Samsung's skinny and lightweight Pocket book 9 harks again to easier occasions

Samsung’s new flagship laptop computer, the $1,500 Pocket book 9, doesn’t have a touchscreen. Its show doesn’t detach or fold again into pill mode. It isn’t even that thrilling-wanting. And but I’m absolutely having fun with my time with it. Although it does not supply a few of the niceties we have come to anticipate on trendy laptops, it excels in nearly each approach that issues, with wholesome battery life, a cushty keyboard, a shiny show and a skinny design. Even the touchpad is OK, and that is saying one thing.

Gallery: Samsung Pocket book 9 evaluate | 23 Pictures

Engadget Rating
Poor

Uninspiring

Good

Wonderful

Key

Execs
  • Extraordinarily mild for a 15-inch laptop computer
  • Brisk efficiency
  • Wholesome battery life
  • Snug keyboard
  • Vibrant display
Cons
  • Just one configuration, and at $1,500 it is not low cost
  • Lack of a touchscreen could be a bummer for some customers
  • No full-sized SD slot
  • 1080p decision will probably be disappointing to some

Abstract

Samsung’s 15-inch Pocket book 9 is not flashy — it does not have a removable design or a 4K display — nevertheless it will get all of the essential stuff proper, making it probably the greatest laptops we have examined just lately. Highlights embrace respectable battery life, quick efficiency and a cushty keyboard. What’s extra, because of some slim bezels and a light-weight, 2.9-pound chassis, it is so compact that it is easy to overlook you are utilizing a 15-inch system. In case you can stay with no touchscreen — and swallow the excessive worth — there’s so much to like right here.

Hardware

Samsung's thin and light Notebook 9 harks back to simpler times

I used to be positive I had acquired the improper cargo. The Pocket book 9 is obtainable in two sizes: thirteen.three and 15 inches, and although I knew I used to be getting the 15-inch model to assessment, it actually did appear, once I pulled it out of the field, that I had been despatched the smaller one. First off, because of some tremendous-skinny bezels (only a quarter of an inch vast), Samsung was capable of cram a 15-inch show right into a machine with a a lot smaller footprint. Assume: the type of chassis you’d usually discover on a 14-inch laptop computer. Second — and that is the place I actually received confused, I feel — the 15-inch model weighs solely 2.9 kilos. Take into consideration that for a second: That is on par with the thirteen-inch MacBook Air. (The thirteen-inch Pocket book 9 is even lighter, at a barely there 1.9 kilos.) Maybe you’ll be able to perceive, then, the place the 15-inch laptop computer we’ve right here merely does not match my notions of how a machine that measurement ought to feel and appear.

Earlier than I gush an excessive amount of, although, I need to make one factor clear: Mild as that is, it isn’t a very fairly machine. Its magnesium-alloy casing is sturdy, sure, however it seems like plastic from afar. There’s additionally a wierd bump the place the palm relaxation ends, placing the keyboard on a barely decrease aircraft. What can I say? It is bizarre-wanting.

As plain because the Pocket book 9 is, Samsung makes up for that in different methods. Except for these skinny bezels and that compact footprint, the port choice is sweet, even regardless of these slim half-inch-thick edges. On the left aspect we have got a full-measurement USB connection, together with a headphone jack, a USB Sort-C port and a Mini DisplayPort. Over on the suitable you will discover one other USB port, together with a full-measurement HDMI socket and a microSD card reader. That covers a lot of the bases, then, although I am a type of individuals who would have most popular — and repeatedly use — a full-measurement SD slot.

Samsung's thin and light Notebook 9 harks back to simpler times

The keyboard additionally excuses the uninspired design. The buttons listed here are nicely spaced, springy and responsive; I by no means should retype a letter as a result of it did not register the primary time. They’re additionally comparatively quiet, which is all the time a plus. If I might change something, I would like to not have to carry the perform key to regulate issues like quantity and display brightness. However for typing, it is incredible.

As I stated, the touchpad is not dangerous. Not good, however I might completely agree with my colleague Chris, who stated in his preliminary palms-on that the trackpad “did not make me need to shoot myself.” Certainly, Chris. Certainly. Sure, it does that factor that different touchpads do the place it typically makes me by accident rearrange pinned browser tabs, nevertheless it occurs much less typically right here. More often than not, the contact floor works fantastic for single-finger monitoring and two-finger scrolling.

Show and sound

Samsung's thin and light Notebook 9 harks back to simpler times

The show is one other instance of the place the Pocket book 9 is not flashy, maybe, however continues to be pleasurable to make use of. The 1,920 x 1,080 panel we have now right here is not notably excessive-res, however it nonetheless feels greater than sufficient for on a regular basis use. What the machine lacks in pixels it makes up for in balanced, pleasing colours and minimal glare; this is not a matte panel, precisely, however the gloss is so minimal that you simply will not see many reflections. It helps, I feel, that the show has a excessive brightness score of 350 nits. (The brighter the panel, the better it’s to outshine pure mild.) Separate from display glare, the viewing angles are vast sufficient that whenever you dip the display ahead, the colours principally maintain their constancy. That is additionally a plus.

As we have discovered time and again, there’s extra to good display high quality than simply pixel density. And if the pixel density have been larger, the battery life would not be so long as it’s, which might be a disgrace.

Whereas I by no means craved a better decision, nevertheless, I did typically miss having a touchscreen. Going way back to Home windows eight, Microsoft’s working system has been constructed for a mixture of keyboard and finger enter. Certainly, principally each Home windows laptop computer I’ve examined in recent times has had a touchscreen, even when it did not have a removable or convertible design permitting it for use in pill mode.

With that little bit of background, you’ll be able to say I have been spoiled. My inclination is to hit the Begin button within the decrease-left nook once I’m able to energy down the machine. And once I wanted the constructed-in calculator app, it positive would have been good to faucet the numbers with my fingers somewhat than click on, click on, click on on every digit. I understand that having a touchscreen would have meant a barely heavier, barely thicker design, however I feel I might have been OK with that.

Efficiency and battery life
PCMark 7 PCMark eight (Artistic Accelerated) 3DMark eleven 3DMark (Sky Diver) ATTO (prime reads/writes) Samsung Pocket book 9 (2.5GHz Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520) 5,309 three,705 E2,567 / P1,541 / X416 three,518 539 MB/s / 299 MB/s Dell XPS thirteen (2.3GHz Core i5-6200U, Intel Graphics 520) four,954 three,499 E2,610 / P1,531 three,335 1.6GB/s / 307 MB/s HP Spectre x360 15t (2.4GHz Core i5-6200U, Intel HD 520) 5,040 three,458 E2,672 / P1,526 / X420 three,542 561 MB/s / 284 MB/s Razer Blade Stealth (2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520) 5,131 three,445 E2,788 / P1,599 / X426 three,442 1.5 GB/s / 307 MB/s Toshiba Radius 12 (2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520) 5,458 three,684 E2,865 / P1,622 three,605 552 MB/s / 489 MB/s Microsoft Floor Professional four (2.4GHz Core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520) 5,403 three,602

E2,697/ P1,556/ X422

three,614 1.6 GB/s / 529 MB/s Lenovo Yoga 900 (2.5GHz Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520) 5,368 three,448

E2,707 / P1,581

three,161 556 MB/s / 511 MB/s Microsoft Floor E-book (2.4GHz Core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520) 5,412 three,610

E2,758 / P1,578 / X429

three,623 1.6 GB/s / 571 MB/s

The unit I examined, which sells for $1,500, is the one obtainable configuration of the 15-inch Pocket book 9. That features a 2.5GHz, twin-core Intel Core i7-6500U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB Samsung-made strong-state drive and built-in Intel 520 graphics. These are the identical specs we have seen in a handful of different excessive-finish laptops, together with the Razer Blade Stealth, Toshiba Radius 12 and the Lenovo Yoga 900.

Given the excessive marks we gave every of these methods, it ought to come as no shock, then, that the Pocket book 9 can also be a robust performer. No, it will not suffice for any sort of critical gaming — nobody stated it might! — however it will probably in any other case sustain with the perfect of them. Its eight- to 9-second boot-up time can also be quick, even by as we speak’s requirements. I additionally used it as my workhorse for a lot of my evaluate interval, juggling round 10 pinned Chrome tabs and open apps like Skype, Slack, Spotify and Microsoft Phrase. The efficiency was clean all through, although some credit score is because of different key parts, like the brilliant show, snug keyboard and respectable trackpad. An all-round good setup like that makes it simpler to remain productive.

Samsung's thin and light Notebook 9 harks back to simpler times

Principally, the machine does not name consideration to itself when you’re making an attempt to get stuff completed. Nicely, with one exception. In contrast to different trendy PCs, lots of which come put in with Intel-owned McAfee safety software program, the Pocket book 9 comes pre-loaded with a trial model of Symantec’s Norton Safety suite. Norton is not alone in its affinity for annoying pop-ups — McAfee can also be a nasty offender — however Symantec takes demise by trialware to a brand new degree. After I repeatedly refused to pay for a subscription (learn: I clicked the passive-aggressive “keep unprotected” button), I ultimately began seeing a pop-up within the decrease-proper nook of my display.

However in contrast to with different pop-ups, I could not shut, reduce and even transfer this one. Finally, I needed to uninstall this system to make the annoying field go away. Which, let’s be actual, I may need achieved anyway, however is that basically what Norton needs? To lose an opportunity of me ever signing up? Additionally, I feel we will agree that having to open program settings, uninstall an app after which restart your machine is sort of an excessive, time-sucking response when all you wanna do is shut a pop-up.

OK, I am executed ranting. Thanks for listening.

