Yeah, 2016 is the year when every known brand made their MacBook Air counterpart. And 15 inch Samsung Notebook 9 is surely one of them. Over the year, Samsung has been a sleeping giant in the laptop world, but they woke up at the end, with their amazing Notebook 9. So why is so interested at this Notebook 9? Let’s read the review and find out!
Basically, it’s a 15-inch laptop that weighs less than three pounds. It’s thin enough to slip into a bag with ease. Sporting a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, it doesn’t compromise specs in the name of the design. And the price of this balanced beast is only $1199. Surely, it’s not a budget laptop by any means, but it is also definitely not an overpriced Ultrabook.
BUILD AND DESIGN
Traditionally laptops larger than 13 inches are meant to be a little bulky. A combination of a larger screen and bigger battery in a 15-inch laptop often leads to laptops that are not supposed to fetch around in a backpack. But with the 15-inch Notebook 9, Samsung has found the best of both worlds. Weighing 2.77 pounds, the Notebook 9 is deceivingly light. To put that into perspective, the 13 inch MacBook Air weighs just a bit than the Notebook 9. Its 0.57 inch thickness is also thinner than the MacBook Air, as the thickness of the Air is 0.64 inches.
Like other Samsung products, the Notebook 9 is all about curves. Instead of hard edges, you’ll find a slightly rounded lid and a rolling slope that extends from the hinge to the depressed keyboard deck before rising again to meet the slightly raised palm rest. The only hard right angles on this laptop are found on its edges, which form a defined spine that wraps around the periphery. But even then, this sharp angle gives way to a sloped underside, making it seem as if the Notebook 9 is thinner than it actually is.
Despite its 0.57 inch thickness, with an aluminum chassis, the Notebook 9 feels solid and rigid. The only flimsy area that has me worried is the squishy lid, which depresses easily due to a noticeable air gap between the screen lid and the display itself.
This part of the Notebook 9 doesn’t look that good. Basically, it is an island style, comfortable and spacious keyboard. But the keys have only 1.35 millimeters of travel and require 55 grams of force to depress. This low travel can often cause fingers to bottom out when typing at full speed. The keyboard also lacks backlighting, which is unforgivable at this price point.
On the other hand, glass covered large touchpad is smooth and tracks fingers reliably and accurately, even with multitouch gestures. It recognizes gestures without fail and is big enough to be accurate. Personally, I enjoyed the texture, which is smooth without being frictionless. And at 4.2 by 3 inches, there’s plenty of space to work with.
Though the slim body of the Notebook 9 doesn’t have that much room for ports, there is more than enough for any standard use, and some more!
The left side of the laptop has the power jack, a USB 3.0 port, headphone and microphone combo input, a USB Type C port and an Ethernet connection port.
While on the right, there are a MicroSD card slot, an HDMI port, and the other USB 3.0 port.
Regardless of the low resolution, the screen is one of the best parts of the device. Rather than waste resources on a QHD or 4k screen, Samsung went for quality. Its 1920×1080 pixels are more than enough for a display that stows away in your bag, and that 16:9 aspect ratio is the perfect shape for video streaming.
At 348 nits, an impressive 110.4 percent of the sRGB color gamut, and a solid Delta-E color accuracy score of 1.2 (lower is better), the display of the Notebook 9 is amazingly vibrant! Also, thanks to the IPS screen, viewing angles on the Notebook 9 were strong, as colors remained true even at 80 degrees to the left and right.
The audio system of the Notebook 9 is not something to be proud of, but it is not bad either. The bottom mounted speakers of the Notebook 9 produce just enough sound for casual use. The quality of the sound is decent and enjoyable. However, the placement of the speakers could be better, as the bottom mounted speakers can easily be covered by the lap, or anywhere you put the laptop.
The Notebook 9 sports a dual core 6th generation Intel Core i7, clocked at 2.5GHz. Considering it’s a current generation i7, it’s fairly powerful, and dual core i7 processors aren’t uncommon among Ultrabooks, but it’s a disadvantage as most premium laptops have a quad core processor nowadays.
This laptop uses a Samsung solid state drive, with 256GB of storage space. Solid state drives are fast, but not all SSDs are created equal. And comparing with the Dell XPS 15 or latest ZenBook, the one Notebook 9 carrying is surely not one of the best!
Also an onboard Intel HD 520 without any discrete graphics doesn’t look good. If you were planning to game on your laptop, you have to reconsider.
HEAT AND NOISE
This laptop has two fans on the back of the case, and don’t make noise unless you play games or run processor intensive benchmarks. Also the laptop never really generates that much heat, as the warmest surface temperature I recorded was 35 degrees Celsius.
As you can see in the specifications, the reviewed version sports a Core i7 6500U CPU, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and an FHD IPS display and costs $1199.
There is another version named Notebook 9 Pro, which offers 4k touch screen and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M graphics card. The Pro version costs $1499.
Power and portability both come at a price, and how you balance it matters. And with Notebook 9, Samsung did it quite well, dominating $1500 LG Gram 15 inch in almost every way, and competing well with the MacBook Pro. Also speaking of portability, the Notebook 9 is both thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air.
There are of course lighter, thinner, and more powerful laptops out there on the market. But for $1199, the Notebook 9 is very good. For those interested in picking up a light Windows 10 laptop, or making a switch from a Mac, Notebook 9 can be the best choice!