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Samsung Series 9 (900X3B) review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1199
inc VAT

The best Windows Ultrabook there is, and an Ultimate award winner


13.3 in 1,600×900 display, 1.2kg, 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M, 4.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The original Series 9 ultra-portable was the first laptop we’d reviewed which adhered to Intel’s Ultrabook specification, even though Samsung wasn’t allowed to officially label it as such. We thought it was an exciting sign of things to come, but a few shortcomings prevented us from giving it an award. One year on, Samsung has completely overhauled the design, with a brand new chassis that weighs a tiny 1.2kg.

Samsung Series 9

As well as being incredibly light, the aluminium construction feels incredibly tough – we couldn’t find any signs of flex or bend in the main body. The laptop’s plain matt finish looks fantastic, too, and the simple design continues inside; aside from the simple Chiclet-style keyboard and touchpad combination, there are no superfluous multimedia keys or LEDs to distract from the laptop’s smart looks.

Samsung Series 9

Samsung has sensibly decided to remove the fiddly flaps that covered the ports on the original Series 9, which makes it much easier to connect peripherals. With no room at the front of the chassis, everything has been moved to the far edges – one USB, a multi-format card reader, Mini DisplayPort and a 3.5mm headset jack on the right and one USB3, a Micro HDMI and a proprietary port for the bundled Ethernet adaptor on the left.

Samsung Series 9

Inside, an Intel Core i5-2467m provides the processing power. Running at 1.6GHz, it isn’t going to break any benchmark records, even when it uses Turbo Boost to increase the clock speed up to 2.3GHz in lightly-threaded applications. It still managed an overall score of 42 in our multimedia benchmarks, which should be fast enough for all your everyday tasks – particularly when paired with 4GB of RAM for multitasking and an SSD for rapid file transfers. The 128GB disk used here does a fantastic job of speeding up boot times, reaching the Windows desktop in 18 seconds and resuming from sleep mode in fewer than two.

It’s also less demanding on battery life than a mechanical hard disk, which is partly how the Series 9 managed to achieve an excellent eight hours in our light-use test. On a full charge, the laptop should last a full working day on battery.

Graphics performance is provided by the processor, which saves battery but doesn’t provide much 3D power. Whether you watch 720p video on the laptop or 1080p content on an external display, it will have no trouble decoding it, but you’ll struggle to find playable framerates in modern games – the Series 9 struggled through our Dirt 3 benchmark with 16.2fps overall, so you’ll have to turn down detail levels or stick to older titles.

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Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Core i5-2467M
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 17x328x227mm
Weight 1.2kg
Sound Realtek HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 13.3 in
Native resolution 1,600×900
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics/video ports mini DisplayPort, micro-HDMI
Graphics Memory 384MB


Total storage capacity 128GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 2
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports none
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDXC, MMC
Other ports minijack headset port, 1x USB 3.0


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty two years RTB
Price £1,199