Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) review

Samsung has the chops to compete with the big names in the PC industry and apparently is not shy copying successful products. The Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) ($ 1,649.99 street), which debuted at CES 2011, clearly points to the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch ($ 1.299 Direct, 4 stars).
It is made from a durable aluminum, completely fine, and able to land knockout blows in the performance and features department. However, if this is supposed to be a convincing scam MacBook Air, why it costs more?

After placing your hands on one, you realize the number 9 is not just another cheap knock-off Apple. The entire frame is surrounded by a material called duralumin, Samsung claims to be the kind used for aircraft construction, but it looks like any other frame of brushed aluminum. 9 series held up pretty well after giving reporters the old palm on the top screen and bending test, the same test on Air 13-inch was submitted and approved with honors. Ultraportables like the Toshiba Portege R705-P35 ($ 899.99 list, four stars) and Sony VAIO PCV-Z1390X (direct $ 3800, 4 stars), are not as strong and inflexible, because their metal lids tend to flex and bend under the pressure applied. The number 9 is incredibly thin, measuring between 0.62 to 0.64 inches thick. It's literally as thin as my magazine People Weekly. Meanwhile, 13-inch air decreasing design created a front frame even thinner (0.11 inches), so the number 9 is not by any stretch thinner. All the metal that surrounds it is not light either, the 9 series tips the scales at 2.9 pounds, matching the Air 13-inch (2.9 pounds) lighter hair the Z1390X Sony (3 pounds) and Toshiba R705-P35 (3.1 lbs.)

The number 9 is one of the brightest screens (400 nits), which is even brighter than the air of 13 inches. Although the resolution of 1366 × 768 no higher level than the air 13 inch 1,440 by 900, the matte screen does not emit as much as the brilliant glow of Air. Chiclet keyboard style is not only similar in appearance to the air of 13 inches, but the experience of writing is as solid as a rock. It is backlit, too, a feature even Apple could not take away from his beloved series air. The large touch screen is to click another similarity mysterious, though not as good software engineering and hardware are concerned. For example, the two-to four-finger gestures that work so brilliantly with the air of 13-inch touch screen definitely does not work so well in Serie 9. Sometimes these gestures, even in the way of drag while clicking the mouse buttons.

Ports and slots, the number 9 took a page from the first generation of MacBook Air. On both sides of the laptop, you can find the drop-down doors that provide an array of ports. They are not easy to get, because you must lift the handset or turn because they're practically at the base. The ports on the right side include USB 2.0, headphone jack and a Micro SD slot. On the left you can find another USB port, HDMI and a mini-owned Ethernet port you need the supplied wrench to. Besides the Ethernet port, 13-inch air selection of ports is very similar. The sound of the stereo speakers blasting out from the side of the palm rests, and their quality is more impressive than I imagined from a laptop this thin.


The media, Voltage ultraportable, Ultra-Low Consumer
Processor Name
Intel Core i5-2537M
Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Processor speed
1.4 GHz
4 GB
2.9 lbs
Screen Size
13.3 inches
Type screen size
Graphics card
Intel HD 3000 Graphics
Storage capacity (as tested)
128 GB
Network Options
Primary Optical Drive
Data Sheet

Media Type, Voltage UMPC, Ultra-Low Consumer
Processor Name Intel Core i5-2537M
OS Home Premium Microsoft Windows 7
Processor speed 1.4 GHz
Weight 2.9 lbs
13.3-inch screen size
Screen Size Type Widescreen
1366 x 768 Native Resolution
Intel HD 3000 Graphics Card Graphics
Graphics Memory 64
Storage capacity (as tested) 128 GB
Rotation speed SSD

An optical drive is not included, of course. You'll need to look at the Toshiba R705 or Sony Z1390X-P35. As the air in 13-inch 9 series uses a 128BG drive solid state storage. Not only is more durable than traditional spinning disk, but its start and return-from sleep times were gloriously quick. Best of all, this UMPC comes with a 3-year international warranty, whereas Apple starts with a one year parts and labor.

Samsung Series 9 performance is where the series 9 and 13-inch air diverge. 9 series runs on a 1.4GHz Intel Core processor i5-2537M, rather than two generations old, 13-inch Air Intel Core 2 Duo. It is the first Ultra Low Voltage processor to arrive at our bank of sand bridge technology, which means good things for performance. PCMark Vantage (7593), an indicator of overall performance for the 9 series by a margin of 33% compared with 13-inch Air (5701) and Toshiba R705-P35 (5245). In Cinebench R11.5 (1.36) and Adobe Photshop CS5 (05:53) tests, was also faster than air of 13 inches (1.1, 10:50). graphics power gets a much-needed boost from the sand bridge technology, but the 9 series can not yet compete with the Air 13-inch (5112) in a test such as 3DMark06 (2441). The fact that this is a ULV processor had something to do with it.

The lithium polymer battery is sealed in the style of Air 13-inch, and no mention of his capacity. Judging by the evidence of the battery, but apparently the 9 series battery is comparable if not greater, than the air of a 50WH 13 inches. Was achieved 6 hours 4 minutes on MobileMark 2007, beating the air of 13 inches (5:35) for 30 minutes and lost the Toshiba R705-P35 (07:01) for the same amount. A super-slim laptop that can sustain this kind of battery life is very impressive.

My dilemma just about Samsung Series 9 is essentially a knock-off of the Apple 13-inch MacBook Air, however, is more expensive. If that is the case, why not go with the real McCoy? Well, for several reasons: The number 9 has more processing power, a three-year warranty, and some additional features (backlit keyboard, Ethernet, matte screen) which is not in the 13-inch MacBook Air. The 13-inch MacBook Air has its own intangible (better loading of software, graphics, customer support, etc), but the number 9 is a viable alternative. That, or go with the Toshiba Portege R705-P35, which costs half.

Check out the results of tests for the Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A)

Comparison of the Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3A) with several other laptops side by side.


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