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Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch, 2017) review: Shockingly light, long-life laptop with some extra perks

Samsung also includes some utilities for system recovery and maintenance that make it easier to uninstall software, disable applications and Windows services and cleanup disk space. There are also a couple more unusual apps like SideSync and Wi-Fi Camera. The former lets you mirror your Galaxy device on the Notebook 9's screen using your wireless network, letting you interact with it, send texts, change settings and drag and drop files between your device and the laptop. Wi-Fi Camera lets you use your Galaxy device's camera as a webcam. (It works great as an impromptu short-range baby monitor, too.)

Though some might consider these things bloatware, they are nice to have included to test out, even if you do end up uninstalling them. There is a trial of McAfee LiveSafe security software that you'll probably want to ditch immediately, though. 

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The Notebook 9 will let you work all day, if that's what you want. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Battery life to spare

There are currently two configurations available for the Notebook 9 with two key differences: memory and GPU. The higher-end model reviewed here has twice the RAM of its linemate (16GB) and discrete Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics as opposed to the less powerful integrated Intel HD Graphics 620. For those doing basic day-to-day productivity tasks, you could go with the slightly cheaper model, but I recommend getting the higher-end 9 if you can, if only to give yourself some headroom. Plus, if you have any interest in casual gaming and/or basic video and photo editing, the 940MX gives you a little boost for those. 

Despite the extra graphics power, the overall performance of the configuration is on par with other ultraportables. Again, it's made for average productivity work -- word processing, email, presentations, web browsing -- but nothing too demanding. This is not a workstation. 

Though it might not be a powerhouse for performance, it won't leave you hanging when it comes to battery life: In our streaming video test, it hit 12 hours and 16 minutes. In anecdotal testing, it got through an entire work day with mixed use and the screen brightness set to 50 percent while streaming music in the background. Equally impressive is how fast the laptop charges, going from empty to full in 100 minutes. Samsung also says with a 20-minute charge, you can extend your runtime by more than three hours. Charging via its USB-C port is an option, too, but much slower. 

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You can charge the Notebook 9 with its power adapter or USB-C. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Boosting the bottom line

The Samsung Notebook 9's big attractions are its lightweight, long battery life and, at least for the higher-end version, discrete graphics (even if they are entry-level). But on top of those, you get a lot of helpful little features -- Thunderbolt 3, fast charging, water-resistant keyboard, fingerprint reader, SideSync -- that help it stand out from other ultraportables, even if its design doesn't. 

Multimedia Multitasking test 3.0

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
183
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
197
Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch, 2017)
427
LG Gram 15
442
HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2017)
509

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance (in seconds)

Geekbench 3 (Multi-Core)

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
15440
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
14161
LG Gram 15
8083
Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch, 2017)
8042
HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2017)
7778

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (streaming)

Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch, 2017)
<span class="scribe-editor-marker" style="display: none;"></span>736
Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
643
HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2017)
594
LG Gram 15
582
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
432

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

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