One computer design trend I’ve been enjoying lately is the growing number of laptops that fit big 15-inch screens into relatively thin, light bodies. For many years, a 13-inch laptop, such as the MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13, was as big as you dared go in screen size for a system intended for regular travel. Any bigger than that, and the laptop would inevitably be a 5-pound-plus monster that would weigh down your shoulder bag. Netzteil Sony We’ve all seen on-the-go office warriors dragging themselves, slump-shouldered, across the street — no one wants to be that guy. The 15-inch Samsung Notebook 9 is a key new example of a bigger screen in a smaller body. For $1,199 in the US, it includes a current-gen Intel Core i7 processor, a big 256GB solid-state hard drive, and 8GB of RAM — that’s a very reasonable price for this semi-premium configuration. Ladegerät Toshiba (Samsung isn’t currently offering this model in the UK or Australia, but that translates to roughly ￡817 or AU$1,566) At the time of this review, Samsung is offering a $100 discount, bringing this model down to $1,099. The display is a non-touch full HD (1,920×1,080) one, but an extra $300 gets a 4K-resolution touch version.
If you’ve seen a Samsung laptop in the last four years, the Notebook 9 will look familiar. Prior Notebook Series 9 owners will notice this 13-inch Ultrabook apes the design Samsung introduced in 2012 with the Series 9 notebook. With both machines sharing the same name, this is arguably part homage and part “Why fix a design that already works?”. Though some notebooks like the HP Spectre 13 and Lenovo Yoga 900S are just now becoming stunningly thin, Samsung did it first. Like other Samsung products, the Notebook 9 is all about curves. Eschewing hard edges, you’ll find a slightly rounded lid and a rolling slope that extends from hinge to the depressed keyboard deck before rising again to meet the slightly raised palm rest. Notebook Akkus Fujitsu The only hard right angles on this laptop are found on its edges, which form a defined spine that wraps around the periphery. But even then, this sharp angle gives way to a sloped underside, making it seem as if the Notebook 9 is thinner than it actually is. Not that this notebook needs any niptuck trickery. The Notebook 9’s featherweight chassis can be attributed to its magnesium and aluminum build. Akku Acer Most premium laptops like the MacBook Air and Asus UX305 come etched from an aluminum block, but magnesium affords Samsung’s Ultrabook the same level of quality at a fraction of the weight. However, most magnesium spun notebooks like the Lenovo LaVie Z and LG Gram 15 can feel a bit plasticky. Samsung has countered this by sprinkling enough aluminum into the mix to make the Notebook 9 feel solid and rigid. The only flimsy area that has me worried is the squishy lid, which depresses easily due to a noticeable air gap between the screen lid and the display itself.
The 15-inch, 1920 x 1080 display on the Notebook 9 produces crisp images with extremely vibrant, but slightly inaccurate, colors. I watched the most recent trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse and was impressed by how much detail I could see in Angel’s wings and debris flying through the air. But I found that the colors had a golden bias: Skin tones across the board were too warm, appearing orange and yellow, while Mystique’s blue hue was bright enough to appear cartoonish. Psylocke’s sword, usually an intense purple, looked too pink. Chargeur pour Acer Iconia Tab A210 At 348 nits, the Notebook 9’s display is brighter than the panels on the LG Gram (246 nits), the Spectre x360 15t (246 nits), the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW (289 nits) and the mainstream category average (249 nits). The Notebook 9 covers an impressive 110.4 percent of the sRGB color gamut, but the ZenBook Pro (111 percent) and the HP Spectre x360 (119 percent) offer a few more shades. Chargeur pour Acer Iconia Tab A500 The LG Gram covers 101 percent of the gamut. Despite its yellow tinge, the screen delivered a solid Delta-E color accuracy score of 1.2 (the closer to 0, the better). Other 15-inch mainstream laptops fared much worse: The Gram scored 3.5, the HP Spectre x360 15t notched 4.1 and the ZenBook Pro UX501VW registered 4.37. Viewing angles on the Notebook 9 were strong, as colors remained true even at 80 degrees to the left and right.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Samsung’s a master of the thin and light laptop, and despite the incredibly thin design, the keyboard doesn’t suffer. Travel is decent but not deep like a ThinkPad, tactile feel is superb and key damping and actuation force are perfect. Surface Pro 4 Charger I’ve typed this long review on the laptop, and enjoyed doing so. Good job again, Samsung. The black keys provide good contrast and are easy to see in any light and the 13.3″ model’s multi-stage blue-green backlighting is easier on the eyes than white. You can set the keyboard backlight timeout in Samsung’s setting app. Note that the 3.3″ model has a backlit keyboard but the 15″ does not. Odd that the bigger model lacks backlighting, as does the LG Gram 15. The large Microsoft Precision trackpad is likewise excellent, as on other laptops that use this trackpad. PSU Kindle Fire HD It tracks finger movements very well and supports basic gestures like two-finger scrolling and zooming. There are no extended settings however. That said, I’ll take a trackpad that works very well over feature overload.
