April 11, 2011
- Slim & strong metal design
- High-quality LED display
- New Intel "Sandy Bridge" CPU
- Overly sensitive touchpad
- Average battery life
The Samsung Series 9 laptop is an Apple Macbook Air competitor due to its slim size at only 0.7-inches thick and less than three pounds. It has a 13.3-inch LED display with a 720p HD resolution, the new Intel "Sandy Bridge" Intel CPU and 4GB of RAM. While the specs are very attractive, they don't come without a high price.
The Samsung Series 9 (the NP900X3A-A03 model to be exact) has a sleek design that is definitely going for the physical appeal. It has a shiny, dark gray brushed-metal exterior that is made from a material called "duralumin". Duralumin is an aluminum alloy that was originally made for airplanes and airships that is lightweight and exceptionally strong. In total, it measures 12.9 x 8.9 x 0.7-inches and weighs 2.9-pounds. It isn't quite as small as the Apple Macbook Air, which measures 11.8 x 7.6 x 0.7-inches and weighs 2.3-pounds, but it is still very comparable. It's definitely perfectly sized for users that are on-the-go on a daily basis and don't want to compromise performance for the smaller size.
Samsung includes a 13.3-inch LED backlit display that has a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, which is above 720p high-definition. The backlighting is very bright and the color quality is fantastic. There is also a matte antiglare finish that really works to cut down on glare from sunlight and ambient lighting. The viewing angles on this screen are also worth mentioning as they are virtually 180-degrees wide.
The keyboard on the Samsung Series 9 is full-sized and each key has a very tactile feel that gives good "clicky" feedback while typing. This reduces inaccuracies and makes typing a very comfortable experience. The touchpad, however, impressed us much less. The surface of the trackpad was frictionless and allowed for good movement, but it seemed too sensitive. Also, despite having palm-touch cancellation while typing, we couldn't get it to work at all.
In terms of ports on the Samsung Series 9, you'll find two USB 2.0 ports (one is a sleep-and-charge port that supplies power to a connected device while the laptop is asleep), a mini HDMI-out port, a combo microphone/headphone jack and a microSD memory card slot. There isn't an ethernet port on this laptop per se, but there is a small proprietary port that connects to a dongle that provides a standard ethernet port if you need it. Because of the slim size of this laptop, it's understandable that there are a few less ports that most computers.
The specifications of this laptop include the all-new Intel Core i5-2537M "Sandy Bridge" CPU (1.4GHz), which is slightly faster than the Macbook Air's processor even though it does have faster clock speed. This new Sandy Bridge CPU is an ultra low voltage processor that has a Turbo Mode that allows speeds of up to 2.3GHz. The Samsung Series 9 also includes 4GB of RAM, a 128GB solid state hard drive and Intel HD 3000 graphics. There is also 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity. Samsung includes Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) with this laptop.
Performance is quite good and definitely comparable to the Apple Macbook Air and perhaps even faster in a few aspects. Thanks to the solid state hard drive, performance is improved over a traditional "spinning" hard drive. Resume times from sleep mode is very speedy at only about 3-4 seconds. 3D gaming is mostly out of the question because the graphics processor isn't quite powerful enough, but casual and older games run fine. Multimedia performance is very good too, with excellent streaming video performance.
Battery life is decent, but not the best out there. Expect to get about 5-6 hours of battery life, which isn't as good as netbooks, but it is slightly longer than the Macbook Air.