Samsung ATIV Book 9 Blade

13-inch Laptop Weighing Just Over Two Pounds and Less than a Half Inch Thick

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Blade NP930X2K
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Blade. ©Samsung

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The Bottom Line

Jun 3 2015 - Samsung's ATIV Book 9 Blade system offers an extremely portable laptop system that doesn't compromise on connectivity like Apple's MacBook. Instead, it sacrifices a few other features by providing slightly less performance and lower battery life. Of key concern though is the small AC adapter pin that plugs into the laptop that is prone to being bent or broken.

Pros

  • Incredibly Thin and Light
  • Excellent High resolution Display
  • Two USB 3.0 Ports

Cons

  • Power Adapter Prone to Break
  • Lower performance than typical Ultrabooks
  • Less Storage Space and Memory Than Competitors

Description

  • Intel Core M 5Y31 Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 128GB Solid State Drive
  • 12.2" WQXGA (2560x1600) Display with 720p Webcam
  • Intel HD Graphics 5300 Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Two USB 3.0, Micro-HDMI, MicroSD Card Slot
  • 11.19" x 8.37" x .45" @ 2.09 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Review - Samsung ATIV Book 9 Blade (NP930X2K-K02US)

Jun 3 2015 - Apple is not the only company that has an incredibly thin laptop computer. In fact, Samsung's ATIV Book 9 Blade (NP930X2K) is actually thinner than the MacBook at just .46-inches thick and roughly the same weight at just over two pounds. Like Apple, the system is built out of an all aluminum frame which gives it the lightweight and sleek profile.

Unlike Apple, it is only available in its darker black color akin to most corporate laptops that you see on the market.

Powering the ATIV Book 9 Blade is the new Intel Core M 5Y31 dual-core processor. This is a super low voltage processor that is designed to function in extremely power limited situation such as tablets or thin-laptops.

Now the base performance from this is much lower than your would find in a traditional Core i5-4200U found in many other ultrabooks in this price range. It will do fine for basic applications like browsing the web, streaming media or productivity but it is not going to be well suited for things like desktop video or graphics work. This is hinder somewhat by the just 4GB of memory which will limited the amount of multitasking it can perform as well.

With the extremely thin profile, a solid state drive is the only means of storage possible. The K02 version of the ATIV Book 9 Blade features a 128GB capacity drive. This is a bit on the small side compared to many others that are offering upwards of 256GB of storage. Performance is strong thanks to Samsung's experience with the storage format. If space is a bit of an issue, the system does feature two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage. This is a key advantage that it has over the Apple MacBook with its single USB 3.1 port that can be used for power or for peripherals but not both at the same time.

The 12.2-inch display of the Samsung uses a very high 2560x1600 resolution display. This makes it even higher resolution than the Retina display of the MacBook.

This is both good and bad in ways. It is great because it provides it with extreme details for photos and graphics. The downside is that Windows is not as good at scaling fonts in legacy Windows applications so it can be very difficult to read text at times. The panel uses IPS technology that provides it with very strong color and viewing angles. It also features an anti-reflective coating that makes it easier to use outdoors or in bright light that would cause glare. The graphics are handled by the Intel HD Graphics 5300 that are built into the Core M processor. This is fine for your basic graphics but it lacks the performance really for 3D gaming applications at all.

The thin profile of the system means that the keyboard has very limited space and has to have shallow travel in order to fit within the system. It uses an isolated key layout design and for the most part is good. My biggest gripe is with the rather small backspace and tab keys. Overall it is comfortable and accurate. One downside here is that there is no backlight for the keyboard which could impact those that have to use it at night frequently. The trackpad is a nice large size and features integrated buttons. It does a good job with both single and multitouch gestures.

In order to get such a thin and light system, Samsung needed to use a smaller 35WHr capacity battery. Samsung claims that this can achieve upwards of 12.5 hours of running time but this is highly doubtful unless it is sitting idle mostly with the extra ultra-power savings mode that limits performance further. In digital video playback testing, it was able to achieve roughly seven and three quarter hours of running time. This is probably long enough for all day computing but it does still fall short of the somewhat larger MacBook Air 13 that can go over ten with higher performance.

Pricing for the NP930X2K-K02US model of the ATIV Book 9 Blade runs around $1199. There is a K01US model as well that can be found for $1299 that provides it with double the RAM and SSD space which is probably a better value. It also compares more favorably with the Apple MacBook which is its primary competitor. Apple's system offers a bit more performance and running time but is larger and heavier. Apple's power system is more durable than Samsung's but the single port for power or peripherals is a bit too limiting. The only other option really to compete with it is the Lenovo LaVie Z which offers much higher performance and an even lighter design but with less battery life and a higher $1499 price tag.

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