Hands-on: Samsung Series 9 refresh looks sleek and unique

May 28th, 2012 | by Raymond Lau

Didn’t we say you would get more cool Ivy Bridge laptops if you wait just a little while?

Samsung last week unveiled updates to its striking Series 9 notebooks. This 2nd-generation model boasts the world’s thinnest 15-inch laptop and comes with new Ivy Bridge processors, Intel integrated graphics, and speedy Samsung-branded SSDs tuned for optimal performance, allowing Windows to boot up in ten seconds or less.

But is it an ultrabook? Samsung isn’t calling it one, probably failing to meet some requirement or the other. But it doesn’t make a difference to the end-user – you’re still looking at one of the sleekest laptops on the market.

There’s really nothing much to complain about. The aluminum body is skinny yet sturdy, and comes with a good selection of ports: three USB ports (two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0), an SD card reader, a full-sized back-lit keyboard and a generous trackpad.

The keyboard keys are a little shallow for my taste, but size is not a problem at all. In fact, the right Shift key is full-sized, a rare sight on super thin laptops!

The 15-inch (1,600 x 900) LCD panel, unfortunately, isn’t going to win any awards. While its pixel density is decent, the screen could benefit from wider viewing angles and better colour.

Also, audio is a mere pass on the Series 9. It’s goes up loud enough without cracking, and that’s about it.

There are three different configuration options, which is strangely a bit different from the conventional linear price-to-performance increase.

The 15-inch model has two tiers, the lower one packing 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and costs S$1,788. Interestingly, the body for this one is built with magnesium, which is both cheaper and less durable than aluminum.

Fork out S$2,488 and you can bring home the higher-end option, complete with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD wrapped up inside an aluminum package.

There’s also a 13-inch model in aluminum only, which costs S$2,188. This one packs 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and surprisingly, a weaker 4-cell battery compared to the 8-cell variety found on the 15-inch models.

Yes, a 15-inch notebook with slightly superior specs cost less than a 13-inch one! Go figure.

These new super thin notebooks are deliciously sexy, and should have no trouble finding homes when they arrive on 3 June. The Series 9 is no multimedia powerhouse, but as a workhorse for the frequent traveller, it is an enticing proposition indeed.

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