23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2012
Bought this laptop for doing web development. Was a little concerned it wouldn't be powerful enough for my various apps running concurrently such as visual studio, photoshop and sql server but absolutely no problems whatsoever. It is lightening fast thanks to the solid state drive. Ive never seen a windows machine run so fast and smooth it's almost unheard of. This is a pleasure to use, and is a gentle reminder just how good an operating system windows 7 is when you have hardware this good to run it on.
Aside from performance, the machine is extremely well built. It is stylish and compact, and the casing and screen are built of quality materials and well manufactured. It is almost exactly the same size as the 13" macbook air. The screen is probably better than the air as you can literally see it from all angles in all daylight conditions, thanks to the matt finish. The backlit keyboard is also a joy to use - nice size keys with a satisfying responsive feel to them as you type.
The only small gripe i have is with the trackpad. I'm probably being really picky here, but to me it is not as responsive as it should be. Having said that, the trackpad is still very useable and you can get by just fine with it, so long as you don't get too irritated by occasional misinterpretation. It also supports various gestures (ala macosx) which are a welcome addition on a windows machine.
I often need to plug in a 2nd monitor and was a bit shocked to find that the official adapter costs £40.
All in all, for people who spend a lot of time using a laptop, I couldn't recommend this more. It's probably a bit expensive to justify for casual use, but for business/professional use it has satisfied my every need. Easily a 5 star product.
After 6 months use I have decided to drop the rating to 4 stars. It's still the "Best Windows machine I've ever used", but is far from perfect. 2 major issues. Firstly, the laptop has issues with the USB port - after a while it will just turn itself off. There are 2 USB ports so I just switch to the other one but if you need to use both then I haven't found a way of getting it to work again without a reboot. Secondly, and far more serious, is the laptops inability to resume from sleep. It seems to resume as normal, except for outputing any video signal (both via laptop screen and micro hdmi port). This maybe more an issue with Windows than the laptop itself. Regardless, the only way to get it to work again is by hard resetting, thus losing any unsaved work. As time has gone on this has happened more frequently, and now it happens just about every time. So much so that I now never use sleep mode.
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2012
I've been using the Samsung NP900X3B since the end of February, and the last three months haven't disappointed. I use it for Microsoft Office programs, heavy graphics in PowerPoint, hosting online meetings, and watching movies. Essentially most of the tasks that most prospective owners will be using it for.
The build quality is superb, with everything feeling incredibly solid, particularly for such a thin machine. Despite that, it really is very light. I have an iPad 2, and although it is heavier (1100g vs 650g), it doesn't really feel very different - something that a number of others have commented on. Unlike it's predecessor, which had uncomfortably 'sharp' edges, the edging on this new version looks great and is far more comfortable to hold. One thing that I love about the build quality is that despite being so light, you can move the screen up and down without needing to hold down the main body of the machine - something that even much heavier laptops have failed to achieve. It's a small point, but for me demonstrates the attention to detail that has gone into the design.
The screen is the thing that you notice first when looking at this laptop. The really very tiny bezel (about 1cm all around) means that you get a full screen experience. Having come from laptops with much wider bezels, this screen means that you can see so much more for the size of machine that you have. Coupled with the 1600x900 screen resolution, this means that you get an awful lot of screen real estate to work with. I find this particularly useful in Office programs, as I have access to more tools and functions around the main working area. Movies also look great on it. The screen is really bright (brightness can be easily changed using keyboard keys) and also matte, which means that you can view it in any lighting conditions without glare or reflections. Despite the matte screen, I think that the colour looks wonderful and the clarity of image superb, but I can't provide any quantitative findings, just that I like it.
The core components mean that this isn't going to be playing the latest games at the highest resolution. I haven't tried any games, but it runs graphic heavy PowerPoint files pretty well, with only a couple of judders on slides with a couple of really high resolution TIF image files on. It run movies with no problems, and the WiFi streaming issues of the first generation model appear to have been solved, with great connection to my home network over wireless. Using a Netgear 3700 router, I have been getting transfer speeds from a HDD of 5MB/second over G-band WiFi, which is the same as a slightly older, larger laptop. The key feature in performance terms is the start up and resume times. Start up from cold takes about 10-15 seconds. Closing the lid suspends the machine, using minimal battery, which is back up and running within 2-3 seconds when you open the lid. I know that Apples have done this for years, but it's great that a Windows machine is finally able to compete.
