Updated Samsung laptops coming, Apple in sights

Samsung's refreshed 11.6-inch ultraportable offers up some stiff competition for Apple's similarly configured MacBook Air.

Samsung's 11.6-inch ultraportable has been refreshed with more competitive pricing and Intel Sandy Bridge processors. The refresh presages a similar update from Apple for its MacBook Air, though it remains to be seen if Apple can match Samsung's more aggressive pricing.

Like Apple, Samsung offers 13.3-inch and 11.6-inch ultraslim, ultralight, aluminum-clad laptops. But Samsung is trying to distinguish itself by keeping ahead of Apple on the performance curve.

Samsung's first 11.6-inch Series 9 model (NP900X1A-A01US) used Intel power-efficient "Nehalem" class Core i series processors and graphics silicon. The newest 11.6-inch offering bumps up to Intel's latest Sandy Bridge power-efficient chips.

That puts Samsung two generations ahead of Apple--at the moment, at least. Apple's current MacBook Air models house Intel's older Core 2 Duo chip and Nvidia graphics.

Samsung 11.6-inch Series 9 now comes with Sandy Bridge processors and a 128GB solid-state drive option.
Samsung 11.6-inch Series 9 now comes with Sandy Bridge processors and a 128GB solid-state drive option. CNET Reviews

Samsung has also upped the size of the largest solid-state drive offering to 128GB, matching the 11.6-inch MacBook Air.

And it trumps the Air in price, to boot. An 11.6-inch Air with a 128GB solid-state drive, 4GB of memory, and a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor is priced at $1,399. Samsung's Sandy Bridge-based model with a similar configuration (see chart below) is priced at $1,249.

Samsung has also refreshed the 13.3-inch Series 9 models with faster Sandy Bridge processors and a larger 256GB solid-state drive. For example, a model (NP900X3A-A05US) with a 256GB solid-state drive, an Intel Core i7 Processor 2617M processor, and 6GB of memory is $2,049. A model (NP900X3A-B02US) with a 256GB SSD, a Core i5 2467M processor, and 4GB of memory is $1,649.

How does Apple stack up? A 13-inch MBA with a 256GB SSD, a 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and 2GB of memory, is $1,599.

The refreshed 11.6-inch models will be available in August; the updated 13.3-inch Series 9 is available now.

Updated Samsung Series 9 11.6-inch highlights:

  • Weight/height: 2.3 pounds, 0.65 inches
  • Materials: "Arching duralumin" enclosure
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2357M Sandy Bridge, ultra-power-efficient chip
  • Graphics: Sandy Bridge HD 3000 grahics
  • Storage: Solid-state drive up to 128GB
  • Memory: Up to 4GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0; available with WiMax 4G
  • Ports: USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, MicroSD
  • Battery life: Specified at seven hours
  • Keyboard: Backlit
  • Software: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Price: $1,049 for 64GB SSD model; $1,249 for 128GB SSD model
  • Availability: August
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.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Find Your Tech Type

Take our tech personality quiz and enter for a chance to win* high-tech specs!