Samsung ATIV Ebook 9 Plus evaluation
When Samsung first launched the Collection 9 in 2011, it shortly turned certainly one of our favourite laptops of the yr. Then, as soon as Intel threw its advertising weight behind Ultrabooks, it turned our favourite Extremely. However the Collection 9 was born within the Home windows 7 period, and it turned more durable and more durable to advocate as touchscreens turned the usual. Now, although, we’ve got the ATIV Ebook 9 Plus, the primary really flagship-degree Ultrabook Samsung has launched since Home windows eight got here out.
As you’d anticipate, it trades within the Collection 9’s matte, anti-glare show for a touchscreen. What’s extra, although, Samsung additionally cranked up the decision, retiring that previous 1,600 x 900 panel in favor of a three,200 x 1,800 one. And, in fact, it steps as much as a more moderen Haswell processor, which guarantees not simply quicker efficiency, but in addition longer battery life (not that endurance was an issue on the unique). So is it nonetheless our favourite Ultrabook? Just about.
ATIV Guide 9 Plus
- Tremendous-skinny, nicely-made
- Beautiful three,200 x 1,800 show
- Good battery life, runs cool
- Wonderful audio high quality
- Trackpad might nonetheless use some superb-tuning
- Comparatively sluggish I/O speeds
- Logos painted onto the gadget
- One configuration
With the ATIV Ebook 9 Plus, Samsung can nonetheless lay declare to among the best Ultrabooks available on the market. As ever, it presents a gorgeous design and quick efficiency, however battery life is improved, and the three,200 x 1,800 show is greatest in school.
Appear and feel
We have met Samsung’s laptop computer design workforce. It is led by some pretty, humble individuals, however we suspect that deep down, they know the identical factor we all know: that final yr’s Collection 9 Ultrabook was a close to-good product. So, content material to let good canine lie, the corporate kind of stored the identical blueprint when it sat right down to design this yr’s ATIV E-book 9 Plus. This time round, it measures zero.fifty four inch thick, making it solely a hair thicker than final yr’s mannequin, which measured zero.5 inch (and which did not have a touchscreen, we’d add).
It additionally has usually the identical form, with a profile that tapers drastically towards the entrance, however widens close to the hinge to make room for the varied ports (two USB three.zero, micro-HDMI, mini-VGA, a headphone jack and a hidden SD slot). Within the field, you will discover an Ethernet adapter as nicely. The machine can also be snug to carry, and we’re not even referring to the load (extra on that in a second). Although the sides right here look sharp, they’re truly fairly blunt, so it will not harm to press your palms into them if you’re carrying this factor with two palms.
The general construct high quality is identical too. Like its predecessor, the ATIV E-book 9 Plus is product of clean aluminum, besides the colour, billed as “Mineral Ash Black,” has a barely bluish tint in some mild, whereas final yr’s was a plain black affair. Between that and the delicate thrives (a skinny metallic band across the trackpad, only one button on the keyboard deck), the complete machine has an understated, however nonetheless costly really feel to it. The one drawback is — and we complained about this final yr — is that regardless of having a matte end, the aluminum picks up fingerprints shortly. Ensure that to have a material in your desk drawer so to give the machine a rubdown each now and again.
All informed, virtually all the things that feels totally different concerning the ATIV E-book 9 Plus has to do with the addition of that touchscreen. There’s the shiny display, in fact, which used to have a matte, anti-glare end. And naturally, there’s the load. With no touchscreen, the previous Collection 9 weighed 2.fifty five kilos — an astonishing spec, even for an Ultrabook. Thanks largely to the touchscreen, although, this new mannequin is available in at three.06 kilos. Now, earlier than we get carried away, even that is fairly respectable for a touchscreen, thirteen-inch Ultrabook. Nevertheless it does really feel quite a bit heavier than we keep in mind the Collection 9 feeling. And apart from, there are many touchscreen ultraportables that handle to be even lighter than this.
There’s one different change, and this one we will not blame on the touchscreen. Along with including its new SideSync software program to Home windows eight, Samsung slapped some conspicuous “SideSync” and “HomeSync Lite” branding on the system itself, over on the correct aspect of the palm relaxation. What’s annoying is that it is painted onto the aluminum, so it is there, staring again at you whether or not you prefer it or not. We might have a lot most popular a sticker we might peel off.Keyboard and trackpad
Identical to the remainder of the design, the keyboard is principally the identical as on the final-gen Collection 9. As soon as once more, the buttons are nicely-spaced, with a reasonably aquamarine backlight glowing from beneath. Be warned, although: they’re additionally flat and shallow, with minimal journey. Do not get us incorrect; they’re nonetheless fairly straightforward to sort on, however we did endure extra dropped letters than on another Ultrabooks we have examined lately. Sort too shortly and also you may need to go bak again and re-sort a letter that did not register the primary time round.
