Samsung ATIV E-book 9 2014 Version evaluate: massive display, even greater worth
So many Ultrabooks in our laptop computer purchaser’s information: Not one with a 15-inch display. Which is unusual, as a result of it appeared for some time that greater-display ultraportables have been going to grow to be a factor; HP, Sony and ASUS all tried their hand at tremendous-mild 15-inch machines. Two years later, although, Samsung is among the solely corporations that is nonetheless at it. The corporate just lately got here out with the ATIV Ebook 9 2014 Version, an replace to the 15-inch Collection 9 laptop computer from 2012. Like the unique, it is insanely skinny and lightweight for a machine with this display measurement, besides now, it graduates to a full HD touchscreen, longer battery life and up to date processors. Most notable of all, it options an improved audio setup with a constructed-in digital-to-analog converter permitting you to play again lossless, or “studio-high quality” audio codecs. The factor is, even for a flagship it is fairly costly: At $1,500, it has one of many highest beginning costs we have seen, and there are many equally specced machines that value much less. That raises an fascinating query, then: Who can buy this?
ATIV E-book 9 2014 Version
- Greatest-in-class audio high quality
- Skinny and lightweight for a 15-inch laptop computer
- Lengthy battery life
- Snug keyboard and trackpad
- One of many few 15-inch Ultrabooks obtainable
- Costly, even for a flagship Ultrabook
- Display is not as sharp as what you will discover on competing thirteen-inch Ultrabooks
- You may take pleasure in the identical efficiency on a less expensive machine
The ATIV E-book 9 Version is among the solely 15-inch Ultrabooks out there proper now, and it is a wonderful product certainly, with lengthy battery life, a skinny and lightweight design and unmatched audio high quality. It is costly for what it’s, although, notably contemplating cheaper fashions supply superior display high quality and comparable efficiency.
Excluding that candy audio setup, the ATIV Ebook 9 2014 Version is principally a blown-up model of the thirteen-inch ATIV Guide 9 Plus, which we reviewed final fall. Like its little brother, the brand new Guide 9 is product of clean aluminum finished up in a “Mineral Ash Black” shade that really appears blue in sure mild. It is elegant in a lot the identical means the MacBook Air is, besides that darkish colour means it exhibits fingerprints extra simply. I recommend you purchase a microfiber material — and be ready to wipe down the lid and palm relaxation each occasionally to maintain the machine wanting recent.
Raise the lid and you will see the inside is as minimal as the surface, with expansive metallic surfaces and only a few elaborations — simply the facility key sitting above the keyboard, and a few skinny metallic trim surrounding the trackpad. What’s good is that Samsung has scrubbed the E-book 9’s palm remainder of any branding — with the ATIV E-book 9 Plus, Sammy truly painted on logos for its SideSync and HomeSync software program. For sure, then, I am glad Samsung got here to its senses and stored issues easy right here.
These persistent grease stains apart, this actually is a powerful design. At this level, constructing additional-skinny Ultrabooks is definitely Samsung’s “factor.” Granted, this has gotten tougher, what with rival PC makers lastly turning out tremendous-skinny machines of their very own. The truth is, because of its new touchscreen, the ATIV E-book 9 is thicker and heavier than it was. That stated, it is nonetheless tremendous mild for a 15-inch laptop computer, weighing in at simply three.ninety two kilos and zero.sixty three inch thick. Keep in mind, too, that there aren’t many 15-inch Ultrabooks these days, and most aren’t this skinny or mild. After that, your subsequent lightest choices are machines just like the Dell XPS 15 and the 15-inch MacBook Professional with Retina show, which measure zero.7 inch thick and weigh four.forty four and four.forty six kilos, respectively. And after that? You are taking a look at mainstream notebooks that weigh 5-plus kilos. Hardly an ultraportable anymore.
