Wednesday , 30 July 2014
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The Samsung Series 9 900X3A-A01CA Laptop Review – This May Be a Work of Art… Almost

My obsession first appeared in the CES Press Lobby last January as I wrote a story on my PC laptop.  I’de glance over the screen to catch a glimpse of a Mac loyalist staring me down with this unmistakable  grin as it seemed I was the only press member not in possession of a Mac of some sort.

That same day I got my first look at the Samsung Series 9 laptop and realized things would soon be different. It was stunning.

For a moment it could have been a scene from the movie ‘Casablanca’ as our eyes (or rather my eyes and its webcam) met. In several years of fine tuning my choice of laptops, I never imagined such a thing might exist and believed that, well, I was in the midst of perfection…until…

Fast forward to a week or so ago when the Series 9 laptop was officially released in Canada and I, believe it or not, stood in line on a cold wet morning waiting to be the first.  I was like a teen who had arrived at 4am to be the first to get a rock concert ticket for their favorite band.    If you would believe it, I even went so far as to take a full day off work to get to know my new love and, well this is where the story dips.

Today we are going to examine the Samsung Series 9 laptop as I don’t quite think has been really done yet.  You are going to learn that, as many things as there are about the Series 9 that fit into the category ‘absolutely amazing’, there is one minor issue that is growing rapidly and turning happy customers like myself into former customers.  This particular unit hasn’t gone back yet and I have hope however.

A SHEET OF PAPER

If you would believe it, the design of the Series 9 came from a piece of paper.  Its actually a bit amusing to realize that, with all the talent available at Samsung, one of their engineers simply folded a piece of paper together and thought that it was a great look.

The body is constructed of an aircraft grade aluminum called ‘duralumin’ which is twice the strength of aluminum and very light.  In fact, fully loaded, this laptop tops out at 2.88lbs which makes it lighter than the Mac Air.  The Series 9 even holds a lower center of gravity as its highest point is 0.62″ compared to the Airs 0.68″ frame.  Of particular interest is the fact that Samsung went all out and created a completely metal exterior body top to bottom.

To give you an accurate idea of how this compares to the typical laptop, the Series 9 sits next to my Dell XPS M1330 on the left and then my Acer Timeline 11.6″ laptop on the right.  There really is no exaggeration when we speak of this laptop being ‘paper thin’. Its truly a stunning laptop.

The ports of the Series 9 can be reached by pulling down the drop down ports to expose a USB 2.0, headphone jack and micro SD slot on the right and a USB 3.0 port, mini HDMI and proprietary ethernet port on the left.  Don’t worry folks as the external ethernet cable is included free of charge.

Pg1 – Introduction and System Characteristics

Pg2 – System Interior and Performance

Pg3 – The 128GB SSD and A Bit of An Issue

Pg4 – In Jumps Kingston and The Verdict

FOLLOW DISCUSSION IN OUR FORUMS!

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • Mike Mau

    make a correction – the HDMI port is not a mini… it’s a micro port… and when asked, Samsung support could not tell me how to hook this up to a vga projector for on-the-road presentations (I know, I know what I needed… but just to test the system – I wanted to see if they would come up with the right response)… they just passed the buck saying that I would need to buy something from a nearest outlet somewhere…. it took me about an hour of snooping online… to find this…AA-AH0NAMB… which was Samsung’s answer… a Samsung part…. that was made by Samsung… that Samsung support didn’t even know of…. my point?: tells you about the support of this model… if you wanna be left out in the middle of the ocean withou a boat… buy this thing…. or wait till they iron out all of the bugs…. but it may be a while…

  • CK

    What was the final verdict for you on WiFi issues? Was it just a specific machine, or general issue?

    Also, have you heard any additional information about when this upgraded model will be released?

    http://www.samsung.com/ca/consumer/office/mobile-computing/performance/NP900X3A-A02CA/index.idx?pagetype=prd_detail&tab=specification

    It looks likes it’s just more RAM (8GB) and bigger SSD (256GB) but Samsung rep on phone could only tell me “Q2 2011… June, July, or August”. I’m willing to give them July, but August is definitely Q3. :)

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les Tokar

      This is still being worked on and seems to be common with metal encased laptops. No news is released with respect to the upgrade as is Samsungs policy.

  • CK

    I picked a Series 9 up at Best Buy in Canada and the “personal” benchmarks I did show excellent performance for the programming tasks I would be using it for.