One of many first issues we observed once we initially unboxed the ATIV Guide 9 Plus is that the trackpad is rather more dependable than the one we examined on the Collection 9. The cursor truly went the place it was purported to, and multi-contact gestures like two-finger scrolls and pinch-to-zoom have been additionally straightforward to tug off. After a bit of extra time with the machine, we did discover that the pad has a bit extra friction than we might like. To the machine’s credit score, the cursor by no means went rogue and ended up on some random, unintended a part of the web page; we did endure a little bit of drag, although. There have been additionally a number of occasions when the trackpad mistook two-finger scrolls for a swipe in from the left, which brought on us to inadvertently change from one app to a different. That was undoubtedly extra annoying than the marginally cussed cursor.Show and sound
Even in case you determined to downgrade the decision to 1080p, you would be left with a incredible display.
Including a touchscreen to the Collection 9 was clearly one thing of a compromise for Samsung: not solely did it add noticeably to the load, nevertheless it additionally meant Sammy needed to transfer from a matte, anti-glare display to a shiny one. Nonetheless, for those who’re beneath the impression Samsung swapped in a pedestrian show, we’ll right you now. With this era, the corporate made three,200 x 1,800 decision normal — a dramatic enchancment over final yr’s mannequin, which topped out at 1,600 x 900. We cannot waste your time describing the way it’s noticeably sharper than the unique, however we’ll add that it seems even sharper than a typical 1080p display; sure, your eyes can in all probability inform the distinction.
That elevated acuity works nice for sure desktop apps, like Phrase, and it additionally brings out the perfect within the colourful Home windows Begin Display. That stated, we’ll make the identical caveat we make some other time we evaluate a laptop computer with an excellent-excessive-res display: not all content material has been optimized to look good on shows this sharp. With YouTube, for example, movies look unusual at full-display, with the scrubber and buttons on the backside all scaled means down. The impact is so horrible, it is humorous.
Even in the event you determined to downgrade to 1080p, although, you would be left with a implausible display. Although it is naturally extra reflective than the matte panel that shipped on final yr’s mannequin, there actually are only a few mild artifacts right here. At half-brightness, I might barely see my reflection within the display whereas I typed; at full brightness, I could not see it in any respect. Talking of the type, the 350-nit brightness score helps contribute to some nice viewing angles from the aspect — with the brightness turned all the best way up, you should not have any drawback crowding across the laptop computer and watching a film from barely off to the aspect. What’s good is that the vertical viewing angles are nice even at decrease brightness settings. So, even in the event you’re engaged on an airplane and need to preserve battery life by dimming the backlight, you will nonetheless take pleasure in good distinction with the lid dipped ahead.
We truthfully weren’t anticipating a lot when it comes to sound: most Ultrabooks ship tolerable high quality at greatest and in addition to, Samsung hasn’t precisely been making an enormous deal of the ATIV E-book 9 Plus’ audio chops. Which will have been a mistake, although: the sound right here isn’t just surprisingly loud, however surprisingly wealthy too. More often than not, we had the quantity set nicely under the median mark — perhaps at degree 30 or forty out of one hundred. What’s extra, the quantity stays loud even once you place the laptop computer on a smooth floor like a sofa or a mattress; the audio system’ placement on the underside aspect does not muffle sound as we feared it might. Actually, the one purpose we prevented the highest setting is that it makes for an uncomfortably loud system when it is simply you chilling by your self within the residence workplace. In the event you do crank the quantity all the best way up, although, you will solely should endure a minimal quantity of distortion.
At decrease volumes, it is even higher — dare I say, the most effective sound I’ve heard but on an Ultrabook. Over a day of listening to Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Simon and Garfunkel, Dusty Springfield, The Temptations and others, I typically felt as if I have been rediscovering my favourite songs; piano notes and drum beats pushed by means of the twin two-watt audio system extra forcefully than I am used to on different machines. The truth is — and no, I am not making an attempt to troll right here — I did not need to return to my MacBook Air for music-listening after making an attempt out the audio system right here.Efficiency and battery life
The ATIV Guide 9 Plus is accessible in only one configuration, and it rocks usually the identical elements as different Ultrabooks we have examined lately: a twin-core, Haswell-collection Intel Core i5-4200U processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Accordingly, then, its benchmark scores land in the identical ballpark as different machines with the identical processor, together with the Sony VAIO Professional thirteen, and the brand new Acer Aspire S7-392.
