Samsung Series 9 900X3B review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Benchmarks
Cinebench 10: 7,265
3D Mark 06: 3,577
Battery Eater 05: 172 mins

In our lab tests, the Samsung Series 9 900X3B offered mixed results, and whichever way you look at it, this is a portable PC that will appeal more to style-conscious web surfers than power users.

The processor tests revealed a good score for the Intel Core i5 processor, which is in line with other Ultrabooks, and the Apple MacBook Air. There's more than enough power to edit pictures and multitask your favourite programs without testing the limits of the chip.

However, the graphic benchmarks left a lot to be desired. As with most Ultrabooks, the Samsung relies on the built-in Intel HD 3000 graphics core, which delivers mediocre performance.

Samsung Series 9 900X3B review

You can forget gaming, but there's enough power there to keep an HD movie smooth and seamless, and use programs such as Photoshop Elements.

We can forgive the poor graphical performance of the Samsung Series 9 900X3B, just because of its waif-like size. It's not designed to take on the might of the Apple MacBook Pro, and it's an achievement that a laptop this slim can still have enough power to be used as a primary machine.

On such a portable laptop, battery life is key, but this fell short of our expectations when tested in our labs.

Samsung Series 9 900X3B review

We use a highly demanding testing process that involves looping HD video and performing an automated writing task until the battery dies. The Samsung Series 9 900X3B lasted 172 minutes - a little under three hours - which equates to five hours of light use.

To put these results in context, the Asus Zenbook UX31 lasted 234 minutes, and the MacBook Air 205 minutes under the same conditions.

One huge selling point of the Samsung Series 9 900X3B is its excellent screen, which is one of the best matt displays you'll find. It's pin-sharp and really bright, making it great for creative types and media lovers. But by dispensing with the visually enhancing glossy TFT coating, it won't be rendered useless in direct sunlight.

Samsung Series 9 900X3B review

High definition movies looked superb, with vibrant colours punching out from the panel, and we would highly recommend it for anyone looking to pass the time on long commutes, or just catch up on TV shows in bed.

Despite the lack of graphical power and the mediocre battery and processor scores, using the Samsung Series 9 is extremely pleasurable, thanks to the responsiveness of the system.

The 128GB SSD hard drive does a lot of this work, enabling the Samsung Series 9 900X3B to start up in around 10 seconds.

The SDD and Sandy Bridge processor also combine for some scarily fast system resumption times. You can open the lid and have a responsive desktop in about two seconds, which is a big sell for anyone looking for the immediacy of a tablet, but functionality of a Windows PC.