Samsung’s Series 9 Thin-Light Notebooks are the latest from the Korean Giants laptop line-up. To us, these are Ultrabooks, but Samsung has decided they are not. The 15″ model (NP900X4C), is one of only a few in this category which can be classified as an Ultrabook.
Living in Australia, we don’t have much choice from Samsung regarding which 15″ model we want. We get the NP900X4C-A01AU, which is similar to the US NP900X4C-A03US, except with only a 128GB SSD hard drive. The NP900X4C-A01AU is a well equipped Ultrabook. Specifications include:
- Core i7 Processor 3517U (1.90GHz, 4MB L3 Cache, 3rd Generation)
- 8GB (DDR3, 1600mhz, 4GBx2) ram
- 15.0″ LED Display (400nit, 1600 x 900 resolution, Anti-Reflective – Matte finish)
- 128GB Samsung SSD hard drive (256GB on the NP900X4C-A03US model)
- Intel® HD Graphics 4000 (shared memory with system)
- Wireless by Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6235 (802.11abg/n)
- Gigabit Lan – with Dongle (included)
- Bluetooth V4.0
- USB Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 & 1 x USB 2.0
- 4-in-1 Multi-card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC)
- Combined Headphone + Microphone port
- Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
- Dimensions (WxDxH) are 356.9 x 237.0 x 14.9mm (14.00″ x 9.30″ x 0.58″)
- Weight of1.65kg (3.63lbs)
The NP900X4C weighs only 1.65kg (3.63lb) and is 14.9mm thin. This is extremely thin and very striking to look at for a 15″ laptop. As with all Ultrabooks (and as per Intel® standards) it has a very fast boot up and start from sleep/hibernation, due to the super fast Samsung Solid State Drive (SSD). The only downside with the included SSD is that it is only 128GB in size, which was one of the main points that nearly deterred us from buying this UItrabook. The US NP900X4C-A03US model comes with 256GB but is not available in any form in Australia. We found that the 128GB has only about 55GB usable space after windows and the recovery partitions take ups a decent chunk of valuable hdd real estate. This problem is solved with a USB Drive (USB Drives) that can add external storage options. We bought a 2TB Western Digital My Passbook USB 3.0 drive (reviewed here) to store our data.
The other problem we found with this Ultrabook (or many out on the market) is the missing optical drive. For most of us, this is not a problem but a lot of the target market for this laptop, is Professionals who need a 15″ ultra portable, thin and light laptop. We fixed this by buying an ultra-thin/light external Blu-ray writer (review here), which was portable enough to carry around in our laptop bag. Most of the time, you will not need an external optical drive, as you can download almost all software as digital download and even get discounts of the CD/DVD versions.
The screen on the Samsung NP900X4C is very clear and bright (400nits) and at 15″ is a little smaller than a standard 15.6″ laptop. The 1600×900 resolution is okay for multi-tasking but we would have liked to have seen a 1080P resolution, which some other Ultrabook manufacturers are even cramming into 13″ models. The USB 3.0 ports, coupled with the SSD hard-drive make for some quick transfer rates. On our preliminary tests with the Corsair Voyager USB 3.0 drive, we managed to get around 70-75mb/s continuous transfer speeds.
The battery is an 8Cell (62Wh) which will give the 15″ Ultrabook a claimed life of 5hrs+. We could get a good 4.5hours with a balanced power setting. Another point to note is that the video output is via a micro HDMI port or a VGA dongle port (not included). So if using for presentations, you may need an adapter of some sort.
The Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C retails in Australia for AU $1899.00. You can get it cheaper from JB Hi-Fi for around $1500-1700, depending if its on sale or not. We would not buy this laptop for $1899 but at $1500 its a steal.
Overall the Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C is a very elegant work horse. It has the grunt to keep you going and a battery life to support you while on the road. We recommend this Ultrabook if you can look
– Random Reviews Team –
-ONE YEAR UPDATE + EXTERNAL MONITOR USAGE, JULY 2013 –
The Samsung Ultrabook is still running smoothly after one year of heavy use. I have found my 128GB storage to be still usable, although given the opportunity, I would upgrade to a 256GB hard drive instead. The only change I have done since the posting the above review laptop, is I now have the Samsung NP900X4C Ultrabook hooked upto a 29″ Ultrawide Dell 2913WM monitor (before it was to a 22″ at lower than 1080p resoltuions). I had some initial issues with the ultrabook trying to display the full 2560×1080 resolution of the monitor. I had initially managed to manually setup this option in the Intel advanced Graphics Properties section by manually adding the 2560×1080 resolution with a low refresh rate of 35-45 (depending on what worked). This mean that the monitor had a little bit of lag, but still I could use the full resolution. I solved this problem by buying a HDMI to micro-HDMI cable, which automatically displayed the full 2560×1080 resolution. This is due to the micro-HDMI being a HDMI1.4 port which allows for higher resolutions. The previous set-up I had was with a VGA to micro-HDMI adapter, which would not automatically pick up the higher resolution of the Dell 2913WM. You may get a similar cable on Amazon from here: HDMI to Micro-HDMI Cable.
-Random Reviewer Monky-