Overwhelmed with all the new and exciting CES brought us this year, we had merely previewed Samsung newest notebook, the Series 9. Series 9 is well worth a closer look. Before we say anything else, we have to declare that the Series 9 is a truly beautiful machine. It’s chassis measures a mere 16.5mm at its thickest point, and refined curves and chrome highlights add to the overall effect – a mixture of metal and glossy plastic. The Series 9 measures 328 x 226 x 15.7mm and weighs 1.3kg, which is slighlty heavier than the Macbook Air.
The 13.3″ 1366 x 768 pixel screen cuts down on reflections but without any compromise on brightness or contrast, and provides superb viewing angles. Once again, Samsung excels in the realm of displays.
The keyboard is similarly first-class – the island-style keys are well-spaced and allow fast and accurate typing. One nice feature is the keyboard’s backlight, which illuminates automatically when a light sensor detects falling light levels. The touchpad shows elements of MacBook Air design – instead of discrete buttons, the full extent of the trackpad doubles as a clickable surface, registering one-, two- and three-finger gestures. Right clicks are simulated with a single finger tap, while tapping with two fingers will register as a double-click. Initially it seems perverse, but a little practise shows it be very efficient. Mac users are used to this sort of advanced trackpad functionality, but this is cutting-edge stuff for a Windows machine. Standard gestures like pinch-to-zoom are all supported.
The Samsung Series 9 provides one USB-3 socket and one USB-2 connection, as well as a miniHDMI inerface and a microSD card reader. Because space is at such a premium, there is no room for an Ethernet socket – instead users must plug in the included adaptor cable.
The size factor has had no effect on the internal components of the Series 9. The 1.4GHz core-i5 CPU is helped along by 4GB RAM, and system performance is boosted by the inclusion of a 128GB SSD for (quite limited) storage and snappy file transfer. Obviously for ultraportables portability is the foremost consideration, but these specs should prevent the user feeling the lack of any graphics card, and USB-3 makes up for the format’s lack of an optical drive.
Benchmark tests confirm the Series 9 as one of the fastest ultraportables we’ve seen. It’s only now that Intel’s integrated GPU has become so powerful that ultra-slim, super-light machines (the Series 9 weighs just 1.05kg) can compete with full-sized notebooks in the office. The Series 9 is perfectly capable of handling even heavy applications. With such a strong emphasis on portability, battery life is a significant consideration, and our flat-out processor test yielded 2 hours 40 mins of battery-powered service, which is comparable with the best ultraportables. The Sandy Bridge architecture and improved integrated graphics capability, a lightning-quick solid state drive – not to mention the limited screen real estate which must be serviced – they all mean snappy performance, and although this is no portable gaming machine, it will serve perfectly well as a ultraportable work computer.
However, at $1350, you’ll pay a premium for the breath-taking design and that flawless screen. If you want more computational bang for your buck, take a look at the Acer Aspire S3, but if it’s sumptuous user-experience on a Windows machine you’re after, Samsung Series 9 could be your baby.
Take a look at some of these Samsung Series 9 pictures:
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