It looks great, feels sturdy, and fits in any bag without taking up any space. When you open it up, the huge screen with such a small bezel is a joy and makes you wonder why all laptops and screens don't use this technology/approach. The colour is a dark blue/grey, which actually looks really good, compared to most of the black, silver or laptops available, and with a full metal body, it has a great feel to it. These are all fairly subjective points though. There is a slight element of form over function in some cases. Having improved upon the first generation series 9 with ports that are always available (and not accessed by a flap), there are still issues. On the left hand side, the USB 3 port is flanked by the power cable and mini HDMI out. As I use these all the time, it means that only slim USB sticks will fit into the port - there isn't room for anything thicker than the width of the actual USB port itself. The right hand side USB 2 port is more easily accessible however. On the right hand side you will also find the internal microphone opening. On the Series 5 Ultrabook this opening is on the top of the laptop case, next to the keyboard, but someone clearly decided that they didn't want an 'ugly' hole and mic icon printed on the front case, so moved it to the side. They were right that it looks better, but does mean that audio quality on the mic is slightly worse. However, the combined mic/speaker audio port works brilliantly when using an appropriate four pole splitter - [...] 3.5mm 4 Pin to 2x 3 Pin 3.5mm Headset Splitter Adapter - M/F - (something that the first generation series 9 didn't seem to do).
The keyboard is the main reason that I bought this over other alternatives. I do a reasonable amount of typing, and find it to be well laid out, clear, and responsive. Full size keys are great, and the main keys aren't cluttered with additional functions, meaning that the whole thing looks great. The backlighting is good, with four different settings, although none of them are very bright. A light sensor is used to control whether the backlight is turned on or off. In dark conditions, it works really well, but there is a point, when there is a little light, that I wish the backlight could be just a tad brighter to enhance contrast. The omission of dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys is a shame, and I do wonder whether they could have but an extra column of keys on the right hand side in (like they have for the larger version), but once you get used to using the function key, it becomes pretty quick and easy.
Mouse track pad:
The mouse track pad is large and friendly. It offers all sorts of multi-functions with one, two, three, and four finger commands. All the reviews complain that it's 'not as good as Apple's version', but having never used an Apple computer, I can't comment. I've found it to work extremely well. On the first generation series 9, I had real problems with the track pad with random jumps and failures, but three months in, this has worked really well with no trouble at all. Although the track pad is a single piece, and you can use all of it to track the cursor, there are two 'physical' buttons on the bottom left and right which you can press. You can also use one or two finger tapping anywhere to achieve a left or right mouse click. Zooming, scrolling left and right, and cycling between programs are all also performed by the track pad, and you can specify that particular programs start up with certain gestures. Overall, I really like it, finding it useful and easy to use.
SD card slot:
For those hoping to boost the storage capacity by using the SD card slot, although you get a full sized SD card slot with this laptop, the SD card sticks out from the slot by about 1cm, so that you can pull it out again. Clearly too thin for a push spring, which sadly means that it's not a quick and easy way of increasing the 128GB SSD.
I had tried a Toshiba 830 before this and it had to go back because of the awful fan noise. I am happy to report that the Samsung is either silent, or near silent when the fan does start. The fan noise is very smooth and low level, so you don't really notice it at all. Interestingly, if it does start to annoy you, you can turn it off with a key on the keyboard - although I have no idea what this will do in terms of performance or life if things start to overheat. So far, running it all day, and even during some periods of moderate activity, it's never really been very warm at all, which was something of a surprise in a machine so thin. Everything else is silent running, with no hard drive noise due to the SSD. The keyboard is no noisier than anything else that I've tried
For such a well-designed laptop, the power supply is nothing special. A small transformer unit has about 1.5-2m of cable with a port on the end to plug into the laptop. A 1m long kettle lead plugs into the other end and the wall socket. I thought that the first generation Series 9 PSU was nicer (just a single plug and a long power lead into the laptop), but they appear to have changed direction on this. The Asus Zenbook has a similar single plug PSU, which also works with this laptop, so you might be able to get one of those instead, if you can find one.
For such a premium laptop, you get remarkably few accessories. A Windows DVD and ethernet adapter (from mini ethernet to the regular patch lead socket) is all that you can expect to find. Given that the Samsung Series 7 and 5 laptops all come with a converter for mini VGA to VGA, so that you can connect to a standard monitor, I was disappointed to find no such accessory with the Series 9 - particularly given that you don't seem to be able to buy them individually anywhere. The only way that I've been able to connect to VGA was using a Samsung mini HDMI to VGA adapter, created for the first generation series 9. I struggled to find this in the UK and had to go to Amazon.de (Germany) for one! Other laptops, such as the Asus Zenbook also come with a specially designed carry case, and ALL the adapters that you need. It's a shame really that such a fantastic product is not completed as fully as it should be.
Having moaned a bit at the end, I still think that this is a five star product. It's slim and light, performs well and is a perfect tool for almost any 'business' or 'office' type user.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2012
My 2008 Toshiba Portege has been hammered over the last four years by extensive travel abroad to mainly developing/recovering/conflict regions. As I have got older (mid 60s now), I have found the weight becoming more and more of a literal burden on my ageing frame.
I did a lot of research over the last six months. The Mac Air was a contender at one stage, I already have an iPad (April this year), however I do not like the Apple business model.
I purchased my Samsung Series 9 13.3" at the beginning of August and am happy after a few weeks of use. The latest model is also available now in the 15" screen version, however, my 13.3" is ideal for travel in terms of dimensions (it fits in nicely into my work backpack) and weight (1.2kg), a pleasure.
It is so thin, yet sturdy with its aluminium-based body. The screen is bigger than my Toshiba, although I still tend to use it on a desk (standing or sitting) on a collapsible stand with the screen at arms' length, the optimum position for my eyes/glasses, and at a desk I use an existing external keyboard (MS BT Wireless Mobile Keyboard 6000, compact and strong enough for travel).
It has taken a few weeks to get used to the 'travel' of the flat 'Scrabble tile' keys when using it without the external keyboard, but I'm finding the larger size keys fine to use when the Samsung is on my lap (as now typing this review) or in-flight table.
Due to the thin profile, I've bought a Samsung external DVD. Overall, the weight of the Series 9 plus the DVD and the smaller, compact power adapter (compared to the older Toshiba) is way below the Toshiba and its power adapter.
The 128 Gb SSD drive is less than half the capacity of my Toshiba, however I always carry an external portable HDD (WD My Passport 1 TB) anyway, to keep my older data and archives, photos etc. There is merit in having a smaller drive on the Series 9 clear of unnecessary data, the more so because of the very fast speed of the SSD technology. My current data files are also backed up via Dropbox.
Battery life is obviously better than a 2008 vintage model, I have not yet found the maximum nor the optimum way to run on battery. I always tend to use a reliable electricity supply available, sometimes a problem abroad.
One caveat: due to the very thin profile of the Samsung Series 9, despite the thin keys, there is a danger that if the screen and keyboard are compressed together, eg in a briefcase, the keys could 'etch' onto the screen. I though I saw signs of this very early on, so I bought via amazon a couple of bonded cloth mats (one a spare) SIGNALEX brand, seeh ttp://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0029TYQDC/ref=oh_details_o02_s01_i00 The mat doubles a a screen protector when the notebook is closed and can be used as a mouse mat during use. I also bought a leather sleeve for external protection and for carrying the Samsung around in my hand.
The Series 9 comes with a micro-HDMI cable for a Ethernet cable connection (the chassis to too thin to house the socket), I also bought a micro-HDMI cable for a VGA connection as I often work with an external monitor with my notebook in extended screen mode.
Buying a new computer is always risky, I have no regrets about my latest purchase.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2012
Although expensive, this is a great little machine. Very light and portable. The system works well although it comes with a load of software that is totally unnecessary in my case. I wanted a working sheepdog and this is it, so I don't need the lapdog features like games (way too many games and other stuff). I use it for work, so it is word processing, power point, excel, lots of images and also keep my music and audio books on it for pleasure. Its storage capacity is good. There is no slot for CDs, so you need an external one and also it's been a bit of a faff to match up a monitor with it but the primary reason for this machine was a portable, high capacity/storage laptop and it delivers. Battery life is okay but then I don't watch films on it or use it for gaming or anything, so not sure how it goes with more heavy use for these purposes. Screen resolution is excellent. Highly recommended. Bought mine from John Lewis. Slightly more expensive at JL but at least the profits/taxes stay in the UK and the service is exemplary.
Also bought this cover which is wonderful and slots into the rucksack like a normal folder and does not scream "I have a laptop with me" as it looks like a file of papers - handy when travelling.13" 13.3 Inch Laptop Notebook Sleeve Premium PU Leather Carry Case Protector Envelope Bag For MacBook Air / Pro 13.3"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2012
The Samsung series 9 Notebook is an elegant and delightful design from every angle. The impressively slim case feels so strong with no flexing at all when picked up by the corner with finger and thumb. The start up time is very quick due to the solid state main memory and the high resolution screen is so bright on the full setting that it needs to be dimmed 2 or 3 tabs in most lighting conditions.
Unfortunately, for the first 2 days I thought there was a problem with my machine as the screen would dim and brighten in an intermittent way. I wondered if there was a loose connection or some unknown download was taking place. Eventually I realised that when my left hand was using the keyboard it shielded light from the sensor next to the charging light. This would trigger the automatic brightness adjustment on and off. Once I found out how to turn this feature off I could relax and enjoy my new toy. It might not be the most powerful computer or have the longest battery life but both are adequate for my usage. It is a bit pricey but I am very pleased with my purchase.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2013
Sent wrong laptop first which was the earlier version, after having to send back and wait for correct laptop was nearly three weeks before i got the correct laptop.
then when did arrive had drivers missing, touch pad didnt work or the usb 3 and other samsung programes like the movie mode ,easy setting manager and sw update. Tried using basic windows restore which loaded up a complete curropt system nothing worked should have done back up first.
Ended up reinstalling windows from disk and had to download all drivers and samsung software from the samsung website with another laptop. was all a load of hassel but not to difficult, the laptop is now working great and is a great laptop.
I do apreciate that the seller reponded to all my emails within a day, paid for return postage of incorrect laptop and sent out replacemant as soon as posible.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2012
The review below was my initial impression of this laptop. Most of it I still believe, but a couple of weeks ago the motherboard on my machine - a little less than 2 years old - failed, leaving me with a bill for repair of close to £500 (presumably the motherboards in these very slim laptops are more expensive than most). So I retract the comments about nothing being flimsy, and the quality of manufacture. You might want to consider that if you're contemplating shelling out the £1500-2500 that these laptops now seem to sell for, or if you're considering a secondhand purchase. It's still a lovely thing, and when it works it works very well indeed, but such catastrophic failure really lets it down.
First impressions of this laptop are of its understated beauty - it is extremely slim, and the subtle metallic blue-grey finish, with contrasting polished metal edges, looks fantastic. It feels very light - I think another reviewer noted that it felt little heavier than an iPad, and I would agree with that. It feels amazingly solid, too, despite the light weight - there is nothing flimsy about it, and the manufacturing quality is excellent. The build quality seems much better than other laptops and netbooks that I've used.
Turn it on, and the first thing that hits you is the speed of start-up: it's hard to believe that it is actually running Windows. It starts up much faster than my desktop PC, which in theory has a faster processor - due to using the SSD rather than HDD, presumably. Shut-down is basically instant. The next thing to get your attention is the screen, which is absolutely stunning - fantastic colours, great resolution. In use (which for me is writing, working on photographs, web browsing and watching video (iPlayer, 4OD etc) online), it is excellent. The keyboard, which is obviously very important to me as a writer, is a pleasure to use. The keys are nicely spaced, the short travel gives a very positive feel, and the keyboard backlighting (which can be set to adjust automatically in response to light levels) is a lovely feature. I quite like to sit out in the garden and write in the evening, weather permitting, and this means that I can work without needing any other light for the keyboard. Not unique, but great to have. The sound from the built-in speakers is quite impressive, too, especially when it is coming out of something so thin.
