First bad feeling on that device.

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First positive thing: the display. The Ativ S uses Samsung’s AMOLED technology, which is really a good piece of technology. Colors are strong, and the display illuminates very well in the dark as in the light.

As it is a Windows Phone, the social networks integration works as you’d expect. Apps are working like they should, no surprise here.

Let’s check the Samsung Zone in the Windows Phone Store. Samsung has only a few apps they provide. They have a diary app, some photo apps, a RSS reader, their on ChatON app and a Music Hub. The biggest part of the Samsung Zone are Dictionary apps.

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I did not test all of the apps, but the apps I tested did not feel spectacular or made me want to use them again.

Even HTC, who also produces also Android devices, has lead me to more enthusiasm for their apps than the Samsung Apps do.

Ok, now let’s take another look at the hardware. The device feels very light-weight in your hand. On the other side, it feels very cheap. They brushed the back cover to look like solid metal cover, but it feels just like plastic.

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I had multiple Smartphones in my hands already, even plastic could feel better.

The only advantage I can see is the extreme large battery, which has a very good life time.

Clearly Samsung needed to bring a Windows Phone 8 device to the market as a Microsoft Partner. But they did it in a wrong way.

Using the hardware of one of their Android devices makes sense from the economic view. But they could not expect to be successful with that.

My conclusion: This device will get some attention from Samsung fans, but I doubt it will be one of the top Windows Phones. The only recent news about the Ativ Series (both Windows and Windows Phone) were that Samsung discontinues distribution to certain markets, which is not surprising me after I had the chance to play around with the Ativ S.



   10 Comments


  1. BinaerForceOne
      March 30, 2013

    Even though I haven’t had a chance to use the device in person, I knew I’d never buy it, after Samsung announced it. I somehow like the look of it, knowing it’s pretty much the same as a Galaxy 3, I also knew it would feel kinda cheap. Samsung’s dedication to Windows Phone is none existent, which is clearly obvious. Not only because of the aforementioned lack of innovation regarding the design, but also the app offerings in the Samsung section in the store.
    But let’s be honest, the Ativ has at least a few good things to offer:

    – the display quality is very very good. Samsung definitely raises the bar when it comes to AMOLED technology. I for one prefer SLCD though.

    – the Ativ S is currently the device with the best memory options, as far as I’m aware. 32GB internal + SD support.

    [posted via MSicc`s Blog for Windows Phone]

  2. Dominik
      March 30, 2013

    I had the chance to test the BlackBerry Z10 and I was more disappointed then I expected.

    See you next week, so we can change the phones. Lets see, what an Apple-Fanboy see in the Ativ S an what a WinPhan says to the Z10.

    • MSicc
        April 2, 2013

      Hi Dominik,
      let’s do it this way. But I am a bit scarred that I will be even more disappointed of the Z10 😉

  3. TheWinPhan
      March 30, 2013

    Good editorial, thank you for not “sugar coating” the truth! I’m saddened by the fact that Samsung opted not to “reinvent” something more unique to the WP family. It seems as though each of the other OEM’s brought at least 1 unique device to the table, taking a little something from Nokia’s success. I think in some way, I would like to see Samsung just leave the WP family altogether. I feel like their constant snubbing brings SO much negative attention to WP, just go away already. Make room for an OEM that WANTS to take part!

    [posted via MSicc`s Blog for Windows Phone]

  4. MSicc
      March 30, 2013

    Thank you both for your honest opinion.
    @Mark, it has 16 GB+SD

    [posted via MSicc`s Blog for Windows Phone]

  5. dkp1977
      March 31, 2013

    @Marco

    True, it’s 16GB, you’re right. My mistake. 🙂 It’s still one of the better – if not the best – offerings storage wise. I don’t know all the specs of each device, but as far as I remember those who support SD mostly come with only 8GB internal memory. Like I said, that would certainly not be a reason for me to go for a Samsung. Availability aside, I don’t see any reason to go for any other OEM than Nokia these days. They show the strongest commitment, have an awesome build quality, nice designs and many very useful apps. Unlike HTC and Samsung Nokia of course HAS to set itself apart from other OEMs, as it relies on WP, whereas Samsung and HTC rely on Android.
    Btw, I made the first post from my Lumia 920 and want to apologize for the large amount of bad typos. 😀

    [Edit]

    Being an admin is cool. Fixed the typos in the first post. 😀

  6. MSicc
      March 31, 2013

    True words my friend. I don’t want to take influence on anyone’s opinion about the device. I did not even plan to write a review on it. But if felt just so wrong to use this device, so I wrote this editorial.

    [posted via MSicc`s Blog for Windows Phone]

  7. Dominik
      April 3, 2013

    @marco. Bern was swearing about it after only few hours.

    Im using actually htc 8s

    [posted via MSicc`s Blog for Windows Phone]

  8. Simone
      July 9, 2013

    Ativ S is the kind of smartphone it worths buying now if you’re looking for good smartphone, for a reaseonable price. I’ve bought one for 240€ and I really think there’s no better smartphone you could buy with that amount. A really good display, huge battery, fast CPU. It only needs an extra large pocket!

    • MSicc
        July 9, 2013

      hmmm… I still prefer the Nokia ones. Samsung/Resellers needed to slash the the price down, though.

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