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Samsung ATIV Q review – hands on with the Windows and Android tablet

It's the tablet that does everything and runs Windows 8 and Android: it's the Samsung ATIV Q

Running down the specs list for the Samsung ATIV Q, it’s as if Samsung decided that it wanted to put absolutely everything into this convertible tablet. Boy, did it deliver, with a model that runs full Windows and Android 4.2.2, has a high resolution screen and a fast processor.

It’s the interaction between the operating systems that’s particularly clever. The ATIV Q boots into Windows 8, but you can launch full Android 4.2.2 from the Start Screen, including access to Google Play. It runs full-screen immediately and looks and acts exactly like an Android tablet. However, from inside Android you can access your files and documents created on Windows 8 and vice versa. When in Android you can even choose apps to pin to the Windows 8 Start Screen.

We’ve seen tablets than can run Windows and Android, but switching between the two operating systems is often clunky and requires a reboot. With the ATIV-Q switching is instant and seamless. With a bit of investigation we found that this is because Android is actually running in an app, rather than being a complete install.

Samsung ATIV Q Android task
Android actually runs at an app rather than a separate OS, but there’s no performance hit from what we’ve seen

Any worries that this would affect performance were thankfully dashed when we used both systems. Flicking around Android felt every bit as smooth and fluid on the ATIV-Q as it does on a fully fledged Android-only tablet. Windows 8 was just as smooth, too. It should be no surprise that performance is so good, as inside is an Intel Core i5 ‘Haswell’ processor.

Samsung designed the ATIV-Q as a convertible tablet. At a first glance it appears to be a slider, with the screen sliding up to reveal the comfortable keyboard. It also has two other modes: floating lets the screen sit almost parallel to the keyboard, so you can look down at it if, for example, you’re doing a presentation; stand mode lets the screen flip over, so you can use it as a display. See the gallery to see some more contortions the ATIV-Q can do.

Samsung ATIV Q

The 13.3in touchscreen isn’t your run-of-the mill display and has a super-high QHD+ resolution, of 3,200×1,800. That’s an incredible 275ppi. Samsung wasn’t running the display model at this resolution, as there’s currently not the content to support it and Windows 8 doesn’t handle scaling to prevent text getting too small to read. However, even running at a lower resolution, the screen looked pin-sharp and viewing angles were excellent. If you don’t want to use the touchscreen, the ATIV Q ships with an S Pen, too.

Samsung has promised that the ATIV-Q’s screen hinge has been designed careful to make it rugged. However, it’s also been designed to house the CPU, with the thinking that it takes the heat away from the keyboard, making it more comfortable to type on.

Samsung ATIV Q left
The clever hinge houses the CPU, so you won’t feel heat through the laptop’s base or keyboard

Weighing just 1.29kg with the promise of 12-hours of battery life, the ATIV Q is one of the most exciting and interesting tablets. With Android and Windows together, it could just be the perfect tablet for people that want everything. Price could be a limiting factor, but we don’t have these details or a UK launch date yet.

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