The Bottom Line
Dec 13 2013 - Samsung's ATIV Book 6 may not have the most up to date internals, but it does extremely well compared to the latest generation. It offers nearly the same level of performance and still offers some very good battery life. In fact, one has to wonder what the system could be like if Samsung used a Haswell processor. The design offers a very premium feel with good build quality. The system does have its issues though including a touchpad that has some tracking issues and way too much software installed on it that muddle up the Windows 8 experience.
- Excellent Build Quality
- Performance On Par With Current Generation Laptops
- Comfortable Keyboard
- Touchpad Has Multitouch Issues
- Uses Older Generation Processor
- Lots Of Preinstalled Software
- Intel Core i7-3635QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 15.6" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With 720p Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 8770M 1GB Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1
- 14.8" x 9.8" x .97" @ 5.2 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Samsung ATIV Book 6
Dec 13 2013 - Samsung is aiming for a premium look and feel with their ATIV Book 6 laptop design. Much of the system is constructed out of aluminum but the bottom of the system still uses plastic to help keep the costs down. The color is listed as being black but the finish tends to have a blue tint to it. The back of the lid features a brushed finish but the keyboard deck does not meaning that it picks up fingerprints and smudges quite easily. Overall, it gives the system a very premium feel that is very welcome especially for the price tag.
Rather than being equipped with the latest Haswell processors, the ATIV Book 6 comes with the Ivy Bridge based Intel Core i7-3635QM quad core processor. Now in terms of performance, it does nearly as well as the Core i7-4700QM. This means that it can handle just about any task that you might have in mind for the laptop including gaming or desktop video work. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory which provides a smooth overall experience in Windows. One feature that Samsung has added is the ability to take unused system RAM and have it act as a cache for frequently accessed files. Most users probably won't notice this feature those as the space is limited compared to a system that features solid state cache.
Storage for the ATIV Book 6 emphasizes storage capacity rather than performance. Samsung elected to use a traditional hard drive with a very large one terabyte storage capacity that provides plenty of space for applications, data and media files. The downside here is that the drive spins at the 5400 rpm rate which makes the boot up and loading of applications feel very sluggish to many of today's systems that use solid state drives. Boot times are over twenty seconds which is decent for a hard drive based systems but still slower than those with SSD or SSD cache. If you do need additional storage space, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage. Like many other laptops these days, there is no optical drive.
Samsung is well known for their displays and that shows with the 15.6-inch panel for the ATIV Book 6. It uses a fairly standard 1920x1080 native resolution but offers some very excellent color and contrast. Brightness is good but not as bright as a some others. The screen is multitouch capable and handles all Windows 8 gestures just fine. The graphics for the display rely on the AMD Radeon HD 8770M graphics processor rather than the more popular NVIDIA solutions. In terms of performance, it does handle 3D gaming but you will need to turn down the detail levels to have smooth frame rates or conversely use a lower resolution to have higher detail. This places it somewhere between the GeForce GT 740M and 750M for those comparing it to other laptops.
The keyboard uses the same isolated key layout designs that the company has been using for years. It features a full keyboard layout that includes a numeric keypad as well. It offers a very comfortable experience with a high level of accuracy. The same cannot be said for the trackpad and its multitouch gestures in particular. It typically required several tries before the requested action would be performed. Thankfully the system does have a multitouch display so this can be worked around by using the display instead of the trackpad.
For the battery, Samsung uses a slightly larger than average 57WHr capacity battery pack. They claim that this will let the system run for up to 4.7 hours. In digital video playback testing, the laptop was able to run for five hours before going into standby mode. This is very good considering that it is uses a 3rd generation processor rather than the latest Haswell. It still doesn't have the longest running times as that is achieved by the Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina Display that runs for over eight hours in the same test thanks to its larger capacity battery pack
Pricing for the Samsung ATIV Book 6 laptop is between $1000 and $1200 as configured. In temrs of competition, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 and <a href="http://compreviews.about.com/od/thinandlight/fr/HP-ENVY-TouchSmart-15-j050us.htm>HP Envy Touchsmart 15 are the closest with touchscreen displays. If you don't care about the touchscreen feature, then the Lenovo IdeaPad Y410p is also an option. Dell's option emphasized longer running times by using a slower dual core processor which makes it less competitive for those with demanding computing tasks. The HP system is more affordable and offers a similar level of performance as long as your aren't looking to do 3D graphics or gaming because of its reliance upon the Intel graphics. Lenovo's actually offers better performance all around but it sacrifices battery life in addition to not having a touchscreen.