Air beware: 2.3-pound Samsung laptop hits stores

There's a new kid on the ultraportable block: the 2.3-pound Samsung Series 9. On paper, it beats the MacBook Air in some important respects. It's shipping from stores now.

Samsung's aluminum-clad, 11.6-inch ultraportable is shipping from retail stores in the U.S., the second Series 9 laptop that takes precise aim at Apple's MacBook Air line.

Though obviously following Apple's lead, the Samsung Series 9 includes some important differences, such as a USB 3.0 port and WiMax 4G.
Though obviously following Apple's lead, the Samsung Series 9 includes some important differences, such as a USB 3.0 port and WiMax 4G. Samsung

Samsung seems to be on a mission to--let's put this carefully--emulate Apple. First Samsung came out with the 13.3-inch Series 9 . Like the 13.3-inch MacBook Air, it is carved out of aluminum, is super thin at 0.64 inches (the MacBook Air is 0.68 inches at its thickest point), weighs just less than 3 pounds (2.88 pounds) and has a great display (with 400 nit brightness).

Now, Samsung has come out with a likeness of the 11.6-inch MacBook Air. And just like the the Air, it is 2.3 pounds. Hmm...I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

The 11.6-inch Series 9 is now listed as "in stock" at stores like Amazon. Previously, it had been listed as pre-order only.

Though Samsung is obviously following Apple's lead, there are some important departures from the Apple template. First, the Series 9 uses Intel Core i series processors, not the older Core 2 Duo Intel chips in the MBAs. Second, it has a USB 3.0 port (the Air only has USB 2.0, no Thunderbolt ports--yet). Third, it packs 4G WiMax capability (Air has Wi-Fi only).

A few Samsung Series 9 11.6-inch highlights:

  • Weight/height: 2.3 pounds, 0.65 inches
  • Materials: "arching duralumin" enclosure
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-380UM, ultra-power-efficient Core i chip
  • Storage: 64GB solid-state drive
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0; WiMax 4G
  • Ports: USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, MicroSD
  • Battery life: specified at 7 hours
  • Software: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Price: $1,199 (though this list price is discounted at Amazon)

That's a pretty impressive spec sheet. Not only matching Apple on design but besting it on hardware in some areas.

Not everything comes up roses, though. The $1,199 11.6-inch MacBook Air packs a 128GB solid-state drive, twice that of the Samsung. And despite the high-end design, Samsung still must contend with the formidable Apple brand.

Via Netbooknews

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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