If you want the world's first Windows 8 phone, the Ativ S is the one, but as far as Samsung devices go, the Galaxy S3 is still the one to beat.
Like the S3, the Ativ S is a tall phone, clocking in at 5.4-inches, but its Mary Kate Olson-style slim at just under 0.3-inches. It's a beautiful phone, with an expensive-looking aluminum body right down to the buttons -- no plastic here -- and a tapered bezel that keeps your hands off the Gorilla Glass 2 screen.
You wouldn't want to smudge the display -- the Super AMOLED touch screen boasts some massive pixel density for outstanding visuals. And the generous 4.8-inch screen coupled with its ergonomic design make you second-guess the necessity of a tablet, since streaming movies is on par with viewing them on Samsung tablets.
Below the screen, raised Windows keys bring you to the home screen. And whether you like this phone or not will really depend on how you feel about the Windows 8. As far as apps go, Windows still pales in comparison to Android and Apple, so if you're not willing to compromise on apps, despite the hardware, just get the S3.
If you're fine with the limited selection, Windows 8 is great for customization, and the tiled home screen is easy to navigate. You'll also feel the love for Windows 8 if you're an Office fan -- the Ativ S comes preloaded with PowerPoint, Word, Excel and One Note, so you can take your work with you. You won't want to assemble business presentations, but if you're constantly on the move, it's a convenient way to get things done.
The Ativ S won't run out of juice anytime soon either, since it packs a whopping 2,300 mAh battery. Even though Windows 8 is untested, as long as the software is up to snuff, the dual-core S4 chip is more than capable of keeping apps running at a quick pace, even though it's not on the absolute cutting-edge of processors. The device comes in 16- or 32-gigabytes, with room for a microSD cards up to 64-gigabytes, so you can store plenty of music, movies and apps.
The 8-megapixel camera is nice. And it comes with a big LED flash so your photos will come out clear in the day or night. In addition, you can record high-definition videos at 1080p resolution, so it'll be able to replace your point and shoot camera and camcorder. But before you get too excited, here's a big drawback: it runs on HSPA-plus rather the 4G LTE. So it'll only work with T-Mobile unless Samsung releases an LTE version. If you're a Windows fan, you'll adore the Ativ S, but otherwise, the Galaxy S3 is just as good. ♦
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