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Samsung Ativ Book 8 review

Katharine Byrne
26 Dec 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,399
inc VAT

A great general purpose laptop with a beautiful display and dedicated graphics, but this is a step down from its cheaper predecessor

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Specifications

15.6 in 1,920x1,080 display, 2.5kg, 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3635QM, 8.00GB RAM, 1,000GB disk, Windows 8

When Samsung released its excellent Ultimate award-winning Samsung Series 7 Chronos earlier this year, it showed that 15.6in laptops couyld combine top-end gaming power with sleek style. The Ativ Book 8 is the successor to the Chronos, but surprisingly little has changed in the intervening months.

Samsung Ativ Book 8

It’s still an incredibly powerful laptop, but we were mildly disappointed that Samsung hasn’t updated the specification at all from the Series 7 Chronos. Instead of upgrading to one of Intel’s new Haswell processors, the Ativ Book 8 comes with an Ivy Bridge quad-core 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3635QM processor and 8GB of RAM. This still provides the Ativ Book 8 with plenty of raw speed, as it breezed through our multimedia benchmarks with an impressive score of 86 overall. This is just shy of our reference Core i5-3570K desktop processor, so it should be able to handle even the most demanding media applications with ease.

The graphics chip hasn’t changed either. This isn’t a bad thing, as its 2GB AMD Radeon HD 8870M is a great mid-range chip, but much like the processor we would have preferred to have seen something a little different to make the Ativ Book 8 stand out from its predecessor. That said, 46.4fps in our Dirt Showdown test on High quality and a 1,280x720 resolution isn’t anything to sniff at, and it even managed 19.2fps in our demanding Crysis 2 test on Ultra quality at 1,920x1,080. This isn’t fast enough to play at a comfortable speed, but lowering the settings turns the Ativ Book 8 into a very capable gaming laptop, as we managed a smooth 41.8fps on High in Crysis 2 at the same resolution.

Samsung Ativ Book 8

The main attraction is the 15.6in display. Image quality was superb, as our colour calibrator showed it was displaying 89.3 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut. Most laptop screens only display around 60 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut, but the Ativ Book 8 had excellent coverage across all the main primary colour groups.

Blues and yellows were particularly strong and it showed in our solid colour image tests. These all looked bright and vivid, and the screen’s glossy finish also helped to give them a bit more depth and vibrancy. Whites were bright and clean, too, and its low black level of 0.25cd/m2 showed no hint of grey in our solid blacks either.

Our high contrast images also looked great, but some of our test photos showed less detail than others. This was surprising, as our colour calibrator measured a contrast ratio of 1,043:1, which is above average compared to your typical laptop panel. We suspect this is due to the laptop’s deep black levels, as it was the darker shadow detail that suffered most.

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