Editor’s Note: What follows on this evaluation is our impressions of the 2017 Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch) model. For our ideas on the newest model, learn our Samsung Notebook 9 review for 2018.
Final summer time, the Samsung shocked us with its Notebook 9 Pro, a 2-in-1 laptop that might be lauded for years to come back for not solely its versatile design, however for its long-lasting battery and flattering seems to be as nicely.
This yr, that very same Seoul-based tech conglomerate has come out with a model of its award-winning Samsung Notebook 9 Pro for followers of conventional laptop computer kind elements: the Samsung Notebook 9.
Often once we see non-’pro’ variants come out of our favourite notebooks hit the cabinets, it means just one factor: a mannequin that’s been knocked down, performance-wise, for the sake of financial viability.
That’s not the case with the Samsung Notebook 9, a – dare we are saying – Ultrabook that retains the thrill of the Samsung Notebook 9 Professional whereas taking away its potential to rework into pill mode. Sadly, nevertheless, it’s bafflingly costlier than its skilled grade counterpart.
Value and availability
For $1,399 (about £989, AU$1,725), the Samsung Notebook 9 could be yours. Because it’s being bought in just one configuration, and one which’s out there uniquely to the US at that, what you see is what you get from this laptop computer.
Then once more, that isn’t essentially a nasty factor contemplating the sheer worth packed into the Samsung Notebook 9’s all-aluminum physique. That ostensibly lofty price ticket nets you all the things you see within the spec sheet to the correct.
That’s pricier than the previous-generation Samsung Notebook 9, and confusingly sufficient, it prices greater than the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, too.
That’s proper, at $1,299 (about £1,000, AU$1,720), the similarly-specced 15-inch Samsung Notebook 9 Pro – touchscreen, 360-degree convertible show and all – is cheaper than the Samsung Notebook 9, although there are some key design variations between the 2 laptops we’ll get to momentarily which will very nicely justify the $100 premium.
In any other case, the Samsung Notebook 9 falls someplace between the Lenovo Yoga 720 (15-inch) and Dell XPS 15 by way of pricing.
Whereas the previous comes outfitted with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD space and a 1080p display screen for $1,199 (£1,299, AU$2,699), you possibly can fetch the latter for $2,174 (£1,814, AU$2,634), armed with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ paired with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 4K display screen.
Regardless of its inevitable comparisons to the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, the vanilla Samsung Notebook 9 is a remarkably designed laptop computer. The second you energy it on, you’ll discover how vivid, vivid and downright attractive the show is, to not point out how minuscule the bezels are.
It may not have the Extremely HD fixings that the XPS 15 does, however there’s an HDR-like (excessive dynamic vary) high quality to the Samsung Notebook 9’s display screen that shouldn’t go ignored. That’s no coincidence both, seeing as Samsung’s personal advertising supplies recommend a ‘Video HDR’ function is totally supported by the Notebook 9.
It’s not solely clear what particularly ‘Video HDR’ does, but it surely sits contained in the pre-installed Samsung Settings app, alongside three different ‘Fast Settings’ and quite a few deeper superior settings. Not like different Windows 10 laptops we’ve reviewed prior to now, Samsung enables you to configure ‘Auto Booting’, ‘USB charging in sleep Mode’, ‘Outside Mode’ and extra inside its personal proprietary management heart – very helpful.
From the seems to be of it, the Video HDR function applies an automated enhance in distinction to the Samsung Notebook 9’s show slightly than providing compatibility with the canonical ‘Stream HDR Video’ setting discovered on each Home windows 10 pc. Though it’s not true HDR, it’s nonetheless a pleasant contact.
Display quirks apart, the Samsung Notebook 9 is par for the course in different areas. The keyboard is comfy, but it surely’s nothing out of the atypical. In different phrases, the truth that it has extra journey than the MacBook Pro used to jot down this evaluation is extra of a knock towards Apple than a praise in the direction of Samsung – for those who catch our drift.
With regard to its main competitors, specifically the Dell XPS 15 and Lenovo Yoga 720, the Samsung Notebook 9’s inputs hardly really feel any totally different.
At its finest, this laptop computer bears a keyboard that feels pure to the contact and a trackpad that simply so occurs to be not as terrible as they typically, usually are (i.e., it isn’t tremendous loud if you press all the way down to click on stuff). At its worst, the trackpad is perhaps a hair too small. That mentioned, the default sensitivity is excessive sufficient that you just received’t want a mouse.
