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Samsung Series 9 900X3A - A Deadly Assault on Your Senses
By Leo Boon Yeow - 8 Sep 2011
Launch SRP: S$2488

Battery Performance and Portability Index

Battery Performance and Portability Index

This is the part where we basically tell you how the notebook performs in terms of battery life. We can’t actually disassemble the unit because the battery is integrated into the notebook. What we do know about integrated batteries however, is that they are easier to redesign and fit into the interior of the notebook, making sure space is optimized and maximize the amount of charge it can hold. Now let’s go check out how the Samsung Series 9 fares against the two other comparable machines.

Specifications / Notebook Samsung Series 9 900X3A Apple MacBook Air (2011) Lenovo ThinkPad X1
Processor Intel Core i5-2537M (1.4GHz) Intel Core i5-2557M (1.7GHz) Intel Core i5-2520M (2.5GHz)
Chipset Intel HM65 Intel QS67 Intel HM65
Memory 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
Video Intel HD 3000 Intel HD 3000 Intel HD 3000
Battery 66.67Whr 50Whr 38.4Whr
Dimensions 328.5 x 227.0 x 15.9 - 16.3mm 325 x 227 x 3 - 17mm 337 x 231 x 16.5 - 21.3mm
Weight 1.31KG 1.35KG 1.7KG


Battery Life

The Samsung Series 9 didn’t perform as good as we hoped it would, hanging tough for almost 200 minutes before giving up. It must be noted that all three machines don’t feature optical drives, and thus the machines were tested using a looped video file playing off the SSD, so no extra power was needed to be routed to optical drives. Prior tests that we have done on the MacBook Air can actually explain why the MBA performed much better in the battery tests. But basically, it has everything to do with electrical power consumption, which dictates how long your battery lasts.


Battery Consumption

The low-voltage processor (17W) on the Samsung Series 9 is supposed to help keep the electrical drainage nice and low, but its actual overall power consumption figures scores are anything but low. In fact it came up to be almost twice as high as the other comparable machines. And if you were wondering why it somehow managed to stay alive for as long as the ThinkPad X1 - which has a faster processor, and technically should consume more power - the answer is of course the larger battery that the Samsung sports. It seems almost as if Samsung knew its overall power consumption was somehow poor and managed to squeeze in more battery capacity to compensate it. Perhaps the more established players of the notebook industry had better power optimization tactics put in place?

This wouldn’t be too far fetched if you consider the amount of experience and history behind Lenovo and Apple. What's more, the extremely bright (400-nits) LED back-lit screen which Samsung chose to gift consumers with, could be a contributing power guzzler. That's even with its brightness turned down to 50% for testing, because at 400-nits, 50% would be similar to full brightness on other laptops (like the Toshiba R830 or Acer TravelMate 8481G, just to drop a couple of names).



Portability Index

This portion of the review, is basically a mathematical algorithm that we have come up just to let you know know portable your machine is, and if it’s worth your time to carry it out for use. Elements used are the weight of the machine, volume of the machine and how long it can stay alive (battery life). Note that the figures only make sense if you compare between the same notebook class, such as the thin and light machines we've been testing recently. Of course whether or not you use your notebook to actually be productive, we can’t tell. (We’re still having trouble deciding if watching Game of Thrones on your notebook counts as being productive.)

Anyhow, from the ratios here, you can probably see the portability of the Samsung Series 9 is just slightly behind the MBA running Windows 7, which is expected. Once the MBA goes back to its native OS X Lion, it pulls away, leaving the more expensive Series 9 eating its dust. So as far as ultra-portable Windows machines go, the Samsung Series 9 fared reasonably here, and could even be just the portable notebook you are looking for with its super light 1.3kg weight.

  • Design 9
  • Features 8.5
  • Performance 7.5
  • Value 7.5
  • Mobility 9.5
The Good
Good Design
Durable and lightweight
Premium finishing
The Bad
Very expensive
Specs not as strong as competition
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