Apart from, there’s truly a profit to the 15-inch Ebook 9 being barely thicker than it was: Samsung had slightly extra room when determining which ports to incorporate. The machine now options full-sized HDMI output, a step up from the micro-HDMI socket on the final-gen mannequin. As earlier than, there are three USB connections (two of them three.zero), a mini-VGA port, a headphone/mic jack, a lock slot and an SD card reader. There’s additionally an RJ-forty five Ethernet port, nevertheless it’s not a correct full-sized socket, so you will want a dongle (not included) to get a wired connection.Keyboard and trackpad
One factor you need to find out about Samsung laptops: They have a tendency to have pretty flat keyboards. The brand new ATIV Ebook 9 does too, however Sammy a minimum of made some delicate modifications that make the typing expertise extra snug. For starters, the keycaps now have a slight contour, making them extra finger-pleasant. They’re additionally coated in some kind of mushy end — not rubbery, precisely, however mushy. No matter it’s, the keys are nice to the touch. Aside from that, the keyboard continues to be on the shallow aspect, particularly in comparison with rival machines from Apple, Dell and Lenovo (Dell and Lenovo are notably massive on comfortable keyboards). That stated, the Guide 9 continues to be straightforward to sort on, particularly because the wider footprint means a lot of the keys are generously sized. It is simply not my favourite keyboard, however hey, they can not all be.
The identical could be stated of the trackpad. The ATIV E-book 9 has one spacious pad, and to Samsung’s credit score, it is rather more exact than the final-gen mannequin was when it first got here out. Occasionally, I am going to wrestle with single-finger navigation, however for probably the most half, monitoring is exact, even once I’m choosing small gadgets on the desktop. Ditto for 2-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom — each really feel remarkably managed more often than not.Show
For those who’re contemplating the ATIV Ebook 9, odds are you want the thought of getting somewhat additional display actual property. And extra display actual property you shall have: The panel right here measures 15.6 inches diagonally. That is a slight bump over the 15-inch panel on the final-gen mannequin, and it is a massive leap over normal thirteen-inch Ultrabooks. For what it is value, it is a pretty excessive-high quality panel, too: The colours are vibrant, and between the 300-nit brightness degree and the low-reflective panel, I encountered comparatively little display glare.
The issue is, although the display is certainly larger-res than its predecessor (1,920 x 1,080 vs. 1,600 x 900), it is nonetheless comparatively low-res in comparison with most different Ultrabooks. At this level, 1080p is commonplace for flagship Ultrabooks, even these with thirteen-inch screens, and lots of go as much as both 2,560 x 1,440 or three,200 x 1,800. (Samsung says tremendous-excessive-res screens on this measurement vary are nonetheless onerous to return by — truthful sufficient.) What this implies is that even mid-vary thirteen-inch techniques have a better pixel density and, in lots of instances, are noticeably sharper. So, when you do certainly get extra display actual property right here, you in any other case can get nearly as good a display or higher on any variety of cheaper machines.Sound
And now, the rationale you may contemplate this over a less expensive system: the stupendous audio high quality. You’ll be able to’t inform by taking a look at it — the 2 audio system on the underside edge are small and discreet — however the ATIV E-book 9 homes an audio encoder/decoder made by Wolfson, a revered identify amongst audiophiles. Particularly, that is the Wolfson WM5102, a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) tailor-made for telephones, tablets and different moveable units — you already know, like this one. Meaning whereas this provides greatest-in-class sound high quality for a pocket book (extra on that in a minute), it might be unfair to match this with a standalone DAC; all of the processing right here is dealt with by a single piece of silicon, versus a bunch of discrete chips. That processing, by the best way, consists of help for tracks with as much as 24-bit decision, and sampling charges as excessive as 192kHz — principally, the very best-high quality information you should purchase in shops like HDtracks.
I think these of you who care about music sufficient to buy a machine like this have already got most popular apps for enjoying again lossless audio codecs. Simply in case, although, Samsung’s personal S Participant+ app will do the job, with help for FLAC and ALAC, Apple’s lossless audio codec. As you may anticipate, you will want a wired connection to make full use of the constructed-in DAC, so be ready to plug in both a headset or an exterior speaker into the headphone jack.
