Samsung Ativ Tab vs Microsoft Surface RT
Microsoft's Surface RT has a new challenger in the form of Samsung's Ativ Tab. But which is better?
We take a look at Samsung's new Windows RT-powered Ativ Tab to see if can outpace Microsoft's Surface hybrid.
Microsoft Surface RT - 274.6x172x9.4mm, 680g
Samsung Ativ Tab - 265.8x168.1x8.9mm, 570g
Visually the Samsung Ativ Tab is not a bad looking piece of kit, with its widescreen aspect ratio, curved corners and a contoured, wedge-shaped back panel with a metallic finish.
However, as is so often the case with Samsung products, looks can be deceiving.
As with the Ativ S smartphone, the brushed metallic sheen is only a ruse, picking the tablet up reveals the company’s signature slippery plastic which feels more than a little cheap and there’s a bit of unwelcome flex in the chassis too.
Unlike many other Windows RT devices, the Ativ Tab isn’t a hybrid, it’s a dedicated tablet with no detachable keyboard dock to be found.
Of course, you’ll be quite able to link up a Bluetooth keyboard if you wish.
At 570g the Ativ Tab is not exactly feather-light but it’s a good deal lighter than many competitors, including the Microsoft Surface. It’s also ridiculously thin, as Windows tablets go, at a mere 8.9mm.
Microsoft’s Surface RT has got a lot more style and panache – it doesn’t follow the standard tablet form factor with a much more angular shape, edges which taper back towards the rear of the device for a sharp look and it’s made from specially treated magnesium.
While the genuine metallic feel is an improvement over the Ativ Tab’s imitation stuff, it would’ve been much better if it was brushed – as it is it doesn’t feel very different from a basic aluminium finish, which is mediocre at best.
The Surface RT’s 680g weight makes it a bit cumbersome for normal tablet operation.
Still, other areas of design provide a saving grace – the kick-stand is a marvel of precision engineering with its ‘car door’ mechanism.
Although it operates with more of a pokey ‘click’ than the TV Ads heavy ‘clunk’, the weight and feel is still as satisfying as the fact that it fits flush to the back panel when closed – making it virtually invisible.
However, the downside here is the inability for the device to stand up on its own – meaning it’s virtually useless for key methods of laptop use (ie: on your lap) as the kick-stand doesn’t sit well on uneven surfaces.
The unique keyboard covers are a mixed bag, the basic model – the TouchCover – while better than an on-screen keyboard, still leaves much to be desired in terms of accuracy and it has no tactile feedback whatsoever – the keys don’t travel.
The more expensive variant – the TypeCover – is worth the extra money in our view, because it actually works like a proper Notebook keyboard with real key travel and better accuracy, all of this is an improvement and yet it’s barely any thicker than the TouchCover.
Both keyboards feature a full set of Windows shortcut keys and a fully functioning trackpad.
Microsoft’s Surface RT might have its flaws, but it is holding all the cards here thanks to its superior build quality, snappy design and hybrid functionality.
Winner – Microsoft Surface RT