The Samsung Series 9 900X3B is the most attractive and premium-feeling 13-inch ultraportable we’ve seen since the 2011 Macbook Air. Have Ultrabooks finally come of age? Well, no, because Samsung doesn’t class the Series 9 900X3B as an Ultrabook, despite it meeting or exceeding every ‘requirement’. Frankly, this is because the company feels Ultrabooks have become too mainstream, and its new Series 9 is a premium ultraportable for which you pay a premium price. But does it do enough to elevate it above the norm? Yes, and then some.
We’ve already mentioned that the Samsung Series 9 900X3B is an amazing looking laptop, but it's also incredibly thin, with its sub-13mm profile making it the slimmest 13-inch laptop we’ve seen. But merely being the thinnest isn’t enough; it’s also the lightest, weighing a mere 1.15kg. It has the best screen of any ultrabook we’ve seen, and isn't far off being the best we've seen on any laptop ever.
It's a 13.3-inch matt-finish panel with a high 1,600 x 900 resolution and near-flawless viewing angles resultant of it using PLS technology. MacBook Air aside, it even has the best speakers. Its backlit keyboard is great to type on and its touchpad easily matches up. And to top it all off, Samsung claims the Series 9 900X3B has up to 10-hours battery life!
Unlike many ultrabooks that use several bolted together panels, the Series 9 900X3B comes packaged in a true unibody chassis, like that of the MacBook Air. The entirety is anodised gunmetal blue/grey, aside from the edges which have been left bare aluminium, making for a nice contrast and further emphasising that incredible thinness.
Build quality matches its design. Far more so than other, already-impressive unibody ultrabooks like the Asus Zenbook UX31, the Samsung 900X3B really is rock-solid. There’s not a hint of flex or creak, and it just exudes quality. Even the hinge has a far more deliberate action than we’re used to from thin laptops.
Finally then we have a Windows PC laptop that matches the best Apple has to offer not just in looks but in feel too. Thankfully, the new Series 9’s finish also picks up far fewer fingerprints than its brushed black duraluminum predecessor.
Despite being the thinnest Ultrab… - sorry, we mean ultraportable - we’ve seen, Samsung hasn’t compromised on the Series 9’s connectivity, which is an impressive feat in itself. On the left you’ll find the laptop’s single USB 3.0 port for hooking up fast storage, followed by a microHDMI port for outputting digital video. Samsung does not supply a regular-size HDMI adapter but then microHDMI cables are cheap and plentiful. The next port is microGigabit Ethernet, which uses a supplied adapter to plug into conventional wired networks.
On the right there’s a full-size SDXC card slot, microVGA port (again with included adapter), a 3.5mm headphone and microphone combi jack, and a USB 2.0 port. For wireless there’s Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi N. That pretty much covers every possible requirement, and the only absentee on the Samsung Series 9 900X3B we would have liked to have seen is ThunderBolt.