We got our hands on the silky slim Samsung ATIV Book 9 Ultrabook (Series 9 NP900X3E) last week to see if we could squeeze any worthy performance out of this very, very thin (0.51″) Windows 8 ultrabook. Well, we got it.
With a responsive Intel i7 processor, 256GB SSD (solid state), full HD display, integrated graphics and 4GB of RAM, this durable 13.3-inch laptop gave us the performance we were looking for. What struck us though was the very non-competitive $1900 price tag in the abscence of any touchscreen control on a Windows 8 device.
Can great looks, thinness and performance still warrant this list price? Take a look with us as Michael Wall gives his full rundown of the ATIV Book 9 Ultrabook and get the full transcription below.
Hello. I’m Michael Wall, from Notebook Review. This is our quick look of the Samsung Series 9.
This is the newest notebook in the Samsung Series line, it’s the NP900X3. As you can see right off the bat, I think it’s going to catch your eye, it’s incredibly thin. This thing boasts a 0.51-inch thickness. You’re really not going to find anything this thin and this portable on the market. Because of that, because of how thin this is and because how sleek the form factor is, you can expect to pay a bit more for this device; it’s actually priced just under $2,000 right now. While it is a bit expensive, this is a luxury device; I think that’s the best way to think of this. Think of this as something that is really enjoyable to have. It’s not really you’re just paying for the specs.
That being said, it does offer a pretty solid performance, but really, it’s all about the aesthetic. As you can see here, it offers a really nice black ash cover on the chassis, along with a silver lining that’s running across. It just comes together to provide a really nice aesthetic. That, in combination with all the slants and curves there, it’s not only easy to hold, but it just looks great. It’s really a business-friendly aesthetic, because even though it is really sleek and catches your eye, it doesn’t look flashy, it doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard. That’s definitely an important thing when you’re talking about business, you don’t want to look like you’re going all-out or being a little too much, and it definitely stays within its bounds in that regard.
Like I said, in terms of performance, this notebook definitely delivers. You’ll get a 1.9 GHz i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 256GB solid state drive. All of that’s going to make sure that, pretty much whatever you want to do you’re going to be able to do it really fast; data retrieval is quick, it can multitask. Normal functions, such as Word, web, or even more strenuous office functions, such as Excel and large tables and stuff like that, it’s going to be able to handle that stuff no problem. You can do multiple programs at once without noticing any performance drop. Really, the only thing that this notebook is going to struggle with is the more graphically-intensive functions, and that’s due to the integrated Intel HD graphics. That’s obviously going to be expected, because look how small this device is. You’re not going to fit a dedicated GPU in here. It’s not realistic to really think that’s going to happen. Outside of that, it’s really going to run everything smooth, and it’s a pleasure to use.
In line with that, you see the display right here, the 13.3-inch display, actually offers a lot of surface area due to its high resolution. It has a 1080 x 1920 resolution here, and that just allows you to juggle multiple applications at once on the screen. It’s really comfortable to use. Easily, the most eye-catching thing about this display is just how generous its viewing angles are. I’ll turn it to the side here, and you’ll see that there’s no image distortion whatsoever. With a small device like that, that’s something that you really want, because typically, you’re going to be holding it at various different angles. You might have it on your lap; you might even be holding it with one hand while you’re using it. The ability to look at it from any angle and see a clear image is definitely a nice bonus to this machine.
While this notebook offers fairly strong performance, what really sets it apart is its design. Even though it’s so thin and so petite, when you look at it, it’s actually fairly durable. See here? I’m applying pressure and the chassis is not moving at all. The same can be said for the back panel. As I push here, you’ll see no rippling. That really makes this device great for travel. Adding to that, is the 4-cell battery that it has. It actually boasts extremely impressive battery life, testing just under 6 hours on our test; that pretty much means that you can be assured that you’re going to get all-day performance out of this machine on a single charge. When you’re talking about transporting, the ability to stay up and running is pretty much the most important thing that you can get from a notebook. In terms of portability, it delivers on all fronts, and it really just makes it excel in that particular area.
In line with the rest of the design of the Samsung Series 9, pretty much everything about this is comfortable and to make the experience as pleasant as possible. The keyboard and touchpad fit right in. Here, you have a full style chicklet keyboard with a glossy finish on the keys. It’s smooth to the touch, but it actually grips your fingers when you are typing on it, which is nice. Obviously given the size of this device and how thin it is, key compression is somewhat limited. To make up for that, there’s really solid feedback from the keys. Whenever you strike something, you’re secure that you’ve hit it, you feel it pushing back, and you know that you’ve struck the key.
The touchpad is actually a really high strong point for this machine. Then again, it needs to be because the display doesn’t offer touch controls, which at this price point, is pretty difficult to swallow. Luckily, the touchpad makes up for it as much as it can, especially with Windows 8. As you can see, it’s a generous-style touchpad with no mouse buttons. Instead how this operates is multi-finger gestural controls. As you can see, a single click here will act as a left-click; with two fingers, subsequently acting as a right-click. It’s really simple to use. I prefer it a lot more to what we’re seeing in the industry where they’re designating the bottom of the pad to act as a right and left mouse click independently. That just really can be confusing, especially when you’re looking away and you’re looking at the screen. This allows you to just focus on what you’re doing, focus on the screen, and then you get the clicks that you want. When you’re trying to surf the web, that’s a nice bonus to have.
More importantly, though, I think what really sets this mouse pad apart is the customization that users get with it. A lot of times, manufacturers don’t really give you that much customization, but there are a lot of options here. Obviously, you can do the scroll speed, pointer speed, double-click speed; all the basics. There’s a lot of additional features here that are really nice to have, and I think the most notable is probably this 4-finger swipe here. It’s really simple. Basically, all you do is you just run 4 fingers up and it brings you back to desktop. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you’re running in Windows 8, especially without touch controls, having something simplistic like that, that lets you jump in and out of desktop mode is a Godsend. It definitely makes using the machine way more enjoyable. Simple things like that really just make the entire experience more comfortable.
As you can see, this Samsung Series 9 here is a pretty well-rounded device. It delivers, basically, on all fronts. There are very few gripes that I had with this machine. I think the most notable being the lack of touch controls, and the performance is a little bit less than what you’d expect from something in this price range. Again, the thing about this device, all comes back to thinking about its purpose. This is a luxury device that’s meant to offer the thinnest and smallest form factor possible, and then cram as much productivity as it can within that package. In that instance it does an amazing job and it definitely exceeded my expectations.
I think that’s the important thing to do when you’re thinking about a notebook like this. You’re not going to get your bang for your buck here; you’re not going to get the most for your money. If you’re looking for performance or the most features, then this is definitely not the notebook for you. If you’re looking for something that is extremely portable and then is going to give you the best possible performance in that package, then you really can’t beat this device. To do so is rather expensive.