Battery life

Samsung Pocket book 9 eight:sixteen Floor E-book (Core i5, built-in graphics) thirteen:fifty four / three:20 (pill solely) MacBook Air (thirteen-inch, 2013) 12:fifty one HP Spectre x360 (thirteen-inch, 2015) eleven:34 Floor Guide (Core i7, discrete graphics) eleven:31 / three:02 (pill solely) Apple MacBook Professional with Retina show (thirteen-inch, 2015) eleven:23 iPad Professional 10:forty seven HP Spectre x360 15t 10:17 Chromebook Pixel (2015) 10:01 Lenovo Yoga 900 9:36 Microsoft Floor three 9:eleven Apple MacBook (2015) 7:forty seven Dell XPS thirteen (2015) 7:36 Microsoft Floor Professional four 7:15 Microsoft Floor Professional three 7:08 HP Spectre x2 6:forty three Razer Blade Stealth 5:forty eight Dell XPS 15 (2016) 5:25 (7:forty with the cellular charger) Toshiba Radius 12 5:12

Samsung charges the Pocket book 9 for as much as 12 hours of battery life on the 15-inch mannequin, and as much as 10 hours on the thirteen-inch model, which I have never examined. I am positive with considerably intermittent use and conservative brightness settings you may certainly attain 12 hours, or near it, however in Engadget’s (admittedly taxing) video rundown check, I obtained eight hours and sixteen minutes. Given how vibrant this specific display is, I made a decision to re-run the check at half brightness, however even that prolonged the runtime by solely 36 minutes.

The competitors

Samsung's thin and light Notebook 9 harks back to simpler times

Fifteen inches has lengthy been some of the common laptop computer display sizes right here within the US, so you will discover no scarcity of decisions there. If, particularly, you need a flagship-caliber machine that is additionally skinny and lightweight, your choices will dwindle to only a handful. What a pleasant choice it’s, although. Along with the Pocket book 9, Home windows customers ought to take a look at HP’s Spectre x360 15t ($1,one hundred fifty and up). At four kilos and zero.sixty three inches thick, it isn’t fairly as skinny or mild because the Pocket book 9, however then once more, it has a 360-diploma touchscreen that is sure so as to add some heft. Along with being slim for a convertible this measurement, the 15t earned a excessive rating for its snug keyboard, robust construct high quality, lengthy battery life, 4K display choice and strong audio.

If efficiency is a precedence, you may also contemplate the Dell XPS 15, whose prime-finish configurations have quad-core Core i7 chips, discrete NVIDIA graphics, 32GB of RAM and a shade-correct 4K touchscreen. Clearly, although, you are in rather more modest specs on the entry-degree $1,000 worth. Both approach, the XPS 15 is light-weight for what it’s, with a beginning weight of three.9 kilos, nevertheless it nonetheless does not come near the Pocket book 9 in that regard. Should you care extra about portability and do not thoughts giving up a touchscreen (or the choice of 4K decision), Samsung’s providing may nonetheless be your higher guess.

So long as we’re as regards to slim, light-weight laptops, I’ll as nicely point out the 15-inch MacBook Professional, although remember that it has extra in widespread with the Dell XPS 15 than the Pocket book 9 we’re speaking about right here. That’s to say, with a beginning worth of $1,999 and base specs that embrace a quad-core Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and Intel Iris Professional graphics, it is a workhorse first. Sure, it is moveable too, at four.forty nine kilos and zero.seventy one inches thick, however that does not appear to have been as massive a precedence right here because it was for Samsung when it designed the Pocket book 9. You can additionally go together with the lighterweight MacBook Air, however that is a much less good comparability, simply because there is no 15-inch Air, and in the meantime the thirteen-inch Pocket book 9 might be a good higher match for the eleven- and thirteen-inch MBAs.

Wrap-up

Samsung's thin and light Notebook 9 harks back to simpler times

As is all the time the case, the Samsung Pocket book 9 is not for everybody. However I think it’ll hit the candy spot for many individuals. It is exceptionally skinny and lightweight for a 15-inch laptop computer — a lot in order that to today I nonetheless typically overlook I am utilizing such an enormous-screened machine. The battery life is respectable, particularly when you take care to rein in that brilliant, 350-nit show. That display is beautiful, by the best way, even when some energy customers will really feel dissatisfied by the middling 1080p decision. Rounding out the record, efficiency is quick, the keyboard is snug to make use of and even the trackpad is all proper.

Should you crave trendy-day facilities like a 4K display, contact panel or a 2-in-1 design, this is not the machine for you. However for individuals who simply need an incredible laptop computer that is quick and cozy to make use of, this belongs in your buying record.

Dana Wollman is Managing Editor of Engadget, the place she runs a rising staff of reporters and reviewers. She received her begin in tech journalism almost a decade in the past as a author for Laptop computer Magazine and the AP earlier than arriving at Engadget in 2011. She seems weekly on ABC Radio, and has additionally been a visitor on Bloomberg TV, CNN, CNBC, NPR and Fox Enterprise, amongst different retailers. Dana is a graduate of Wesleyan College and the Columbia Publishing Course, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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