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.
Samsung seems to be on a mission to--let's put this carefully--emulate Apple. First Samsung came out with the. 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.
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.