Samsung Ativ S review: A fresh start
The 8 megapixel camera does a great job
Samsung Ativ S packs the same camera sensor and as its Galaxy S III sibling and takes the same excellent quality pictures. There is a single-LED flash as well.
The camera UI is quite different though - you have your viewfinder and a bar with controls on the right. From top to bottom they are the still/video camera toggle, virtual zoom buttons and an extended settings menu. On the left you have an arrow that takes you to the images taken with the camera, alternatively you can do a swipe gesture too.
The camera app on Windows Phone offers extensive settings, ranging from scenes and effects to white balance, contrast, saturation, sharpness, ISO and more. You have a dedicated Macro focus mode but no face detection. The flash can be set to auto, forced or off.
As promised the camera app got a new handy feature called Lenses. It does one very simple, yet extremely useful thing - bring all camera apps into one place.
When you hit the Lenses button you'll get a pop-up window with shortcuts to all the camera apps - Panorama, Bing Vision, Instagram, etc. Choosing any of them will open the dedicated app, but will keep the default camera open, so if you hit the Back key later you'll get to the Camera app instantly.
The camera key will wake the phone with a single press - that is unlocking it, and start taking shots.
Photos from the Ativ S are pretty much the same as those taken with the Galaxy S III - sharp, with very low levels of noise, good color reproduction and plenty of detail. The dynamic range is very good too.
Photo quality comparison
The Ativ S has joined our Photo comparison database. You can clearly see its camera is on par with Samsung's best droids - the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II.
The tool's page will give you information on what to watch out for.
Excellent 1080p video recording
The video camera interface is identical to the still camera one and has plenty of features too. You can change the white balance, the sharpness and the video resolution and make the LED work as a video light.
The 1080p videos are impressively smooth, noise-free and with plenty of detail and good colors. The video container used is MP4 and it creates clips with a bit rate of about 21Mbps, which is enough to encode the video with no traces of compression. In fact the bitrate is higher than the Galaxy S III and that leads to slightly better quality on some occasions. The frame rate stays pretty solid at 29-30fps.
We've prepared an untouched 1080p@30fps video sample from the Ativ S camera for direct download.
And here is a lengthy video uploaded to YouTube.
Video quality comparison
The Video comparison tool will show you how Ativ S compared to the Samsung's top-notch droids - the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II.
The tool's page will give you information on what to look for.