Samsung Series 9 review

Price when reviewed

The torrent of Ultrabooks shows no sign of abating, but until now one major manufacturer has been conspicuously absent from the slim and light fracas. We caught a glimpse of Samsung’s sensible Series 5 – a semi-successful attempt to subvert the Ultrabook template by restoring the optical drive into a swollen 14in chassis – but now the spotlight falls on to the real deal: its no-expenses-spared refresh of the Series 9.

Samsung Series 9

The transformation is remarkable. By taking the design ethos of the original and starting afresh, Samsung has produced a physically stunning laptop. It was hardly overweight before, but Samsung has pared down the chassis to a mere sliver of navy blue. Tapering from a few millimetres thick at its front edge to only 15mm at the rear – yes, that includes the rubber feet – the Series 9 is the dictionary definition of svelte.

And in a world where looks are as important as feel, Samsung strikes another blow: the Series 9 is outstandingly well made. It’s easily the equal of its price rivals, Apple’s MacBook Air or, for the Windows purists, Asus’ Zenbook UX31E. It feels deliciously solid in the hand, barely flinching as we attempted to flex it out of shape. For a laptop that weighs only 1.16kg, it’s a stunning feat of engineering.

Samsung Series 9

Samsung has also addressed the connectivity issues of its predecessor: the ports are no longer hidden on dropdown flaps on the edges. Instead, the silver metallic strip running around the edge flares out as it reaches the hinge. Here, there’s just enough room for USB 3, micro-HDMI and a miniaturised Gigabit Ethernet connection on the left edge, while a USB 2 port on the other is accompanied by an SD card slot and mini-VGA. Bear in mind, though, that while an adapter for the miniature Ethernet connection is included, the full-sized D-SUB adapter is a £22 optional extra.

Stop pawing the Series 9 long enough to turn it on, and there are some neat touches. The most obvious is the brightness sensor that lights up the keyboard as the ambient light dims. Four brightness levels ensure the keys never disappear out of sight, and the backlighting only kicks in when it’s needed, thus conserving battery power.


Warranty2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions328 x 227 x 15mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.5kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-2467M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM65 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total0

Screen and video

Screen size13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal1,600
Resolution screen vertical900
Resolution1600 x 900
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics card RAMN/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity119GB
Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfaceSATA/600
Hard diskSanDisk U100
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical drivenone
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
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 locationBeneath keyboard
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 57min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 53min
3D performance (crysis) low settings29fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.55
Responsiveness score0.69
Media score0.56
Multitasking score0.41

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedN/A

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