Samsung’s Series 9 Ultrabook line was first announced at CES 2012 and was immediately considered a contender for the crown of best Ultrabook of the new year. The sleek finish, variety of options in affordable packages, and familiar Ultrabook perks make the Series 9 a fantastic choice for anyone seeking a lightweight machine.
The Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook at a Glance
The Samsung Series 9 comes in a variety of different configurations, including 11” and 13” screen options and various sizes of hard drive. The NP900X3A-B01 is considered the “standard” release of the Ultrabook line, however, so it is here we will start.
For the most part, Samsung maintains the very familiar spec list we have quickly grown to associate with Ultrabooks. It sports an Intel Core i5 processor running at 1.6 GHz, has 4GB of system memory and a 128GB SSD hard drive. As with other Ultrabooks, common features like an optical drive are sacrificed to achieve an almost unbelievable form factor – as the machine is only 0.62 inches thick at its thickest point and weighs just under 3 pounds.
In terms of battery life, the Samsung Series 9 does well, promising up to 7 hours of battery life in a single charge – and benchmarks show that it generally reaches these numbers when light tasks are performed (web surfing and word processing). What makes that battery life so appealing, however, is the Fast Start feature made available thanks to the SSD hard drive. Close the lid and the computer goes straight to sleep. Open the lid and it pops back on in less than 5 seconds. With standby time rated between 2 and 3 weeks, you quite possibly never need to turn the machine off again.
Drawbacks of the Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook
At the top of the list for most Series 9 users is the limiting hard drive. The entry level and mid-level model of the Samsung Series 9 offer only 128GB of SSD hard drive space which is a little misleading because Windows 7 and its recovery partition use up about 40% of that space. Unfortunately, the seemingly affordable Series 9 jumps to about $1,400 if you want a larger drive, so think carefully about how much space you really need before opting for the lower end models.
There have been some very serious WiFI issues with the Samsung Series 9. However, this is not a dealbreaker as there is a driver download that will fix the problem available on the Samsung website. Simply look for the WLAN_Intel_64bit_18.104.22.168 download and any WiFi issues will be resolved. Fair warning in case you see the negative reviews based solely on this problem.
The Bottom Line
The Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook doesn’t do anything that other early 2012 Ultrabooks do not also do, but on a number of levels it is a fantastic machine. It is incredibly attractive – sleek in its duralumin shell. The price leaves something to be desired considering the hard drive upgrades you will need to make it viable for more intensive computing, but if well maintained, this machine will do everything you need and more – all in a lightweight, powerful little frame.