Notebooks Guide

Samsung Series 9 (NP900X3C-A01SG) review

Samsung Series 9 (2012) - The Next Wave

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Launch SRP S$2188

Overall rating 9/10
Design:
9
Features:
9
Performance:
8.5
Value:
8
Mobility:
9.5
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)


Performance Benchmarking

Performance Benchmarking

Last year’s Series 9 was one of the first Ultrabook-esque notebooks to appear in the market. This year’s model however, is almost identical, save for the processor (Ivy Bridge). For comparison, we've included an Intel Ivy Bridge reference Ultrabook, which give us a baseline. Next is an Ultrabook with discrete graphics, the HP Envy 4, for those who are undecided if they need that extra bit of power in their Ultrabooks. Other notebooks of interest in this comparison are the Sony Vaio T and the Acer Aspire S5.

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
(1.9GHz)
Intel Core i5-3317U
(1.7GHz)
Intel Core i5-3317U
(1.7GHz)
Intel Core i5-3317U
(1.7GHz)
Intel Core i5-3427U
(1.8GHz)
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 /
44Wh
4-Cell Li-ion /
35Wh
6-Cell Li-ion /
45Wh
4-Cell Li-ion /
62Wh
6-Cell Li-ion /
47Wh
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

From the charts below, you can see that the Series 9 performance is pretty respectable in terms of overall performance (PC Mark 7). It’s not the best performer, despite packing a Core i7, but we found the differences negligible. In fact you can simply look at it from the perspective that processor type isn’t the be-all end-all that today’s marketing spiel makes it out to be.

The more telling sign of a notebook’s overall performance, lies pretty heavily with what type of storage it’s using. In this case, it’s possible that the reference notebook packs an SSD with better performance (an Intel reference notebook is of course fitted with an Intel SSD, which has made a name for itself with enthusiasts who swear by it). This is despite the fact that the processor used in the reference notebook is a slightly slower variant (Core i5-3427U, 1.8GHz).

From the performance numbers, what consumers actually need to know is that the Series 9 is very adequate for a wide variety of usage scenarios. Everything from flash games, Youtube videos and light editing of photos and videos would definitely not pose any problems whatsoever. Standard productivity applications are also not a concern for these modern notebooks. As usual, stay clear away from expecting a good gaming experience as these notebooks aren't designed for that purpose.