Notebooks Guide

Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A Laptop review

Samsung Series 9 900X3A - A Deadly Assault on Your Senses

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
9
Features:
8.5
Performance:
7.5
Value:
7.5
Mobility:
9.5
THE GOOD
Good Design
Durable and lightweight
Premium finishing
THE BAD
Very expensive
Specs not as strong as competition


Samsung Series 9: A Deadly Assault Weapon

Deadly Assault Weapon

Saying that the Samsung Series 9 is a deadly assault weapon, is putting it mildly. This slinky little machine actually assaults us from all sides, it’s sexy black duralumin body assaults our senses, our old preconceptions of what a notebook should look like. Its sky-high-price-for-not-so-fantastic specs assaults our good sense, making us want to fork out more than what we should be paying for a thin-and-sexy notebook. But most importantly, it assaults one's desire to have a MacBook Air, and that's the beauty of the Samsung Series 9.

The Samsung Series 9 that you see here today, is a very good example of what can happen if you have direct access to manufacturing capabilities that span from screen technology, to silicon engineering technologies. One of Samsung’s greatest advantages (or some would say disadvantages) would be that they have a finger in almost every pie.

This allows them to use some of the very best materials for their machines, and also have components that are on par with (or even more than) some of the leading electronic brands out in the market. This allows them to have their products out in the market much earlier than other competitors (who are sometimes their customers as well). The low-voltage Core i5 (1.4GHz) Series 9 was one of those machines, touted as an “Ultra-book” (despite it not sticking with the under US$1000 requirement which was supposed to be one of the characteristics of this term), and it was released way ahead of any other manufacturer.

Sometimes, when you use similar components, you also tend to use similar designs on your machines. The most recent clash we have seen is with Apple accusing Samsung (a supplier of Apple’s) of copying their iPhone and iPad designs, an accusation that Samsung is fighting against fiercely. In their defense, some would say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and is the way great products are made.

Some would then add that instead of choosing innovation, they chose imitation because they were either lazy or want to save on R&D costs. Each of the arguments has their merits, but for today, we would like you to focus on the 13.3-inch Samsung Series 9, whose shape, build and materials elicit nothing but awe and a strange feeling of déjà vu.

Its ultra-slim profile reminds us much of the Apple MacBook Air, one of this year’s most exciting additions to Apple’s line-up. Thankfully, there are design differentiations to make the Samsung Series 9 unique enough on its own. On the exterior,  the Samsung Series 9’s lid is decked out with a black brushed metal look, which makes it look very attractive, with only a silver Samsung logo, breaking the sea of black duralumin calm. Duralumin is the kind of material that fighter jet engines are made of and is supposed to be extremely strong and light (inspired by Samsung’s aerospace history perhaps?).

A raw silver line runs along the edges of the machine, making it look like an ordinary folder when closed. This designer look is something which we like very much, but because of the duralumin material used, there should be a "dangerous weapon warning" that comes along with the notebook. The Duralumin is so hard, we feel that if the notebook was casually swung at someone with the edges pointing out, it could cause some hurt. So no worries here about the durability of the machine (worry instead about assault charges).

Another design aspect which we like (and was first seen on an early MacBook Air) is the flip to open ports on the left and right of the machine. On the left, we have the USB 3.0 port, a mini RJ45 port, and a mini-HDMI port. On the right, hides the microSD card reader (perhaps it was to complement smartphones), the mic/audio jack, and a USB 2.0 port.

Another feature which we particularly like, are the speakers found on the sides of the machine. Our experience from testing found them to be relatively loud and clear, certainly not something you would generally expect on a machine this small and slim. We've had plenty of experience with slim notebooks that can only muster a disappointing audio experience and we're glad  the Samsung Series 9 breaks this 'tradition'. After all, this is one of the more important aspects that would make or break an ultra-portable to also carry the mantle of being a slim multimedia notebook.