Samsung this week introduced new versions of its Notebook 9 ultra-thin and ultra-light laptops. The new mobile PCs are upgraded with Intel’s new Core i5/i7 Kaby Lake processors, new displays as well as a slightly different design that is slightly thicker, but is also slightly lighter. In fact, Samsung claims that its new Notebook 9 13” is the lightest laptop on the market at 816 grams (1.8 lbs), although some would claim that the 13.3-inch Lavie-Z holds that title starting at 720 grams (1.72 lbs).

Samsung positions its Notebook 9 machines for business travelers who have rather special requirements and who are willing to make certain tradeoffs. Apart from the new Intel Core i5/i7 processors featuring the Kaby Lake microarchitecture, the key improvement of the Notebook 9 are their new display panels with FHD resolution and a maximum brightness of 500 nits (their typical brightness is 350 nits), which is especially useful for those working outdoors. Quite naturally, at 500 nits the screens consume a lot of power, but the Notebook 9 laptops come batteries that have 30 Wh capacity, which is lower when compared to thin and light systems from Apple (41.4 Wh), Dell (60 Wh) and HP (38.4 Wh), but which helps to reduce weight (at the end of the day, not a lot of people have to work under direct sunlight). Samsung claims that the Notebook 7 can last seven hours on one charge, enough for office workers and even long-haul flights. As an added bonus, the Notebook 9’s monitors can display videos with HDR enhancements (the manufacturer does not reveal whether we are dealing with HDR10, but that is a likely situation).

The Notebook 9 laptops from Samsung can be equipped with up to 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, which is a rare option for contemporary ultra-thin laptops, many of which come with 8 GB of DRAM (but this may change in 2017). Meanwhile, when it comes to storage, Notebook 9’s SSDs top at 256 GB, but Samsung integrated a MicroSD card reader and hence road warriors may easily add storage space if needed. Connectivity-wise, Samsung’s Notebook 9 machines offer two USB Type-A, one USB Type-C as well as an HDMI port. For connectivity, a 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 4.1 wireless module is present.

The key selling points of the Samsung Notebook 9 range are their weight and dimensions: the 13” model is 13.9 mm thick, weighs 816 grams, whereas the 15” model is 14.9 mm thick, and weighs 984 grams. The laptops are thicker when compared to HP’s Spectre and Apple’s MacBook, but they are still thinner than Dell’s XPS 13. Moreover, when it comes to weight, the Notebook 9 are considerably lighter than (almost all) laptops in their class.

Comparison of Ultra-Thin Notebooks
Notebook 9 13"
Notebook 9
Dell XPS 13 HP Spectre Apple MacBook (2016)
Screen Resolution 1920×1080 with up to 500 cd/m² brightness and 95% sRGB color gamut 1920×1080 3200×1800 1920×1080 2304×1440
CPU SKU Core i5-7200U
Core i7-7500U
Core i7-7500U Core i3-7100U
Core i5-7200U
Core i7-7500U
Core i5-7200U
Core i7-7500U
Core m3-6Y30
Core m5-6Y54
Core m7-6Y75
Base 2.5 GHz 2.7 GHz 2.4 - 2.7 GHz 2.5 - 2.7 GHz 1.1 - 1.3 GHz
Boost 3.1 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.1 - 3.5 GHz 3.1 - 3.5 GHz 2.2 - 3.1 GHz
Graphics HD Graphics 620 (24 EUs) Intel HD Graphics 515 (24 EUs)
RAM 8-16 GB 8 GB 4-16 GB 8 GB 8 GB
Storage 256 GB SSD
256 GB SSD
256 GB NVMe
512 GB NVMe
256 GB SSD
512 GB SSD

256 GB SSD
512 GB SSD

PCIe 3.0 x2
Wi-Fi 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi
USB 3.1 × Type-C (unknown speed) 1 × Type-C 3 × Type-C -
3.0 2 × Type-A 2 × Type-A - × Type-C
2.0 × Type-A -
Thunderbolt - 1 × TB 3 2 × TB 3 -
HDMI 1 - -
Card Reader MicroSD SD -
Fingerprint Sensor Yes No
Other I/O Microphone, stereo speakers, audio jack
Battery 30 Wh 60 Wh 38 Wh 41.4 Wh
Thickness 13.9 mm 14.9 mm up to 15 mm 10.4 mm up to 13.2 mm
Weight 816 grams
1.8 lbs
984 grams 2.17 lbs 1.2 - 1.29 kg
2.7 - 2.9 lbs
1.10 kilograms
2.45 lbs
920 grams
2.03 lbs
Price ~$1000 ~$1200 $799+ $1100 / 256 GB
$1500 / 512 GB
$1800 / 1 TB
$1300 m3
$1600 m5
$1750 m7

Samsung did not announce MSRP or ETAs for its new Notebook 9 PCs, but it is logical to assume that the systems are set to arrive early in 2017. As for pricing, it is likely that the market segment that the manufacturer targets with the Notebook 9 family will not change with the arrival of new models, so we are looking at something like $1000+ for 13” models and something that starts at $1200 for 15” models.

