Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus review

A Retina-beating display, new Haswell processor and cutting-edge design. Is this the ultimate Ultrabook?

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
Samsung targets top spot in the Ultrabook wars

TechRadar Verdict

If you're looking for a lush screen and stunning performance, then look no further. Just check your wallet at the door.


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    Incredible touchscreen

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    Great battery life

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    Relatively expensive

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    Resolution tricky in desktop mode

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Samsung was one of the very first PC manufacturers to jump on the Ultrabook bandwagon. It's done a fine job of representing Intel's baby ever since, with some stunning offerings, including the Series 5 Ultra Touch and, more recently, the top of the range Series 9 NP900X3D.

Samsung certainly knows its stuff when it comes to Ultrabooks, but the goal posts are always moving. So what new trick can it pull out of its sleeve for late 2013?

High-res screen

It's high-res for sure, but is it too much?

Well, it's new Ultrabook: the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus, might keep the company ahead of the game for a while, at least if its on-paper abilities are anything to go by.

It's a wonderful-looking unit. It's thin and carefully crafted, with just a slither of the all-aluminium chassis peaking through the dark outer casing. But its plain black exterior might lend some clues as to its intent: this is an Ultrabook focused as much on the business user as regular Joe on the high street.

Samsung Ativ 9 Plus

Its main competitors in the working arena are undoubtedly the Macbook Air, Dell's Latitude 6430 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch.

But unlike those Windows Ultrabooks, the Ativ features the new fourth-generation Haswell processor from the Intel stable, as does the 2013 Macbook Air, which makes it the closest competitor in terms of performance, even though the Air is a consumer device first and foremost.

Samsung Ativ 9 Plus

With Haswell architecture comes various improvements in mobility (outlined here), with an ability to better manage the power it uses than previous generations of Intel chips.

The key gains are proposed longer battery life, lower heat output and better graphics performance. From a business user's point of view, battery life is the biggest concern, but portability is also important.

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus review

It's looking good - Samsung promises 11 hours of usage and the Ativ is also incredibly thin, being just 13.6mm at its thickest point. You'll really be impressed when you lift the lid, and there's no flex either - it really is a solid unit.

At 1.39kg, it's not the world's lightest Ultrabook (that accolade goes to the Sony Vaio Pro 13, at just over 1kg). But it's comparable to the current Macbook Air, which comes in at 1.35kg, and it feels plenty light enough to carry in one hand.

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus review