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A budget ultrabook with budget build quality
on August 23, 2013
Samsung is one of the rising companies in this down economy. With the success of their cell phones and television, they have broadened their horizons to ultrabooks and notebooks. This review of the Ativ Book 9 Lite is more like a first impression as I have only played around with it for two days. On the software side of things, it is a Windows 8 computer, which speaks for itself. I am reviewing the unit itself, not the operating system, which is albeit a pretty decent one.
I switched to this from a Macbook Air. The drop off in build quality is quite spectacular. While the Air feels sturdy and very nicely crafted, the same cannot be said for the Ativ 9 Lite. It is all made of plastic and pressing on the wrist portion where the keyboard is you can tell its a pretty big downgrade. The plastic has this sort of give to it, pressing down on it will cause it to flex. It has cheap written all over it. It does have a nice look to it but the same cannot be said for the feel. The one biggest dropoff that I notice is in the touchpad. The touchpad is awful. Truly awful. It has an unsatisfying click, sometimes a right click registers as a left click and it wiggles as you move your fingers around the pad. The material it is made out of is also not very pleasant. While Apples interpretation of a touch pad was the best I've ever used; the Ativ 9 Lite has one of the worst. Vaio and Dell, I feel are both better.
The other disappointment is the screen. Understandably it is not a full hd screen (it runs at 768) but the blacks seem washed out and grey and it is impossible to open the lid without holding the lower portion of the computer down. It feels like a flimsy mechanism when its open, mostly because Samsung allows you to flip open the screen to 180 degrees, which is pretty useless when thinking about the sacrifice made on the sturdiness of the hinges. It's not all bad when it comes to the screen however. Despite its low resolution, it handles colors relatively vibrantly, albeit not black. The brightness is downright blinding and the screen reacts pretty well to light and reflections. It is also a performer when it comes to capacitive touch and reacts pretty accurately, making windows 8 a joy to use. The speakers however are very loud from such a small computer and it runs very quitely.
The battery over all is pretty decent. It lasts about 4 to 6.5 hours depending on the use, with a full charge while not being used from completely drained to full in about 180 minutes. One of my gripes with the power aspect of things comes with the charging port itself. It is very hard to pull out. So if you happen to drag your cable on accident, you'll be assured to know that this laptop is coming down along with it.
On the performance spectrum, the quad core 1.0ghz processor powers the laptop pretty well with 1.4ghz available to you (AMDs equivalent to turbo boost.) It breezes through most tasks although it did take me about 20 minutes to uninstall adobe photoshop software that came with it (not the full version obviously.) While it does perform pretty well, I'm not sure its quite something to admire as even the cheapest Windows 8 computers perform pretty well on the solid windows 8 platform. The Ativ 9 Lite also comes with a lot of bloatware. It's equipped with a 128gb solid state drive that ships out to you with about 60gb available. Norton, adobe, samsung; its chaulk full of this unnecessary "crapware" which was the first thing to go during my use of it and left me with about 75gb of free space to use.
Overall the Ativ 9 Lite is a budget computer and it should be reviewed as such, keeping in mind that the Plus version of it will run you over $600 more. I am a student and was getting sick of running dmg images of programs I needed on Apples platform. I am more comfortable with Windows and prefer it more overall which is the reason I made the switch to this ultrabook. The Ativ 9 Lite is a solid performer with very good looks. It performs day to day tasks with ease, and it is an okay purchase based on what I require from it. I purchased in white and I am happy with the color, as I am sure black will be an absolute fingerprint magnet. I can easily recommend this laptop for a person looking to use Windows 8 that can put aside some of the bells and whistles (does not have backlit keyboard) for an average price of $749, I would tell them to consider this as the go-to budget ultrabook.
If it had a better Touchpad, I can easily give this a 4 out of 5, but as it stands the touchpad is a major component of a laptop and one so poorly executed certainly deserves a deduction of a full star. If the clicking bothers you as much as it does me though, you do have the option of single finger left click and two finger right click which is a lot nicer to use in my humble opinion. I recommend this ultrabook, but not as sure-heartedly as I would want. It gets a 3 out of 5.