Samsung’s svelte 15-inch Notebook 9 is one mighty Windows 10 laptop – Mashable

For the past week I’ve been using Samsung’s 15-inch Notebook 9. This Windows 10 machine has been put through its paces, replacing my iMac. While I will stop short of declaring my love for Windows, my view of the current Windows laptop landscape has been changed.

In a world focused on the battle between Samsung and Apple in the smartphone industry, it’s easy to forget the South Korean electronics giant is more than a single-product company.

Samsung’s Notebook 9 lineup is impressive on paper, checking all the boxes on the spec sheet. But how does it actually perform? As it turns out, rather well.


Light as a feather

Traditionally laptops larger than 13-inches are reserved for someone who more or less stays put. A combination of a larger screen and bigger battery in a 15-inch laptop often leads to a bulky and downright heavy computer to tote around in a backpack.

I spent the past week using Samsung’s 15-inch Notebook 9. Review coming to Mashable soooooon.

A video posted by Jason Cipriani (@mrcippy) on Apr 27, 2016 at 10:30am PDT

But with the 15-inch Notebook 9, Samsung has found the best of both worlds. Weighing 2.9 pounds, the Notebook 9 is deceivingly light. To put that into perspective, the 13-inch MacBook Air actually weighs a tad more than the bigger Notebook 9, at 2.96 pounds. It’s 0.57-inch thickness is also thinner the MacBook Air’s thickest point of 0.64 inches.

Carrying a 15-inch laptop around in a backpack while traveling or moving between classes is no longer something to dread.

With a laptop that’s thin and light, concessions are expected. However, Samsung was able to include a number of ports in the Notebook 9 without sacrificing portability. (Looking at you, 12-inch MacBook.)

Ports on the left side of the Notebook 9.

Image: jason cipriani/mashable

On the left side of the Notebook 9 is a fast charging port, a USB 3.0 port, headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and a Mini DisplayPort. On the right side you’ll find another USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, and a microSD card slot. If you use a regular SD card to transfer photos from your camera to a computer, it’s acceptable to raise your eyebrows at the choice to include microSD support.


With the quickness

The Notebook 9 runs Windows 10.

Image: Jason cipriani/mashable

The spec sheet will tell you the Notebook 9 is equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. But I will tell you, all of that adds up to a computer that hardly ever slows down.

Not once during my week or so of use did I feel as if I was pushing the Notebook 9 too hard.

My daily routine is a random combination of bouncing between web browsers with multiple tabs open, opening and closing applications, email, and using the calendar. Occasionally there’s a YouTube video or browser-based game to distract me from the task at hand.

Not once during my week or so of use did I feel as if I was pushing the Notebook 9 too hard. In fact, I probably should have pushed it harder.

It’s not a laptop designed for intense gaming sessions, but it’s more than powerful enough to power through common computing tasks with little effort.


Battery life remedied with fast charging

The 15-inch model has fast charging.

Image: jason cipriani/mashable

Samsung rates the Notebook 9’s battery life at “up to” 12 hours, but I was unable to hit that mark. With varying screen brightness throughout the day, I was able to consistently get between a respectable eight and ten hours of use.

Thankfully, the Notebook 9 comes with fast charging technology which means you can recharge a dead battery in under 90 minutes. Naturally, I put this claim to the test as well and found the battery to charge from dead to 95% in the 90 minutes Samsung quoted. Color me impressed.

Despite battery life not living up to Samsung’s expectations, having the ability to quickly top off a battery before hopping on a plane or heading out to a coffee shop is one I’ve grown to appreciate — first on smartphones, and now on a laptop.


Look, don’t touch

Image: jason cipriani/mashable

This particular Notebook 9 variant doesn’t feature a touchscreen, and I’m OK with that. Nearly all touch-enabled Windows laptops I’ve used have all suffered from a screen that seems to move as you type on the keyboard. It’s an admittedly subtle wobble, but it’s one that drives me absolutely crazy.

Not only does the screen on the Notebook 9 stay put as you type, but the added benefit of using touch to interact with Windows 10 isn’t all that clear to me. Yes, Microsoft has done a lot to improve touch interaction in Windows 10, but at the end of the day I’ve found a trackpad to be just as, if not more, efficient than touching a screen.

The Notebook 9’s keyboard is comfortable and spacious; the keys have just enough travel to make touch-typing possible. As for the trackpad — it works as one would expect with no delay when you slide your finger across its surface.

The Notebook 9’s hinge flips back 180 degrees.

Image: jason cipriani/mashable

The 15-inch model I’m testing features a 1,920 x 1,080 LED display and it is gorgeous. Colors are bright and vivid, and overall brightness is more than enough for the harshest environments. The Notebook 9’s hinge makes it possible to open the laptop to the point the screen is touching your desk. The only real purpose for actually opening the screen this far is to share information with someone sitting across the table from you, but even then, it’s not all that practical.

Samsung also offers a less expensive 13-inch model, and more expensive 15-inch model with a 4K touchscreen.


I can’t get away from bloatware

Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones has long been plagued by bloatware apps pre-installed by either Samsung itself, or its carrier partners. At least once a week I receive an alert on a Galaxy S7 Edge I have, trying to convince me to visit a local Verizon store for an “enhanced experience,”

In that regard, the Notebook 9 is no different.

Image: SCREENSHOT: SAMSUNG

Of course, added apps and services have long been a staple of any Windows computer manufacturer, but it’s a shame we haven’t moved past that quite yet.

The Notebook 9 comes with Norton Security pre-installed, and the app never stops bugging and alerting you. For example, almost every time I started a new Chrome browsing session, an alert would popup asking me to enable Norton’s extensions.

Even the wording of the alert is one that gives off the impression the user has done something wrong. (Ex: “Attention! SAMSUNG recommends fulling activating your security software now.”) This alert always leads to me asking myself If Samsung really recommended I do that, why didn’t they just do it for me?

I realize this is a battle lost long ago and one Windows users have to deal with on a daily basis, but it’s still frustrating.

Image: screenshot: samsung

For its part, Samsung has included some software tweaks of its own. Samsung’s SideSync app makes it easy to sync, share content, or even control your Samsung smartphone from the desktop of the Notebook 9. Using SideSync is a bit slow at times, but overall it’s a simple way to at least keep tabs on smartphone notifications keywithout downloading AirDroid or similar.


A stellar computer, no doubt

Image: jason cipriani/mashable

The Notebook 9 is currently priced at $1,100, down $100 from its typical $1,200 price tag.

an affordable 15-inch laptop packed with performance

At either price, it’s an affordable 15-inch laptop packed with performance.

The 13-inch Notebook 9 is on currently on sale for the ever-so-affordable price of $949, after which it will go back to its regular price of $999.

Both variations of the Notebook 9 are thinner and lighter than Apple’s MacBook Air, and are priced to match. For those interested in picking up a new Windows 10 machine, or possibly making the switch from a Mac, I don’t you can’t go wrong with the Notebook 9.

Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch)

The Good

Thin, lightweight • 15-inch model comes with fast charging • It’s a workhorse • Screen is beautiful

The Bad

No touchscreen • Battery falls short of advertised 12 hours

The Bottom Line

Samsung’s Notebook 9 is fast, light, and won’t break the bank. You don’t give up ports for portability, but you do have to give up a touchscreen.

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