Samsung's Series 9: The First Laptop That Stacks Up To Mac [REVIEW]

macbook air and series 9

Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider

I love my MacBook Air. I’ve had it since November after finally ditching my clunky old MacBook Pro and don’t regret a thing.I’m a writer; I don’t need all that bulk and power. I download or stream all my movies; I don’t need a DVD drive. It’s the perfect machine for me.

For the last week, I left my Air on the shelf to try out Samsung’s Series 9 laptop.

The concept is the same as the Air: A super-thin, super-portable device with incredible battery life and a solid state drive instead of a traditional hard drive.

Click here to see photos of the Series 9 >

Long story short, I didn’t miss my Mac. (Save for some pet peeves I have with Windows 7.) Keep reading to find out what I thought.

Hardware And Performance
When comparing specs head-to-head, the Series 9 looks better on paper than the MacBook Air. It has a more advanced processor (Intel Core i5 versus what feels like an ancient Core 2 Duo in the Air) and comes with 4 GB of RAM, standard.

But I noticed little difference between the two machines as far as performance went. Both are super fast thanks to the solid state drive. The Series 9 is a bit slower booting up and shutting down, but that’s hardly noticeable.

Solid state drives are still expensive, but its worth the investment for the speed. The Series 9 had no problem launching apps in a jiffy, and didn’t choke when I had a bunch running at the same time.

Video looks incredible on the S9’s HD display. I downloaded a few HD trailers to test it out, and got some great results. Everything is bright and clear. It’s a blast to watch.

Battery life is excellent too. I could get several hours on one charge, and it barely uses any power at all when it’s closed or asleep.

My biggest problem was with the touchpad. Samsung borrowed Apple’s idea for a singular touchpad that acts as both a button and a multitouch input device. It’s nowhere near as smooth as the Air’s touchpad. Gestures were difficult to figure out, and I found myself opening links and apps when I didn’t mean to. My suggestion: adjust the touchpad’s sensitivity settings so it doesn’t flip out on you.

Windows, Minus The Crapware
The Series 9 ships with Windows 7, and thankfully Samsung didn’t add too much crapware on top of that. As long as you immediately remove Norton Antivirus, you should be able to avoid all those ridiculous popups begging you for money.

Samsung did add some nice tweaks though for volume controls and Wi-Fi connection that are much better than Windows 7’s standard settings.

Other than that, the experience is exactly what you’d expect from a Windows machine. Nothing special to report here.

Should You Buy It?
At the end of the day, I still enjoy my MacBook Air more than the Series 9. But that’s mostly due to my love of OS X and hatred of all things Windows. If you prefer windows and want an ultra-portable laptop, the Series 9 is a winner.

The only thing that may hold you back. It starts at $1,649.99, which is pretty insane for a Windows laptop. or once, the usually-pricier Mac wins here; the 13-inch Air starts at $1,300.


Back-to-back with its rival, the MacBook Air

HD video looks great

Gorgeous design

It has a curvy design in the back

The Series 9 is made with a sleek gunmetal-grey casing

The speakers on the side produce decent volume

Beautiful profile

The colours were a bit off in web pages. The Business Insider logo should be green, not blue

The standard front-facing camera for video chats

The trackpad is nowhere near as accurate or intuitive as the MacBook Air's

Now check out Samsung's latest tablet...

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