If you slip the ATIV Book 9 Lite NP915S3G-K01 from your
bag during a meeting, we can pretty much guarantee you'll be the center of
attention in the minutes that follow as people clamour in for a closer look. The
ATIV Book 9-Lite is impossibly slim, its clean profile looks beyond cutting edge
and it deals in envy like a professional Vegas card shark. The ATIV Book 9-Lite
comes in any colour you'd like, so long as it's black or white. The Windows 8
touch screen adds to this notebooks' mystique, enabling seamless interaction
with the operating system and your favourite apps with the swipe of a finger or
two. Heck,during the few weeks we tested the ATIV Book 9-Lite hands-on in the
PCSTATS labs, colleagues were continuously flocking over to check it out!
However, as much as I want to
like Samsung's ATIV Book 9-Lite, I'm conflicted. Stylistically, it's
awesome. In terms of performance, the benchmarks tell a story at odds with its
alluring appearance and if you dig deeper, the tech specs do hint at the limited
infrastructure within its svelte 17.5mm thick chassis. Since PCSTATS is all
about "getting the 'stats and staying informed" let's swing back to the critical
eye of reality. In the system level benchmark Sysmark 2013, Samsung's ATIV Book
9-Lite falls 71% behind the Samsung 900X4C-A02 Ultrabook. In 3DMark Vantage, the
ATIV Book 9-Lite's Radeon HD 8250 integrated graphics perform 61% behind the
Samsung 900X4C-A02 Ultrabook's anemic Intel HD4000 IGP.
In other words, the ATIV Book 9-Lite is an entry level
notebook, a sheep in wolf's clothing if you will. The $892 ATIV Book 9-Lite is
suitable for everyday office tasks, websurfing, email and such, but it clearly
straddles the fence between tablet and entry level notebook. It's certainly not in
the same league as the similarly looking, $1600 Samsung 9-Series 900X4C-A02 Ultrabook.
The quad-core AMD Kabini processor is an entry level
mobile chip, perhaps this is why Samsung chose not to disclose the make and
model of CPU powering the ATIV Book 9-Lite. On the surface, a 128GB SSD for
storage and 4GB of DDR3 system memory seem standard, but the memory is soldered
to the motherboard (thus not upgradable) and with OS and recovery partitions the
SSD gets whittled down to 100GB of usable space. If you want to upgrade the
mSATA SSD to a larger module, a 256GB mSATA SSD runs about $200 and a 480GB
mSATA SSD from Mushkin will be closer to $500.
Extremely Portable and
On the plus side, Samsung's ATIV Book 9-Lite is
extremely portable, doesn't weigh much and has a comprehensive bundle of
wireless connectivity. The computer weighs a little over three and a half pounds
and folds up to a package less than three-quarters of an inch thick. That's
1.58kg and 17.4mm respectively for the metric crowd.
With Windows 8 x64 operating system, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a
1.4GHz quad core AMD Kabini APU under the hood, the ATIV Book 9-Lite is suitable
for light computing needs. The 128GB SSD offers 100GB of usable storage space,
depending on how many applications you load onto the ATIV the speed and
responsiveness of that small SSD may quickly become outweighed by the desire for
significantly larger storage capacities provided by a full fledged notebook.
The ATIV Book 9-Lite would make a suitable computing
device for taking to class; it boots up in under 10 seconds and the combination
of keyboard, touch pad and touch screen make it more versatile than a tablet for
rapidly entering data or opening PDFs and other documents.
On the port front, the ATIV Book 9-Lite offers up two
USB jacks, two video outputs (micro-HDMI, mini-VGA), a SD memory card reader, a
headphone/mic jack and a mini-Ethernet connector. At least one port is USB 3.0.
The trap-door memory card reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC) is a nice addition, the
combination headphone/mic 1/8" audio port and web camera ensure mobile
conferencing can go off without a hitch, however the VGA, HDMI and Ethernet
outputs are relegated to micro connectors which all require dongles or miniature
The 13.3" touch screen LCD display is bright and
expansive from head on, its resolution of 1366x768 pixels is more than
sufficient at this panel size. Viewing angles are satisfactory for a notebook of
this class, great from head on but narrow if you're more than say, 30 degrees
off from center. One surprise with the ATIV Book 9-Lite is how far the screen
will tilt back. Most laptop screens can't fold back 180 degrees, the ATIV Book
9-Lite will essentially lay flat on a table top so multiple users can interact
with the touch screen.
Typing on the flat Scrabble tile keyboard is comfortable
and the touch pad with integrated click pads is easy to interface with.
As we've revealed, under the hood is a 1-1.4GHz AMD
quad-core processor paired with AMD's H55M chipset. The 28nm CPU is based on
AMDs 'Kabini' core architecture and draws just 10W of power, although Samsung
don't disclose the exact model this CPU looks to be AMD's A6-1450 APU. Graphics
are handled by AMD's integrated Radeon HD 8250 graphics core. The Radeon HD 8250
possesses 128 Radeon cores which are clocked at 300MHz - 400MHz. Radeon IGPs are
usually pretty decent, the HD 8250 offers luke warm 3D gaming, at best.
Battery life is pegged at 5.5hours. The 30Wh Lithium
Polymer battery recharges in about 2 hours. Samsung's ATIV Book 9-Lite
NP915S3G-K01 retails for around $829 USD/CDN . Given what PCSTATS experienced
while testing the Samsung's ATIV Book 9-Lite NP915S3G-K01 it's hard to know
where to stand in our recommendations.... Benchmark results peg the ATIV Book
9-Lite as an entry level platform, but in use it doesn't feel incumbered at all.
Under the hood the CPU, SSD hard drive and wireless hardware are good for this
class of mobile computing.
Ultimately, if you've been searching out a light weight
mobile platform because tablets are "too limited", but you like the quick start
time and good battery life they offer, you'll find the Samsung ATIV Book 9-Lite
a better deal and more flexible than any tablet. On the other hand, if you want
an Ultrabook style notebook, or a powerful and thin notebook, the ATIV Book
9-Lite simply won't meet your expectations and you're better off looking
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