The Samsung Series 9 13″ 900X3A-A01CA Review – The Kingston Angle and The Final Verdict

Concurrent to all of this happening, I had mentioned to a good friend David Leong, Marketing Director at Kingston Technology,  that I had purchased the Series 9 and he wondered if he could impose upon me for a bit of a favor.  He went on to question whether their new HyperX PNP DDR3-1866 RAM would work in the Series 9 and what kind of a performance increase we might see.  I had to shake my head for a minute and think.  Are you crazy David?  Of course I would throw in 8GB of the fastest notebook RAM available and send it immediately!

Installation was no more than shutting the system down, switching off the single Samsung chip for the two Kingston chips and rebooting.  I have yet to have a chance to run any other tests due to my wifi frustrations but WEI jumped from 4.6 to 7.3 in memory Performance.  The specific model of the HyperX RAM used can be  found here.

THE JURY IS OUT

Getting back to where we started which was a bit of a comparison between the MacAir and the Samsung, we find that the Samsung Series 9 is selling for about $300 more than the Mac Air.  The question then becomes one of whether the upgrades are worth the money.

With respect to performance, I believe that the i5-2537 is a huge jump right off along with 4GB RAM and I understand that the MacAir may have better resolution but the brightness (400nit) and viewing angles of the Samsung Series 9 are undeniable.  It then comes down to  a simple question of whether I might pay the extra for the other benefits to include matte screen, backlit keyboard, longer battery life, more appealing and more durable exterior, and, well, it has a smaller footprint (.06″) now doesn’t it?

I truly expected to be taking this along and proudly using it amongst the sea of Macs in the press rooms of Computex in Taipei in a few weeks.  I am itching to get a detailed review out on the 128GB ssd and the newer soon to be released 256GB version.  This laptop truly is exactly what I have been in search of for years and, well, its not hard to fall head over heals for the design.

The question for me is whether I will be able to hook in to the wireless when giving lectures, when compiling articles at CES, Computex and the many hours I spend in airports playing on the laptop.  The wifi is an undeniable issue and unless Samsung can find a solution, well, this will go back for a refund.  I may get weak and try my third. Who knows?  It truly is a love affair with the wifi being the heartbreak.

I have contacted Samsung and am waiting for return and promise to update this article with any news of the positive.  It would be a wonderful thing showing up in Taipei with the Samsung Series 9 by my side.  For now though, back she will go… lets try #3 if I can find one.

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!

18 comments

  1. Are there different models of this same computer or releases of this model that are causing frustration that we should avoid? Is 128 gb enough memory? Great article by the way but will you make a page 5 about a mouth later if you have heard about a new model coming out? What are your video card graphic thoughts? Does Aero work? I am suffering ‘nmldr error’ from nvidia which is tragic…. good day mate

    SITE RESPONSE: The article will be updated and a follow up will be posted when new information is received from Samsung. There are several models but, with respect to wifi, unfortunately we haven’t received positive response from any models. It would have been nice to see Sammy make the jump to a higher video card but, for this systems intended use, Aero works fine and I find no bottlenecks with respect to video whatsoever.

  2. I am about to purchase this same unit…but also “concerned” about WiFi issue which is now pretty well accepted as a problem around the forums. I do have one EASY solution, however, which I am using to rationalize my decision. I plan to buy a USB N-WiFi adapter (only US$25-35) to have for emergency b/u in case native signal strength is bad. Perhaps I’ll need to use it all the time? Certainly, when I’m using it on an airplane I have no need for WiFi so I will reap all the benefits of this machine w/o the “problem”. Then, if I “need it”= I have a plan B.

    SITE RESPONSE: I have utilized and tested an external USB wifi and it works great with excellent reception. The difficulty is limited to the reception with respect to any configuration of the internal antenna and, to this point, a solution has yet to be made available.

  3. The WIFI issue is a real pity. I would LOVE to buy this laptop, but cannot justify spending so much and then having to use a 3rd party WiFi dongle to get a decent connection.

    Come on Samsung! Fix it please, or at least comment!

  4. Great review, I can confirm the same wi-fi problem with my 900X3A-A01 I bought from Amazon UK it has the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 adapter but is behaving exactly as you describe. An external USB Linksys adaptor confirmed this for me. I hope for a simple fix from Samsung because I loving the unit in all other respects.

  5. Anything from Samsung yet? I just bought this laptop in Canada and I have no problem with the wifi. It runs consistently 8-10mb/sec peaking at 15 sometimes. This was from walking around my house. I’m going to my local Starbucks tonight to test the wifi on an open wifi connection. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    SITERESPONSE: Nothing from Samsung yet!