Armed with a pair of AiAiAi TMA-1 headphones, I placed on an assortment of albums, all in FLAC format with a pattern price of 192kHz. Whether or not I used to be listening to Tchaikovsky’s “Manfred Symphony,” as carried out by the London Symphony Orchestra, or duets between Ella and Louis, the music had a refreshing readability to it. There was no distortion, undoubtedly no tinniness. The whole lot sounded so… unimpeded. Unimpeded, and balanced, too; nobody instrument ever overpowers one other. Janis Joplin’s hoarse vocals shine by way of, however so do the piano, the guitar and the drums. I will not go as far as to say it is like listening to music in your automotive, or in your front room — the setup right here is not almost as highly effective — nevertheless it’s undoubtedly the purest sound I’ve ever gotten out of a laptop computer.Efficiency and battery life
Blink and you will miss it: The ATIV E-book 9 boots into the desktop in simply 5 seconds, about half the time I used to be anticipating. That was my first clue that Samsung’s latest Ultrabook is quick and certainly, it barely beats another machines in benchmark exams, together with a couple of that run on the identical twin-core Core i5-4200U processor. The factor is, even with 8GB of RAM, it does not considerably outperform machines we examined with the identical CPU and 4 gigs of reminiscence. And whereas the Samsung-made SSD delivers strong learn speeds of 551 MB/s, its peak write speeds tapped out at round 141 MB/s — on the sluggish aspect for a machine of this caliber. What I am saying is, the efficiency is usually strong, however it’s additionally kind of consistent with different Ultrabooks we have seen, even these which might be cheaper and/or make do with half the reminiscence.
No matter whether or not the ATIV E-book 9 is overpriced in comparison with its friends, there is no query it will get the job finished. And let’s be clear, by “job,” I am not together with any kind of intensive gaming; if that is what you are into, might I recommend a gaming laptop computer, or perhaps a workhorse just like the Dell XPS 15? In on a regular basis use, although, the Guide 9 shines. I used to be capable of do all my ordinary Engadget-editor work on it, with HipChat open on the desktop and much and plenty of Chrome browser tabs open. Film playback is clean too, and I’ve little question you will get away with batch photograph-modifying as nicely. Principally, something different Ultrabooks can do, this one can do too. You will simply pay a better worth for it.
In response to Samsung, the ATIV E-book 9’s 62Wh battery can last as long as eight.eight hours on a cost. Seems, that is a reasonably conservative estimate: In our battery rundown check, we received a mean of 9 hours and forty eight minutes. Now, simply to be clear, Engadget lately tweaked its laptop computer battery check, in order that we’re utilizing a better-res film than we used to. That is clearly going to have a little bit of an influence on battery life. Fortunately, although, the impact is pretty slight: Even with a 1080p film, the Guide 9 managed 9 hours and 34 minutes of runtime. With the previous check, it simply cracked 10 hours.
Both approach, that is an enormous enchancment over Samsung’s final-gen 15-inch Ultrabook, which died out after round seven and a half hours. The Guide 9’s runtime can also be a transparent step over most ultraportables (save the MacBook Air). Then once more, there are various thirteen-inch fashions that come inside about an hour of the ATIV E-book 9. I’ve to marvel if the battery life good points listed here are large enough to justify the additional weight and better worth.Software program
The ATIV Guide 9 Plus ships with Home windows eight.1, together with a current replace that made the OS simpler to make use of on mouse-and-keyboard machines like this one. Fortunately, it is a fairly clear expertise; Samsung did not set up a lot bloatware alongside the standard constructed-in Home windows apps. Boot up the machine for the primary time and you will find trial variations of Adobe Photoshop eleven in addition to Norton safety software program. There’s additionally a shortcut for Samsung’s personal SideSync software program, which helps you to switch information between your PC and cellular system. The issue is, it solely works on Samsung-made units, just like the Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Tab S, so in the event you occur to personal an iPad or Moto X, you might as nicely delete that Stay Tile; it may be ineffective to you.Configuration choices and the competitors
The 2014 Version begins at $1,500, with the identical specs my unit had: a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, built-in graphics and a 128GB strong-state drive. For $1,900, you will get it with a Core i7 CPU and a 256GB drive. It’s kind of of a disgrace you’ll be able to’t configure the factor exactly to your liking, however that is Samsung for you: The corporate all the time gives a number of fastened configurations, and has a behavior of reserving 256GB drives for the Core i7 machines.
