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07/09/2011

Review: Samsung 9 series laptop

Series9notebook Samsung has just launched a super-slim laptop that claims to have some serious firepower: the Series 9. Usually, ultraportable computers skimp on horsepower. Is that the case here?


The Series 9 looks as classy as an Aston Martin sports car. The dark, brushed metal has a flowing design from the front to the back, where it swoops around at the back toward the front.

It doesn’t have your typical boxyness that is usually found in laptops, and measuring 0.64 inches thick, it’s incredibly thin.

The feel of the laptop is as sturdy as a metal office desk built in the 1960s, but without the weight. The Series 9 weighs in at just less than 3 lbs.

The material of the laptop – Duralumin – adds to both keeping weight down (it’s usually found on planes) and keeping the laptop sturdy.

Samsung claims the laptop can get up to 6.5 hours of battery life, but I managed to extract four hours of life under normal use.

Little hatches on the side pop out to reveal USB, HDMI, microSD, LAN and audio connectors. For the network and video connections, you’ll need a special adaptor because the on-board connectors are  small.

Opening the lid reveals a 13.3-inch LED-backlit display which appeared to be incredibly bright. The keyboard is adequately arranged, although I would prefer to have a larger left “Shift” key. It also has a backlight, something users might want to disable to squeeze more from their battery.

The touchpad is one single piece (similar to an Apple), rather than a defined area to move your finger and two left-right click buttons. I found it a little finicky, clicking rather than scrolling – and vice versa. This might just take some getting used to.

The base Samsung Series 9 sports a second-get Intel Core i5 processor clocking in at 1.4 and 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, coupled with a 128 GB Solid State Drive. Graphics are via the integrated Intel HD GT2. Wireless connectivity is provided over an 802.11b/g/n or WiMax connection.

The model I tried out had even more RAM (8 GB) and a larger hard drive (256 GB).

The solid state drive really speeds up Windows’ boot and restore times, bringing the laptop to life in nearly tablet-like recovery times. That being said, the amount of storage these SSD drives offer is on the lean side for anyone who carries around lots of images, music or video.

With a starting price of $1,699, the laptop isn’t cheap. But the Series 9 isn’t a computer for the masses – not everyone can afford both performance and drop-dead gorgeous looks just like not everyone can afford a European sports car.

But for those who can – there is no compromise.  9/10

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

 

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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