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Samsung 9-Series NP900X4C-A02 15.1-inch Ultrabook Laptop Review

Samsung 9-Series NP900X4C-A02 15.1-inch Ultrabook Laptop Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Design wise, Samsung have done well by their 9-Series Ultrabook; the system is wrapped in dark cobalt blue aluminum chassis that adopts many of the design elements of an Apple Macbook Air, yet posses the large screen size of a MacBook Pro (albeit with better hardware) and a sticker prices that won't cause heart failure.
 87% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Samsung Feb 02 2013   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > Samsung NP900X4C-A02

360° View: Keyboard, Ease of Typing, Touch Pad

The notebook has a pretty wide body so there's enough space for a full size, 87-key keyboard that's large enough for folks with big hands to comfortably type on. The keyboard measures 11" across, the same as a standard desktop keyboard, but uses flat, 'Scrabble-tile style' keys. The keys have a 19mm pitch, 2mm stroke. The keyboard layout is logical; with function keys F1-F12 aligned along the top and a set of narrow arrow keys tucked below the right shift key where you'd expect them.


(The notebook PCSTATS received for testing has a bilingual keyboard with some function keys in French and English. If you look closely you'll notice that Samsung have added a few international buttons to the keyboard and halved the left shift button to make space for a second backslash key to its right.)

The Samsung 9-series presents a very clean appearance with an almost total lack of superfluous function buttons and status lights. Above the keyboard is one power LED, an ambient light sensor and the power button with a little blue light. Functional settings like WiFi On/Off are nested in with the F-keys (F12 in this case) and softly illuminated so you have a visual reminder to turn it off during flights.

In Use - Touch Typing

The flat tile keys do come with a bit of learning curve; as someone who types for a living, I prefer the traditional keyboard style where individual keys are angled towards the user and dished to center the fingers. The flat tile keys used for the 9-Series Ultrabook are super smooth, so at times it can be hard to know when your fingers are centered on a key.

Consequently we made a lot of typing mistakes for the first couple pages of text written on the 900X4C-A02 Ultrabook as part of the reviewing process. I like to write the bulk of a notebook review on the laptop I'm testing, it helps give a better feel for the device since we're actually working on it. Far too many web sites respin tech specs into a "review", you can usually tell this by the fact the "review" only uses stock photography of the laptop.

In any case, during PCSTATS hands-on testing with the Samsung 900X4C-A02 Ultrabook we found our palms or thumbs would frequently brush by the TouchPad, causing the cursor to jump around the page and frustrate the work flow. The touch pad is large (4.25"x3") and caused its fair share of frustration... more on that in a moment. The tile keys have no real click to them so there's little haptic feedback. It took a while, but slowly we did became proficient on the NP900X4C-A02's keyboard.

Now lets deal with the infernal gestural touch pad.

The 900X4C-A02's touchpad fought me all the way through this review. At times it simply didn't respond, no matter how vigorously I swiped or tapped my finger across its surface. Other times it was so sensitive a casual brush with the edge of my palm while typing would send the cursor flying off to some random sentence and mess up my typing.

Since the sensor measures 4.25" x 3" in size, it's easy to accidentally brush it with ones' hands if you rest your hands on the surface of the notebook while typing. The Samsung 9-series almost forces you to learn to touch-type while levitating your hands over the keyboard and notebook chassis.

The touchpad suffers one other haptic failing in our book, in that it feels exactly the same as the aluminum chassis where the hands rest - in the dark it's nearly impossible to tell if your fingers are touching the Touchpad, or chassis..

I'm not sure why the Elan Smart Pad would occasionally drop out of service every now an then, we tried updating the driver to ver. 10.7.17.5 but this didn't remedy the random occurrence.

The 900X4C-A02 does support gestural inputs, the image above explains the five main gestural commands at your disposal.... including such popular functions as the two-finger pinch to zoom in/out, or two finger rotate action.

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Contents of Article: Samsung NP900X4C-A02
 Pg 1.  Samsung 9-Series NP900X4C-A02 15.1-inch Ultrabook Laptop Review
 Pg 2.  360° View - Laptop Screen, Viewing Angles
 Pg 3.  360° View: Left/Right Side Ports
 Pg 4.  — 360° View: Keyboard, Ease of Typing, Touch Pad
 Pg 5.  Keyboard Back Light and WebCamera
 Pg 6.  Software and What's Included in the Box
 Pg 7.  Notebook Benchmarks: MobileMark, Sysmark 2012, PCmark Vantage
 Pg 8.  Notebook Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark06, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11
 Pg 9.  Notebook Benchmarks: Sandra 2012 CPU / Memory / SSD
 Pg 10.  Notebook SSD Benchmarks: PCmark Vantage HDD Suite, AS SSD
 Pg 11.  Conclusions: Samsung's 900X4C-A02 Core i7 Ultrabook

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