Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus - CNET Australia

Take a beautiful Windows ultrabook design. Add a super-high-resolution touchscreen and a longer-battery-life Intel Haswell processor. What could be wrong with that? Nothing at all. The Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus is a rebirth of the Book 9/Series 9, a laptop line we've loved for years because of its solid shape, slim design and strong performance. It might not convert to a tablet, but it sure is a sweet, but expensive, laptop.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)


The Ativ Book 9 Plus is extremely similar to the older Book 9: gunmetal blue on the outside, silver edges, a curved, tapered profile like an airfoil and a footprint smaller than a 13-inch MacBook Air. It's heavier than the last Book 9/Series 9, weighing in at 1.45kg versus the sub-1.36kg wonder it was previously. It's a little bit thicker, too, to accommodate the upper lid's new touchscreen. You probably won't notice much; the last Book 9 was shockingly light, and this new model just feels normal.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The Book 9 Plus wins the pixel arms race with a stunning 3200x1800-pixel 13.3-inch display; the Toshiba Kirabook clocks in 2560x1440 pixels, and the 13-inch Retina display MacBook Pro has 2550x1660. That's phenomenal pixel density and a huge leap from the 1600x900-pixel display on the previous Book 9.

Yes, this keyboard is backlit; but it's so subtly done that you may not notice in normal light. The raised keys are pretty flat, like on many thin laptops, but the keyboard is laid out with generous spaciousness and feels good to type on. The wide clickable touch pad is once again really good, with lots of multi-finger gesture room, and it's easy to do off-edge swiping.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

There are two full USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot, as well as HDMI and VGA video-out micro ports. Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi are here, as you'd expect, but not 802.11ac, the new, faster Wi-Fi standard.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The Book 9 Plus amounts to a standard fourth-gen Intel Core i5 ultrabook under its skin, and to no surprise, it performs like one. "Haswell" Intel processors in thin laptops add up to better on-board graphics and big leaps in battery life more than overall system speed. Battery life also takes an expected leap — but not a jaw-dropping one: on our video-playback battery test, we were able to get over eight hours (8 hours and 29 minutes, to be exact).


The Ativ Book 9 Plus feels like an obvious connect the dots between last year's great design and some awaited overdue features, like touch display and a longer battery life. That's not a bad thing: after all, if you're after a go-to usable laptop, improvements often matter more than innovations. It's not the battery king like the MacBook Air, but it's extremely good, and the higher-than-1080p display keeps it on par with many premium Windows 8 laptops.



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