Samsung Series 9 review

Price when reviewed

Despite the nippy processor, there’s more than enough stamina on tap. That’s largely thanks to the 6300mAh battery sealed inside the Series 9’s chassis, which sees it manage 6hrs 35mins in our light-use test. Pushed flat out in our heavy-use battery test and with screen brightness set to maximum, a result of 2hrs and 29mins is seriously impressive.

Then there’s the 13.3in display. With a matte finish and an eye-searing brightness of 458cd/m[sup]2[/sup], the Samsung is perfectly usable in even the most sun-drenched of environments. The superbly wide viewing angles, ample brightness and 715:1 contrast ratio give images plenty of depth and punch, too. The 1,366 x 768 resolution is disappointing, though – such a high-end laptop deserves higher – and its colour reproduction isn’t quite as accurate as we’d like: the muted colour reproduction left our HD clips of Avatar lacking their usual technicolour pizzazz.

At first glance, you might also wonder where all the ports have gone. Apart from a tiny power socket by the left-hand hinge, all the Series 9’s connectivity is hidden behind two drop-down flaps, one on either flank. A single USB 2 port, a micro SD slot and combination headphone and microphone socket are concealed on the right-hand side, while a USB 3 port, Micro HDMI and the supplied Ethernet adaptor connect on the right.

Samsung Series 9 900X3A - ports

The selection of ports is generous, but Samsung has had to make some notable compromises to squeeze them into such a slimline chassis. We’d have preferred a full-sized SD card reader over the Micro SD slot, and while the mere presence of Gigabit Ethernet gives the Samsung one over on Apple’s Air, the need to plug in a proprietary adapter cable seems a retrograde step. It’s equally disappointing to find that while Bluetooth 3 makes the cut, the Broadcom wireless chipset supports only single-band, 2.4GHz operation.

Samsung’s Series 9 remains about as refined as ultraportables get, but at £1,299, that refinement comes at a considerable cost. Deep-pocketed consumers craving the latest in swish, slimline ultraportables will be pleased as punch with their purchase, but with Apple’s MacBook Air due for an imminent Sandy Bridge update, the Samsung’s wow-factor may be short-lived.


Warranty2yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions329 x 227 x 17mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.5kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-2537M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM65
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 3000
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity119GB
Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSamsung MZMPA128HMFU
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical drivenone
Battery capacity6,300mAh


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)1
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks1
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationLeft and right-hand edges
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 35min
Battery life, heavy use2hr 29min
3D performance (crysis) low settings13fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.43
Responsiveness score0.52
Media score0.46
Multitasking score0.32

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition

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