The Samsung NP900X5N-L01US (Notebook 9) should be at the top of your short list if you all you want is a premium ultrabook, with all-day battery life, but don’t really need a higher-than-HD display.
- EDITOR'S RATING
PROS: Premium materials. Seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 256GB solid-state drive. Long battery life. Dual-band Wi-Fi.
CONS: Full HD rather than Quad HD+ display on previous model. Dongles required for VGA and Ethernet.
With just a few exceptions, the current ilk of premium ultrabooks are all designed around the three Ps: Portability, Performance, and Pixels. The Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X5N-L01US (Notebook 9) checks all these boxes. The design is a graft from the Samsung’s proto-ultrabook, the NP900X5L-K02US Notebook 9, which redefined the concept of thin and light laptops, and it bolsters with one of Intel’s high-performance, highly efficient seventh-generation Core i7 processor and a snappy solid-state-drive.
Still, it sports the same slim design, premium construction, and a battery that will last all day. With this feature set, the new Samsung Notebook 9 doesn’t struggle to join few others at top of the premium ultrabook category.
Measuring 0.6 by 13.7 by 9 inches (HWD) and weighing just 2.7 pounds, the new Book 9 is slim and light, but is respectably sturdy thanks to its aluminum chassis and enhanced keyboard, which provide a premium feel in a highly portable Ultrabook. It uses the same sleek curves from previous models, and uses a light titan color theme, though it has narrower bezels around the display.
The result is a lighter laptop that packs a 15.6-inch IPS display into a similarly sized casing. Though well-designed, its display is a step lower from the Samsung ATIV Book 9’s impressive 3,200-by-1,8-00 resolution, or the Toshiba Kirabook 13 Touch’s 2,560-by-1,440 resolution screen. Instead, it uses a 1,920-by-1,080 screen, which is becoming more common even in midrange ultrabooks.
This 350-nit display is bright and clear enough, but the Full HD display isn’t particularly compelling. However, the lower resolution comes with a couple of benefits, especially improved energy efficiency, which extends the battery life by hours. The back-lit keyboard is subtly sculptured, and comes with a soft-touch matte finish on the individual keys. As expected, backlighting allows you to easily type in low-light conditions. Its touchpad is wide enough, with a silky-smooth surface and responds well to Windows 10 gestures.
To provide a firm backing for the screen, the laptop hinge opens smoothly to just past 90-degrees, and then requires some little force to open it up to 180- degrees. The result is a display that is remarkably firm, can withstand all your poking and prodding, while still opening and closing without an issue.
The Notebook 9’s narrow edges don’t leave a lot of room for ports, but there’s still an excellent collection. Here you have a USB Type-C port, two USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port. The Type-C port supports 4K display and fast charging, alongside a regular HDMI-out port. Others include a microSD slot, though for CDs and DVDs you’ll have to get an external drive, which was expected going by the thin profile. For Internet connectivity, you don’t have an RJ-45 port, instead you will connect via Intel Wireless-AC 8260, with support for 2×2 802.11ac standard and Bluetooth 4.1.
To maintain the slim profile and the speedy performance of the Ultrabook, the Book 9 is outfitted with a 256GB solid-state drive. It also suffices for fast boot and wake times, and snappy performance. It doesn’t offer much of local storage, especially if you plan on downloading movies and music, but you can grab an external drive ad take advantage of the USB 3.0 port on the Ultrabook for more capacity.
The Samsung NP900X5N-L01US comes with a 2.7GHz seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U and 16GB of RAM-which is a more recent CPU from the sixth-generation in the previous model, and with twice the memory installed, resulting in noticeably improved performance. The increase in memory does eke better performance, and the Kaby lake processor makes the experience even better since the newer processors do present an improvement and energy efficiency over Skylake Intel processors. That said, this system is made for users who demand fast performance and need muscle top prevent them from being bogged while working.
Equipped with Nvidia’s GeForce 940MX Graphics card, the Book 9 may not be ready to take on most AAA titles at higher resolutions, but it should meet your casual gaming needs while at the same time allowing you to stream movies, render web pages, and edit photos and video clips. For instance, if you run games such as GTA V, you will possibly get over 60 frames per second (FPS) on medium settings played at 720p resolution. For lighter games, you won’t have any problems anyway.
The main highlight on the new Book 9, however, must be its battery life, lasting 11 hours 29 minutes in our tests. This is a dramatic improvement over the previous iteration, and leaves all other competitors by a major margin. This improvement is largely due to the change in display resolution and seventh-generation processor, making the display a trade-off that many will find worthwhile. It has fast charging technology, that ensures that the in 20 minutes you have enough juice to last for 2.1 hours.
The Bottom Line
While I’d have wished to see that the Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X5N-L01US uses a higher-than-HD screen like the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus , it was one of the only disappointment in an otherwise premium ultraportable. Still, it has a lot going for it including a slim design, sturdy aluminum built and a larger 15.6-inch display that is impressive as ever, not to mention all-day battery life, decent port selection and performance improvements.
Due to its premium features, the new Notebook 9 takes a top spot in its class, and is recommended for anyone who wants a premium Ultrabook, but doesn’t see the need for a higher-than-HD display.