24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2011
I have had my Samsung Series 9 laptop for about 3 weeks now. It's thin and light, and it's cool looking. I love the fast boot up feature when open and close the laptop. The backlit keyboard is also a great feature when using it in the dark. I use it for work, mainly emails, web surfing, small size Excel spreadsheet, and occassional CAD print viewings. I find the i5 processor with 4G of memory is sufficient. The onboard solid state drive is small, so you will need a portable hard drive or use the new Cloud storage services such as Dropbox.
The negatives are the mouse pad and the lack of accessories. After 3 weeks of adjustment, I am still having a lot of trouble using the mouse pad. But the biggest complaint is the lack of accessories that are compatible with this laptop. As of today, there is no airplane power adapter that is compatible with this laptop. I tried to buy an extra power adapter from Samsung and its distributors so I have a spare when I use the laptop at home, but there is none in stock with a minimum of 9-week lead time. It uses micro HDMI output, so I am still trying to figure out a way to show my Powerpoint presentation via a projector with a VGA input. It requires a special dongle for CAT5 Ethernet connection. If you lose it, good luck in getting a replacement because it can't be found anywhere on the Internet.
Hope there will be more accessories available soon, and then I will add one extra star to the review.
**UPDATE: The accessories are now readily available to be purchased online. Thanks for the postings by other reviewers. I have updated the rating from 4 to 5 starts.**
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2011
This is a great laptop, and I really wanted it as a Windows-based replacement for my MacBook Air2, but unfortunately the Wi-Fi is horrible. You have to be almost on top of a Hotspot in order for it to get a good signal.
And I bought the fully loaded machine, i7 quad-core with 8GB RAM....it never even occurred to me that the Wi-Fi would be the limiter!
In a test at ~25ft from a hotspot (which is the closest point that I could actually still have a signal on the Samsung 9), and using Speedtest.net website/apps....
> Macbook Air2 - Full bars and ~35Mbps download
> Dell 6520 - Full bars and ~35Mbps download
> Old Gateway Laptop with a slide in PC Card for Wi-Fi - Full bars and ~30Mbps download
> iPad 2 - Full bars and ~28Mbps download
> iPhone 4 - Full bars and ~25Mbps download
> Samsung 9 - 1 Bar and <100Kbps
That is a pathetic design deficiency for Samsung. How did that make it through their labs??? Let's be honest, if you are buying a really sleek, portable laptop, you are probably using it as a mobile device connecting to a hotspot (at work, at home, or on the go), this Wi-Fi issue makes it nearly unusable.
Sorry Samsung, I absolutely LOVE your products, but you really dropped the ball on this one!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2011
I have had a Series 9 for several months:
* Light weight
* Great backlit keyboard
* Super slim
* Stellar Samsung support
* Amazing screen - super bright
* Great battery life
* Stellar boot time
* 6-8 hours battery life
But it has an Achille's heel:
Power connector is shoddy. I've sent my laptop in once, waiting a week to get it back, which is pretty fast, I'm told. The power cord no longer provided power, so purchased 2 more at a hefty price from Samsung. (Spent over $200) Didn't fix the problem. Turns out the input jack was the problem. When I got it back, now the cords connector doesn't go in all the way, and they fall out all the time. So, I'm having to be very careful how I use my laptop so that the cord doesn't fall out. It's a nuisance.
This is a stunning laptop. Pricey, but the fast, sleek, wonderful.
Since I bought this, the new MacBook Air shipped. It now has a back lit keyboard and offers a larger SSD drive as an option than the Series 9. It has a fast processor. It can run Windows as well as Mac OS.
Honestly, I still like the Samsung's look and not sure the MacAir has a screen that is as bright. It's nice to be able to use the Samsung outside and see the screen, easily.
But, the MacAir has Apple's magnetic connector for power, and it looks like that is a very useful technology. It's ironic that with all the high tech on the Series 9, the power connector is a problem. Yes, I may have had bad luck, but when I look at it, it's clearly not optimally designed.
