Samsung Ativ S vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Which One Should You Buy?

By Khurram Aziz | Nov 20, 2012 09:20 AM EST

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Samsung's Ativ S, which the company claims is the best specced Windows Phone 8 device on the market, has just hit pre-orders.

At first glance it appears like a Windows version of the Android-powered Galaxy S3, with a similar screen and hardware. However, placed alongside the Glaxay Note  2, the differences become stark.

Here's a breakdown of the two phones for those wondering which one to buy.

Form Factor/Dimensions

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - 151.1x80.5x9.4mm, 183g
Samsung Ativ S - 137.2x70.5x8.7mm, 135g

The design work for both looks very similar, with smooth curves and plastic casing. However, the Note 2 is huge and significantly heavier than the Ativ S and will in many ways be the deciding factor for those looking to chose between the two devices.

One handed operation of the Note 2 is practically out of the question, and the simple process of answering and making calls also becomes more awkward with the larger device.

But the Note 2's size also gives it some advantages, particularly for those looking for the tablet experience on a smaller handset. Browing the internet, writing emails, reading books and watching videos becomes instantly more pleasurable  on the Note 2 compared to the Ativ S.


The internals of the Note 2 have a clear performance advantage over the Ativ S. Its quad-core Exynos 4 processor is clocked at 1.6GHz and features 2GB of RAM. The Ativ S, on the other hand, has a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 system-on-a-chip that runs at 1.5GHz. The phone also only has 1GB of RAM.

However, few people will notice much of a difference in performance, especially considering the speed and efficiency of the design of Windows Phone 8.


Both phones feature a 720p HD Super AMOLED screen, but the Galaxy Note 2's 5.5-inch display dwarfs the Ativ S's 4.8-inch.

However, the Ativ S has a higher pixel density, coming in at 306ppi compared to the Note 2 with a pixel density of 267ppi.


Both the Ativ S and and Note 2 feature an identical 8MP front and 1.9MP rear camera with the same technology and nothing much else to differentiate between them.


The Galaxy Note 2 is the clear winner when it comes to storage size, boasting 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options, while the Ativ S only comes in 16GB and 32GB. The Note 2 also allows for 64GB of additional memory via its microSD card slot compared to the Ativ S which only supports a 32GB microSD card.

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The choice between the Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy S3 largely comes down to size. However, with the Ativ S, there's also the operating system to consider. Android is a refined operating system with a massive ecosystem of apps, which Windows Phone 8 lacks at the moment. This may all change in the future, but users looking for an integrated tablet, smartphone and PC experience will want to consider the Galaxy Note 2.

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