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Review: Samsung's Notebook 9 Nails Portability And Power

The CRN Test Center goes hands-on with Samsung's new slim-but-powerful Windows laptop.


After opening up the Notebook 9, a new Windows 10 laptop from Samsung, we instantly feel empowered to be productive. The keyboard is perfect -- it’s big and the keys don’t feel flimsy -- and the touchpad works great right off the bat (unlike many Windows touchpads).

The display is also huge -- 15 inches, with a minimal bezel -- which is ideal for the 1 million windows we like to keep open at a time on our screen.

Maybe the Notebook 9 feels so natural from the get-go because, in many ways -- especially its touchpad, keyboard and aluminum body -- this is a laptop that calls to mind the MacBook Pro (a device we're very familiar with).

But that’s not a bad thing. The MacBook Pro does have a fantastic touchpad and keyboard, and Samsung is smart to channel those here.

[Related: Head-To-Head: HP EliteBook 1030 G1 Vs. Apple MacBook Pro]

But here’s how the Notebook 9 has a leg up over its cousin from the Apple world -- this thing is super thin and light.

And solution providers who serve highly mobile executives might be especially interested in the Notebook 9, due to the killer combination of portability -- it’s just 0.57 of an inch and 2.9 pounds -- and durability (it's built from aluminum and magnesium alloy).

The thin/light profile is worth digging into a little, for a few reasons.

One is that the processor is not one of the low-power, mobile-oriented chips that are found in many other highly portable laptops.

The Notebook 9 we tested came with Intel’s top-of-the-line, sixth-gen Core i7 processor.

Thus there is no "Sophie’s Choice" here between portability and power — the Notebook 9 packs both.

It’s got a fan somewhere in there, although it didn’t actually come on during our tests (Samsung said other measures, including clever management of airflow and heat sinks inside the device, help with cooling).

Meanwhile, the company said it also used lighter materials internally for the Notebook 9 to help keep the weight to a minimum.

The laptop we tested came with a satisfactory 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage, though its battery life was not hugely impressive in our test — about 5 hours on a charge. We did have the brightness up all the way, however, because the big, full HD display just looked best that way.

We were also impressed by the price -- $1,199 for the model we tested -- which strikes us as a good deal considering the portability, usability and specs we found with the Notebook 9.

Solution providers might be drawn to the Notebook 9 for all those reasons, and also because, as mentioned, the laptop runs Windows 10 and thus offers plenty of modern security and business-friendly features.

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