So far the latest Samsung Series 9 900X3B hasn’t put a single virtual foot wrong, giving us nothing to criticize. Specifications are also decent, pretty much on a level with most Ultrabooks. There’s a dual-core Intel Core i5 2467M with support for up to four virtual cores. It runs at 1.6GHz by default but can Turbo clock up to 2.3GHz, and should handle most tasks without breaking a sweat.
It’s backed by the usual 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for storage. The sole weak point is the usual ultrabook/macbook air problem of mediocre graphics, as Intel’s integrated HD 3000 barely manages decent frame rates even in older games. This was demonstrated by a 36.5 frames per second average in TrackMania Nations Forever, meaning anything more demanding will be running like a slideshow. In other words, casual gamers only need apply.
Battery life is the other aspect of the new Series 9 that doesn’t particularly wow us, since it’s comparable to most Ultrabooks on the market – not that the 900X is an Ultrabook, of course. If this is the result of its ‘slimmest’ boast, we would rather have had a few extra millimetres on this ultraportable – though it’s important to remember that this will still be plenty for many people. As mentioned at the start, though, we're in the process of restesting this on a full production sample to see if our lowish figure is a true reflection.
Last but not least, how does Samsung’s premium ultraportable laptop hold up when it comes to value? At £1,200, it’s one of the most expensive ultraportables on the market, even costing £100 more than the 13in MacBook Air. However, if you value quality and style, it’s worth every penny.
Battery life and performance might be merely average, but in every other regard this is the king among thin and light laptops - due in no small part to its stunning high-resolution PLS screen, which more than justifies the premium over many rivals.
Against the aforementioned MacBook Air, unless MacOS is a priority we reckon it’s well worth the extra to get this thinner, lighter and arguably better-connected laptop with its superior screen. A more compelling alternative is Samsung’s own previous Series 9, which has dropped to around £900 since it was released. It’s not as elegant, light or slim and loves fingerprints, but it offers similar performance, a screen that’s not altogether shamed by the PLS display found here, longer battery life and it sounds almost as good. For £300 less, that’s not bad going.
The Samsung Series 9 900X is not just the thinnest, lightest 13in laptop in the world, but it’s also the best-looking, best sounding ultraportable we’ve come across. Its high-resolution PLS screen offers quality above any other laptop display on the market, its connectivity isn’t compromised by its sleek lines, and it’s great to use too with an excellent backlit keyboard and large, sensitive touchpad. Weighed against all this goodness, the 900X3B’s average battery life seems a minor downer, and overall Samsung’s latest ultraportable is worth every penny of its premium price.