The factor is, there’s nothing else available on the market fairly prefer it. Although there are different 15-inch laptops — even fairly skinny and lightweight ones — none are fairly as skinny and lightweight as this. The closest contenders are the Dell XPS 15 and 15-inch MacBook Professional with Retina show, which I discussed earlier. Along with being comparatively compact, they’re each provided with discrete GPUs, which make them properly-suited to people who want some actual graphics horsepower on the go. Although these machines are certainly skinny and lightweight, they’re nonetheless fairly a bit heavier, so it may be smarter to think about them as shrunken-down workhorses, not Ultrabooks just like the ATIV Guide 9.
For those who do need an Ultrabook, most of your choices have thirteen-inch screens. Because it seems, I’ve accrued numerous favorites, however I am going to attempt my greatest to elucidate why every is value contemplating. For starters, there’s the Acer Aspire S7-392, a close to-good laptop computer that is exceptionally skinny, mild and quick with a vibrant, low-glare display. The one factor you will need to remember is that as a result of it is so skinny, the battery is smaller than in different techniques. Then there’s the Lenovo Yoga 2 Professional, whose three,200 x 1,800 display folds again into pill mode, making it probably the most versatile design we have seen. The keyboard is snug too; simply watch out for the brief battery life. The Dell XPS 12 gives an identical, if barely much less versatile, type issue, with a display that flips again in its hinge. Right here, too, you’ll be able to anticipate good efficiency, a cushty keyboard and a pointy display. Lastly, there’s Samsung’s personal thirteen-inch ATIV Guide 9 Plus, which has principally the identical design and specs because the E-book 9 2014 Version, save for weaker audio and a battery that lasts round 9 hours as an alternative of 10. It is quick, and properly-designed, with fairly good battery life; simply be ready for a excessive price ticket.
Whichever you select, every of those rival Ultrabooks prices lower than the 15-inch ATIV E-book 9. In lots of instances, they provide the identical display decision, with some going as excessive as 2,560 x 1,440 or three,200 x 1,800. Both approach, the show will seem sharper: These machines supply the identical pixel rely or greater on a smaller display. Moreover, the efficiency is not any quicker on the 15-inch mannequin. True, the battery life is barely longer, however for some, the thirteen-inch fashions may come shut sufficient. All advised, the most important distinction is the audio high quality: The sound is indisputably higher on the ATIV Ebook 9 2014 Version, although even then, you want a wired setup to take advantage of it. That begs the query: Why hassle with the 15-incher until you actually need the additional display actual property?Wrap-up
The ATIV E-book 9 Version is an effective Ultrabook in its personal proper: It is properly-designed and skinny and lightweight for its measurement, with strong efficiency, lengthy battery life and a cushty keyboard-trackpad combo. It is also a transparent enchancment over its predecessor, and so it deserves a fair higher rating. That stated, it is awfully costly for what it’s: $1,500 is simply the beginning worth right here, and for the cash, you get the identical efficiency you’d anticipate on a machine that prices lots of of dollars much less. The battery life is simply modestly longer than what smaller fashions are able to, and the display is decidedly much less pixel-dense, in addition. All in all, the one issues actually distinguishing this from the competitors are its unusually huge display and its unusually robust audio high quality. If neither of these issues is essential, you are higher off sizing down and spending much less on a thirteen-inch system.
Edgar Alvarez and Daniel Orren contributed to this assessment.
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- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/samsung/ativ/guide-9/2014-version/” title=”Samsung ATIV Guide 9 2014 Version evaluations” goal=”_blank”> Evaluations • 1 </a>
- Sort Ultraportable
- Display measurement 15.6 inches
- Display decision 1920 x 1080
- Bundled OS Home windows (eight)
- System RAM four GB
- Most battery life As much as 14 hours
- Weight three.ninety two lb
- Introduced 2014-01-06