by Ed Yourdon
Laptop Review-Samsung Series 9 15-inch (NP900X4B-A02US)
Article by smith James
Laptop Review-Samsung Series 9 15-inch (NP900X4B-A02US) – Computers – Laptops
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Last year–before Intel launched its ultrabook initiative–Samsung staked a claim to the thinnest Windows laptop with the 13.3-inch Samsung Series 9 (since replaced by an even slimmer 2012 model). This year Samsung has thin-sliced another executive status symbol with the Samsung Series 9 15-inch (NP900X4B-A02US) ($ 1,499 list), which the company claims is almost 50 percent more compact than any existing 15-inch laptop. Samsung doesn’t call it an ultrabook, but at 3.6 pounds and 0.6 inch thick, the new Series 9 (NP900X4B-A02US) is barely heavier than many 13.3-inch ultrabooks–and makes systems that meet Intel’s 0.83-inch-thick guideline for 15-inch ultrabooks, such as the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG, look chubby.
It also makes us a little unsure how to classify it; except for its larger screen, the Series 9 15-inch’s ultrabook-like components keep it from qualifying as a true desktop replacement like our Editors’ Choice Samsung Series 7 Chronos (NP700Z5A-S03) ($ 1,299 list, 4 stars) or the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (late 2011) ($ 1,799 direct, 4 stars). Probably the new Series 9s closest competitor is HP’s Envy 14 Spectre ($ 1,399.99 direct, 4 stars), which offers the same Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB solid-state drive, and 1,600-by-900 screen resolution, albeit in a screen one inch smaller. Like the Spectre, the Series 9 15-inch is a way to stand out from the ultrabook crowd, even as ultrabooks stand out from the laptop crowd.
The keyboard has dedicated Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys but no numeric keypad. It offers a tolerable typing feel, but shallower travel than the Spectre and some other thicker systems’ keyboards, and is backlit, but quite dimly–we had trouble detecting the backlight in all but the darkest environments. The large touchpad has clickable lower corners instead of dedicated mouse buttons; it has a smooth, almost slippery feel. Annoyingly, it occasionally failed to register our taps on the touchpad surface, but a driver update during our testing helped.
The Series 9 15-inch (NP900X4B-A02US boasts an aluminum one-piece shell in a handsome shade– Samsung calls it Titan Silver–with a touch of dark blue. It measures 0.6 by 14 by 9.3 inches (HWD), with an ample palm rest and space on either side of the black tile Samsung laptop keyboard .
The 15.0-inch display is not dim or dark in the slightest–it’s impressively bright even with the backlight dialed down a notch, with a matte finish, sharp contrast, and crisp colors as well as the extra resolution (1,600 by 900 versus 1,366 by 768) that’s a real treat for multitaskers or image editors and unavailable on 13.3-inch ultrabooks except for the Asus Zenbook UX31-RSL8 ($ 1,049 list, 4 stars). Impressively for such a thin system, the screen shows next to no flex or wobble when grasped by the corners, as opposed to more bendy ultrabooks such as the Toshiba Portege Z835-P370.
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