  6. I really want this laptop, but the wifi issues are a deal breaker. Anything from samsung yet? when is the last time you pinged them?

  7. I purchased a NP900X3A-B01US at BestBuy 2 weeks ago and absolutely love this machine. It came with a 6300 wifi card and I haven’t noticed any issues with speed on either g or n networks. Thanks for the interior pics. I’ll surely upgrade the ram. The 128GB SSD is awsome with 10+ seconds boots. I’ll probably go to a 256GB version within the next 6 months.

    • The Series 9 is a phenomenal system and I am glad you don’t have issues with wifi as many others have. I went through four systems and have contact with Samsung who told me I would be the first to know when a fix was in place. Maybe they forgot the call!

      Unfortunately, its wifi does not suit my needs and, with the travel I do, I cannot chance having a laptop that does not have sufficient wireless any longer.

      I would recommend you join our forums and post! Others would love to hear your experiences.

  8. Hi,

    I read from some people said that Samsung is going to have a newer version with an 3rd signal receiver to fix this problem.

    Do you by any chance hear anything from them yet?

    Thank you very much for your time!!

    Kevin

    • There are new units out in other countries with the Intel 6300 antenna installed. The third antenna is routed up into the monitor (as I recommended personally to their engineers months ago) and signal strength has improved significantly.

      It appears that these are only trickling into US models though and the upgraded models have a distinct marking on the outside of the box that says ‘3X3’. I am not aware of any in Canada as of yet.

  9. Hi Les,
    First of all, thank you very much for your reply, your review and replys are great!
    I have one more question. By the mark “3X3” you mentioned below, is it part of the model number such as the “X3A” in NP900X3A-B06US, or it is simply just a stamp or sticker on the package box?
    I live in the US and have wanted to buy this laptop, but the wifi issue stopping me doing so. I have been searching the solutions or any updates online for couple months until I found your review.

    Again, thank you for your time and reply!!

    Kevin

    • I just did a Google search and, indeed X3a could very well be the Intel 6300 antenna as that was returned by all. I havent one in my hands yet so cannot confirm that 3 antennas are installed to which one is routed up the monitor

  10. Hi Les,
    I bought the NP900X3A-B06US model on Microsoft web store yesterday, hopefully I am lucky to get the one with the fix. They said it could be return in 30 days. I will let you know if I also encounter the issue.

    I also read your review for the Toshiba Z830/835, if S9 doesn’t come out good, i may turn to that one and save 300 bucks.

    Hopefully read more reviews from your and your site!

    Best,

    Kev

    • Thanks Kev and I hope the S9 works out for you. I won’t lie in stating that that laptop is easily the best looking on the market and I would loe to get my hands on one again. Having been through four already, I have to wonder what CES will bring in January though!

  11. Hi Les,
    I received the laptop today, and have been using it for about 3 hours without wifi issue.
    I did fully charged the battery before turn on and don’t know if this will help solve the issue since some ppl mentioned the issue may regarding to the power-saving.

    One thing I did notice is that I can use the multi-touch function on the pad, is there anything to do with my Win7 being only an Home Premium edition? (I have been an XP user since the stone age…so i don’t even know what’s the new world looks like..lol)

    Another issue is that the included Samsung Update Plus software alwasy said there is an new version and updated automatically but then and message would show up saying “An error occurred when decompress the file” ( I already uninstalled the program and reinstall the newest version downloaded from their site, but this still occur) Will contact their tech support to see if the problem could be solved.

    Another minor issue is that when I try to register the laptop online, their drop-down list didn’t even have a X3A model ( only X1A and X1B) and customer service said it’s some mistake between Samsung and Seagate…which I totally don’t understand where that come from…anyway she wanted me to wait for couple weeks then try again.

    Design wise i think it’s all I want except the bottom is a little bit plasticky.

    And yes the CES is coming hopefully with some cooler stuff and you must be very exciting about it as I am.

    Thanks again for all your help and information, wish you have great holidays!!

    Kev

    • That base sounds very interesting and I wonder if they traded off the duraluminum base for a plastic one to increase reception. As for the software, I cannot offer much there as I normally tradeoff bloatware for a fresh install. You might have to call customer service regarding that. Grab a coffee and get comfortalble. Last but not least, it only makes sense that there menu selection does not have the new model as of yet. When the first systems were released it was simila where they werent prepared for the response.

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