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

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The Ativ is certainly one of the best Ultrabooks we've seen to date, and offers a great package for those looking for a laptop that can be both a workhorse and an exemplary home entertainment machine. It's powerful, the battery life is stunning - all-day capable, even - and it has an incredible screen.

The only fly-in-the-ointment here is whether you buy the cheaper Macbook Air, which is similarly specced, or the Sony Vaio Pro 13, which is almost identical on paper, but about £200 cheaper. You can even get the Core i7 version of the Sony for just £100 extra.

Neither of these options have the amazing detail of the Ativ's screen, but we're not convinced it's a necessity, especially at this screen size. And we're not sure a business user would mind either, unless they were looking to maximise their screen real estate.

We liked

Samsung's skill in creating premium Ultrabooks is evident with their latest model. It scores highly in nearly every aspect we can think of. The quality of the screen simply can't be overstated. There's a tiny bit of reflection, but otherwise it's the best we've seen to date. It boasts a huge resolution that betters Apple's Retina standard, offers smooth touch capabilities and it's super-thin too.

The rest of the laptop is just as ridiculously thin, and it weighs very little. Coupled with the impressive battery life and the powerful innards, this is genuinely the perfect portable laptop for the business person.

The Ativ also comes with LAN and VGA adapters, so you're good to go if you find yourself working in a corporate scenario. Lastly, a Kensington lock port ensures you won't be a victim of crime when security is a concern.

We disliked

We were actually surprised how little the Ativ gets wrong. Sure, it's a tiny bit on the expensive side, especially when compared with the aforementioned Apple and Sony offerings, but it does feel like you're getting an Ultrabook that's almost perfect. The screen can be a little tricky to use when you're in desktop mode, but thankfully this can be adjusted if it's not working out.

Final verdict

If you absolutely must have that stunning display, then we would wholeheartedly recommend the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus. It's built to be future-proof, and you won't be disappointed with any aspect of its performance. Its price is the only area you'll need to convince yourself on.

Otherwise, you might want to consider some of its closest competitors. Alternatively, Samsung has also produced a budget version of the Ativ, called the Lite, which sacrifices performance in the quest for a £500 price tag.