I'd be more annoyed, but Samsung's support has been amazing. Still, I'm going to have to live with this flaw, because I don't want to send the laptop in again - simply too busy to be without my laptop for another week, and no guarantee that it will work right. Sure, I can get Samsung's support on the line in seconds, but hopefully the next gen Series 9 will fix this flaw. I hope so, Samsung is a company I want to work with, their customer focus is impressive.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2011
I have been using my Series 9 for a week now and LOVE it! If you are on the fence about buying it, waiting for the Macbook Air refresh (like I was), don't bother waiting... this is as close to an Apple killer as you can get and an Apple beater when it comes to performance! This thing is FAST! I knew I would like this laptop, I did not think I'd love it! It boots in 20 seconds from power off, 2 seconds from sleep mode. I'm getting about 7 hours of life from the battery, and it recharges quickly. I carry it around everywhere now, which I've never done with another laptop due to the weight. The screen is terrific, the keyboard feels really good, the case does not get very hot even after hours of use, and the audio is surprisingly good for a small laptop. A nice touch no review has mentioned (that I've seen) is the perimeter of the screen is lined with a nice, thin, raised rubber edge that keeps the lid from scraping on the main body when the lid is closed and, presumably, to keep the keyboard keys from contacting the screen and scratching it. I've trimmed the laptop "wrap" (a nice fiber like protective sheet) from the box to lay between screen and keyboard when in transit to protect the screen. No machine is perfect though, and if you are considering buying, here are a few things I feel lacking: 1) the track pad is very nice, but my thumbs, as I type, jump the cursor all over the place. After YEARS of trackpads on laptops I would think they could solve this. I've played with sensitivity settings and such with no luck, so I've taken to turning off the trackpad (FN-F5) when I'm doing a lot of typing. Otherwise, this is one of the best trackpads I've used. 2) Coming out of sleep mode, the wireless adapter takes much longer to reconnect than any other laptop I've ever used. Its not alarmingly protracted, maybe 15 seconds or so, but I'm used to loading up Email the moment the system comes alive and being online, I have to wait for the Samsung. This may be due to the Wireless-N adapter, I've not had Wireless-N on anything before and I have a new Wireless-N hub coming soon which may cure this "problem". Mostly I've just learned to wait. 3) I wish the drive size was bigger. I thought 128GB would be just fine, but they don't mention the recovery partition, Windows, and Samsung utilities would take up 28GB of that. 4) The ports. Really, Samsung, you couldn't put a SHDC slot in there anywhere? Micro-SD is completely useless. This was no surprise to me, I did read the specs before buying. 5) A minor gripe: the edges around three sides of the laptop lid are rather "sharp", I'm not sure why they chose not to round these edges off other than maybe to assist opening the case, but they could have made this case close flush and retained the general style. 6) The onscreen control display was NOT enabled out of the box! When I change volume level, I want to see the level and confirm I changed it (or muted it). The utility is installed, I had to go find it and manually run it. Once I found it, I dragged it into the Startup folder so it loads automatically. Dumb. This should have been automatically loaded at the factory.
Fairly minor gripes, but maybe Samsung is listening and rev 2 will take care of these few limitations. Overall, you will love the experience! For those balking at price, it is competitively priced IMO, and now that its dropped $200 from the intro price, its definitely a deal!! As for accessories, this is a brand new model, it will take time for them to get to market - once third party manufacturers figure out the success of the product, and I think it will be a success, they will be more apt to make the accessories we want. I too would like a car charger... I'll be watching for one...
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2011
I want to love this computer and pretty much everything about it is fantastic except the touchpad. Sometimes it just completely stops responding. This happens ALMOST every time the unit is plugged into the wall as well. I've upgraded to the latest touchpad drivers provided by Samsung and the problem is still there. If you sleep the computer and start again (which is blazingly fast!), it works again.
Due to a shipping related problem, I ended up with two of these units inadvertently (one has to go back) so as a result of the touchpad issue I was having with the first, I decided to open the 2nd unit and compare. Oddly, the 2nd one's touchpad is either wildly worse or significantly better depending on the circumstance. I can't figure out what is going on with these units. There is definitely something awry with these touchpads.
