By the standards of the familiar 15in notebook, the Samsung 900X4 is small, sleek and stylish. It stands out as one of the better high-end ultraportables that are now flooding the market.
First impressions are promising, those clear flowing lines moulding the thin 15mm-thick form – it’s quite remarkably slender for a laptop with 15.6in screen and decent component specification. Read the review of the latest 13in Samsung Series 9.
The subtle curves and flowing lines sculpting the 375 by 237mm laptop, aided by the satin blue-grey coating, give it a kind of fragile elegance. Unlike many ultrabooks, this is an all-metal model too.
And being so light – a shade under 1.7kg – the Samung 900X4C can boast unique portability and a crisp style that’s starting to tread on Apple’s toes.
Those curves do however mean some compromises with the ports, which seem perilously placed for easy use. The mains charger plug, for example, has a very small barrel that will be easily snapped once someone trips over the wire. Like most ultraportables, there’s no room for an optical drive but if films on laptops are your thing, a DVD drive that plugs into a USB port will do the trick.
One USB 2.0 at left and two USB 3.0 to the right are all standard fare for the Samsung 900X4C; but if you want to use ethernet or HDMI digital video, make sure you keep the included dongles to hand. These convertors plug into miniature ports around the chassis’ polished edge.
Upon opening (in all honesty a bit tricky as the unforgiving curves only leave a tiny slot with which to prise open the lid), the hinges slide smoothly and hold the screen reasonably securely.
Because of its very low weight when it’s balanced on your knees it can feel a little unsteady. The 16:9 widescreen spreads wide across the top panel, and boasts great quality: it’s LED-backlit, extraordinarily bright and anti-reflective, so you can actually use the screen in various light conditions.
And with 1600 x 900 pixels making up the screen, resolution stands above most of the crowd still using cruder 1366 x 768 panels
The touchpad is large and responsive, a buttonless type with hidden left and right click buttons. Just as Apple-inspired, you can elect to use a two-finger finger tap for right clicking.
The keyboard has unusually low profile keys, so minimal effort is needed to type, and making speedy typing quite possible. The intensity of its white backlight can be controlled; buttons controlling this and screen brightness sit on the function keys, reducing added button clutter elsewhere.
Samsung 900X4C: Performance and Features
Powering this oversized take on the MacBook Air is a third-generation Intel Core i5, a low-voltage chip clocked at 1.7GHz – in fact the same processor we now find inside the latest entry-level 11in Air, the Apple MacBook Air 11in (Mid-2012).
With the help of this and the Samsung 900X4C's 8GB of memory, this Samsung Series 9 notebook scored 125 points in WorldBench 6, placing it in the more-than-quick league for everyday operations.
Storage is solid-state, as you’d expect of something this thin and light (and expensive), although the Korean semiconductor specialist has more surprisingly opted for a SanDisk U100 SSD inside rather than one of its own parts.
Thanks to Intel’s newly supercharged HD Graphics 4000 chipset, you can dabble with some gaming now – we saw a playable 28fps in the basic FEAR game at Maximum detail.
Battery life is outstanding at over 8 hours (483 mins MobileMark 2007 Productivity), although we did note in the test’s Performance Qualification result of 217 points that this notebook may feel a mite slower while running from battery.