Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite Notebook Review

Final Thoughts


Pricing

Samsung’s Ativ Book 9 Lite is available in a couple of slightly different configurations, with touch-screen an optional extra and the notebook also coming on one of two colours – Marble White and Mineral Ash Black. The Marble White unit that I’ve had to look at here comes with the optional touch-screen added in and in the US is available directly from Samsung for $649.99. In the UK, there are a number of retail outlets that are stocking the Book 9 Lite as seen here with Curry’s stocking the unit for £599.00 and Amazon UK offering both colours and options for up to £579.99.

Overview

Since their first release on to the market, Intel’s Ultrabooks and their counterparts that have AMD processors inside have paved a whole new pathway into our connected and mobile lives. Whilst a number of users are still choosing to have a single full-fat laptop for use in the home or office, but also for use whilst out on the go, there is a growing trend, especially amongst us journalists, to have both options to hand. Naturally as a technology reviewer I’ve got nothing but computer components around me and personally I do have both a custom desktop system and a Dell XPS15 high performance laptop that I take with me to shows and events around the world, but having a system that is light, small and easy to take around with me to meetings and press conferences is yet another thing that I’ve got on the itinerary of tech gadgets and products that I own.

The Ativ Book 9 Lite it has to be said has been a great system to take around me during the time that I’ve had it. Its lightweight build and small form factor have made it easy to slip in and out of my bag and easy take notes down on or write short articles whilst I’ve been at press events and with a battery life that has been able to last me a whole day, the need to take the charger with me has added to the minimal weight that it packs.

The styling of this unit is both simple yet stylish. Whilst its nice to see matt, gloss and brushed effects to black or grey plastics as we typically see on many laptops, having all of those effects on a white system simply wouldn’t work in my eyes. The simple smooth glossy finish to the back of the lid and the lightly textured area around the keyboard is more than enough for this system and with its subtle branding laid on top, it looks the part to say the least.

When it comes to the performance aspect of what the Book 9 Lite has to offer, my feelings on how the system performs is a bit of a mixed bag. On the front of battery life as I mentioned above and with the fast read and write speeds to the mSATA SSD, I’m very impressed; however when we look at the core processing power when comparing this system to a Core-i3 powered Ultrabook, sadly AMD’s APU doesn’t quite cut it for me. When working on the internet, which as you can imagine I do virtually all the time, I found that the browsing experience was let down by the time it took to change tabs and scroll down pages. Even using the system when plugged in and set to ‘High Performance’ mode within Windows seemed to made me feel a little let down.

Other things that I felt a little disheartened about was with the display. Face on, the 1366×768 LED panel is great to look at, but as the angle of viewing started to change, the screen quickly lost its edge and at an angle of 45° from face on, the colour and brightness started to go and looking at an even shallower angle was nigh on impossible. From this point alone, if a crisp and clear screen is something that you are looking for, the Book 9 Plus is going to be more suited to your requirements with its FHD 1920×1080 panel. The other thing that has left me a little disappointed is the response from the touch-screen panel. I have to say that I was a little dubious over the addition of the touch-screen to the notebook, but with Windows 8 it quickly comes into its own and when scrolling up and down web pages it soon became a natural reaction to touch the screen and scroll up/down. What left me a little bit down about the touch features was the response, or the lack there of when trying to touch on a web link for example. In some case I’d have to tap the link two or three times before the screen responded and in other cases I changed straight away to the touch pad. All I can say from this is if you’re using the screen to move and up and down a web page for example, the screen is a great addition, but when it comes to navigation, stick to the trusty touch pad.

So the question I hear you asking by now is how would I rate the Ativ Book 9 Lite on the whole? When it comes to a make or break decision, for me it simply comes down to what type of user you are. If you’re after something that is small and convenient and you only do a bit of light web browsing or office type tasks then by all means go for this and enjoy it. If you’re a bit more of a power user who is going to be using a compact notebook for more than ‘light use’, then you’re going to better of in looking at the Book 9 Plus or another Intel based Ultrabook instead.

Overall it’s a great system for basic needs and a bit of light use, but anything more and it will be worth spending that bit more and getting something with a bit more power.

Pros

  • Ultrabook-type design
  • Touch-screen
  • >6 hours of battery life
  • Lightweight build
  • Good price for a basic system for web-browsing

Cons

  • Slow A4/A6 CPU makes this system only suitable of light use
  • Touch-screen can feel a bit unresponsive

“Samsung’s Ativ Book 9 Lite is a great little unit for anyone who is after a small, compact and stylish unit for light use such as web browsing; but if your needs are a little more demanding, the Book 9 Plus or another Intel based Ultrabook may be more suited to your needs.”

Thanks to Samsung for providing this review sample.