Samsung Notebook Series 9 (NP900X3A-A01AU) ultraportable laptop
Samsung Notebook Series 9 review: A 13.3in ultraportable that you'll fall in love with
- Excellent built quality and design
- Fast SSD
- Excellent screen
- Wi-Fi adapter is not dual-band
- Ambient light sensor is sometimes erratic
- HDMI adapter isn't supplied
The Samsung Series 9 has strong build quality, a sleek design and many great features that make it comfortable to use. It's high price tag definitely makes it a luxury item, but if you want excellent mobility and usability in the same package, it's hard to beat.
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
The Series 9, much like the MacBook Air, has a sealed design, which means that the battery is housed inside the chassis and is not accessible externally. It has a 6-cell battery with a 5900mAh rating and it lasted 3hr 16min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video. It's not a spectacular time and part of this can be attributed to the screen, which is the brightest we've seen in recent times. When we used the laptop for basic Web browsing and word processing, and with a medium brightness setting, we got just over five hours of battery life out of it.
Samsung supplies a shortcut (Fn-F6) to quickly change the power profile from Performance, to either Balanced or Long Battery Life. You also get the Battery Life Extender utility, which, if enabled, will only charge the battery up to 80 per cent of its capacity. Samsung claims that by not charging the battery to its full capacity, it can undergo more charging cycles without depleting; it can therefore last longer than a battery that would otherwise always be charged to its fullest capacity. The drawback is that you lose a little battery life.
Specifications and performance
Inside the slim confines of the Series 9 chassis resides an Intel Core i5-2537M Sandy Bridge-based CPU. It's an ultra-low voltage CPU that has a frequency of 1.4GHz, two cores and Hyper-Threading. It's not terribly fast, but it doesn't need to be unless you want the Series 9 to be your main computer for everything (and it's not designed for that). Along with 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 128GB solid state drive and integrated Intel HD graphics, the Series 9 produced decent results in our tests.
It recorded 1min 19sec in the Blender 3D rendering test and 1min 29sec in the iTunes MP3 encoding test. These results are only a little slower than what a laptop with a full-voltage Intel Core i3 CPU can achieve and what they tell us is that the Series 9 is perfect for most office work and simple media creation tasks. If you want to perform tougher tasks on it, such as video transcoding or editing, then it will be slow — this was shown in the AutoGordianKnot test, which took 1hr 55min to complete. That's about 40min longer than a typical Core i3-based notebook and 65min longer than a high-end Core i7-based notebook.
In 3DMark06, a score of 2394 was reached, which means the notebook is fine for processing photos and videos, but not good when it comes to crunching real-time 3D graphics.
Its solid state drive was very fast in our tests, recording a file transfer speed of 106MB per second (when copying data from one location on the drive to another). The solid state drive's 128MB capacity isn't as high as what Apple offers for its MacBook Air (256MB), but unless you want to carry a library of movies with you at all times, it should be adequate. Apart from its speed, the solid state drive doesn't take up as much space as a mechanical hard drive, and it also allows the Series 9 to run cooler and more quietly. Furthermore, your data isn't as much at risk if you drop or bump the laptop.
Ports and slots
The Series 9 has two concealed port clusters on each side that can be opened and closed. There is a USB port on each side, with the port on the left side also capable of running at USB 3.0 speed. The USB 2.0 port on the right side also supports Chargeable USB, which allows USB devices to be charged even when the laptop is switched off.
Other features include a combination headphone/microphone port, a MicroSD slot, a Micro-HDMI port and a port for a breakout Gigabit Ethernet port. It's a very neat port layout and the biggest components are the USB ports. Photographers might be annoyed that there isn't a full-sized SD card slot, as it means a USB adapter will have to be used. What's also annoying is that a Micro-HDMI to full-sized-HDMI adapter is not supplied in the package.
You also get a 1.3-megapixel webcam, Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi. We would have liked a better wireless card though; the Broadcom adapter that is used does not support dual-band operation and will only work with 2.4GHz wireless networks.
Overall, the Samsung Series 9 is a superb notebook. If you ever get the chance to use it, you'll probably fall in love with it, and that's because it's so thin and light, yet strong and extremely comfortable to use. It has an excellent screen, a fast solid state drive and its ultra-low voltage Core i5 CPU gives it good performance. We also like the small wall-wart adapter that ships with it, which helps keep the overall weight of the package under 1.5kg when travelling. As far as ultraportable laptops are concerned, it's hard to beat.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Android struggling in tablets as Windows 10 2-in-1s come on strong
- Samsung unveils Galaxy Book, a Windows 10 tablet aimed at the Surface-curious
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTApplication Support LeadQLD
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- FTSoftware EngineerSA
- FTSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCAutomation Developer - LinuxNSW
- FTProject Manager - Finance BackgroundQLD
- CCSofware Developer/Architect - Media and telco Network Operations - MelbourneVIC
- FTTest AdvertSA
- FT.Net Solutions DeveloperSA
- CCSAP BPC SME/Consultant - BRISBANE BASEDQLD
- TPBusiness Change ManagerQLD
- FTProject SchedulerACT
- CCUX DesignerVIC
- FTHadoop Service AdministratorWA
- FTLevel 3 Application Support AnalystVIC
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistVIC
- TPSenior Communications Officer | SharePointQLD
- FTSAP Logistics ConsultantNSW
- FTWeb DesignerACT
- CCSAP FICO Support AnalystWA
- CCICT ManagerNSW
- FTDeveloper - Java/J2EEQLD
- CCApplication Architect - CloudVIC
- FTAdministrator - Land and PowerNSW