I may end up sending both computers back for a refund depending on how this works out. It would be a shame because the computer is EXTREMELY sexy, very responsive, and fast (did I mention sexy?). This is a great Air substitute but only if these touchpad issues can be resolved.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
Review UPDATE: You can see from my review below I had glowing comments about this at first. But nearly a year later I have to lament the sensitivity of the trackpad makes it useless when typing. It's best with the trackpad turned off, and an external mouse. Secondly, the fact that the keyboard doesn't light up automatically in dark rooms is utterly annoying. I have to turn on an ambient light for the keyboard to light up. Thirdly, and this is most serious issue, I went from nearly 7 hours of battery when new, to about 3 hours fully charged. That's a 50% reduction of battery life in one year! And the battery is not user replaceable. For these 3 reasons, and given the high price of this premium laptop, I have to change my rating to 2 stars. You're better off looking for a cheaper alternative ultrabook.
Okay, so I've had this model for about 1 month and I'm ready to provide my full report. The annoyance is that the keyboard doesn't light up in pitch dark situations -- it needs some ambient light. But you can trick it, if you put the screen on maximum brightness. That brings up one of the best features -- an amazing screen that you can use in sunlight.
By contrast, I wasn't expecting a super-fast performer, but have been surprised by the speed of the Solid State Disk (SSD). As a power user I wasn't sure the Intel Core i5 and 4 GB RAM would be enough; but after running several VMWare servers, I'm very pleased with the performance. So I've decided to wait on expanding this to 8GB RAM -- which this model supports.
The inevitable question: Is this an Apple Air killer? (My wife has an Apple so I can offer my experience.) Yes, the Samsung beats Apple if you're an avid Windows user. Moving to Windows 7 64 bit was a pleasant upgrade, and you can keep most of your favorite apps. But if you don't care for Windows OS, then the Apple Air might be more compelling -- at least, you'll know the Apple Air keyboard will light up in the dark! ;)
By the way, ignore other posts on the signal strength related to the metal case. I use 802.11 n, and get adequate performance for streaming videos, etc... even two stories away from my router. Plus you always have gigabit Ethernet port if you need ultra fast networking.
+ Super fast SSD
* Initial boot up in ~`15 seconds
* Office 2010 opens in ~2 sec.
* PDFs are instant
+ "Fast Start" is awesome, and restores the previous working session in ~3 seconds
* Note: it takes about 5-10 sec. to enter Fast Start (after you close the lid)
+ Super bright screen can be used outdoors in sunlight
+ over 7 hours of initial battery
* If you only use it a few hours at a time, you can run for days using the "Fast Start" feature
+ Helpful "Easy SpeedUp Manager" speeds up boot times even more
+ Quad-core i5 processor
+ Good Bios Security features, like HDD pwd
+ Included Network Wire is full gigabit (1000 mb/s)
+ HDMI port supports full extended desktop (dual screen)
+ Ultra sleek design
* sturdy metal case
+ High speed USB 3.0 port
+ Lighter than Air, and more functional than a tablet
- Backlight keyboard needs some ambient light to turn on
' But you can turn up the screen brightness to start the backlight keyboard
- Mouse pad way too sensitive.
' Even after adjusting it for days, tapping just couldn't be used reliably
' Texture not as smooth as Apple Air
' Mouse driver doesn't support scrolling gesture in Firefox (but works in Chrome)
- Small Hard Drive of 99 GB, after 28 GB gets allocated to Recovery Partition
' Another 25 GB goes to essential Windows updates install & programs
' You end up with ~75 GB.
' After installing my apps, I have about ~50GB free. Definitely usable, but I have to be conservative on installs.
- VGA add on cable for Micro-HDMI port was hard to find. Costs $50.
- Poor physical security features:
' No Kensington lock support. (Don't leave this laptop out of your sight.)
- Expansion ports are poorly placed:
' Hinged panels (on each side) are hard to access
' Can't close the (right side) hinged panel with micro-SDHC card in slot
' Video and Ethernet dongles are tricky to plug in
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2011
I got mine from an on-line store (not Amazon, sorry Amazon!!) with a 256GB SSD HD for $1,499 and free shipping. I love this laptop. Backlit keyboard, beautiful screen, excellent battery life. This laptop is *light* and *fast* Got the budget for it? Get one - and you'll be happy, too. (No wi-fi issues whatsoever...I think that particular complaint is a hoax...)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2011
It is quite interesting to see, now that he has retired, how everybody is fawning over Steve Jobs: the man we loved to hate; the man who turned serious computers into consumer products and that decides on a tantrum what consumers should consume or have access to by vetoing such great products as Adobe Flash, etc. And now the man we hate to love...
