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Customer Review

on January 4, 2013
I used this exact model from work for two weeks last month.
Got a note from amazon that it was 7 bills on sale and decided to add my thoughts on my three weeks experience on this budget downgraded Samsung 9.

Firstly it is a good looking machine. It is a light machine. Sadly those are the sole positives compared to the competition or for that matter the proper series 9 machines. Now I dislike apple and its fanboys, so I wont call this a "knock off" of the air, but I will call it it a PALE budget knock off of Samsung's own proper series 9 ultra. Essentially you are buying the ultra case: well actually this case looks at first glace to be the same as the other series 9's but is actually a very flimsy magnesium instead and nowhere near as nice as the normal series 9.

First of all Samsung is cutting a serious corner by using the old second generation i5 processor instead of the third generation i5 one used in laptops today. For perspective typcially 4 and 5 hundred dollar i5 laptops today with third generation models. That is not just some tiny increment. It is actually three factors that are considerably worse in the second generation compared to current i5's. a) battery life. Yes battery life is directly affected by processor generations. Both the processing and the inboard video processing on the older i5s are much less energy efficient. We are not talking about the efficiency of a light bulb here, but of a ultralight laptop with a tiny battery (4 cell). The low energy inefficiency of the processor and video on the NP900X3D-A01US is why the claimed nine hour battery life is real world abysmal 3.5 to 4 hours even with everything tweaked.
The second gen processor is also slower for normal tasks, and much much slower for light to moderate video intensive tasks.

Battery: unless you absolutely need an utraportable be aware that battery life is generally pretty poor in this class. And the NP900X3D-A01US is pretty low within the ultrabook class.

Screen: The specs on the screen attracted me. Matte and a bump in resolution over the 768 norm. Yet the visual experience is lower than the average 768. Angle viewing is poor, contrast is poor and the screen is generally quite dull. I have seen dozens of standard res (768) that are real world much better than this screen.

HDD: it has a 120 ssd. Frankly real world I have found ultras using hybrids (dual ssd+conventional) are much better for laptops. 120 is pretty small even after moving recovery partitions. After you put in full office, you only have room for half dozen 1080 mkvs. There are 500, 750 and even 1TB +24 or 32flash hybrid systems that are 99% as fast in current ultrabooks and give you much more room and have the benefit of better durability and dependability. Yes it is a dirty secret, but nonetheless a fact, that even with TRIM enabled SSDs, today's SSD are more error prone and data loss prone than conventional or hybrid 2.5 HDDs.

Connectivity and networking: It is pretty hard to find a $1000 list (even with a 700 street) laptop with only single band N. In hotels, office, or really nowadays anywhere but extremely sparse suburbs and rural areas you will suffer with only 3.5 Ghz. And it will get worse as more devices pack households ever day that passes. Your speeds will constantly be old G speeds. Think you swap that card out? Think again. You will have to toss Bluetooth since there are only two leads and you will never -- ever - thread a third antenna up the screen case. Even wired is a crackpot scheme. You need to use their dongle (unlike an Air).

Case: this is a "metal" case like the standard Samsung 9, but it is not the same metal. They flog "magnesium" like it is equivalent or better, but trust me it is not. The feel of this compared to other aluminum Samsung 9s is noticeably flimsy. It is a metal that has the look and feel of plastic!

I am not down on this that much. If you need a LOW power laptop to look pretty at meetings despite actually being a a very low spec machine, go for it. But dont think you are getting a deal for seven hundred bucks. You are not. The competition in standard ultrabooks like this due to innovative touch screen devices coming on the market is making these dinosaurs, and the conventional designs are all seeing prices slashed. Samsung isn't so much slashing as they are slashing the specs by slipping in this old processor they are probably getting from Intel for next to nothing these days. It is still 7 bills and that is a lot of change give the plummet in laptop prices.

Other notes. I opened the case. As I said wifi swap to the triple lead dual band+BT is impossible due to the screen half build. Memory is not soldered so upgrade is possible. Processor is not upgradable. and unlike most you cannot get an msata hybrid in their either you will have to swap up the whole drive.
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