CNET First Look
Samsung Ativ Book 9: Haven't we met before, Mr. Ultrabook?The Book 9 is really the Samsung Series 9 with a new name, and unfortunately, that means an ultrabook that feels a little too much like 2012.
Hi. I'm Scott Stein and this is the Samsung Series 9. No, it isn't. It's the Samsung ATIV Book 9. Yes, this is a re-branding. It's a new laptop. It's not really a new laptop; it's a re-branded laptop that you've seen before. It is a laptop we liked a lot last year, the Samsung Series 9, people. This was a great MacBook Air competitor. It had a revision last year. Looked even sleeker, smaller than a MacBook Air, 13 inches, super sleek design, matte display for those who care about that. Well, this time, the version that's been available since April has a 1080p display, really, really sharp and that's about it. It has Windows 8 but it has a last generation core i-Series processor in here, core i7 in this case, dual-core, 4 gigs RAM, a 128 gig or 256 SSD, you know, standard stuff and ramps up to $1,500, $1,400 for the 128-gigabyte version. So, it's not cheap and you don't have a touchscreen. No, there's no touchscreen here at all. Does that matter? Well, the MacBook Air doesn't have a touchscreen. We don't hold that against it but that's because there's nothing that takes advantage of touch in Mac OS 10. But Windows 8 obviously does and so you're gonna have to rely on the track pad here to get a lot of stuff done. It's a pretty large and nice track pad but it's no substitute for the convenience with apps, of reaching up here and tapping and pinching. If you go to desktop mode, not such a big deal. It has backlit keyboard, it's got all the same stuff as last year. Really solid, thin, metal design, crisp, pretty dongle reliant, though, because you got HDMI and VGA and these are mini ports. So, you got your 2 USB ports and that's about it. And SD card slot tucked away, yeah, over here but I want this with touch and also, there's no big deal about dropping the next generation core i-Series processors as far as speed. But you're gonna see a difference because the battery life, the-- it's got about 5 hours on our test and we're seeing laptops now getting 8, 9 hours. The MacBook Air got 14 hours. So, this is now the bottom end of that. If you can live with 5 hours, you don't mind paying $1,400. It's a really sleek laptop but Samsung has other Book 9s coming out. A Book 9 Lite, a Book 9 on the higher end, not yet clear when they're gonna come out in the US but you might wanna hold on and see what comes down the pipe because there's not a lot different here in the ATIV Book 9/Samsung Series 9 kinda, sort of. I'm Scott Stein and the look at the newish Book 9 from Samsung.