Samsung was one of the first to join the Windows Phone parade with the Focus, and was quick to follow up with devices like the Focus S. It's been unusually conservative with Windows Phone 8, however: the ATIV S ($100 on contract through Bell Canada) is the last of the big three flagships to arrive in 2012, following weeks after the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Nokia Lumia 920 went on sale. Some would argue that Samsung has been especially conservative with the ATIV S, given that it shares the same 4.8-inch screen, Snapdragon S4 processor, cameras and overarching design traits with Sammy's other flagship phone, the Galaxy S III. There's a real worry that someone visiting the carrier store will see both devices and pick the Galaxy simply through name recognition alone.
And yet, they're not entirely cut from the same cloth: there's a design twist or two, a larger battery and, of course, a switch to an entirely different ecosystem. Some will want the phone to try Windows Phone's simpler, at-a-glance interface concept; others are shopping solely inside of Microsoft's universe and want to know if expandable storage and Samsung's custom app suite fend off rivals. We already have lots to like, but there are a few punctures in the ATIV S' faux-metal armor that will keep it from being the handset for everyone, even if they do prefer Windows Phone. Read on and you'll see why.