With an Intel Core i5-4200U CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD, the ATIV Book 9 Plus easily streamed a 1080p video from YouTube, even with 10 tabs open in Chrome Hearthstone downloading in the background. When we ran Geekbench 3 to test overall system performance, the ATIV Book scored 5,056 — just behind the XPS 13 (5,653 with 5th Gen Intel Core i5 and 8GB of RAM), but way ahead of the Elitebook Folio 1020 (3,814 with Intel Core-M5Y71 and 8GB of RAM) and the category average of 3,846. The Samsung took 5 minutes and 17 seconds to match 20,000 names and addresses in OpenOffice. Medion FSP045-RHC Voeding Oplader That’s ahead of the XPS 13 (5:34), the Elitebook Folio 1020 (6:36) and the ultraportable average of 11:02. To evaluate the ATIV Book’s 128 GB SSD, we duplicated 4.97GB of mixed media files. The Samsung achieved a transfer rate of 221.3 MBps, a good deal faster than the SSDs in the XPS 13 (154.2 MBps), the Elitebook Folio 1020 (182 MBps) and the category average of 100 MBps. It’s too bad we weren’t able to test the Intel HD 5500 graphics found on new ATIV Book 9 Plus models, but the Intel HD 4400 graphics in our configuration is more than enough to handle light gaming. The only issue is that the 3200 x 1800 native resolution is often too high for smooth gaming; we suggest moving down to a lower resolution. Medion FSP045-RHC Voeding Oplader When I played Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft at the ATIV Book’s native resolution and medium settings, I noticed periods of lag when I was selecting cards and when spell animations were running. After I switched to 1920 x 1080, Hearthstone ran much more smoothly. On the 3DMark Fire Strike graphics benchmark, the ATIV Book 9 Plus scored 581, about 30 percent behind the XPS 13 (740), slightly behind the ultraportable average of 603, but ahead of the Elitebook Folio 1020 (403).
Basically, the machine doesn’t call attention to itself while you’re trying to get stuff done. Well, with one exception. Unlike other modern PCs, many of which come installed with Intel-owned McAfee security software, the Notebook 9 comes pre-loaded with a trial version of Symantec’s Norton Security suite. Norton isn’t alone in its affinity for annoying pop-ups — McAfee is also a bad offender — but Symantec takes death by trialware to a new level. Caricabatterie Polycom After I repeatedly refused to pay for a subscription (read: I clicked the passive-aggressive “stay unprotected” button), I eventually started seeing a pop-up in the lower-right corner of my screen. But unlike with other pop-ups, I couldn’t close, minimize or even move this one. Ultimately, I had to uninstall the program to make the annoying box go away. Which, let’s be real, I might have done anyway, but is that really what Norton wants? To lose a chance of me ever signing up? Also, I think we can agree that having to open program settings, uninstall an app and then restart your machine is quite an extreme, time-sucking response when all you wanna do is close a pop-up. Caricabatterie Sager Samsung rates the Notebook 9 for up to 12 hours of battery life on the 15-inch model, and up to 10 hours on the 13-inch version, which I haven’t tested. I’m sure with somewhat intermittent use and conservative brightness settings you could indeed reach 12 hours, or close to it, but in Engadget’s (admittedly taxing) video rundown test, I got 8 hours and 16 minutes. Given how bright this particular screen is, I decided to re-run the test at half brightness, but even that extended the runtime by only 36 minutes.
If you’re in the market for the thinnest and lightest Core i5 13″ Ultrabook you can get, buy this. Really. That is unless you want a touch screen. The Samsung Notebook 9 is the kind of innovation we like to see–rather than adding a bunch of features that don’t improve computing or mobility or are hard to see the difference (4K displays on 12.5″ laptops- ha!), we have the perfect storm of super-portability, performance, battery life and classy design and materials. There are enough ports to make this a practical main machine, though some do require dongles or micro cables. Samsung Adattatore Still, the 12″ MacBook has just ONE port and the Dell XPS 13 will send you on a sometimes frustrating hunt for just the right USB-C adapters. The 15″ market is mainstream in the US, and there are Ultrabooks, budget laptops with plastic casings and low end CPUs, just a few convertibles and quite a few quad core machines with strong dedicated graphics. Thus I can’t say that you should run out and buy the 15″ Samsung Notebook 9, because I don’t know which of those four types of laptops you’re in the market for. Sony Adattatore If you do want an Ultrabook with a dual core CPU and are looking for the lightest and slimmest laptop you can get, by all means the Notebook 9 15″ is a top contender. The price is reasonable for what you get– the LG Gram 15 similarly configured other than a bigger SSD, is $1,500.