Menu
Samsung Notebook Series 9

Samsung Notebook Series 9

Ultrabook

We liked the look of the original Sandy Bridge-based Samsung Series 9 laptop, so the slimmer, even-more-lightweight Ivy Bridge-powered model had us salivating when we saw it at a preview in Sydney last month. But as always, the question with laptops is: is it as good as it looks?

It does look very good indeed. The new model has all of the stylish elements of the previous airplane-wing inspired design without the extraneous detail. There’s no thin black rim that can be used to cut cheese; the new model is blue-grey magnesium alloy with silver highlights and a low-profile throughout. It’s just a shade under 13mm thick, and weighs 1.16kg.

The screen is a relatively high resolution for its 13 inches at 1600 x 900. Compared to the Acer Aspire M3, it’s packed with pixels.

Unlike the Acer, the screen is matte. This can make colours appear muted, but in the case of the Series 9, the colours are vibrant and rich. The viewing angle isn’t massive, but it’s sufficient, and while the screen on maximum brightness isn’t superbly bright, it will cope with all bar the sunniest days.

The keyboard is a little lacking in travel, which is not unexpected for such a slimline laptop, but it’s comfortable for moderate stretches of typing. The trackpad is a little finicky, but nothing like the Acer Aspire M3’s fussiness.

For such a tiny laptop, our performance expectations were modest, but when it comes to Ultrabooks, the Series 9 performs better than any other we’ve had through our labs so far. Not only did it pip its Sandy Bridge-based predecessor, but it also beat the Sandy Bridge core i5-based MacBook Air and Sandy Bridge Core i7-based HP Envy Spectre. We suspect the newer Ivy Bridge-based MacBook Air will eke out a slight win, but the Series 9 shows off the improvements of Ivy Bridge both in its base grunt and in its additional battery life. Four hours and 47 minutes on our ‘productivity’ battery life test represents a solid day’s work for most people.

But by far the most important development for many users will be the new support for DirectX 11 in the Ivy Bridge’s integrated Intel HD 4000 series GPU. You’ll see improvements in many graphical tasks, and particularly when gaming. It’s not a huge stretch to say that if something this tiny can produce playable results, Ivy Bridge has a little something for everyone.

All this is delivered by a set of components that itself is fairly modest: an Intel Core i5 -3317U processor backed up by 4GB RAM. A speedy 128GB SanDisk SSD offers a decent drive for an ultraportable.

The only disappointment, aside from the fact that you won’t be able to store many of the games you can now play on the little Series 9, comes as a side-effect of the portability. Two USB ports – one USB 3.0 – are barely enough for a spare mouse, and you may well want a low profile USB drive for extra storage capacity. A mini-HDMI port, mini-Ethernet port, mini-DisplayPort connector and a headphone/mic combo port round out the connections. Yes, that’s all you get. There isn’t even an SD card reader. And, as with most Ultrabooks, you won’t get an optical drive.

If you’re in the market for a premium lightweight laptop, the Series 9 is no-brainer: stylish, usable and responsive. But there will be other, cheaper Ivy Bridge products along soon – would you rather spend $2599 now, or wait to see how the Asus Zenbook Prime or HP Envy Spectre XT compare?

Ingram Micro distributes Samsung in New Zealand.

This review was first published in the August issue of New Zealand PC World.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Under Review

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments