Samsung laptop faces off with MacBook Air

Samsung's stylish 9 Series laptop is smaller than Apple's MacBook Air

Samsung's launch on Thursday of the the ultra-thin, ultra-light, and premium-design 9 Series laptop puts it head-to-head now with Apple's MacBook Air - and so begins the war of the sleek laptops.

Announcements on Thursday of Apple's revamp of the MacBook Pro and Intel's Thunderbolt universal connection technology may have garnered most of the media's attention, but if what you're looking for is the sleekest, most portable (and fully-capable) notebook now, Samsung has just taken the lead.

Series 9 notebooks have launched in South Korea, Samsung's home country, and are expected to begin selling in the U.S. and other countries in March. Since the MacBook Air isn't due for a refresh for another several months, the Samsung Series 9 may be your most portable, thinnest and lightest laptop option right now.

In many respects, the Samsung 9 Series is much like the MacBook Air, with a premium design and high-end price. The 9 Series has an MSRP of $1,599 compared to the $1,299 to $1,599 price (depending on storage capacity) of the MacBook Air - not a whole lot of difference.

For that price, the Samsung 9 Series gets you a slightly thinner and lighter notebook (0.64 inches thick versus the MacBook Air's 0.68 inches; 2.89 pounds versus 2.9 pounds), more memory (4GB versus 2GB), and aircraft-grade Duralumin material (twice as strong as aluminum). It boots Windows in under 20 seconds, has 160-degree viewing angles, and otherwise seems tailored for premium laptop users who care about both form and function.

Because the specs and pricing are so close, deciding between the 9 Series and the MacBook Air may be a matter of OS preference, or, essentially, that age-old question: are you a Mac or a PC?

"Stylish," "slim," and "powerful" are words that seemingly were reserved for Apple notebooks and products in general. With the 9 Series launch, Samsung signals its determination to challenge Apple and other competitors for that high-end mobile market, with an ambitious plan to boost sales of global laptops by 80 per cent this year, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

In other words, the thin laptop war and the era of MacBook Air rivals has officially begun - good news for laptop users all around.

Tags samsungApplehardware systemsultraportable laptopSamsung Electronicslaptopsintel

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Melanie Pinola

PC World (US online)

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