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Samsung Series 9 900X4C (15in) review

Verdict

Samsung supersizes its Ultrabook to create a svelte 15in stunner, but the looks come at a high price

Review Date: 14 Aug 2012

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £958 (£1,150 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

The trend for slim and light laptops shows no sign of abating, with Samsung now adding to its range with the 15in Series 9 900X4C. It shares the same wafer-thin design as its 13.3in cousin, but swells the screen size and crams in Intel’s Ivy Bridge for good measure.

The Series 9 900X4C is in a different league to most 15in laptops: it’s a mere waif by comparison, measuring just 15mm thick. And while it’s not quite as endearingly petite as its smaller stablemate, it’s gorgeous to look at. The glamorous dark blue anodising contrasts against the flash of milled aluminium around the laptop’s edges, and the chassis tapers to a delicate sliver along its front edge.

Samsung Series 9 900X4C (15in) - front

Despite its dainty profile, the metal unibody design combines stunning looks with good build quality. Yank unkindly on the thin lid and it barely flinches. Lean on the base beneath, and it too is rock-solid. It’s also light: at just 1.67kg it’s a real luxury lightweight.

That luxury continues elsewhere. A brightness sensor embedded in the bezel automatically adjusts the onscreen brightness (although it can be switched off completely), and another sensor ensures that the keyboard backlight is only enabled when the lights go down.

Those Scrabble-tile keys glow blue when the backlighting is enabled, and combine with a spacious, comfortable layout. If there’s a moan, it’s due to the shallow key action: cramming so much into a tiny chassis means that each key depresses barely a couple of millimetres, and there’s only a slight dig of feedback. It’s easy enough to acclimatise to, but it’s lacking in feel compared with the best laptops at this price point.

Samsung Series 9 900X4C (15in) - top-down

As for the touchpad beneath, Samsung has integrated the buttons into the surface of the touchpad itself. Clicking the bottom-left and -right corners of the pad works exactly as you’d expect, but it’s possible to press anywhere else on the pad for a left-click, or dab with two fingers to emulate a right click. Three- and four-fingered upward and downward flicks, meanwhile, serve to switch between or minimise running applications.

Inside, one of Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors takes centre stage. The Core i5-3317U operates at a nominal 1.7GHz and is capable of boosting up to 2.6GHz. Alongside, there’s 8GB of RAM and a 128GB Sandisk U100 SSD, and that combination achieved a result of 0.64 in our benchmarks – fast enough for most purposes.

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