Samsung 9 Series notebook (900X3A) review
- Sandy bridge tech
- Slender and gorgeous body
- Beautiful screen to finish.
- 128GB of storage is stingy
We were intrigued when Samsung announced its ultraportable 9 Series at CES, a MacBook Air competitor with a similarly steep price. The Samsung 900X3A’s slender chassis is made from the same stuff as military aircraft, but this laptop is a lot more attractive than any stealth bomber.
Samsung Series 9: Build
Minutes after sliding the Samsung 9000 series from its box, we were drooling. From the smooth metallic finish to the sleek curved design, this highly desirable machine attracts envious glances wherever you go.
Samsung claims this is the slimmest laptop ever, although the Dell Adamo XPS has it beat easy. However, the 19mm body is still the thinnest we've seen in some time, with dimensions comparable to a chunky magazine. At just 1.3kg, it's also effortlessly portable. Two USB ports (including USB 3.0) and a mini-HDMI port have been hidden in fold-down flaps, a neat idea.
The chassis is constructed from Duralumin, which is apparently twice as strong as aluminium. While the main section feels solid enough to take a few knocks, it's disconcerting that the lid is flimsy and bends under even light pressure. The screen seems to cope, flexing with the lid, but we limited our testing in case our weak boy-muscles proved too much and the whole panel cracked.
Samsung Series 9: Screen
As well as being flexible, the Samsung 9 Series 13.3-inch display has the best viewing angles we've seen in ages. It's also refreshingly bright and produces vibrant images. If you're an outdoors type, the anti-glare finish eliminates pesky reflections for a comfortable work experience.
Samsung Series 9: Performance
Space is limited thanks to the slender body, but Samsung has somehow packed in an Intel Core i5 2530UM processor, one of the latest Sandy Bridge efforts. Combined with 4GB of RAM, performance is excellent. Only several hardcore editing suites running simultaneously will bother this laptop.
Samsung Series 9: Ease of use
Samsung has done a great job on the isolation-style keyboard, which is comfortable to type on for long periods. A little sponginess in the centre doesn't affect the experience. Best of all, the board exudes a soft glow if you turn on the backlighting feature, so you can work on those spreadsheets all night long.
Unfortunately it isn't all good news. The touchpad, while spacious and responsive, also has the mouse buttons integrated into the bottom corners. We found the cursor wobbled on-screen every time we left and right-clicked, which led to incorrect menu selections and slightly increased blood pressure. It's also easy to brush the pad with your palms when typing, which again jerks the cursor around.
Another bugbear is the meagre 128GB of storage. We understand that chassis space is limited, but this is barely enough to carry most people's applications, let alone entire media collections.
Samsung Series 9: Conclusion
The Samsung 900X3A doesn't come cheap, but in return you get a beautiful piece of highly portable kit, packing plenty of power. Aside from the ropey touchpad and limited storage, we recommend this machine for regular travellers who demand strong performance.
Samsung Series 9 launch date: Out now, link Samsung
Samsung Series 9 price: £1200-£1300 online