The one space the place the ATIV E-book 9 Plus falls brief is in I/O speeds. All informed, the Toshiba-made SSD (you learn that proper) notched common reads of 547 MB/s, with writes hovering round 508 MB/s. To be clear, we’re not saying these speeds are sluggish. It is simply that we have lately examined a string of machines that managed to hit or exceed speeds of 1GB per second, even on the write check, which is all the time more durable. (Observe: the Acer Aspire S7 has a RAID zero setup, which has tradeoffs of its personal, so we’ll concede that is not a completely truthful comparability.) At any price, as we stated, these speeds would have as soon as been very spectacular, however we will not say the Collection 9 is a pacesetter on this space. Which is shocking, since Samsung makes a few of the quickest SSDs available on the market. Perhaps the corporate ought to have caught to its personal elements right here?
That stated, the machine feels lots quick in actual-world use. Not solely did I write my assessment on this laptop computer, however I wasted loads of time on it too, holding open tabs for Gmail, YouTube, Pandora and much and plenty of net searches. Switching from one app to a different was straightforward, as was toggling between all these open tabs in Web Explorer. At first, we thought the machine was in peril of overheating, as the underside aspect and higher keyboard space acquired heat simply six minutes right into a YouTube video. The excellent news is that although it will get heat shortly, it does not get any hotter after that. Even after hours of use, full with non-cease media streaming, the underside stayed pretty lukewarm — undoubtedly cool sufficient to comfortably relaxation on my lap.
It is a comparable story with fan noise. The ATIV E-book 9 Plus pipes up shortly — heck, it typically makes noise when it is sitting idle. However that noise by no means rises above a quiet sigh. In reality, we did not even discover it till we paused Pandora and began to work with none background noise.
Usually, when an organization charges a laptop computer for a specific amount of battery life, we simply assume we’ll get a bit much less runtime, particularly since our exams contain taxing circumstances (WiFi on, brightness at sixty five %, video looping off the native disk). On this case, although, Samsung appears to have given a conservative estimate: although it guarantees as much as 7.5 hours of use, we truly managed eight hours and forty four minutes in our video rundown. As you will see within the desk above, that is a good displaying for a Haswell machine. In truth, the Sony VAIO Professional thirteen was solely 20 minutes off in the identical check.Software program and guarantee
For all of the apps it masses onto its new Galaxy telephones, Samsung truly went straightforward with the bloatware on the ATIV E-book 9 Plus. Right here, we have got Bitcasa cloud storage, iHeartRadio, Netflix, a trial of Norton Web Safety and Adobe Photoshop Parts eleven. As for Samsung apps, it is simply S Participant+, SPhotoStudio and Music Hub, all of that are principally precisely what they sound like.
HomeSync Lite allows you to obtain and add content material between your PC and cellular units. In complete, you’ll be able to add as much as 5 consumer accounts, with six units per consumer. The catch, although, is that you’re going to want the Samsung Hyperlink app put in in your telephone and, uh, it is solely out there on Samsung handsets. So in case you’re utilizing a Moto X, you possibly can carry on trucking to the subsequent part. Additionally — and perhaps this goes with out saying — you want to chorus from deleting HomeSync out of your pc, even when it seems like bloatware; with out the app put in in your PC, you possibly can’t use the service in your cellular units both. SideSync, in the meantime, is for transferring information between your PC and Samsung telephone, which you are able to do utilizing both a cable or over a wi-fi connection.
The ATIV Guide 9 Plus comes with a one-yr guarantee.Configuration choices and the competitors
To reiterate: the ATIV E-book 9 Plus is bought in only one configuration within the US: a $1,four hundred mannequin with a 1.6GHz Core i5-4200U processor, 4GB of RAM, built-in Intel HD 4400 graphics, a three,200 x 1,800 display and a 128GB SSD.
As you’ve got in all probability gathered by now, we’re fairly keen on the ATIV E-book 9 Plus, and would extremely advocate it to anybody purchasing round for a premium Ultrabook. That stated, it isn’t the one wonderful choice on the market. Under, you will discover a rundown of the competitors. There’s lots to cowl, so to maintain issues easy, we’ll go in alphabetical order:
- We have already talked about the Acer Aspire S7 a number of occasions on this evaluate. Because the successor to the unique S7, which got here out final yr, this new mannequin steps as much as Haswell processors and a bigger battery capability, resulting in a critical enchancment in runtime. Even then, it does not final fairly so long as the ATIV E-book 9 Plus in our exams, however its endurance (7.5 hours) continues to be greater than acceptable. At 2.87 kilos, it is one of many lightest touchscreen, thirteen-inch Ultrabooks we all know of, and it rivals the ATIV Guide 9 Plus in thinness too. Its display is decrease-res, at 1080p, however when it comes to general high quality (viewing angles, colours, et cetera) it is among the best we have seen.
