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Ultraportable laptops & Ultrabooks Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Samsung NP900X3A review

£1324 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Samsung

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Samsung has set its Apple photocopier to 'stun' with the Samsung 900X3A ultraportable notebook, a dark Windows tribute to the MacBook Air.

The Apple MacBook Air has got competition in the eye-candy stakes, as the Samsung 900X3A nearly matches up to the Apple's slender chassis and classy finish.

Samsung has deliberately copied the Air to make a laptop as slim and light - and has half succeeded. It’s slightly thinner than the MacBook Air at the thick end (16.3mm compared to 17mm) but a lot thicker at the thin end (15.9mm compared to 3mm).

There are more than just a few similarities between the Samsung and the MacBook Air. There's only 3g difference in weight, it likewise uses solid-state storage and has an integral battery.

However, the battery in the Samsung 900X3A lasts longer, lasting 500 minutes in MobileMark 2007's Productivity test - an hour and three-quarters longer than the Apple.

Performance-wise, though, the two are again remarkably similar. Identical WorldBench 6 scores of 94 came as a surprise: the Samsung may have double the RAM of the MacBook but its newer Core i5 processor has two cores running at only 1.4GHz, compared to the Apple's Intel Core 2 Duo running at 1.86GHz.

Laptop Advisor

Where the Samsung has the edge over its slender rival, though, is in the screen.

With its matt finish, it’s suitable for use in any lighting conditions, as a good ultraportable should be. The MacBook Air might give bolder colours, but it is more prone to reflecting light.

Graphics performance on the Samsung isn't all it could be, given that it’s being marketed as an entertainment all-rounder - the integrated Intel HD graphics chip struggled in our tests. It played FEAR at 24fps, but only after dropping detail settings to Medium.

Connectivity-wise, there's a USB 3.0 port for ultra-fast data transfer - this is handy if you need to expand beyond the limited 128GB SSD.

All of the ports are hidden below two hatches, one each side of the chassis, which flip down when needed and disappear out of sight when not, so as not to spoil the sleek lines.

Sadly, if you insert a microSD card into its slot in the right hatch, it cannot be closed to protect the port in transit.

Samsung NP900X3A Expert Verdict »

Samsung Series 9 900X3A-A01UK Scores 8.6 out of 10 based on 26 reviews
1.4GHz Intel Core i5-2530UM 13.3in matt LED backlit 1366 x 768 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 4GB DDR3-1333 128GB SSD Intel GMA HD HDMI out stereo speakers, headphone jack/mic input 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0 none none 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 gigabit microSD card reader webcam 48Wh lithium-ion, non-removable 329 x 227 x 16mm 1.32kg
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Overall, we can't help feeling that the Samsung promises more than it delivers. It's also more than £200 more expensive than the equivalent MacBook Air, so while the Samsung is well-matched with Apple's contender, it doesn't do enough to beat it.


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