Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus NP940X3G-K06US 13.3-Inch Laptop Review

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus NP940X3G-K06US 13.3-Inch Laptop (Mineral Ash Black)

The Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus NP940X3G-K06US 13.3-Inch Laptop is a small, lightweight and easily portable Ultrabook-class machine. It is clearly designed, as all Ultrabooks are, with the intention of providing realistically usable computing power for people on the move, and should be more than capable of handling everyday computing tasks wherever your travels may take you.

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Driving this machine is an Intel Core i5-4200U. This is a dual-core, Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) processor, specifically designed to provide a good balance between energy efficiency and processing performance in Ultrabook-class laptops. Based on Intel’s highly regarded Haswell architecture, it supports Hyper Threading, which enables each core to handle up to two threads in parallel, and Turbo Boost which allows each core to automatically adjust its own speed from 1.6GHz up to a maximum of 2.6G Hz, depending on the needs of the current software application. Together, these technologies ensure that that processor is always making best use of its available resources, conserving power when possible yet delivering performance when it is needed.

The processor is supported by 4 GB of DDR3L memory, which should be enough to allow the supplied copy of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 to run well. Of course, more memory is always better, but the 4 GB fitted in this machine represents a sensible compromise between price and performance.

Pros :

  • Good, small, lightweight, general purpose workhorse
  • Intel Core i5-4200U 1.6 processor
  • 128 GB Solid-State Drive
  • 13.3-Inch Screen
  • Windows 8.1

Cons :

  • Graphics may be underpowered for serious gaming
  • No optical drive

For permanent storage of your documents, images, music and movie, the machine is fitted with a 128 GB Solid State Drive (SSD). Compared to a conventional Hard Disk Drive (HDD), SSDs are both considerably faster (this machine is claimed to boot up in as little as 5.9 seconds) and much more robust – an ideal combination for a machine that is intended to provide portable computing capabilities! Unfortunately, SSDs are also considerably more expensive that HDDs, which goes some way towards explaining why this machine is equipped with only 128 GB of permanent storage – the greater the SSD’s capacity, the more expensive it is! Whether 128 GB of storage will be sufficient depends entirely on what you intend to use the machine for. However, in many cases it will be sufficient, albeit not very generous. And, should more storage be required, it is an easy matter to attach an external HDD to one of the machine’s USB ports.

As with most Ultrabooks, this machine doesn’t feature a built-in CD / DVD-RW optical drive. Although this is an understandable compromise in a machine that is designed, first and foremost, to be small, lightweight and very easily portable, particularly in view of the ubiquitous cloud storage and endless USB storage devices, it does mean that, should you have a pressing need for an optical drive, you will have to buy an external USB unit. Again, this shouldn’t be a significant issue for most users, but it is worth mentioning for those who want, or need, an optical drive.

Perhaps this machine’s most impressive feature is its 13.3-inch, Quad HD+ (3200 x 1800 pixel) high resolution, LED backlit touch screen display. Sharp, well defined text, lifelike colors and vivid images deliver exceptional clarity, making it a pleasure to use. The display is driven by integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400, which, although perfectly adequate for everyday computing – including HD video and even casual gaming – will struggle a little with the demands of modern games. Of course, this isn’t, and doesn’t claim to be a gaming laptop – it’s a general purpose workhorse designed to get real world tasks done on the move, and HD Graphics 4400 is more than up to that challenge.

Connectivity options are also pretty much what you would expect from an Ultrabook – 2 USB ports, a media card reader, microphone / headphones, a micro-HDMI port and 802.11 a/b/g wireless networking are all present and correct.

Overall, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus NP940X3G-K06US 13.3-Inch Laptop is an ideal machine for anyone who needs the ability to get real work done on the move. Measuring 12.58 inches x 8.78 inches x 0.54 inches, and weighing just 3.06 pounds, this machine is designed to be – and is – easily portable. And, with a reported battery life of up to 7.5 hours, you can be sure of getting the job done, no matter where your travels may take you. Of course, to get this much computing power into such a small package, compromises have to be made – there is no optical drive, and the on-board graphics will struggle with heavy duty gaming (although, in fairness, this isn’t a games machine!) – but this is true of most Ultrabook class machines, and most of them don’t feature superior build quality and a Quad HD+ display. If you’re looking for a premium Ultrabook with great features, good battery life and plenty of processing power, this could well be the machine for you.

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