Samsung ATIV Book 9 Hands On: Can These Things Get Any Thinner?

by Reads (3,566)

It seems notebooks can always shed weight and girth. And now that Intel’s Core M chip is enabling fanless builds, things are getting to the point where if some of the laptops at CES get any thinner or lose any more weight, they will simply disappear.

Samsung ATIV Book 9

Samsung ATIV Book 9

The Samsung ATIV Book 9 is one such device, an impossibly svelte and absurdly light Windows 8.1 notebook with a 12-inch display that packs an impressive 2560 x 1600 pixels, and that weighs just a hair over 2 pounds.

To be fair, Lenovo claims its LaVie Z is lighter at 1.7 pounds, but Samsung claims it has the LaVie Z beat when it comes to performance. Samsung reps explained that the ATIV Book 9 overclocks the Intel Core M processor inside, bringing it closer in line with the Core i series of processors.

But what about heat? Again, Samsung reps explained that overclocking should require a fan and vents, which are both absent on the laptop. The ATIV Book 9 instead has a “vapor chamber” that absorbs and dissipates the heat. While we couldn’t crack the demo open to take a look, reps described it as a thin metal layer secured inside the aluminum chassis.

Looking Good

OK, but we have to put the ATIV Book 9 through the test lab paces to confirm any performance gains. Until then we can confirm that this is one good-looking device. The display is absolutely superb, which isn’t surprising given Samsung’s general strength in displays both big and small. It’s a bit on the glossy side, but it does max out to 700 nits in “outdoor mode,” which should help fight through any glare.

Samsung ATIV Book 9 thin build

Samsung ATIV Book 9 thin build

Unfortunately, said display is not a touchscreen (the cost of thinness, we suppose), leaving us questioning whether this fits Intel’s strict definition of an Ultrabook. Fortunately, the trackpad is relatively large, and seemed responsive in informal use. The backlit keyboard also impressed, with crisp response and a full row of function keys.

Given Samsung’s recent push as a devices and services enterprise company, it seems the ATIV Book 9 was built with business users in mind. A host of software refinements add to the suspicion, as there are cool options programmed in for adjusting the display opacity to thwart snoops and peekers, and maximize the battery life, which Samsung claims already rates for 12.5 hours.

The latter of the two display refinements is really novel, as it sets the display to monochrome and lowers its refresh rate when the battery hits 10%. Aesthetically, it gives an extremely modern laptop an early 90’s feel, and practically, it helps use extend the battery. By how much? Again, we’ll have to get the ATIV Book 9 in the test lab to find out.

Hands On

Other ATIV Book 9 specs include:

  • 12.2-inch WQXGA LED Display (2560×1600, maximum brightness: 700nit)
  • Windows 8.1
  • Intel Core M 5Y10c dual-core processor (800 MHz base clock, 2.0 GHz max Turbo clock, 4MB Cache)
  • Intel HD Graphics 5300
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM (4GB also available)
  • 256GB SSD (128GB also available)
  • Stereo Speakers (1.5W x 2)
  • Front-facing Webcam (720p HD)
  • Battery Life up to 12.5 hours
  • Dimensions: 11.19″ x 8.37″ x 0.46″
  • Weight: 2.06 pounds
  • Color: Imperial Black
  • Ports: 2x USB3.0, micro HDMI, micro SD card reader, RJ45 (via dongle), headphone/mic combo jack

All that sleekness doesn’t come cheap, and the price will make your wallet as thin and light as the notebook. The Samsung ATIV Book 9 starts at $1,199.99 for the 4 GB and 128 GB SSD model, and $1,399.99 for 8 GB and 256 GB SSD model.


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