The new Notebook 9 series is Samsung’s response to the wave of thinner, lighter and more stylish ultrabooks that have flooded the market in recent months. And, as expected, this laptop is a good alternative to similar models from Dell, ASUS, LG or even Acer. Today we’ll look at the Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K04US.
As is tradition, this 13.3″ laptop boasts impressive numbers related to thinness and weight. Also, I said in the introductory article, the Notebook 9 is a viable alternative to competition, especially if you also own a late-gen Samsung smartphone. This is, perhaps, the single feature which sets it apart: seamless sync with other Samsung devices.
Other than that, its design is quiet, understated and timeless – its chassis is made from premium alloy. The light gray color combined with round corners and smartly placed I/O ports create a feeling of stylish reliability that’s hard to recreate with aggressive design choices.
Aside from the discretely backlit keyboard and the thin screen bezel, the Samsung Notebook 9 isn’t packed with features, whether they could be useful or not. We’re looking at a high quality ultrabook with enough power to likely satisfy all users and a simple, yet smart design that helps the user focus on what’s really important: what’s being worked on the display.
The Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K04US is equipped with a 7th generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor. This dual core model has a base frequency of 2.7 GHz, which goes up to 3.5 GHz in turbo mode and sports 4 megabytes of cache size. As much as ultrabook processors go, this is one of the best of the bunch. It offers both unrivaled power and a small power consumption footprint. You’ll be able to work faster, for longer with the i7-7500U.
This ultrabook has plenty of system memory installed. More precisely, it comes with 16 gigabytes of on-board DDR4 RAM. The fact that it’s soldered to the motherboard, means the end user won’t be able to upgrade it further. This shouldn’t be an issue, since 16 gigs is enough for most RAM-intensive tasks, save for 3D renders and such.
Storage space comes in the form of a SATA3 256-gigabyte Solid-State Drive. It’s speedy enough to make using Windows 10 a superb experience, but lacks the extra speed boost that newer, more advanced PCI Express M.2 SSDs offer. Still, for the vast majority of users, this drive will work wonderfully well. And if 256 gigabytes of storage capacity seems too low, you won’t find a better deal at this price. At least not at the time this review had been written.
Graphics and display
The Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K04US model has an integrated graphic chipset – the Intel HD Graphics 620. This means serious gaming or other graphic-intensive work is likely out of the question, at least as much as professionals are concerned. For most users who need to stream FHD/4K content, or want to edit photos/video, the on-board graphics card will do its job without struggling.
As for the display quality, I’m a bit disappointed that Samsung hasn’t included a QHD panel, but opted for a 13.3″ LED IPS FHD display. Don’t get me wrong, the colors are brilliantly rendered, but the resolution could have been better, like we’ve seen on similar models from other manufacturers. This is the only complaint I have regarding this ultrabook: the display is great, but could have been perfect.
Interface and connectivity options
It’s refreshing to see a modern ultrabook, like the Samsung NP900X3N-K04US opt-out of the recent changes brought by the USB-C port. They’ve managed to fit actual USB 3.0 ports and dedicated HDMI. This offers users the option to not be overburdened by clunky adapters all the time. Here are the available options:
- 1 x USB-C port
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 1 x HDMI-out port
- 1 x COMBO Audio jack
- 1 x MicroSD card reader
As for connectivity, the Samsung boasts a state of the art Intel Wireless-Ac 8260 (2×2 802.11ac) wireless card and Bluetooth v4.1.
Portability and battery life
The Samsung Notebook 9 blows the competition out of the water when it comes to weight. The 13.3″ ultrabook weighs just 1.8 pounds – which is lighter than many 11.6″ models. It’s insane how portable this device is. It makes carrying it around and traveling long distances with it less of an unpleasant necessity. Furthermore, it’s the thinnest device I have reviewed, measuring just 0.55 inches from top to bottom. These two numbers mean that users can slide the notebook right in their bags and just go travel, without having to plan the space around their devices. This is a fantastic breakthrough!
As for battery life, the stats of the Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K04US are in line with its thinness and weight. A full charge will last up to 10 hours of moderate to light use, less if pushed hard. That’s more than a full day’s worth of work, so despite it not rising up to the standards imposed by the Dell XPS and other ultrabooks, the tradeoff is fair.
All in all, the Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K04US I’ve reviewed today is an exceptional ultra-portable laptop. Not only does it come with impressive performance, but the hardware, design and interface choices that Samsung have made really take this model a step above competition. It’s insanely lightweight, powerful, expansive, stylish and long-going. Honestly, this notebook is a pleasant surprise and a must-buy for seasoned travelers, traveling professionals and picky home or office users.