Samsung Ativ Book 9 2014 Edition Review
The war for high-end slim and light weight ultrabooks started with Apple’s MacBook Air and Ativ Book 9 series was Samsung’s first attempt at high-end ultraportable laptops. Ativ Book 9 (2014) is the latest ultrabook in the series and it features all the characteristics of its predecessors in a slimmer and lighter body. It features a larger display and thanks to its tapered edges the laptop feels even slimmer. With its premium design and long lasting battery, Ativ Book 9 (2014) is one of the better options in high-end ultra-portable laptops category.
Design and Features
Samsung Ativ Book 9 (2014) look identical to the last gen Ativ Book 9 Plus, but Samsung has managed to make it slimmer and lighter. It weighs 3.92 pounds and has a thickness of only 0.5 inches, making it even slimmer than Apple’s MacBook Air 13-inch. The chassis is made from aluminum, due to which it is not only light and slim, but also feels solid and sturdy in the hand. Due to its slim profile, Samsung Ativ Book 9 doesn’t come with many ports. On the right side it has one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, a Kensington case-lock slot and a port for VGA-out adapter (sold separately). While on the left side, there is an HDMI out, another USB 3.0 port, stereo headset jack, another small port for an Ethernet adapter and a SD card slot.
Samsung Ativ Book 9 (2014) features a gorgeous 15.6-inch touch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixel full HD resolution. Although the resolution is a downgrade compared to 3200 x 1800 pixel resolution display of last gen’s Ativ Book 9 Plus, but due to its lower resolution Ativ Book 9 (2014) consumes less energy and lasts much longer. The display is very bright and produce up to 300-nits of backlighting. Some tests revealed that it can reproduce 97 percent of the sRGB gamut. The display gives dark blacks with accurate colors and is beautiful to look at. Samsung cleverly reduced the size of bezels around the display to fit the beautiful 15.6-inch panel in such a small laptop. Samsung Ativ Book 9 comes with built-in stereo speakers, which are loud enough to fill a large room. Not only are the speakers loud, but even at maximum volume there is very little distortion. The overall performance of speakers is much better than any other ultrabook in this category.
Below the majestic display of Ativ Book 9 (2014) lies a spacious and centered keyboard with soft-touch matte finish keys. While the keyboard lacks numeric pad, it does come with backlit keys for easy use. The keyboard is comfortable to use and the keys provide a reasonable amount of key travel and tactile feedback. Below the keyboard is a large multi-touch trackpad with a silky smooth surface and gesture support. The trackpad is 4.35 x 3.2 inches in size and has integrated left and right mouse buttons which are easy to use. Unlike most manufacturers, Samsung did not flood the laptop with bloatware and it comes pre-installed with a small number of applications which include Samsung Link for sharing content with other Samsung devices including Smart TV. S Photo Studio and Adobe Photo Shop Elements 11 for photo editing. Samsung also included S Player + for additional file format support, and users also get a one year subscription of Norton Internet Security Suite. The laptop is covered by one-year Samsung warranty on parts and labor.
Samsung Ativ Book 9 (2014) is powered by Intel Core i5-4200U processor which is the same as previous gen Ativ Book 9 but this time it has 8GB of RAM instead of 4GB. It is equipped with a 128GB SSD for quick boot times and a 750GB mechanical hard drive for extra storage. With double the amount of memory, Ativ Book 9 (2014) shows considerable amount of increase in performance over its predecessor. The new Ativ Book 9 completed the Photoshop CS6 test in 4 minutes 49 seconds, while Ativ Book 9 Plus completed the same test in 5 minutes 51 seconds.
Ativ Book 9 (2014) comes with Intel HD Graphics 4400, which might not be enough for the latest 3D games, but it is more than capable to handle HD movies, streaming videos and editing photos or video clips. It scored 4274 and 267 points in 3DMark CloudGate and FireStrike test, respectively. In PCMark 8 it managed to score 913 points. It lasted 11 hours and 26 minutes during the battery test, which consists of continuous streaming of HD video over Wi-Fi without sound. While the last gen Book 9 Plus only lasted 8 hours and 15 min during the same battery test. Samsung has targeted Ativ Book 9 (2014) for frequent travelers who want a premium ultrabook with good performance and long lasting battery life for their day to day tasks on the move.
Even though Ativ Book 9 (2014) lacks the ultra-high resolution display of previous gen Ativ Book 9 plus, it still features their slim design and solid build quality. It even comes with a larger screen in the size of last gen Book 9 plus and a battery that lasts hours longer than any other ultrabook in its category. All these characteristics make Samsung Ativ Book 9 (2014) top contender for the title of best high-end ultrabook.