I don't place severe demands on it in terms of processing power, but it copes really well with video playback, photo editing, working on very large documents and everything else that I throw at it. Hardcore gamers could probably find its limits but I haven't yet.
Battery life seems very good - I have had it run as long as 7 hours, although that probably reflects my light use - 7 hours writing may not reflect 7 hours of watching movies online. On the subject of batteries, this laptop runs very cool - I hardly ever hear the fan come on (or maybe it is just very, very quiet) and the base of the machine gets only slightly warm in use. Charging is nice and quick, but the power pack (while nice enough and with a generous cable length) could be neater - if the transformer was built into the plug, for example, as I've seen on some netbooks and laptops, so I think Samsung missed a trick there.
One thing that does need a bit of a care is the touchpad. It is very sensitive, perhaps overly so for some users - it's best to set this up to suit your own preference, according to what your main uses of the laptop are. As I am a heavy keyboard user, I disabled some of the many functions of the touchpad as it is easy to accidentally brush it with your hand while typing. The scroll function is particularly sensitive, and while this is useful for some things, it's less so when working with documents. The touchpad's "buttons" - it doesn't really have any, you can just hit anywhere in the right area - are very positive.
The touchpad is basically my only criticism of this laptop, and in practice you can set that up to suit your needs. I have found that since buying it I have more or less abandoned my iPad (except for playing some games). Where I used to use the iPad for online shopping, web browsing, watching TV, e-mailing etc, I now just pick up the laptop, I guess because it can do anything the iPad can do and the start-up time is so fast (it can actually beat the iPad into action). I can also pop an SD card from a camera straight in if I want to look at photos (no need for an adapter as required on the iPad) and the laptop is much faster at reading images. Also, there's a great advantage in that I don't need to change devices when I want to do some writing.
While this is an expensive laptop, the speed and pleasure of using it, its overall quality, light weight and portability, and (if I can get really shallow) its sheer beauty make it worth it. It is a real competitor to a Macbook Air for those who prefer Windows - and it actually makes Windows 7 feel pretty slick.
One tip - when buying, shop around and be prepared to be a little bit patient. At present, you can find prices differing by as much as £300. I bought mine from a different retailer (not Amazon) as, because I had hesitated, Amazon were out of stock (apparently for quite a while) and it took a lot of hunting around to find one at a similar price - only to find a couple of days after I had bought it that Amazon had it back in stock - for a lower price!
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2012
I got this as I have a Macbook Air and I love small dimensions for my commuting but I do not get on with Apple as they do not seem to care sometimes. This "series 9" is same small size but runs Windows and can use the same case I bought. Starts/stops in one or two seconds.
Good support from Samsung website for windows 7 drivers, comes with windows DVD, so it is safe to delete the 20GB recovery partition.
on 16 June 2013
I love this computer. It's very thin, light and stylish, and the charger is also pretty small. It's fast, even if you have lots of programs running. The hard drive isn't huge, but since USB sticks are so cheap now I don't really have much stored on it anyway, and I prefer having a smaller, lighter computer with a solid state drive anyway.
I've found the battery life to be good - I can work on it for about four hours, or watch films etc for about two. The screen is bright enough to use in light places, and you don't get any annoying reflections. Also, more importantly, people always say 'what a nice laptop!' when they see me using it. It's also much cheaper than a macbook air (or whatever it is you see people in coffee shops writing their first novel on).
on 17 February 2013
Got it for the missus. She got asked what brand it was when she was in a cafe once. It really turns heads with how nice it looks.
128 is too small for the SSD. I bought a 64gb sd card to help, but I'd say this was the major reason I only gave 4 stars.
Had it about 8 months now, A couple crashes, but those are probably software related.
Really slim - feels more like a magazine than a laptop
Fast to boot up - amazingly fast
Screen is amazing - high res and crisp.
No connector for external monitor - I had to buy a separate Samsung cable for £20, and it was hard to find.
128GB SSD is too small