The 15 inch Samsung series 9 is a gorgeous machine, but in an attempt to stretch the thin factor in to larger dimensions they gave unstable hinge, dull speakers and an unremarkable screen. This review is concerned with the $1,299 model of Series 9: a 13.3 inch screen, 1600 x 900 screen, brand new 1.7GHz Core i5-3317U processor, 4GB of RAM, 128 GB solid state drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. Its kind of a miniature version of the 15 inch but is this the model with the best Windows experience?
The deep dark blue matte aluminum rim that forms the entire profile of Series 9 is just amazing in it’s look. The lid and body meets in a way as if they are as a single piece and it beats the MacBook Air, Acer Aspire S5 and Dell XPS 13 by being the thinnest ultra book. At just 0.5 inches thick it beats all the ultrabooks in the market. The interior looks simple with a solid aluminum keyboard deck, four blue LEDs and a small rectangular power button. It has few function keys for brightness, volume, keyboard backlight and so on. The hinge is strong enough to hold the screen without wobbling.. and stays at the angle where you want. It has a 3.0 USB port on the left side along with a Micro HDMI port, the power socket while the right has USB 2.0 port, spot for VGA dongle, a 3.5 mm headset jack and a microphone hole. The one thing did best is the Micro SD card slot, its a spring loaded door built on the right on the curve of chassis.
SCREEN AND SPEAKERS
One of the most impressive features of the Series 9 is the big, bright, matte LED backlit screen. It is incredibly bright at the highest brightness hence its perfect for working in the direct sunlight. It offers excellent viewing angles, superb colors with an antiglare matte finish. The speakers here are kind of plays the ugly part in the story, they are worse than average. Sound is tinny, bass-less and fuzzy at higher levels.
KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD
The keyboard has island style keys that are large and are spaced widely but are very shallow. Keyboard backlighting is a plus point, bright enough to do the job. Along with the function keys keyboard gives the user to adjust its primary keys. The touchpad is large and soft along with a thin silver outlining. The touchpad is not that sensitive rather multitouch gestures were jerky.
PERFORMANCE AND SOFTWARE
The 1.7 GHz Core i5-3317U processor that turbos up to 2.6 Ghz, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 128 GB SanDisk U100 solid state drive, a dual band Intel 802.11a/b//g/n Wi-Fi module and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics makes it quite a good machine at this price. It only takes 10 seconds for the startup sequence to be completed which is just superb.
Samsung has that easy to use look in its softwares, they introduced the F1 key by which you can control keyboard backlighting, USB charging, colors, power concumption and many more. Gaming is not the strong part of Series 9, old games like Portal 2 and Tom clancy’s HAWX can be played at good fps and graphics.
BATTERY LIFE, HEAT AND NOISE
Even if you are able to play games at 30 fps, you cannot play them that long. It reaches temperatures like 130°F and its burning hot which is the worst part. The two tiny are quite and calm but do not work untill the laptop is much warmer. Battery life is a little below average for an ultrabook. Samsung fits 5800mAh power battery and goes on for 5 hours if the laptop is used at its maximum; like using popular websites, high res images, browsing, Youtubing with the screen at high brightness.
If Samsung have given a bigger battery a better keyboard and ways to cool it down sure it would have been the thinnest ultrabook it should have been.