• Intel Core i5-3317U @ 1.7GHz processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 13.3-inch SuperBright 400nit HD+ LED Display (1600 x 900) display
  • 128GB SSD storage
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet (with dongle), 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, mini HDMI,
  • Pros:
  • Impressively slim
  • Sharp screen
  • Good performance
  • Fast booting
  • Cons:
  • Keyboard and touchpad could be better
  • Rather pricey

One Step Over And Beyond

The new Samsung Series 9 is NOT an Ultrabook. The lot of you might be tilting your head in confusion, but we think it’s proper for us to point out that the original Samsung Series 9 ushered in most of the many Ultrabook standards into the commercial market. Samsung maintained that it’s their flagship premium ultra-slim notebook, and with the recent refresh, we think it’s good for them to keep it that way.

The redesign sees a matte finish over its (100%) aluminium body, which does give it a more elegant, mystified look. This classy-cool aesthetics translates well onto its nicely-spaced keyboard and touchpad. It’s not very much slimmer than its predecessor, but the Series 9 is still insanely thin and light. Everything culminates here into a notebook that exhumes elegance wherever it stands.

As a premium notebook, the Series 9 definitely keeps its side of the bargain — most of it, at least. The screen, for one, is fantastic, managing a 1,600 x 900 resolution and offering a bright, sharp and vibrant display. Audio is passable, featuring loud-enough down-firing speakers. The crazy-slim design does come with some sacrifices, though. The keyboard, while spaced well, have shallow keys that offer a not-very-responsive tactile feedback. You’ll also be missing quite a few I/O ports, though a LAN dongle and USB3.0 support is good to have. Lastly, the touchpad is a little finnicky, sometimes confusing the right click as the left.

Running a 3rd-gen Intel Core i5 processor, the Series 9 offers some good performances, which is more than sufficient for HD videos and slightly more demanding software. While not an Ultrabook, the Series 9 does provide a speedy boot system, which is welcoming. The battery life is also good; our video loop test gave us a hearty 7 hours and a half, much better than some Ultrabooks.

CHIP CONCLUDE: While the Samsung Series 9’s refresh might not be that draft of fresh air, it’s an undeniably premium notebook that’s not only impressively thin, but also elegant and stylish to boot. Several aspects of it could be better, but in the whole, the speedy performance, admirable fast boot times and solid battery life makes the Series 9 one step beyond the standards its predecessor set.

(previously published in issue August 2012)