Customer Review

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving from S3 to Ativ S, 14 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Samsung ATIV S Smartphone with Windows 8 - Black (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Edited 02/04/13: denoted by *

*Note you can use a 64GB card in the device, I have encountered issues with copying files across at times (where my Win 8 laptop says the device is no longer there), the card itself is fine as I used it in my S3. I'll update if there is any further progress. The price has increased since the review from £360 to £440.

Final note, application permissions are far less intrusive than the Android ecosystem. I was always a fan of the fact that many apps were free on Android but not on the Apple IOS. That does come at any price and usually you'd find applications that would search your contacts or other intrusions, obviously a way for developers to try to make money. I don't have that concern with this phone and hence why I have upgraded the review to a five star.*

After having my S3 for 11 months I was becoming increasingly concerned with security concerns around the platform, particularly as I was using the phone for internet banking. I like the phone very much (you can see my review on Amazon) so decided to go with the ATIV S which is essentially the S3 running WP8.

Compared to the S3 it is a better finish, not a full revision, more of an S3.1. The steel coloured back gives the phone a more corporate feel and it feel more soild. The internal layout of the SD Card and SIM is better than the S3 as you don't have to remove the battery to remove them. The other major difference is the dual core CPU compared to the quad-core on the S3. On day to day use there is no performance difference, games such as Radiant Defence have no lag. What is a night and day difference is the power, I am able to get through 24 hours without charging the phone, unlike the S3. Finally the soundchip I believe is an Wolfson, like the S3, but have to do more music listening before I can confirm.

So why choose this over the HTC or Nokia? I had an HTC Android Hero previously and was dismayed at the inability to upgrade to Android 2.1, it was the beginning of the end of HTC and they are suffering as a result as they seemed to have dropped the ball and employee redundancies are common. The Nokia 920 is nice, but manufacturing difficulties seem to have plagued them in the UK at least. There is no SD slot and no replaceable battery. The Nokia 820 was the most attractive, the only downside was the smaller resolution screen. It is well built, in fact, better than the ATIV S, great Nokia build quality (unlike the 920!), if the resolution was the same I would have got the Nokia.

So how does WP8 stack up compared to Android? The interface is essentially like Flipboard for those familiar with it. There are aspects that will take getting used to, such as on the S3 you could call or text someone from the phone history by swiping right or left respectively. On the ATIV S you click on the phone icon, then the name from history and then two swipes to the right to see previous interactions ranging from calls, text and social media. Not as classy as the S3. The social media integration is great, you can group contact from Facebook and only see their updates as opposed to all. The ATIV S does have call blocking functions, something the Nokia 820 doesn't have on my colleagues phone. But overall interface as a phone needs development and let's hope that comes through shortly.

Applications are a mixed bag, the list is growing by the day, but I miss Kobo and PowerAMP particularly. The latter is intended to come to WP8, the former has not made any annoucement. The majority of apps that we use day to day are there however, browsing, maps (download Here by Nokia), Kindle, etc are here with others on the way. The next 12 months will see if WP8 will take off or not, I hope it does as once the above issues have been ironed out it will go from being a good mobile OS to a great one.

Four stars due to price, it has dropped another £20 since I purchased it, but tablet prices, particularly 7 inches are putting huge pressure on mobile devices. You can buy 3 Nexus 7 devices for the price of an Experia Z/Iphone 5/Galaxy S4/Nokia 920. Similarly an Ipad 4 or Nexus 10 and a basic phone for tethering data would still work out cheaper than buying a device outright. £500 on a mobile could buy an I5 laptop or a basic smart TV. So I will be holding onto this phone as long as possible to save money on my mobile contract by not upgrading.

In short, if you are an S3 user who thinks Samsung are becoming the next Iphone with their Android Galaxy line-up by rehashing the same product each year, make the jump to WP8, regardless of it being HTC/Nokia or even Samsung. Less power hungry, more smooth and great social media integration. There are notible differences and they aren't all bad, but be prepared to use the phone in a different way.

WPCentral.com is also a good site to get tips and updates on when applications are due on the platform.
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D Francis
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Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,785