Well, this snuck up on us. Close to the end of the first official open-floor day at IFA, Samsung managed to eke out yet another product we want to get our hands on, soonish. This 13-inch Series 9 WQHD Ultrabook beams Windows 8 on 2,560 x 1,440 display (oh yes), making a visible leap beyond the existing Series 9 13-incher, which sticks to a more typical 1,600 x 900. Better still, the surface of the screen has a gentle matte finish. The engineering sample arrived in the Samsung spokesperson’s hands just seven days ago. The resolution matches ASUS’ high-grade gamer monitor in pixels, if falling ever so slightly short of the Retina Display on Apple’s newest MacBook model. There was no news on what the manufacturer will call the new display tech, further specifications, or even whether this was just a proof of concept — the device was chilling in the corner of the electronics giant’s innovation gallery. Hopefully, Samsung won’t hold out on those details for much longer. Take a look for yourself in our hands-on video after the break.
Good things come in pairs, right? Earlier this year Samsung revamped its high-end Series 9 line with two new Ultrabooks: an impressively thin 15-inch model, along with a more portable 13-inch machine. So far this year, we’ve gotten a chance to review the larger version which remains one of our favorite ultraportables ever, thanks to its minimal design, fast performance, lovely display and long battery life.
“So what?” you’re thinking. “Why bother revisiting the miniature version?” For one, friends, Samsung only recently refreshed the Series 9 with third-generation Intel Core processors, and we were eager to make note of any performance gains. More importantly, though, the 13-inch Series 9 faces stiffer competition than its big brother. There truly isn’t another big-screen notebook quite as thin or as light as the 15-inch Series 9; if those are the attributes that matter most, that’s the laptop you’re best off getting. But the smaller Series 9 finds itself fighting for space on retail shelves amidst high-end ultraportables like the MacBook Air, ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A, the HP Envy Spectre XT and, well, you get the idea. So how does this $1,300 system fare against such worthy opponents? Read on to find out.
Samsung wasn’t saying much about US availability when it showed off its new Series 9 monitor back at CES in January, but it’s now finally confirmed that it will be available at a number of different retailers starting June 29th (following a brief “prelaunch” period with Newegg). Coming in at the expected $1,199.99, this one is a 16:9 LED PLS monitor, and it packs a suitably high-end 2560 x 1440 resolution along with most of the other features you’d expect from a $1,200 monitor: HDMI, DVI and a pair of USB ports, an all glass and metal enclosure, and support for MHL-enabled smartphones and tablets. Those curious can find a full rundown of the rest of the specs at the source link below.
Of the two monitors Samsung announced last week, the Series 7 was decidedly the middle-of-the road number. But that’s not saying much, seeing as how its big brother, the Series 9, is Sammy’s first consumer display with a plane line switching panel, and has a 2560 x 1440 pixel count. The Series 7, available in 24- and 27-inch sizes (both 1080p), uses the same matte, 400-nit, SuperBright Plus panel you’ll find on the newly announced Series 9 laptop, and as ever it looks bright and clear, even in the face of some oblique viewing angles. For the money ($600 and up), it also has built-in WiDi and MHL, along with an integrated TV tuner. So far as we can tell, after having seen it in person, the biggest thing you’ll lose once you step down from the Series 9 (aside from the PLS bit) is design flair. Whereas the Series 9 has a slim aluminum build with glowing touch controls, the Series 7′s glossy surfaces pick up fingerprints quite quickly. (Then again, this more or less rocks the same design as last year’s Series 9 flagship, so how bad could it be?) Have a peek at our shots below, and stay tuned for a separate look at the Series 9 — for whatever reason, the one on display at tonight’s press event was powered off for the night, so we’ll be back sometime soon when we can show you that high-quality PLS display in the buff.
The Samsung Series 9 debuted at an odd time, before “Ultrabook” was a buzz word, and when a 2.8-pound laptop was novel enough to warrant a $1,649 price tag. A year later, it returns at an even more pivotal moment: Ultrabooks are cropping up by the dozens, and while their specs are similar to what the original Series 9 had to offer, they cost hundreds less. So with that as the backdrop, Samsung just announced a pair of slimmed-down, redesigned Series 9 laptops: a 13-inch remake, priced at $1,399 and up, and a new 15-inch form number that will cost $1,499-plus when the two go on sale next month.
Though consumers are likely to draw comparisons between that 2.5-pound 13-incher and the umpteen other ultraportables hitting the market, Samsung isn’t positioning the Series 9 laptops as Ultrabooks, but rather, premium, top-tier machines. Still, for something that’s not an Ultrabook, the brothers Series 9 certainly look the part: both pack Core i5 processors, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSDs, six-hour batteries and backlit keyboards — Ultrabook-like specs if ever we’ve heard them. Even the 15-inch model is missing an optical drive, and isn’t much larger than the last-gen Series 9.
What separates them from your garden-variety $900 box, though, is a solid unibody aluminum design and a heartbreakingly beautiful display: a 1600 x 900 panel with a matte finish (!) and 400 nits of brightness. But is that worth shelling out an extra few Benjamins? We’ve just spent weeks playing with an early, pre-production version of the 13-inch model, and while we’re going to withhold final judgment until we review a production-grade system, we already have quite a bit to say about the design. So grab a warm beverage, settle into your comfiest chair and meet us past the break for an in-depth preview.
Back at CES, Samsung pulled out quite a few surprises, and no, we’re not referring to its Zoll-infused press conference — although, that performance still gives us the willies. Of all the Korean company’s announcements at the show, which we’ll remind you included an impressive new LTE phone and range of SmartTVs, it was its Series 9 laptop that left us the most stunned. And well, a glance at that picture above should explain why we found ourselves counting down the days until its March launch date. The 2.8-pound system is a complete and total 180 from Samsung’s typical bulky mainstream systems, yet its 0.64-inch thick chassis still crams in quite a bit of horsepower with a Core i5-2537M processor, a 128GB SSD, and 4GB of RAM. It’s also built from some of the toughest stuff on earth, has a backlit keyboard, and an incredibly high quality 400 nit LCD. You see, the $1,699 machine teeters on having the absolute perfect balance of beauty and brawn, and certainty has the core ingredients to compete with that other extremely popular and super thin ultraportable — but when you get it home and out of its fancy box, does it truly have the chops? Or is this just yet another rail thin and expensive Windows laptop that falls short? The time has come to find out – hit the break for our full review.
The feature-rich and utterly gorgeous Series 9 laptop from Samsung has just received its US pricing and unfortunately it’s a bit of a whopper: $1,649. For that outlay, you’ll be getting a 13.3-inch screen, an LED-backlit display with 400 nits of brightness, Intel Core i5-2537M dual-core processor running at 1.4GHz, 4GB of RAM, and one super-speedy 128GB SSD. It’s an intriguing proposition, as both price and specs are decidedly high-end, but the decision as to which one wins out we’ll leave up to you. Hit up Samsung’s site below for a list of retailers — the Series 9 is listed for pre-order at the moment, but we doubt it’ll be long before delivery trucks start rolling out with ultrathin laptop boxes in tow.