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BW Businessworld

Taking On The Nemesis

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It packs in a 1.4 GHz Core i5 processor, a 128 GB solid state drive and 4 GB of RAM into a ridiculously thin 0.64-inch thick chassis. If this reminds you of a certain extremely popular and incredibly thin ultraportable, think again — this baby runs Windows and sports a Samsung logo. The Series 9 from Samsung has its sights set on the ‘beauty and brain' laptop category, but does it have the chops to compete with that certain other laptop?

It certainly has got design spot on, clad mostly in a metal called duralumin, which till now had seen use in aircraft construction. Yet, the deep black case and sharp edges give it a distinct look, unlike some of the Apple knockoffs I've seen in the past. The device feels amazingly solid despite being this thin, and the top half shows no flex whatsoever. On paper, in terms of thickness and weight, it matches the Apple ultraportable spec for spec, yet manages to pack in two USB ports (one USB 3.0), a mini HDMI socket, a jack for the included Ethernet adapter, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. The chiclet style keyboard is quite easily one of the best I've seen on a Windows laptop, and I love that you can control the amount of backlighting on the keys via dedicated function keys. And while the trackpad does support some fancy multitouch gestures, I found the trackpad a bit too sensitive for my taste – a tad disappointing given how good the keyboard was. The 1366x768 pixel 13.3 inch screen was pretty bright for outdoor use, and has a matte finish which avoids the issue of glare that you see on a glossy display.

But you're not just paying for good looks, are you? The 1.4 GHz Core i5-2537 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM means a snappy experience while launching applications, but the lion's share of the credit should go to the 128 GB solid state drive. Watching Windows boot on this device in just over 20 seconds, I feel like I'm finally getting all those seconds of my life back that I had till now wasted watching Windows machines boot! Bear in mind though that with the Intel integrated HD 3000 graphics, the machine will fall short of grunt to run the latest games but older/casual games and HD clips worked just fine. Battery life is quite decent for a laptop this thin, lasting well over the 5 hour mark in typical use.

The Series 9 from Samsung certainly packs a mean punch, but the pricing's all wrong. And with the announcement of the updated lineup of MacBook Airs (with the new Core i5/i7 processors), a comparable Air is considerably (almost a fourth) cheaper. Sigh. With better pricing, this really coulda been a contender…

Rating: 7/10
Price: Rs 1,00,990

Lead To The Studio
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Price: $69.99

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