Samsung Notebook 9 spin Preview: Don’t Call it an ATIV

by Reads (13,856)

Don’t call it an ATIV. That name is dead. Samsung killed it when it decided to brand its latest flagship Windows 10 device the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, and re-debut the previously-announced Samsung ATIV Book 9 Spin as the Samsung Notebook 9 spin. 

True to its name, the Samsung Notebook 9 spin is a Windows 10 laptop made convertible by a 360-degree display hinge, reminiscent of the Lenovo Yoga series, and copied by Dell, HP, Toshiba and just about every other Windows notebook maker. In fact, “spin” may have been the only appropriate name left as Asus has the “flip” and HP has the “360.” 

Another Samsung Notebook

The Samsung Notebook 9 spin was once called the ATIV Book 9.

The Samsung Notebook 9 spin was once called the ATIV Book 9.

Setting the Notebook 9 spin apart is that Samsung doesn’t make many Windows notebooks, and the notebooks it makes are really good. The team at NotebookReview gushed over the 13-inch and 15-inch Notebook 9 laptops Samsung showed off at CES 2016, praising the displays, build quality, and mobility. These things are impossibly light, especially considering their power. They sport 6th-generation Core i5 or i7 processors. 

The Notebook 9 spin also sports a 6th-generation Core i7 processor, along with other high-end specs, including 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It runs Windows 10 home. Its 13.3-inch display has 3200 x 1800 resolution (QHD+), which is a notch below the 4K display found on the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 and latest HP Spectre X360

It’s a knock for those looking to have the best of the best. For everyone else, the difference between 4K and QHD+ is only discernible when compared side-by-side at this display size, and 4K’s tangible benefits are still limited to video editing and graphic design. Most will be pleased with the Notebook 9 spin’s display, as Samsung routinely releases some of the best on the market (in addition to supplying display panels for just about every other device maker, including Apple, they also make some pretty good TVs). 

The Samsung Notebook 9 spin measures 12.39 x 8.69 x 0.59 inches, and weighs 2.87 with the standard battery. It has a full-sized HDMI, AC adapter, three USB 3.0 ports, microSD slot, and headphone jack. That fits well within the current crop of high-end 2-in-1s, but its about a pound more than the 13.3-inch Notebook 9, which doesn’t have a touchscreen or as robust a port selection.

Samsung Notebook Book 9 ports and inputs.

Samsung Notebook Book 9 ports and inputs.

Samsung Notebook Book 9 ports and inputs.

Pros & Potential Cons

Samsung Notebook 9 spin tablet mode.

Samsung Notebook 9 spin tablet mode.

Given our experience with 2-in-1s, we approach the Notebook 9 spin with caution in regards to its battery life and touchpad/keyboard combo. Samsung claims the 39Wh 2-cell battery (5120mAh) can provide up to 7.3 hours of juice, but we’ve seen similar devices last as little as five hours and change in our testing. The touchpad is large, and the backlit keyboard has ample-sized Chiclet-style keys, but the keystroke could prove shallow and the touchpad finicky, as sometimes happens with Windows 10 devices. Both seemed fine during our hands-on time, but full-time use is required to render appropriate judgment. 

Otherwise, we like what we see, especially given Samsung’s reputation here. The Notebook 9 spin has an excellent aluminum build with two sturdy hinges. It’s solid, and well put together. The bottom edge of the display has a slightly rounded protrusion to aid grip in tablet mode, which is such an obvious design flourish we wonder why it’s not on all 2-in-1s.   

It’s currently available from Samsung for $1,299, along with the aforementioned ultra-thin Notebook 9 devices, which range from $999 to $1,499.  

Interestingly, Samsung is still selling two 12-inch ATIV Book 9s with Core M processors in the same price range. So maybe ATIV is dead just yet. But if Samsung is selling smaller and less powerful ATIV 2-in-1s for the same price as the Notebook 9 spin, it’s very close.

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