If you want an Ultrabook with a larger than average display, experts say the 15-inch Samsung Series 9 is a solid choice. It's one of the few ultraportables to offer a 15-inch screen, but that also adds to the bottom line.
Other Ultrabooks are quicker. The Series 9's combination of a Core i5 processor with 4 GB of RAM upgradable to 8 GB matches that of its rivals, but its slower solid-state drive lags a bit in benchmark tests. The laptop will still handle almost anything you throw at it with the notable exception of video games, which chug on the integrated Intel graphics, and it isn't as fast as the top-rated Acer Aspire S7 (Est. $1,330 and up) . Battery life is excellent, however, clocking in at seven to eight hours in most tests.
The biggest performance concern lies in available storage space; after system files and pre-installed software claim their share of the 128 GB SSD, you're left with only 53 GB of available space, PCMag.com reports. If that's a concern, you may want to consider investing in a step-up configuration with a 256 GB SSD (*Est. $1,700 and up).
Ergonomics are a mixed bag. Even though it's larger than most Ultrabooks, the 15-inch Samsung Series 9 is still thinner and lighter than a lot of the competition, making it easy to transport. Most experts say the keyboard is well laid out, but some report that the shallow keys become uncomfortable during extended typing sessions. Likewise, several reviewers call the touchpad fairly reliable but slightly too sensitive and "twitchy" as a result. The port selection underwhelms; only one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, plus the use of a micro-HDMI port and a proprietary Ethernet connection irks testers.
Series 9 looks and sounds great. Reviewers appreciate the clean, simple aesthetic of the laptop's aluminum chassis. Its 1,600-by-900-pixel SuperBright display draws rave reviews for its incredible brightness and very dark blacks, but it's not full-HD; a full-HD version had just been announced at the time of this update. You can choose between 13.3- and 15-inch sizes (*Est. $1,100 and up). Audio is clear and crisp, but the lack of a subwoofer dulls low tones.
Customer support draws mixed reviews. On one hand, Samsung laptops have a reputation for durability, and the company lists several ways to get in touch with support if an issue does occur, including several social media options. On the other hand, Samsung is also known for slow and difficult customer service.
The Series 9's appeal is its total package. If you're looking for an attractive, sleek Ultrabook with a large display, the Samsung Series 9 is a good option. However, critics say it's a bit expensive compared to the competition, especially given its lack of connectivity options and low available storage space.
Review Credibility: Excellent Santo Domingo loves the clean, sleek aesthetics and speedy SSD-fueled performance of the 15-inch Samsung Series 9. However, port and storage space concerns prevent him from endorsing the Ultrabook wholeheartedly.
Review: Samsung Series 9 15-inch (NP900X4C-A02US), Joel Santo Domingo, July 30, 2012
2. Laptop Magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent Eitelbach finds a lot to love about the 15-inch Samsung Series 9, including its bright, high-resolution display, slim stature and super-long battery life. Even so, he finds the keyboard to be a bit shallow and says the SSD isn't the fastest around.
Review: Samsung Series 9 15-inch (NP900X4C) Review, David Eitelbach, July 24, 2012
3. Notebook Check.net
Review Credibility: Excellent NotebookCheck.net tests a European version of the Series 9 and likes what it sees. Sold appreciates the power that Samsung was able to stuff inside such a thin and attractive package.
Review: Review Samsung Series 9 900X4B-A01DE Notebook, Felix Sold, June 10, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good "For users who desire broader screen real estate and a more spacious typing experience -- yet aren't willing to sacrifice portability -- the 2012 Series 9 is a near-perfect pick," Null says. He gives the Ultrabook a rating of 9 out of 10, a rare event at Wired.
Review: Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C-A01US (2012), Christopher Null, June 25, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Here the 15-inch Samsung Series 9 gets another score of 9 points out of 10. The mix of aesthetics, "capable performance" and high-res display wins over Stevenson, who says if you want a 15-inch Ultrabook, the Series 9 is the only game in town.
Review: Samsung Series 9 Review, Katherine Stevenson, Sept. 27, 2012