We just finished playing with Samsung's newly announced ATIV Q, a convertible tablet that runs both Windows 8 and Android 4.2.2. The display is the main attraction. The 13.3" panel features a 3200 x 1800 resolution (276 PPI). Although some of the screen shots from Samsung's presentation of the ATIV Q showed Windows 8.1 running, the demo units themselves ran vanilla Windows 8 and as a result had to rely on traditional Windows DPI scaling. I fully expect Windows 8.1 to make this 3200 x 1800 13.3" panel usable through new OS X-like DPI scaling upon its release. 

Despite having to light 5.76 million pixels, the ATIV Q seemed bright indoors. The demo tablets were running at max brightness to begin with, which was comfortable (but not too bright at all). I'd be very curious to test outdoor brightness performance.

Internally the demo ATIV Q features a Core i5-4200U (Haswell ULT, dual-core + Hyper Threading, 2.6GHz max turbo, 3MB L3, Intel HD 4400). The demo systems featured 4GB of DDR3L. Powering the system is an integrated 47Wh battery.

The dual-OS functionality is what you'd expect: Android runs in a VM on top of Windows 8. Networking, storage and CPUs are all virtualized resources. Virtualization is the only way to enable Samsung's instant switching between Windows 8/Android on a single set of hardware. The switching process itself is pretty quick as Android is treated like another application running on Windows 8. Performance within Android seemed good enough, the UI wasn't butter smooth however. I'm not all that sure about the benefits of running Android on top of full blown Windows 8, but the option is there. There's even a dedicated key on the keyboard to switch between OSes.

Although the ATIV Q has a large surface area for a tablet, the overall design feels very light and portable. Lifting the display up to reveal the integrated keyboard is simple enough. The keyboard itself feels decent, although there's no room for a standard trackpad so you're left with a little nub that is reminiscent (but no where near as functional) as what you'd find on an old ThinkPad. You glide your finger over the nub to move the mouse, with slim physical buttons at the edge of the keyboard for left/right click. Touching the display is definitely the way to go, but the ATIV Q absolutely needs Windows 8.1 style DPI scaling in order to make UI widgets in desktop mode better for touch.

Hidden in the display hinge is a USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI and a micro SD card reader.

I'm a big believer in convertibles. I don't know that anyone has gotten it perfect with design yet, but it's very good to see everyone trying. Battery life is a big unknown, as is pricing - that display can't be cheap. Given its light weight construction, the ATIV Q seems like it could actually be a very compelling option.

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  • halbhh2 - Sunday, June 23, 2013 - link

    While I understand the pleasant portability of 13.3" display, I wonder why a resolution of 3200x1800 shows up first at 13.3", and not 15"+ (or better 17"). Put those pixels to work giving us a super sharp 17" screen. Reply
  • Kidster3001 - Wednesday, July 03, 2013 - link

    It's harder and more expensive to make larger screens. this 3200x1800 screen has quite a bit lower PPI than the top phones today but I bet it costs MUCH more to make than the 5" screens. Reply
  • pensive69 - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    got to love working systems that function like a digital Swiss Reply
  • pensive69 - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Army Knife (continued)
    our tech can use a device like this to get a lot of work and
    useful stuff done so we'll buy one and test it soon
    I always wondered why these multicore CPU's didn't
    assign a core to a particular O/S and let them work
    together.
    does anyone know how the Android stuff works with those
    Win 8 ports? [...Hidden in the display hinge is a USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI and a micro SD card reader...]
    if I get a decent file system utility in Android with legs into the
    hardware which Windows uses, that's a win.
    Reply
  • Kidster3001 - Wednesday, July 03, 2013 - link

    Windows can see the Android storage. I assume Android can see the uSDcard slot, USB and HDMI as well since top phones Android today already have those things. Reply
  • carlwu - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    Will this have: Gyroscope, Compass / Magnetometer, Accelerometer, to function like a real convertible/tablet? Reply
  • PeterNorman - Wednesday, July 03, 2013 - link

    Hello Anand! Is the S Pen larger than the one included with the Galaxy Note 10.1 or Note 2? Or is it the same size? Many thanks for the informative 'Hands On' article. Reply
  • LindaGDC - Sunday, July 07, 2013 - link

    Why cripple this great device with only 4GB of RAM? I canceled my order for a Duo 13 to get this but there is no way I am getting this with 4 GB of RAM. Who created this incredible laptop and then thought let's give them only 4GB of RAM just to make sure no one can do any serious multitasking with that 3200X1800 display?

    I am amazed Samsung has no clue about the target market for this laptop. The retarded 4GB of RAM is going to turn off most professionals and power users who would pay about $1500 or more for a laptop with such a radical new design. Most casual users who would not care about the 4GB of RAM likely will not be paying what this laptop is likely going to go on sale for.

    Add 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD and I will pay $2,000 for this or whatever Samsung wants for this. There is a huge market of professionals who would but this laptop if it is not crippled with only 4GB of RAM.
    Reply
  • Madrum - Sunday, July 07, 2013 - link

    This would be an excellent work and play item if done right. We don't exactly know about upgrade options as yet. However, I would certainly pay for an i7 quad core, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD and as a Hybrid device I wouldn't mind a 3G/4G Cellular dual sim capability thrown in (as long as I'm doing a wish list). All of which may make this into a must have for the professional or traveler.

    One has to remember that you'd lose at least 10% of space in O/S's in a 128GB SSD. Plus any other program/systems one wanted to add, that quickly mounts up in diminished usable space.

    It's all well and fine to have a cheaper base, but the professional market out there is no small biscuit either.
    Reply
  • LindaGDC - Sunday, July 14, 2013 - link

    Why did Samsung cripple the ATIV Q by only including 4GB of RAM? I canceled my order for a Vaio Duo 13 to buy the ATIV Q when it was announced and I am so utterly disappointed with the measly 4GB of RAM. Who is the target market for this for Samsung? This is sold at a premium price and appeals to business and power users but why would you cripple arguably the best tablet ever created by only including 4GB of RAM? The lack of RAM is going to turn off most potential buyers of this tablet. 4GB of RAM is now standard on the cheapest laptop you can buy for 1/3 the price. Does Samsung really not want the ATIV Q to be a success by crippling it with only 4GB of RAM? The competing Duo 13 can be ordered with 8GB, i7, and 512GB SSD and the ATIV Q maxes out at 4GB, i5, and 256 SSD. What a shame that I am likely going to buy the Duo 13 as I absolutely need 8GB of RAM for work and multitasking. Reply

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