A new big-screen Book 9 laptop from Samsung (hands-on)

Hands-on with the 15-inch version of Samsung's Ativ Book 9, which includes hardware for lossless music playback.

Dan Ackerman
Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

2 min read

Since it started selling PCs in the US several years ago, we've always been impressed with the design and build quality of many Samsung laptops, hybrids, and all-in-one desktops. The company's highest-end products have undergone a few naming tweaks over the years, and are now known as the Ativ Book series.

We reviewed a 13-inch Ativ Book 9 in late 2013, and it was a true upscale MacBook Air competitor, with an excellent slim, lightweight design and better-than-HD screen resolution, even if it was on the expensive side.

The new model unveiled at CES 2014 is the Samsung Ativ Book 9 (2014 Edition), which is a 15.6-inch ultrabook-style laptop. Larger-screen slim laptops are less common than smaller ones, but can be a great balance between productivity and portability.

The 15.6-inch screen has a 1,920x1,080 native resolution, comes with either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, integrated Intel 4400 graphics, and can be configured with up to a 1TB of combined SSD storage (the larger chassis allows for two drives).

Samsung is also including new audio decoding hardware that can play back lossless 24bit/192kHz audio, such as you'd get in a ATRAC file. Only a handful of online music providers supply lossless music, but it's an interesting pitch for audiophiles.

In our brief hands-on time with the system it certainly felt very thin and premium, and more ultrabook-like than similar slim 15-inch laptops from Apple or Dell.

The Ativ Book 9 (2014 Edition) will be available later in 2014, and while no price has been announced yet, based on previous Samsung laptops, it should cost north of $1,200.

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