Traditionally, Samsung hasn't been known as a laptop company. While the company has maintained a strong presence in areas such as tablets and smartphones, its ultrabooks have rarely been as high profile as competing top ultrabooks from other manufacturers. However, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 series is an ultrabook lineup strong enough to potentially change this perception. With superb build quality and excellent specifications, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 earns the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
Internally, the Book 9's mid-range configuration is built around a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor, an Intel HD Graphics 4400 graphics unit, 8GB of memory and a 128GB solid-state drive. While the series consists of prebuilt models, other Book 9 configurations use higher-end components. These include Intel Core i7 processors and a 256GB solid-state drive.
Solid-state drives offer fast data-transfer performance, but they generally cost more per GB compared to hard-disk drives. Mainstream solid-state drives do come in capacities of up to 512GB or 1TB, but because the Book 9's storage options top out at 256GB, its limited catalog can be an issue. If your ultrabook needs enough storage to hold a music library or other large files, the Book 9 would have to be supplemented with cloud or external storage. Still, the series' upgrade options provide a performance ceiling that is more than capable of handling office or multimedia applications.
Physically, the ultrabook laptop sports a design that fits its premium billing. The Book 9's 15-inch model sports dimensions of 14.7 x 9.8 x 0.6 inches, making it impressively thin for an ultrabook. At only 4.4 pounds, the 15-inch Book 9 is also easy to transport in a backpack or bag. By comparison, the 13-inch Book 9 has a weight of only 3.1 pounds.
The ultrabook also excelled in stress testing from our colleagues at Laptop Mag. During their battery test, in which a laptop loops webpages at a constant brightness, the Book 9 lasted for an impressive 8 hours and 38 minutes. In Laptop's testing, an average comparable ultrabook usually lasts for around 6 hours during this evaluation before it powers down. The Book 9 also had an underside temperature of only 89 degrees after streaming video for 15 minutes. Laptop considers temperatures above 95 degrees to be actively uncomfortable.
Through Samsung's website, the series comes in 13-inch and 15-inch configurations and features touchscreen support. While the Book 9's base configuration uses a 1920 x 1080 display, alternative configurations rely on a 3200 x 1800 display that's well suited for tasks like movies or photo editing. The Book 9's screen was equally superb in Laptop's hands-on testing because it possessed phenomenal color-reproduction abilities, flexible viewing angles and high brightness levels.
Externally, the Book 9 features a standard slate of connectivity options. These include multiple USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, HDMI or micro HDMI output, an SD card reader and, notably, Ethernet support with a bundled dongle. Ultrabooks frequently have to make compromises on their ports to compensate for their slim dimensions, which makes Samsung's bundled dongle a beneficial addition.
The Book 9 comes with a base one-year warranty that covers standard parts and labor. Samsung also provides support via channels including social media, live chat, phone and the company's website. In their annual customer survey evaluations, Laptop gave Samsung exceptional marks for their technical support offerings. Samsung reps were responsive on social media and during phone calls, though they struggled to answer questions about the company's SideSync application.
From the inside and outside, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 easily qualifies as one of the best ultrabooks on the market. Thanks to its superb specifications and lengthy battery life, the Book 9 is the rare ultrabook that can handle business and entertainment applications without missing a step.
The Samsung ATIV Book 9 features superb battery life and a high-resolution display.
The ultrabook series has limited solid-state storage options.
The Samsung ATIV Book 9 offers a level of ultrabook-caliber performance that few manufacturers can match.