There’s a fingerprint reader to be used with the Home windows Howdy login authenticator too, which works about in addition to anticipated. It’s no roughly constant than different fingerprint readers we’ve used.
Light on weight, heavy on ports
Opposite to different 15-inch laptops in its class, the Samsung Notebook 9 is something however unwieldy. In reality, weighing solely 2.73 kilos (1.24kg), it manages to be considerably lighter than the three.79-pounds (1.7kg) Samsung Notebook 9 Pro with out compromising on specs. Specs which, thoughts you, comprise an ideal mix of ports each outdated and new.
These embody a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, a microSD card slot, HDMI out and, maybe better of all, a Thunderbolt 3 USB Sort-C port. So, whether or not you’re residing prior to now or making ready for the long run, you ought to not be disenchanted with the connection lineup.
It may need discrete Nvidia graphics, however we wouldn’t go in anticipating too a lot from the Samsung Notebook 9’s pixel-pushing efficiency. It’s not a gaming laptop computer, neither is it marketed as being such.
Then again, the Samsung Notebook 9 is a commendable selection for almost all the things else.
That 2GB of GDDR5 video reminiscence boasted by the onboard GeForce 940MX chip goes a good distance if you’re speaking about graphics-intensive photograph or video enhancing.
So, whereas it was a chore to play Dragon Ball FighterZ on the Samsung Notebook 9 at medium settings, you’re sure to search out success with productiveness duties.
What’s extra, because it makes use of Nvidia Optimus graphics switching tech, the Samsung Notebook 9 ought to theoretically have a prolonged battery life along with a boatload of energy.
After placing this idea to the check, we will verify the credibility of those claims, too.
What it lacks in different areas of our benchmark testing, the Samsung Notebook 9 greater than makes up for with its phenomenal battery life. At four hours and 51 minutes, based on the PCMark eight battery life check, the Samsung Notebook 9 carried out markedly higher than the three hours and 38 minutes persevered by the Dell XPS 15 and even the four hours and 35 minutes of the Lenovo Yoga 720.
In our personal in-house battery check, whereby we loop the hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy in VLC Participant till the system dies, the Samsung Notebook 9 blew us away, lasting a complete 9 hours and 23 minutes earlier than reaching a brief demise.
The Samsung Notebook 9 doesn’t have the very best graphics for gaming, as you possibly can inform by its lackluster 3DMark scores (1,418 in Sky Diver versus the Dell XPS 15’s 15,373). Regardless that it’s an Intel Core i7, it doesn’t have the very best processor both, because it’s a ‘U’-series i7 slightly than an ‘HQ’-series.
What it does have is a skinny and lightweight design that received’t pressure your again, an attractive display screen, a formidable keyboard and a trackpad that we surprisingly don’t hate. It helps fast-charging and a variety of different options that you just’ll solely discover on Samsung notebooks by means of a built-in app that additionally took us abruptly – oh, and that battery life can’t be beat.
The pricing is admittedly a bit bizarre. It doesn’t make sense that the non-hybrid Samsung Notebook 9 would price greater than the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro that doubles as a pill, particularly when the one inside distinction between the 2 merchandise appears to be that the Pro leverages a comparable grade of AMD graphics instead of Nvidia.
Aside from that, the one grievance we now have is that the closely marketed ‘HDR Video’ operate doesn’t offer you permission to tick that elusive ‘Stream HDR Video’ possibility within the Home windows 10 video playback settings; it’s solely relevant to the built-in Samsung Settings app mechanically pinned to your taskbar if you log in to your pc for the primary time. For that motive, we’re hesitant to name this HDR in any respect.
The Samsung Notebook 9 is an anomaly, in that it looks as if it was priced erroneously and but it’s nonetheless in some way value the price of entry. It doesn’t have the fanciest inside parts, but it surely’s highly effective sufficient to get the job completed, no matter that job could also be, plus it has the benefit of featherlight portability.
Moreover, it must be a criminal offense to say the Samsung Notebook 9 with out applauding its battery life in the identical breath. It doesn’t come near the apparently immortal MacBook Air, but it knocks its speedy rivals out of the water. This can be a laptop computer that’s constructed for enduring lengthy tasks on the fly, with out the priority for misplaced chargers, and subsequently worthy of our ‘Advisable’ award.