Well, we're no closer to finding out whether or not this is indeed the world's thinnest Windows 8 tablet, but we can confirm that the ATIV Tab 3 is stunningly thin. In fact, it's as svelte as its iOS and Android competitors, hitting an astounding 8.22mm. Samsung's following the design lines of its Galaxy range -- aside from the Windows button beneath the screen, obviously. At a distance you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the ATIV Tab 3 and recent Galaxy Tabs. We like the unified approach here -- it should make it much easier to identify a Samsung device at first glance. Of course, that uniformity also means that the devices all feel similar too. That is to say, cheap and plasticky.
With an Intel Atom processor inside along with 2GB of RAM, It feels light and responsive. Apps launched pretty quickly, but we weren't able to really punish the CPU and unreliable WiFi made testing the browser impossible. The 1,366 x 768, 10.1-inch screen pairs with an S-Pen that's housed in the bottom right corner, which isn't quite as useful as it is on the Note range... at least not yet. The don't-call-it-a-stylus comes with dedicated software, including improved handwriting-to-text, Easy Clipping and Air View all now working within Windows 8, not to mention S Note. The ATIV Tab 3 will be shipping in early August for $699, with a keyboard cover included. For now, we've got more impressions after the break.
Samsung ATIV Tab 3 hands-on
Along with 64GB of built-in storage, Samsung's also included a microSD expansion slot on the metallic top edge that is also host to the SIM slot, volume rocker and power/lock button. The plastic doors protecting those slots are pretty much exactly what we're accustomed to from such devices: flimsy flaps that feel like they'll come off after just a few pries. The surprisingly nice chrome-finish extends to the buttons and speaker grills found on both the left and right side where you'll also find the headphone jack (left) along with the micro-USB and HDMI ports (right).
There are a couple of nice extras included, including Microsoft Office Home and Student free and (gasp!) a keyboard cover. That QWERTY case is something of a hybrid between the iPad's Smart Cover and Microsoft's Type Cover. A soft flap that attaches with magnets and does double duty as a stand covers the rear, while a firm keyboard with surprising travel is up front. Unfortunately the magnetic "hinge" was kind of awkward to slide up and down to form the stand and, instead of attaching directly to the Tab 3's rear, there's an additional case required for the magnetic attachment, which adds considerable bulk. While the screen was nothing to write home about, it did have decent viewing angle and pleasant levels of saturation. However, it was a tad too reflective under showroom lights for our tastes. Still, it's perfectly useable.
Mat Smith contributed to this report.