Book 9-Lite slots in somewhere between mainstream laptop and tablet on steroids, though
at first glance it looks unassailably like an Ultrabook.
Inside the eminently thin, snow white ATIV Book 9-Lite is a
modestly powerful mobile quad-core AMD 'Kabini' processor that's clocked at
1.0-to-1.4GHz, 4GB of DDR3-1066 system memory and a speedy 128GB SSD for
storage. The notebook features a pretty nice 13.3" touch screen display and
runs the Windows 8 operating system. That's all well and good, but anyone casting
their eyes on the ATIV Book 9-Lite for the first time will undoubtedly notice
that it is thin.... like 3/4" thick-thin, and when they pick it up,
marvel at how a complete computer system can weigh less than 3.5lbs!?
Make no mistake about it, what makes Samsung's ATIV Book 9-Lite stand
out from the crowd is primarily design, coupled with
an attractive $829 sticker price. The Catch-22 is that as much as the ATIV Book 9-Lite
looks and feels like a powerful Ultrabook, it is not.
First off, the 4GB of system memory is fixed and
non-upgradable; the DDR3 DRAM is literally soldered to the motherboard so
there is no way to add additional memory into the ATIV Book 9-Lite system, which
is decidedly un-Ultrabook like. The operating system is loaded onto a
quick 128GB mSATA SSD, which is good, but graphics are
delivered via the integrated AMD Radeon HD 8250 graphics core which is not
the most powerful IGP out there... it's suitable for
desktop applications though. The processor is interesting; Samsung tech
specs list only a "quad-core 1.4GHz chip." That's a tip off this isn't an
Ultrabook - a branding invention by Intel. A little
digging eventually reveals that the 1.4GHz quad core CPU is actually an AMD processor which has apparently been modified slightly by Samsung for this
particular device. The AMD 'Kabini' A6-1450 APU is head and shoulders above weakling netbook chips,
but still on par with an Intel Core i3. Again, not an Ultrabook-class processor.
The ATIV Book 9-Lite is equipped with a multi-point
13.3" touch screen display, which is fantastic for the generation of users who grew
up with smart phones. A touch screen means you can literally use your fingers on the
screen to navigate web pages, type, open programs and Apps, same as you would on a tablet PC.
Older users will find themselves falling back to the good old keyboard and gestural
touch pad, which are both implemented very well on the ATIV Book
Design wise, Samsung's ATIV Book 9-Lite is wrapped in a marble-white plastic
chassis that strongly reminds us of Apple's expensive Macbook Air. The ATIV Book 9-Lite
NP915S3G-K01 notebook that PCSTATS tested
in this review retails for $829CDN, the device also comes in black. Battery
life is pegged at 5.5 hours. Included with the notebook is a quick start
manual, recovery DVD, network dongle and AC power adaptor. Warranty coverage is
Samsung 915S3G-K01 Touch
Technical Specs at a Glance:
Price: $829 CDN
Screen: 13.3", 1366x768px
CPU: 1.4Hz AMD quad core (A6-1450 APU, 'Kabini'
Memory: 4GB DDR3-1066
HDD: 128GB mSATA SSD (100GB
OS: Windows 8
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 8250
Weight: 3.48lbs /
Camera: 720p HD
USB: (1x) USB 3.0, (1x) USB
Network: RJ45 Gigabit LAN via dongle,
802.11bgn Wifi, Bluetooth v4
Ports: mini-VGA, micro
HDMI, mini-LAN, 1/8" headphone jack, SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
slot, DC power.
Keyboard: 81-key, flat
Touch Pad: scroll scope, flat,
Battery: Li-polymer, 2 cell, 30Wh
Warrranty: 1 Year
Flipping open the Samsung NP915S3G-K01's thin screen
panel reveals a bright, expansive 13.3" LED backlit wide screen display connected
to an impossibly thin chassis. There is a generously sized gestural touch pad and an
80-key tile keyboard. Dual display configurations are possible with
this notebook, provided you spring for the necessary VGA dongle or have a
micro-HDMI cable at the ready.
The ATIV Book 9-Lite NP915S3G-K01 includes
integrated 802.11bgn WiFi with Bluetooth 4, one USB 3.0 and one
USB 2.0 port. A physical network jack, SD memory card slot and headphone jack round out
Samsung's ATIV Book 9-Lite weighs 3.5 lbs and its glass
fiber plastic chassis is just under ~3/4" thick (0.69" / 17mm), measuring
roughly 32cm by 22.5cm in size.. As you'd expect, a 720p HD webcam and
microphone make Skyping easy, while a pair of miniscule 1.5W speakers
hidden below the palm rests output decent sound. Other than the two USB ports, the
only other data port is a combination 3-in-1 SDHC/SD/SDXC memory card reader
for transferring photos from a camera or non-Bluetooth enabled device.
Wired GbE LAN requires a
dongle (included), so the majority of users will likely access
the internet via the Samsung NP915S3G-K01 comprehensive built in 802.11abgn WiFi. Bluetooth 4.0 makes it
easy to sync a smart phone or use an
external bluetooth mouse/printer/keyboard. The Scrabble-tile keyboard is easy to type on, with 81-keys and a
comfortable key-pitch. The 4.25" x 3" touch pad supports multi-finger gestural
inputs and seamlessly integrated left/right click buttons.
In keeping Samsung's current design ethic,
the ATIV Book 9-Lite is offered in two variations, one black, the other which
PCSTATS is testing today, white. We really like the stripped down design
and absence of superfluous functions. The ATIV Book 9-Lite has just
four status indicators in the left corner and a single button for power to the
right. Nice and simple.
The notebook is eminently portable
thanks to it's thinness and low mass. The chassis not made from magnesium or
pressed aluminum, but plain old plastic and glass-fiber reinforced plastic. The
body doesn't feel bendy like non-metal body notebooks, instead the fit and
finish is tight, the tapering edges work to present a professional and
Tablets work best laying flat on a table, the ATIV Book
9-Lite mirrors that by opening up nearly flat as well.
From the back, nothing but a silver Samsung logo on a
field of glossy white. You can't go wrong with a minimalist notebook! Next up, a
closer look at the Samsung ATIV Book 9-Lite from all sides.