    Overall, I have only superlatives for the Series 9 NP900X3A laptop. It’s not a Macbook Air competitor at all, as far as I can see – it surpasses the Air in every way. I was comparing it to desktops (Core2 Quads with 8GB RAM and 2 physical HDDs) and it was faster for the programming, compiling, testing tasks that I would use it for. I would upgrade the RAM to 8GB, which I believe would put it on par with the desktops at work.

    Unfortunately, while the laptop has surpassed all my expectations, Samsung’s policy with regard to upgrading the RAM on the Series 9 means I’ll be returning it to Best Buy, which is extremely disappointing. As you point out, upgrading the RAM on the Series 9 voids the warranty (http://ars.samsung.com/customer/usa/jsp/faqs/faqs_view_us.jsp?SITE_ID=1&PG_ID=0&AT_ID=151054&PROD_SUB_ID=0&PROD_ID=1354). On the other hand, Samsung doesn’t offer a model of the Series 9 with 8GB RAM installed from the factory – so they’ve really tied the customer’s hands if you want a Series 9 with 8GB of memory. Someone with some authority at Samsung needs to be informed that their “upgrading RAM voids warranty” policy is counterproductive and counterintuitive.

    • Mark Palmos UK

      Agreed!
      1/ even the excessively control-freak kings, Apple, allow users to change their ram without voiding guarantee.
      2/ sammy should pay for getting this wifi sorted out, again, even if it is with an apple-style solution, like the case to avoid the iPhone4 “death grip”.

      Come on Samsung, I want to buy this laptop, but will not until the WIFI and ram upgrade issues are overcome.

      Mark, UK.

  • David Bell

    Hey Les, you site is looking great! I am interested in this laptop also and believe the Sandy Bridge version is out. I am wondering if hanging a USB wireless dongle would at least be a work around to the pathetic wireless reception.

    I am excited to find a place where I can actually this laptop. Looks great. Cape Dave.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felipe-Machado/100001715822321 Felipe Machado

    Hi! I think I’ve got what is going on here with the wifi signal…

    I’ve just bought this laptop and for my wife and she started complaining about internet browsing speed issues… To make a story short, I’ve noticed that the results for a PING on my wifi router from this baby here were terrible, aroung 800ms, sometimes over 1200ms, sometimes even failing to reach the destination…

    Then I remembered that during the first install of the machine it was working perfectly… what could have gone wrong in one day of use? What was different some hours earlier???

    THE POWER!!! It was connected to the DC POWER ADAPTER as stated in the manual for the first run and install of the system… Then it was a matter of doing the PING against my router again with and without the DC ADAPTER connected… And that’s it:

    Witht he POWER CONNECTED this baby reaches the wifi rounter, flawlessly, in less than 5ms in all attemps (just dig a “PING 192.168.1.1 /t” at the command prompt)… almost as soon as I remove the power adapter the PING drops to over 1000ms and fails altogether to reach the destination many, many times.

    I’m right now trying to see if this is a POWER SAVING issue… If I can disable it I’ll keep the laptop, it not, I’ll be returning it tomorrow, just after having it for a singe day…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felipe-Machado/100001715822321 Felipe Machado

    And, YES!!! I’ll be keeping the laptop! That was just a silly power saving option that was on by default… It is really a shame because countless people will think this computer is terrible because it doesn’t work well most of the time, since people certainly buy an ultrabook like this to use it without a POWER CORD attached, and in this situation, SAMSUNG’s factory provided power saving settings turns it into an UNUSABLE systema. Internet navigation is sooo slow, and they will think this is actually a problem with the notebook… While it is only a terrible default settings choice.

    TO FIX IT: Open the Energy Savings Option (Control Panel >> System and Security >> Energy Options)… You’ll see that SAMSUNG OPTMIZED is selected… You can keep it, but you’ll have to change it to fix the wifi problems… Click in the link to change the energy plan options… Then click on the Change Advanced Energy Settings (the text may be different on your system, because mine is is Portuguese I’m translating it herer freely)… A popup window will appear…

    … Simply go to Wireless Adapter Settings >> Economy Mode >> On battery: change it to Maximum performance and VOILÁ.

    Then buy me a beer next time you visit Rio de Janeiro!

    • In8beats

      Felipe… this is great news. Thanks for the fix. I’ve been waiting for a solution before I made the purchase. Now can ANYONE else confirm this? Thanks

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