Samsung is no stranger to high-end, luxurious laptops. We saw the first Samsung Series 9 at last CES, and even then it was extremely thin and light. Now the company, embracing the incoming wave of ultrabooks, has revised the Series 9 and introduced a new Series 5 ultrabook along side it.

I was not a fan of the original Series 9. Though it was very thin, light and fairly well built, it did not feel as luxurious as its high pricing suggested. This new Series 9, however, does far more to strike my fancy. Like the out-going version, this laptop makes heavy use of a brushed metallic finish to achieve an industrial, durable but still luxurious appearance. 

 

While I still find the overall design of the laptop to be a bit cold (a surgeon’s scalpel is the first comparison that comes to mind), those who with a grudge against gloss will love what Samsung is offering.

The display offers a standard resolution of 1600×900 and appeared to be matte on all the floor models I saw. Despite this, image quality appeared good and brightness was high. There’s still not the same “pop” that you find in the very best glossy LCDs, but it’s close. Also notable is the display bezel, which is extremely thin. This reduces the overall size of the laptop.

Speaking of size, the Series 9 will be available in both 13” and 15” models. Go for the smaller of the two and you’ll only have to carry around 2.5 pounds of weight and deal with about a half-inch of thickness. The 15” weighs 3.5 pounds. Though I did not get the chance to handle the larger model, I expect that it won’t feel much heavier because the extra weight will be spread across a larger chassis.

As for the hardware, well – it’s typical for a high-end ultrabook. You’ll find Core i5 low-voltage processors to be standard along with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive. Pricing starts at $1399. Samsung is boasting that the SSD allows for a boot time of just under 10 seconds. I tested this using one of the floor models and found that the system booted to Windows login in 10.5 seconds. That’s close enough for me – and much quicker than your average laptop.

Though I’m personally more excited about the HP Spectre, the Samsung Series 9 will no doubt prove to be a tough competitor. Since the two offer similar hardware and an identical starting price, the battle between them will all come down to design – the flash of the glass-clad Spectre against the more traditional brushed metal of the Series 9.

Hands-on with Samsung's New Series 9 Ultrabook - Mobile  1

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