It’s not uncommon for a notebook manufacturer to have something that they could really be proud of. Something that they would want to show off. It can be something powerful, or it can be something really eye-catching. For Samsung, that something is their Series 9 notebook.
Each aspect of the Samsung Series 9 notebook screams style, elegance and craftsmanship never seen before on a Samsung notebook. When they came out with their first few notebooks, I really think they need a lot of catching up to do in terms of design. A couple of years later, they achieved that in the form of this Series 9 notebook.
Read on to see how this premium Samsung Series 9 13-inch notebook really fares. You might also want to check out our Samsung Series 9 unboxing post.
With a lot of manufacturers bringing in colors to their notebook these days, Samsung went with the basic black color, and made it sexy again with the sleek and slim curves on the Series 9. The slimness of this notebook will remind you of the MacBook Air, but instead it’s black. At the thinnest point, it’s only 0.64 inches, slimmer than the Air’s thinnest point. You will have no problem sliding this into your bag because it won’t take up too much space.
The shell of the Samsung Series 9 is made of a material called “œduralumin” which is more durable than standard aluminum. Its lid has a smooth brushed metal finish to deter dust and fingerprints.
Its tapered edges look seamless with the ports tucked in. Unlike other notebooks with hidden ports covered by a latch that can easily get damaged, the ports on the Series 9 are located on a pull-down compartment on both sides. The left compartment has the LAN port (requires the included adapter), a mini-HDMI out (HDMI adapter not included) and a USB 2.0 port. On the right compartment, is another USB 2.0 port, a mic/earphone combo jack, and a microSD slot. Yep, you need an external card reader for your SD cards and memory sticks.
When you open the lid you will be greeted by it’s 13-inch LED-backlit display. It has an ambient light sensor that slightly dims the display when idle to conserve battery.
It has a chiclet-style illuminated keyboard and a spacious palm rest with a generous-sized one-piece touchpad. You can also adjust the brightness of the keyboard’s backlit. On top of the keyboard are the typical indicator lights. Beside it is the Power/Sleep button. No other buttons are available with the rest of controls located on the function keys.
For a 13-inch notebook keyboard, I would expect the Home, Pg Up, Pg Dn and End to have their own button on the right edge. Instead, they are located on the small arrow keys as function keys. You can’t do one handed Page Up and Page Down scrolling because of this. Aside from that, using the Series 9’s keyboard is quite comfortable with little to no typing errors encountered as I typed this review.
As for the touchpad, it’s quite big really that you won’t mind not using a mouse on this notebook. I still prefer a physical, raised left and right mouse buttons though as oppose to this style but you can’t blame Samsung from copying it from the MacBook’s touchpad. There’s also an invisible dedicated area near the edges of the touchpad for scrolling up & down, and left & right by the way.
A word of caution though, turn off the touchpad when you’re doing some heavy typing. It’s quite sensitive that you’ll find your cursor jumping all over the place while your palms are placed over the palmrest.
When you start using the Series 9, the first thing you would notice is how quickly it boots up. From shutdown, you’ll only wait for about 30 seconds before you can start using the 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium OS on this laptop. From sleep mode, resuming your sessions takes only about 2 seconds. This quick boot can be attributed to the 128GB SSD drive which also allows for faster launching and installing of applications than your typical hard drive.
The Samsung Series 9 is powered by Intel’s 2nd Generation Core i5-2537M (1.4GHz) Processor. Intel said that this new generation of Core processor boasts of a much-improved performance especially on its integrated graphics. I tried to convert a 2:27-minute 1080p movie trailer (121 MB) into iPhone format using MediaShow Espresso and the Series 9 finished it in 4:20 minutes. Not too impressive at all but we have to keep in mind that this uses a low-powered Core i5.
Here’s the Windows Experience Index for reference.
What we can get from in this index is that there’s not much improvement on the Graphics end from previous generation mobile Intel GMA. For example a Core i3-330M laptop with no discrete graphics gets a 4.5 score in the Graphics component. On the processor end, the low 5.3 score is expected from a 1.4GHz dual-core processor.
The Samsung Series 9 didn’t pose any problems when watching HD videos offline, online or streaming and the display has a wide viewing angle. With no dedicated speaker grills, sound could use some more power though.
I couldn’t check on the battery rating on this one because the pack is located inside but average usage will give me almost 5-hours on a single charge. That’s your typical WiFi on, brightness on medium setting, internet surfing and watching video clips.
Here’s what BatteryBar has to say about this laptop’s battery life:
This laptop doesn’t get warm at all unless placed on a flat surface for a long time since the vent is at its base. Use it on your lap instead to cool if off.
No doubt the Samsung Series 9 is a pleasant gadget to stare at. You would definitely be proud to whip this out on a coffee shop to do your work while other bulky laptop owners would just stare in envy. What I really love here is that while in Sleep mode, when the lid is closed, it consumes close to no power off the battery.
Performance-wise, the Samsung Series 9 should not be treated as a powerful laptop that can handle your heavy video or photo editing tasks. It’s main purpose is for medium desktop processing, browsing and HD viewing all in one ultraportable and quick-start device.
However, the price tag of Php79,999 might just make you cringe. For that price I would expect something with a more powerful processor and probably switchable graphics. Samsung clearly didn’t make this for the average consumer. Only the boldest or those who value design over performance from a notebook will get a Samsung Series 9 making it a status symbol for the chosen few.
If you’re looking for something more travel-friendly, better wait for the 11-inch version of the Samsung Series 9 which should arrive soon.
Samsung 9 Series (13-inch) Specs:
- 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 Processor 2537M (1.40 GHz, 3MB; turbo up to 2.3 GHz)
- Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit) / Windows® 7 Professional (64 bit)
- 4GB DDR3 (up to 8GB)
- 128GB Solid State Drive (up to 256)
- 13.3-inch HD LED-backlit SuperBright Plus display (400 nit)
- Resolution: 1366Ã—768
- Intel HD GT2 Integrated Graphics
- 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, WiMax
- USB 3.0
- 3 watt (1.5W x 2) stereo speakers and 1.5 watt sub-woofer
- 1.3megapixel HD Webcam
- Li-Po battery (up to 6.5 hours)
- 2.89 lbs.