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Samsung refreshes Series 9 Ultrabook, but where's the 'Retina' display?

Samsung launched an even pricier version of its high-end Series 9 Ultrabook Monday

Samsung launched an even pricier version of its high-end Series 9 Ultrabook Monday, but the company isn't quite ready to trade blows with Apple on the "Retina" display front.

The new Series 9 replaces the 1600-pixel by 1200-pixel resolution display of its older models with a 13-inch, 1080p panel. The new Series 9 also comes with double the solid state storage of its predecessors, at 256GB.

Other specs on the new model are the same as those on previous Series 9s, including an Intel Core i7 processor, Intel HD 4000 graphics, 4GB of RAM, two USB ports (one USB 3.0), and an SD card slot. The laptop measures 0.51 inches thick and weighs 2.56 pounds.

But this thin-and-light, high-resolution package comes at a high price: $1,900, compared to $1,400 for Samsung's existing 13-inch Series 9.

Samsung Series 9 history

It's surprising that Samsung and other PC makers haven't managed to cram Retina-like displays into their laptops. The phrase--a marketing term invented by Apple--refers to displays whose individual pixels are indistinguishable at normal viewing distances.

Since Apple launched the MacBook Pro with Retina Display last year, only Google has offered similar pixel density in a laptop with its Chromebook Pixel.

That doesn't mean Samsung hasn't considered it. At the IFA trade show in Berlin last August, Samsung showed off a Series 9 prototype with a screen whose resolution was 2560 pixels by 1440 pixels.

Of course putting a display like that inside such a svelte frame brings up concerns about battery life, and it would also jack up the price even further. That may explain why Samsung hasn't brought that version of its laptop to market.

Perhaps this will change once Intel release its Haswell processors, which will bring significant battery life improvements over today's Ivy Bridge chips. Even if the market for Retina-like Windows PCs isn't huge, it'd be nice to see a laptop maker step up some professional-grade hardware that can stand its ground against Apple's best.


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