Samsung’s sleekest lightweight laptop yet
Although it's not marketed under Intel's Ultrabook branding, Samsung's new Series 9 900X3B laptop is an Ultrabook in all but name. It's very thin, weighs under 1.2kg, uses a rugged 128GB solid state disk for storage and turns on in seconds - all of which makes it attractive for use when out and about.
The 900X3B's striking looks doesn't ape the appearance of Apple's Macbook Air. The metal construction feels rigid and robust and looks sleek thanks to its blue-grey colour and silver trim. Samsung doesn't quote battery life figures, but we found it lasted a lengthy eight hours in light use.
The huge touchpad feels responsive and accurate. It also supports multitouch gestures, so swiping differing numbers of fingers across the pad in specific directions perform different functions such as scrolling or zooming. They work surprisingly well, although not all programs support them. The buttons are built into the bottom of the pad, but respond with a firm click.
We were a little disappointed by the keyboard though. Although the large keys automatically illuminate in dim lighting so they're easier to see, only minimal pressure is needed to activate them. If you're used to other laptop keyboards, it's far too easy to apply too much pressure which can lead to excessive strain. Until you get used to this, typing can be uncomfortable.
We were dazzled by the brightness of the 13.3in display and image quality is generally very good. The screen has a high resolution of 1,600x900 pixels so plenty of detail is visible on screen. If you need to connect a second monitor or projector, there are micro HDMI and micro VGA ports with an adapter for the latter included in the box.
There's no security cable slot which is a common omission on laptops this thin. The ports and slots that are present include a USB2 port, a faster USB3 port, a combined microphone-headphone socket, a memory card slot and a Ethernet network connector. The latter uses a special adapter included in the box, but it's still a welcome feature as Ethernet tends to be rare on laptops this thin. All the ports are packed together quite closely though, so a thick connector or device could easily foul an adjacent port. At least all the ports are easily accessible, unlike the first Series 9 laptop where they were hidden behind fiddly flip-down doors.
Thanks to the 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, the 900X3B is more than fast enough for most everyday tasks. The memory can't be upgraded beyond 4GB though. 4GB is enough for now, but it may be a problem in future as software tends to become more memory intensive.
Read more reviews
The pricy Samsung Series 9 900X3B isn't perfect, but it's currently the best Windows alternative to the Apple Macbook Air thanks to its superb build quality, good screen and reasonably long battery life
Light; attractive; bright, high resolution screen
Keyboard won't suit everyone; tightly-spaced ports; expensive
Phone 0330 SAMSUNG (7267864)
Updating your subscription status