This is why I have never given in to the superficial chic trendy fad for Fruit Machines, although I can understand their success. Before, everybody was bent on having someone else's initials or logo on their clothes or luggage, and now it is on their computers. Goes to show the superficial era in which we live where appearance primes over content.
Samsung's answer to the Mac Book Air is not bad at all.
The design is certainly good and the performance is also quite good.
It is true that the mouse pad takes some getting used to, but I have solved that by pairing my trusted Targus Bluetooth mini mouse to it for moments of extended use and it solves that issue.
What I find lacking is maybe an extra 100Mb of storage, a full SD slot and a fingerprint reader.
Nevertheless, a nice machine altogether.
I was an unconditional of Vaio, but I must say that Samsung is impressive in their drive to create good products that are pleasing to the eye (and not the other way round). No regrets buying it and I would definitely recommend it.
However, it is still not the answer to the heavy laptop user's wet dream...
But then, has any laptop company ever tried to do that?
on November 27, 2012
I gave this laptop 4.5 stars, but since that isn't possible I rounded up.
After owning it for 8 months, I will try say what I think it's strengths and weaknesses are in accordance to my own experiences.
-Perfect size for a laptop (it looks great too)
-Blazing fast SSD (easily the best part...I will never go back to a regular hard drive again!)
-Great touch pad (no issues for me bumping it while typing or anything)
-The keyboard rules (the backlight is a nice bonus)
-Plays HD videos no problem
-Very fast start
-Micro SD card slot (I'm running out of space on the ssd so i can just buy a 64gb card for $55)
-4gb memory only maxed out once when I had like 50+ tabs open in firefox (even so you can upgrade to 8gb!)
-Battery life (like another reviewer said it loses more capacity than it should over the 1st yr, but it's replaceable if you can use a screwdriver.) I also don't take it out much.
-Screen a little small (hey I'm used to 15" screen)
-Streaming HD video from internet to tv can be choppy sometimes (this isn't supposed to be a multimedia powerhouse w/ dedicated graphics)
-Keyboard backlight doesn't come on automatically when room is dark
-Micro HDMI port is a little flimsy (it also could be the cheap HDMI cable I bought tho)
Also refuting some of the other neg reviews: I have had absolutely no issues with either the power cord or the WiFi card.
Overall the negatives are minimal compared to the positives, this ultrabook was a HUGE upgrade from my last laptop which I kept for 7 years and was running fine until it crashed for good.
However, I'm surprised that the price hasn't come down from when I bought it 8 months ago. I assume that the demand must still be high for this great little laptop.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2012
Wanted to love this. I have a choice among laptops for work and after studying the comparables, I decided this was the best choice for my needs (not a mac user, need something lightweight to travel with, MS software primarily and browsing).
The problem is with the Broadcom wifi card. I could only get this laptop to connect if I was located within 8 feet of my router! Spent hours searching online, updated the firmware and no luck. Contacted Samsung who walked me through a few questions and they quickly realized they would not be able to resolve so moved me to a tier 2 representative (didn't sound compelling, but thought I'd give them a try). The rep told me a Tier 2 would call me within an hour. 24 hours later I called to let them know I hadn't heard back and rep apologized saying it does show this in the system as being moved up to o a tier 2 representative, but it requires 24-48 hours for a return call. Called back after 4+ days (was on a business trip)...the representative said it was entered incorrectly to officially move it to Tier 2 status; luckily she was trained as a Tier 2, walked me though identifying the computer and told me this model had a problem with the wifi card and they would need to repair it. At this point, you have two choices: 1) return to Amazon, but take a 15% retunr fee or 2) send to Samsung for a repair (at their expense).
It should be another 10-14 days before I get the computer back....so if you are considering this model, don't. Get another model with the intel wifi card, otherwise you will be at least three weeks without a computer from the time you order to the time you receive one that actually works.