Samsung Series 9 (2012) - The Next Wave

Launch SRP: S$2188

Battery Life and Portability Index

Battery Life and Portability Index

The most important aspect of an Ultrabook is its portability. And when you talk about portability, battery life is inevitably drawn into the conversation. For benchmarking, we used Futuremark's Powermark benchmark test. It puts the machine through typical scenarios like internet browsing, managing documents, pictures and even some 3D rendering. Here, the Series 9 isn’t as impressive. It achieved only 173 minutes in our Powermark benchmark test. That’s almost an hour less than the Intel Ivy Bridge reference notebook. Even the HP Envy 4, which packs discrete graphics, managed to pull ahead.

However, to put things into perspective, the Samsung Series 9 (2012) has a much better screen than all of the notebooks in this lineup. Its resolution is the same as the Ivy Bridge reference notebook at 1600 x 900 pixels resolution. However it’s definitely much brighter at 400 nits (at maximum brightness). A screen that has is much brighter (even though we test at the 50% mark) is bound to consume more energy (15.26 Watts), which it does. When the screen is turned down to the minimum, we managed to coax an extra 20 to 30 minutes out of the machine. That doesn't give it a lot of added advantage, but we can tell you that at whatever brightness level, it will be brighter than the competitors and hence always consumer more power comparatively.

In a way, this is can be considered as its plus point. This is because when you aren’t on the move, you can have one of the brightest notebooks around (if you wish to tune it all the way up). And when you’re on the go, toning down the screen brightness to the minimum also means that the screen is still bright enough to get your work done, while consuming less energy for a slightly better battery life.

For those wondering about the Series 9’s overall portability, you can refer to our below Portability Index. It is a ratio that takes into consideration elements like weight, battery life and volume. The figures produced here basically tells you if it’s worth the effort to lug it around as opposed to other members in its similar category. The figures shift with notebook class, so it's only accurate to compare against similar notebooks.

With a ratio of 1.972, it’s actually close to the ideal figure of the Intel reference notebook. Here, the Series 9’s saving grace is its incredibly low weight of 1.16kg. So even though it’s kind of let down by its battery life, the machine’s weight also helps it achieve a respectable portability ratio. Now consider the fact that the notebook's default brightness level is much higher than the competitor's and we reduce it down to a minimum, which is still very usable. At this setting, we mentioned earlier that we could obtain close to 30 minutes extra battery life. If you use this new battery life figure of roughly 200 minutes of up-time, the Samung Series 9 notebook would then have a portability ratio on par with the Intel reference machine at 2.279. Not bad at all.

Test Notebooks Compared
Specifications/Notebook Samsung
Series 9 (2012)
Acer Aspire S5 Sony VAIO T HP Envy 4

Intel Ultrabook
(Ivy Bridge)

Processor Intel Core i7-3517U
Intel Core i5-3317U
Intel Core i5-3317U
Intel Core i5-3317U
Intel Core i5-3427U
Chipset  Intel UM77  Intel UM77 Intel UM77 Intel UM77  Intel UM77
Memory  4GB DDR3  4GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 8GB DDR3  4GB DDR3
Storage 128GB SSD 128GB SSD 500GB HDD with 32GB SSD Cache 500GB HDD with 32GB SSD Cache 256GB SSD
Video  Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD Graphics 4000 AMD Radeon HD 7670M Intel HD Graphics 4000
Battery 4 Cell Li-ion /
4 Cell Li-ion /
6 Cell Li-ion /
4 Cell Li-ion /
6 Cell Li-ion /
Dimensions 313.8 x 218.5 x 12.9mm 324 x 227 x 15mm 323 x 226 x 17.8mm 340 x 235.8 x 19.8mm 329 x 223 x 16mm
Weight 1.16kg 1.2kg 1.6kg 1.8kg 1.46kg
Overall rating 9/10
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The Good
Good Build Quality
Extremely thin and light form factor
Bright and sharp matte screen
Large Clickpad
The Bad
Shallow keyboard
Only 128GB SSD for storage
Only 2 USB ports (1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0)

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