There are many different lines of laptops available on the market and it is continuing to expand. These lines include: ultrabooks, sleekbooks, convertables, rugged, and enterprise just to name a few. If I had to categorize the new ATIV Book 6, I would define it by the major defining feature, which is its touchscreen. Touch continues to be an interesting feature with a lot of debate about its affect on productivity. On a tablet, it's incredibly obvious. In the standard laptop form factor, we will have to wait and see. The ATIV line of products was named from the Latin word VITA, which means life. The creation of the ATIV line was a pledge by Samsung to make everyone's life extraordinary with excitement. Let's see how they got on with the ATIV Book 6.
Main Features and Specifications:
- Intel Core i7 3635QM(2.40GHz)
- 8GB Memory
- 1TB 5400 RPM HDD
- AMD Radeon HD 8770M
- 1920 x 1080 Touchscreen (10 Finger Sensing)
- Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11 a/b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 2 x USB 2.0 / 2 x USB 3.0
- JBL Stereo Speakers 4W(2W x 2)
- Touch Pad (Scroll Scope, Flat Type, Gesture UI)
- Windows 8 64-Bit
What We Liked:
- System Performance: The ATIV 6 performs its function very well. The quad-core i7 processor flies through tasks with ease and the AMD Discrete Graphics performs its job well. HD MKV videos played without flaw and looked fantastic. All the included games and applications launched and ran perfectly. The system boots up, restarts and shuts down quickly. This is definitely a good overall performing machine.
- High Definition Touch Screen: The 1080p screen on the ATIV 6 is very impressive. We love the color depth and the brightness of the screen. Everything we bring up looks clear and crisp. Movies were especially good. The HD screen displays deep blacks and has excellent contrast. We watched a bit of the Blu-Ray rip of Avatar, which looked amazing. Now to the defining feature, the touchscreen. The 10-point touchscreen functions well. As well as any tablet in our mind. The function is flawless and accurate. The only problem for us was its limited use. In the Metro interface and playing games, it serves its purpose. In desktop mode we barely used it. Keyboard and touchpad work perfectly to perform functions even meant for touch, such as closing any application. In Windows 8, closing an application can be performed by placing your finger at the center-top of the screen and dragging to the bottom, or it can be performed by hitting alt+F4. The keyboard function is much faster and does not require cleaning the screen. Again, the touch works well in its place, but may not be all of that necessary.
- Build Quality: Samsung has done a very good job in constructing the ATIV 6. The screen and frame are solid and the materials are of good quality. The keyboard and other devices work well and there is no question that the machine will hold up to use.
- Sound Quality: The JBL speakers perform their job well and the sound quality does not distort easily. We played several video and music selections side by side with a Retina MacBook Pro and found that while both appear to have good sound capability, we preferred the JBL speakers of the Samsung due to the wider range and clearer lows. The Samsung was better able to involve us in the music. While we are still talking about laptop speakers and their limited ability, we really did like them.
What We Didn't Like:
- Pre-loaded Software: Nearly every laptop available on the market is going to come with some type of trial software or shareware. The trick is cleaning it all off in a way that doesn't cause you other problems. The thing with Windows 8 is that you do not notice all the extra software in desktop mode, but once you look at the Metro interface, that all changes. There are 24 different icons for software that is installed on the computer. Some of those might be programs you use, but either way, you will spend some time removing several programs you have no intention of using.
- Hard Drive Performance: The included 1TB hard drive definitely provide ample storage for any amount of media or other files you need to store, but lacks incredibly in performance. We are quite disappointed that Samsung elected to go with the 5400-RPM drive. I would presume this was done to try to save on battery life, but a laptop this large is rarely going to be too far from a power source. A solid-state drive would be an incredibly welcome addition.
- Upgradability: Regarding the previous section, we would normally recommend just getting one after the fact, but servicing this laptop is not easy. Really the only thing that is easy to do is upgrade the memory. The problem with that is that Samsung chose to solder 4GB to the system board and only left one slot open for upgrade. This means the most RAM you can get in this machine is 12GB. We know that seems like enough, and maybe it is, but there are many other systems on the market that can be upgraded to 16GB, 24GB or even 32GB. The real point of this section is that if you are not technical, best to leave things alone.
- Battery Life: We left this section to the end because it really isn't a positive or negative. The battery life is not bad, and it's not super good. The average battery life was around 5 hours and 30 minutes. We were pleased with this expected result. The computer sleeps well and doesn't seem to suffer from major problems after waking from sleep.
The Samsung ATIV 6 is a good performing laptop with great sound, a very functional touch system and decent battery life. The build quality and components were never in question and the 1080p display is beautiful. We were frustrated by a few of its design flaws and upgradability. The excessive pre-loaded software and hard drive performance left us wanting. But once the software is uninstalled, the machine works well. We aren't sure the touchscreen laptop will be successful, nevertheless this is a good example.
Our Score: 4 out of 5
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Disclaimer: The Black Friday deal information given above is without warranties on accuracy and availability. Black Friday deals tend to sell out very quickly and as retailer only keep low inventories for doorbuster deals.
Samsung ATIV Book 6 Windows 8 Touchscreen Notebook Review