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August 1, 2012
- Attractive, solid design
- Nice-looking LED display
- Good performance
- Above average battery life
- Keyboard could be better
The Samsung Series 9 15-inch laptop does a lot to improve upon the previous model from last year and it certainly shows. It has a very portable and attractive design and a nice-looking display. It has solid performance thanks to the third-gen Intel CPU and extra long battery life.
When we originally reviewed the Samsung Series 9 (early 2011), we were impressed by the strong metal exterior and the high-quality LED display. It also featured the newest CPU at the same (the second-gen) whereas this updated model features the third-generation. We did not like the price or overly sensitive touchpad. It was a definite good sign when this updated model improved on all those previous flaws.
The design of the NP900X4C looks just like the previous model, which is exactly what we hoped. It has a fingerprint-resistant gray aluminum unibody exterior. It measures 14.0 x 9.3 x 0.6-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.8-pounds, which is one of the smallest and lightest 15-inch notebooks on the market.
The keyboard has an island-style design that works and feels pretty good, however the keys don't offer as much feedback as we would have hoped. It is backlit, which is a must in our opinion. The touchpad is very sizable and has a much better touch than the 2011 model. We found it to be smooth operating, even with our multitouch gestures.
For the 15-inch LED display, it has a resolution of 1600 x 900-pixels and a very bright level of brightness. The display was not only bright but also looked very good to our eyes. Streaming HD videos looked great, even extreme shadows.
The port selection includes two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, micro Ethernet (adapter included), micro-HDMI, mini-VGA, a combo headphone/microphone jack and a 4-in-1 card reader. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0. There is no optical disc drive included on this notebook.
The internal specifications of the Samsung Series 9 includes an Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz) third-gen CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB solid-state hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. We found performance to be right on-par or slightly above par with other similar 15-inch laptops. The PCMark 7 benchmark resulted in a score of 3,731.
Graphics performance is improved over the previous model thanks to the upgraded integrated Intel graphics system. This allows you to play some of the more milder 3D games with no problem, but any of the extreme 3D games, this isn't the laptop for you. If you're interested in that, find something with a discrete graphics system.
Battery life with the Samsung Series 9 clocked in at about 7-hours, which is anywhere from an hour to 30-minutes longer than most other 15-inch laptops we've tested.
For more notebook reviews, visit our Notebook & Ultrabook Reviews page.