Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus NP940X3G-K01US 13.3-Inch Laptop Review

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus NP940X3G-K01US 13.3-Inch Laptop

The Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus NP940X3G-K01US 13.3-Inch Laptop offers an impressive combination of computing power, portability and sleek good looks that should appeal to anyone who needs to get serious work done on the move.

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This machine is built around a fourth generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor. Based around the Haswell archictectue, this dual core CPU is an Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) component designed for Ultrabooks and small laptops. Each core runs at a base speed of 1.6GHz, but, thanks to Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, the processor is capable of automatically adjusting that speed as needed, up to a maximum of 2.6GHz. The processor also supports Hyperthreading, which enabled each core to handle up to two threads in parallel. Together, these – and other innovations – ensure that the processor is always able to deliver the best use of resources and balance between power consumption and performance.

The processor is supported by 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory. This should be enough for the supplied copy of Windows 8 to show off its new features and multitask your favorite applications with ease. However, more memory is always a good thing, especially for more demanding applications. Unfortunately, the 4GB that comes preinstalled in this machine is the maximum amount of RAM that the machine can support. Although that shouldn’t be a serious problem for most purposes, it is worth considering if you think that you might need more at some stage.

For permanent storage of your music, documents, movies and pictures, and of course, your software applications, this machine is fitted with a 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD). SSDs are considerably faster than conventional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), enabling the system to boot up in a matter of seconds, and applications to start much more quickly than is usually the case. They are also less susceptible to damage from the bumps and jolts that inevitably afflict a laptop from time to time. Unfortunately, they are also much more expensive than an HDD, particularly in larger capacities, which probably explains with this machine ships with a 128GB SSD, while laptops fitted with HDDs offer many hundreds of gigabytes of storage.

Pros :

  • Powerful, lightweight, long battery life
  • Intel Core i5-4200U Processor
  • 4GB (4GB x 1) DDR3 Memory (1600MHz)
  • 128 GB Solid-State Drive SATA3
  • 13.3″ LED QHD+, 3200 x 1800, 16:9, 10 Point Capacitive Touch Screen
  • Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • Underpowered for serious gaming
  • Memory cannot be upgraded

In reality, however, 128GB of storage will probably be enough for most purposes, and represents a sensible balance between speed, capacity and price. And, if you really need to add more storage space, it is an easy matter to connect an external hard drive to one of the machine’s two, high speed, USB 3.0 ports (which, incidentally, also support Sleep and Charge, allowing you to charge cell phones etc from the ports even when the machine is asleep).

On the general subject of disk drives and storage, it is worth pointing out that this machine does not feature a built-in CD / DVD drive. Again, for most purposes, this is unlikely to be a problem, and is a sensible compromise for a machine designed to be both slim and lightweight. However, if you think you might need an optical drive, you will need to purchase an external USB drive.

The machine’s 13.3 inch, QHD+, 3200 x 1800 pixel, 10 point capacitive touch screen features a 16:9 aspect ratio, and employs 350nit SuperBright Technology to improve overall visibility. It is driven by integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400. Although a significant improvement on Intel’s older HD Graphics 4000 technology, HD Graphics 4400 is still noticeably less capable than the HD Graphics 5000 found in other fourth generation Intel Core processors. Consequently, although it should be able to cope easily with routine office and multimedia tasks, including casual gaming, this machine is probably not well suited to playing today’s more demanding games.

Along with the above mentioned USB 3.0 ports, the NP940X3G-K01US supports Gigabit Ethernet via an included dongle for wired networking, and 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi for wireless connectivity. Bluetooth 4.0 is also supported, making it easy to connect to wireless peripherals such as mice and headsets, along with WiDi for use with displays that support Intel’s wireless standard.

For connecting to other types of display, the machine provides a Micro HDMI port. It is also possible to connect to monitors and projectors that use a legacy VGA port via a separately sold dongle.

The machine is fitted with a 720p HD webcam, making it video-chat capable right out of the box. Windows 8 ships with Skype, so you need only sign in to your account (or sign up for one if you don’t have one already) and you can be chatting with friends and colleagues in minutes. A three-in-one multi-card reader, a combined microphone / headphone socket and HD audio via two 2W speakers round off the usual array of input / output options that you’d expect from this class of laptop.

Measuring 12.58 x 8.76 x 0.54 inches (L x W x H) and weighing just 2.6 pounds, this machine is easily small and lightweight enough to carry around with you, yet offers a battery life of up to 7.5 hours – enough to get real work done on the move. As anyone who has actually tried to get real work done on the move will know, lighting conditions are often far from ideal, making it difficult to work effectively. The NP940X3G-K01US gets around this issue by offering a backlit keyboard, ensuring that you’re able to work whatever the local lighting conditions are like.

Overall, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus NP940X3G-K01US 13.3-Inch Laptop is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a powerful yet portable laptop. Its integrated HD Graphics 4400 mean that it probably won’t be up to the task of playing modern games very well, but then it isn’t – and doesn’t claim to be – a gaming laptop. More memory would be nice, and the inability to upgrade it beyond the preinstalled 4GB is slightly disappointing, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most purposes. Its touch screen and multi-touch trackpad mean it will work well with Windows 8, and enable you to work effectively while away from the office. What’s not to like?

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