Review: Samsung Series 9 cuts few corners

Well-engineered laptop is long on performance and battery life, short on business features

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Prebundled software for the system consists of Modern UI apps such as Samsung's S Camera, S Player, and S Gallery applications, along with the Intel AppUp app store and trial versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements, Microsoft Office 2010, and Norton Internet Security. The Samsung-branded system configuration tool lets you quick-toggle things like the keyboard backlighting and the power management settings. Among the options for the latter is a battery-life extension mode, which protects battery life by charging the battery only to 80 percent of its capacity, which is plenty for this battery. My Netflix rundown test provided a satisfying 5 hours, 15 minutes.

The one big shortcoming, especially considering the system ships with Windows 8 Pro by default, is the absence of a touch display. The multitouch-enabled touchpad partly compensates for this omission, but let's face it: Windows 8 without touch is, for now, a sticky wicket. That touchpad is also a little annoying in that, although it's generously sized, it has click zones along the bottom instead of discrete buttons. Also missing: a drive activity light, although at this point that's an endangered feature for Ultrabooks.

Finally, business users will like that TPM is included, though they may be dismayed to find there's no fingerprint reader or smart card slots. But if these features aren't high on your priority list, the Samsung Series 9 has just about everything else a power user could want.

Samsung Series 9 at a glance

 
PriceStarts at $999 MSRP; $1,899 as configured
ProcessorCore i7 3517U (3.0GHz) + Intel HD Graphics 4000
Memory4GB
Storage256GB SSD
Weight2.56 pounds
Dimensions12.35 x 8.6 x 0.51 inches
Display13.3 inches @ 1,920-by-1,080 LED display
Netflix battery rundown test5 hours, 15 minutes
Ports1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 Micro HDMI, 1 audio, 1 SD, 1 Mini VGA
Radios802.11a/b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Touch-enabled screenNo
Management featuresTPM
Sandra 2013 score4.69kPt

This article, "Review: Samsung Series 9 cuts few corners," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in computer hardware and mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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