- Vibrant 15.6" Display
- Unique Casing
- Strong Performance
- Inconsistent Touchpad
- No SSD
- Third-Gen Processor
The Samsung ATIV Book 6 sets itself apart with its unique look and strong performance.
After releasing the exceptionally well made, albeit expensive Samsung ATIV Book 9; the Korean manufacturer brings forth a more modest offering with the Samsung ATIV Book 6. The 15.6″ notebook looks to offer a premium notebook experience at an affordable price; featuring a 2.4 GHz Intel i7 processor, AMD HD 8770M GPU, and a vibrant 15.6″ display complete with touch-controls for around $1,200 (at time the review was written).
The Samsung ATIV Book 6 isn’t as slim as an Apple MacBook Pro, nor is it as powerful as competing gaming-oriented devices, but the Samsung ATIV Book 6’s strong build design and solid specs make it a noteworthy premium notebook alternative.
Build and Design
The ATIV Book 6 stands out with its unique cobalt blue aluminum lid and matching deck. The distinctive color is a nice departure from the standard variations of black and silver that most notebooks default to. The cover employs a vertical brushed texture with sizeable metallic “Samsung” lettering adorning the left side of the display cover and a thin blue-gray plastic strip wrapping around the topside of the lid where the embedded web-cam is positioned. The underside of the chassis is outfitted with a black plastic that contrasts well against the grayish-blue protective covering. Unfortunately while the notebook looks great in pristine condition, the lid’s propensity for showing fingerprint marks and smudges makes it exceedingly difficult to keep the notebook looking clean.
Measuring in at 14.75″ x 9.8″ x 0.9″ and weighing in at 5.4 lbs. the ATIV Book 6 offers a fairly standard form factor on par with other 15.6″ devices housing a dedicated GPU. The inward slants around the base of the chassis make the device comfortable to carry and the weight is more than manageable for users looking to transport the notebook on occasion. However, users looking to travel regularly may want to consider a more portable form factor.
The ATIV Book 6 makes the most of its 5.4 lbs. frame offering considerable durability. The bottom portion of the chassis proved particularly resilient, holding firm when extreme pressure was applied. The display case faired just as well only flexing slightly to pressure with no ripples appearing on screen.
The Samsung ATIV Book 6 is outfitted with a wide selection of ports. The left side houses a power jack, Ethernet connector, VGA connector, HDMI connector, two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone/microphone combo jack. The right side of the device is equipped with a security lock slot, two USB 2.0 ports and a 3-in-1 card reader.
|Left: power jack, Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports, headphone/microphone combo jack||Right: security lock slot, two USB 2.0 ports and a 3-in-1 card reader|
Screen and Speakers
The Samsung ATIV Book 6 houses a 15.6″ touch-enabled LED display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and 291 nits brightness. The glossy display offers a bright vibrant viewing experience that provides a crisp clear image perfect for viewing text and web pages. The display also boasts rich detailed color contrast which makes the most out of the machine’s AMD GPU and is perfect for viewing media. The touch-controls are responsive and precise with no noticeable lag, affording users a viable alternative means of control.
The display offers generous viewing angles along the horizontal axis where images hold up at around 180 degrees without any noticeable distortion. The display’s viewing angles proves less flexible on the vertical axis where disruptive reflections appear on screen when pushing the display backwards. However, the issue is likely more indicative of the screen’s sensitivity light as the glossy surface is quick to mirror background images when faced with direct lighting. The Samsung ATIV Book 6 provides an ideal viewing experience in most settings, but don’t expect the display to perform well in direct or outdoor lighting.
The notebook offers a pair of JBL speakers located along the right and left sides of the bottom portion of the chassis. Despite being located on the bottom of the device the two speakers manage to provide boisterous sound levels capable of filling a sizable room with audio. The speakers offer solid quality, the device as able to play back television shows and movie clips without any noticeable distortion. However, the listening to an orchestral track the speakers did show noticeable distortion. The sound quality did improve when the speaker volume was decreased, but the speakers were never able to play back the orchestral piece clearly. The loud speakers are serviceable for most endeavors, though users looking for a high-quality audio experience will want to opt for an external device.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Samsung ATIV Book 6 houses a Chiclet style keyboard complete with number pad. The squared keys reside within a glassy plastic base and offer a sleek finish that is soft to the touch. The keyboard manages to offer exceptional spacing and does so without condensing the surface area of its keys. Key depth is acceptable with enough travel distance for users to be secure that each key has been adequately compressed. The feedback is responsive as keys are quick to snap back into place as well.
Unfortunately the generously sized touchpad, which is located to the bottom right of the spacebar, does not offer the same quality. The smooth frictionless surface of the pad makes it easy to swipe across with fluid and precise motions. The touchpad is devoid of mouse buttons and instead designates the bottom right portion of the pad to serve as the right-mouse button while the rest of the pad reads as a left mouse click. Similar to the Lenovo ThinkPad T431s the Samsung ATIV Book 6 fails to offer users enough information to accurately discern where the designated portion begins and ends, often resulting in missed clicks especially while looking up at the screen and away from the pad.
However, far more problematic is the pad’s inconsistent performance. Equipped with ELAN drivers the touchpad often fails to accurately read clicks and multi-finger gestures. While testing the device on multiple occasions the pad misread a simple click as if I were holding down the pad highlighting huge portions of text. Using the undefined bottom portion of the pad actually proved to be more reliable than opting for the multi-finger gestures, which only managed to accurately register about 50 percent of the time.