Samsung has for a while produced some of the most desirable ultra-portable laptops - MacBook Air alternatives, if you will - and its latest addition is one of its best yet.
The Samsung Ativ Book 9, which was just revealed here at CES 2015, is incredibly light, incredibly thin, incredibly well built and just generally incredible, at least based on our first impressions.
As a premium ultrabook, the Ativ Book 9 is heavily dependent on its design and Samsung hasn’t slipped up. The all metal chassis is beautifully finished, with a matt black, etched finished contrasted nicely by flashes of silver from the raw aluminium sides.
It’s a sturdy laptop too. Despite this laptop weighing just 950g and being just 11.8mm thick, both the screen and keyboard sections feel solid and sturdy.
Nearly all the little touches are right too. Every seam is perfect while the proportion of the keyboard and trackpad is spot on. The devil is in the details and Samsung has got most of them right.
Only two small things harm the look very slightly. The first is that the keyboard isn’t seamlessly integrated into the same surface as the laptop’s base, while the other little sticking point is the plastic cover for the microSD card slot. We’re really clutching at straws to find fault here though.
For the most the specification of the Ativ Book 9 is in line with the MacBook Air. You’ve got a latest generation intel Core processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage and around 12 hours battery life (Samsung claims 12.5hrs, compared to the Air’s 12hrs). However, it significantly trumps that laptop in one crucial area: its screen.
The Ativ Book 9 2015 Edition packs in a 12.2in display with a whopping WQXGA (2560 x 1600) resolution. It’s a superb quality display too, with great viewing angles, a reflection-free matt finish and bright, vivid colours.
There is one significant trip up when it comes to features, though. Like the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi, (another supposed MacBook Air killer), it lacks a full size SD card slot. This is a significant inconvenience for any photographers.
Otherwise connectivity is about on par with two USB 3.0 ports and microHDMI port and the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards. You do also get a microSD slot, but it’s just not the same.
Rounding out this laptop’s impressive display so far are its keyboard and trackpad. The former is backlit and sports a wonderful action, with keys responding crisply, for effortless typing.
The trackpad is also very good. It’s large and spacious, very responsive and has a lovely light action to its ‘click anywhere’ surface.
We’re utterly smitten with the Samsung Ativ Book 9. It’s a beautiful looking machine that’s not just thin and light but sturdy too. The design is backed up by a superb screen, great keyboard and good trackpad, with adequate connectivity too. We would definitely prefer to see an SD card slot but if the price is right we could forgive Samsung.
Sadly the price is rather – significantly higher than a MacBook Air – at $1,199.99 and moreover it’s not set to be landing in the UK. Here’s hoping Samsung changes its mind on that last point.