In the meantime, for a limited period Amazon in the U.S. is selling out the previous-gen Samsung Notebook 9 13” (NP900X3L-K06US) for $749.99 and the Samsung Notebook 9 15” (NP900X5L-K02US) for $849.99.

Related Reading:

Source: Samsung

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  • lilmoe - Saturday, December 24, 2016 - link

    Design, screen, keyboard, weight, brand, support, etc... This is a laptop that gets most things right without breaking the bank as far as its target market is concerned. Believe it or not, most people don't care for 6-8 hours+ of heavy usage laptop battery life. They're fine with 8-10 hours of light browsing and Youtube (should be achievable with KabyLake and MS Edge).

    The consumers buying these don't value tech the same way you, or I, do. I personally don't bother with ultrabooks, at least not yet. I bought a Haswell i7 4700MQ HP Probook 2.5 years ago in the cheapest configuration, and replaced the RAM (Samsung RAM is extremely hard to find, jeez), replaced the sub-par screen, and slapped a 512GB 850 Pro SSD with 25% OP. Still going pretty damn strong, with 8-10 hours of browsing battery life and 5-7 hours of Visual Studio (had to changed the battery 2 months ago though). I just love the screwless entry to the internals. I'll pass on USB-C until they ship them fully functional and actually "universal", ain't missing much there.

    Trackpad is absolutely a horrible nightmare though. I mostly use a USB mouse.

    I'll replace this laptop with a similarly built HP Probook or Thinkpad with a 2nd Gen Quad/Octo core Ryzen SoC (yes, SoC, hopefully with HBM). Intel drivers are absolute SHIT, can't wait to get rid of their parts. Visual Studio is going multi-threaded anyway, so I'm good if AMD gets single threaded performance on par/better than mobile Skylake, I'm almost positive they'll best Intel in multi-threaded performance.
  • evancox10 - Saturday, December 24, 2016 - link

    You're point about getting most things right without breaking the bank would be valid, except that both of these are MORE expensive than the XPS13.
  • lilmoe - Sunday, December 25, 2016 - link

    4GB of RAM is a sin for a $800 machine. For the same configuration, and in most markets (outside the US), the Samsung laptop is cheaper, better configured and has a better screen. I actually like the XPS line better, but the design is rather aggressive for most people, sort-of close to how aggressive/masculine HTC's designs are.
  • evancox10 - Saturday, December 24, 2016 - link

    And I have a hard time believing that the other factors you listed are significantly better or worse between these brands. The one intangible you listed that has the most weight with the average consumer would be support, but if that's what you're looking for you go with Apple.
  • vladx - Saturday, December 24, 2016 - link

    Some people don't want OS X as their default OS and your average user doesn't know how to install bootcamp for Windows.
  • lilmoe - Sunday, December 25, 2016 - link

    Eh... this might be offensive to many here, but we need to stop treating Macs as a separate category. Apple is just one of many Windows OEMs. Apple's latest Macbooks are a desperate attempt to get average consumers to start using OSX using cool gimmicks.

    In this respect, Macbooks are horrible Windows PCs. In my experience the vocal OSX crowd are usually designers, journalist and/or enthusiast. These segments are a minority when it comes to overall Macs sales, just like the Linux on "Windows PCs". The latest Macbooks serves to prove this fact.

    Back to the point; it's all about brand and design. The guys at Apple aren't idiots.

    Anandtech and the rest of the tech blogsphere need to be more in touch with reality, and stop treating Macs as a separate category, because they're not. They're just one of many Windows PCs.
  • Samus - Sunday, December 25, 2016 - link

    It is amusing how many clients I have running Windows 7 on their MacBook. I'm not talking parallels either, full on boot camp and they never go into OSX
  • Samus - Sunday, December 25, 2016 - link

    I also have a hard time believing his predicted "battery life of 10 hours on edge" comment when an iPad Air 2 with a 800mw dual cord CPU, 10" screen and nearly identical battery capacity can barely surf for 10 hours.

    I'd guess it achieves 5-6 hours of light browsing before suspending itself.
  • lilmoe - Sunday, December 25, 2016 - link

    I was being conservative really....
  • Samus - Sunday, December 25, 2016 - link

    HP Trackpads have a firmware update to fix them across all models from the Probook 250 to the Elitebooks 1040. Get it. At the very least update the drivers. Every single person I've ever had complain about HP Trackpads says it's on pay with Apple after an update. And this isn't an HP thing. It's a Synoptics/Elontec thing. Acer, Asus and Lenovo all have issues with them. The difference is HP actually rolls out fixes across the board.

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