- Longtime Home windows customers will not give Apple’s MacBook Air a re-evaluation, however it’s value calling out for people who’re OS-agnostic. With this yr’s refresh, Apple primarily simply swapped in Haswell processors and PCIe SSDs, with no modifications to the outside. That is not a nasty factor, per se — we nonetheless dig the unibody aluminum chassis and cozy keyboard — however the decision continues to be caught at 1,440 x 900 on the thirteen-inch model. The one factor excusing the mediocre display is the battery life, which topped out at almost thirteen hours in our video rundown, with the subsequent-greatest performer trailing hours behind.
- It isn’t out but, however ASUS’ Zenbook UX301 is value including to your shortlist. With a 2,560 x 1,440 display, it is one of some Ultrabooks to push the envelope past 1080p — and that listing will get even shorter for those who embrace solely machines which might be based mostly on Haswell. Along with the beautiful IPS display, the UX301 has a sturdy (and in addition lovely) Gorilla Glass three lid. Thanks partially to that tumbler armor, the machine will weigh virtually as a lot because the ATIV Ebook 9 Plus (three.04 kilos, to be actual). In trade for the “heft,” although, you a minimum of get some promising efficiency: a Core i7 CPU, paired with optionally available discrete NVIDIA graphics.
- We already appreciated the Dell XPS 12 for its sturdy construct high quality, engaging design and cozy keyboard, and now it is even higher: Dell lately refreshed it with Haswell CPUs, a much bigger battery and an NFC sensor. The display decision continues to be the identical, at 1,920 x 1,080, however then once more, so is the worth: at $1,200 with a 128GB SSD, it is a tad cheaper than different techniques carrying comparable specs.
- This is one other one you may need to wait on. The Lenovo Yoga 2 Professional is the successor to the unique Yoga thirteen, and along with being each thinner and lighter, it brings a a lot-sharper three,200 x 1,800, 350-nit display — yep, identical to on the ATIV E-book 9 Plus. And at three.06 kilos, it weighs the identical as Samsung’s providing too. And, as with the ASUS UX301, although, it is more likely to be extra configurable. Most significantly, nevertheless, the beginning worth is $1,one hundred, which is significantly inexpensive than what the Samsungs and Acers of the marketplace are promoting.
- Although we solely did a full evaluate of the eleven-inch Sony VAIO Professional eleven, we did spend a while benchmarking the thirteen-inch model, the Sony VAIO Professional thirteen (see its leads to the benchmark desk within the efficiency part additional up the web page). With Haswell processors and PCIe SSDs, it manages to supply lengthy battery life and switch speeds in extra of 1GB per second. And, within the grand custom of Sony’s earlier Z-collection laptops, it has a carbon fiber construct that permits it to be remarkably light-weight — simply 2.34 kilos on this case. That is simply the lightest thirteen-inch touchscreen laptop computer available on the market (perhaps even the lightest thirteen-inch Ultrabook, interval).
- We’re primarily together with the Toshiba Kirabook on this listing in order that you recognize to remain away. With a 2,560 x 1,440 display, the Kirabook was one of many first Ultrabooks to ship with one thing higher than a 1080p display. Nonetheless, Toshiba made the error of releasing it earlier than Haswell got here out, and to this present day, it is caught with final-gen Ivy Bridge processors. That is an actual disgrace, given the lofty $1,600 beginning worth, and you are going to miss out on battery life due to it too. Oh, and including insult to damage, that beginning worth does not even embrace a touchscreen. As if!
Samsung already had the perfect Ultrabook available on the market, and it is managed to remain on prime in 2013, whilst its rivals have improved battery life and efficiency on their very own fashions. Like its predecessor, the ATIV E-book 9 Plus is impressively skinny, with an understated design and durable construct high quality. And due to a pointy three,200 x 1,800, low-glare display and a present Haswell processor, it rises to the highest when it comes to each show high quality and efficiency. Even the battery life, which is not technically greatest in school, continues to be excellent. It is a strong sufficient package deal that we will forgive its few flaws (the painted-on branding and the comparatively sluggish disk speeds). So, whereas there are another wonderful, equally priced choices on the market, the ATIV Ebook 9 Plus is a implausible choice in its personal proper.
ATIV E-book 9 Plus
- Key specs
- Sort Ultraportable
- Display measurement thirteen.three inches
- Processor velocity 1.6 GHz
- System RAM four GB
- Most battery life As much as 12 hours
- Dimensions zero.5 x 12.5 x eight.7 in
- Weight 2.fifty six lb
- Launched 2013-08-20