Preview: Samsung ATIV S

The Samsung ATIV S is one of the first smartphones to run Microsoft's new mobile OS, Windows Phone 8.

The Samsung ATIV S is one of the first smartphones to run Microsoft's new mobile OS, Windows Phone 8.

The large screen of the Samsung ATIV S seems to be the highlight of this device, but we're just as impressed with its design. The ATIV S is only 8.7mm thin and has a brushed aluminium chassis. This is somewhat of a rarity for Samsung given the company's tendency to use plastic casing on its Galaxy Android devices.

The ATIV S only weighs 135g so Samsung seems to have worked hard on minimising its footprint despite a large screen. We also like that Samsung has opted for a physical Windows button below the display, rather than a touchscreen, capacitive one. As you can see, the button is emblazoned with Microsoft's new Windows logo.

The Samsung ATIV S' large screen does seem impressive, at least on paper. It's a super AMOLED HD panel with a resolution of 1280x720 and it's coated in the latest gorilla glass 2 in a bid to prevent scratches and cracks. A pixel density of 306ppi puts the ATIV S in line with the Galaxy S III's screen and not too far behind the excellent HTC One X (312ppi) and the iPhone 4S (326ppi). This should mean the Samsung ATIV S displays super crisp text with minimal visible aberrations.

The Samsung ATIV S has relatively impressive specifications, too. It's powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and will be sold in either 16GB or 32GB variants. Thankfully, there's also a microSD card slot for extra storage along with NFC connectivity.

Previous Windows Phone devices were hamstrung by Microsoft's strict hardware requirements — there was no expandable memory on any Australian models, the processor was limited to a single-core chip and the display was only allowed a maximum resolution of 800x480. The much improved specifications of the Samsung ATIV S bring it in line with many of the best smartphones on the market.

Microsoft has already released some details of its new Windows Phone 8 operating system but we'll learn more closer to its release date, expected to be in late October. What we already know is that there's a completely new interface with support for small, medium and large tiles, more colour customisation options, built-in Skype integration, a data use monitor, and a revamped backup system that now includes the ability to backup SMS messages.

Other features of the Samsung ATIV S include a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls along with a 2300mAh battery that should provide enough juice for a full day of use. The ATIV S is a quad-band 3G smartphone, but there's no 4G connectivity.

Samsung hasn't announced if the ATIV S will be released in Australia and there's been no word on pricing or availability for any overseas markets yet.