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Hands-On: Samsung Series 9 (11.6) & Series 3 (13.3) in Review

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Martina Osztovits), 07/20/2011

Samsung's Smallest. Samsung's 11.6-incher of the same series 9 steps into its 13.3-inch big brother's shoes in terms of look and technology. We tested: high contrast and great viewing angles. Furthermore, this article includes display measurements of the 13.3-inch business 300V3A.

Samsung shrinks its successful 900X3A of 13.3-inch size to the 900X1B of 11.6-inch size, which looks the same.
Samsung shrinks its successful 900X3A of 13.3-inch size to the 900X1B of 11.6-inch size, which looks the same.

After Samsung changed their nomenclature, their Series 9 constitutes their top-premium laptops. The first aspirant was the 900X3A in 13.3-inch size (3/2011), whose low system noise, first-class display, and super-slim design inspired us.

No wonder that many eyes excitedly watch the 11.6-inch model called 900X1B. Does the Core i3 mite perform also that well or is it just a moderate netbook blend? We had the chance to take a closer look at a preproduction model at the IFA Preview in Hamburg. Production models might differ in terms of workmanship and display.

Case & Design

The slim case (manufacturer's information: 1.06 kg) gives the impression of being metallic cool and valuable (surfaces: brushed and lacquered aluminium). The base unit can be slightly twisted. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy how "robust" 16.5mm (thickest spot) can be. The thin lid is very stiff too. Its surface can only be dented a little bit at some spots in its center. Having said this, also the palm rests rest firmly on its base. Only, the keys can be dented. As this is a preproduction model this small problem could be solved in the production model.

The Synaptics ClickPad V8.0 is the same also used in the 13.3-inch 900X3A. The same is true for the keyboard and its size. Samsung uses the same input device, but, the space left and right of it has to be made smaller.

Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B
 

Display

Samsung optimized the 11.6-inch (29 cm, 1366×768 HD) display for outdoor use. It is AR-coated and we could measure a high brightness of 230 up to 290 cd/m² on site. This is lower than the 413 cd/m² (average) of the 13.3-inch 900X3A, but still a good brightness. Samsung calls it SuperBright (320 nit). 

The black value is on par with the comparison model, which delivered a contrast of 630:1 (black value: 0.64 cd/m²). We measure a black value of 0.55 cd/m² for the smaller 900X1B. This gives a great contrast of 527:1. Please note again: preproduction model!

Alike in the 13.3-incher of the Series 9, it features very good viewing angles. Regardless how much we move our eyes to the left or right (about 80 degrees from the middle, horizontally), there are no color distortions (ghost images). Run-of-the-mill office displays usually look washed-out at a deviation of 40-45 degrees. In vertical direction, the eyes can only deviate up to 15 degrees. The viewing angles conform to those of the 900X3A.

Viewing Angles: Samsung Series 9 900X1B
Viewing Angles: Samsung Series 9 900X1B

Specs

Samsung Serie 9 900X1B

  • Intel Core i3-2357M 1.3 GHz Dual Core
  • 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
  • 4 GB DDR3
  • 11.6 inch SuperBright Matt LED-Backlight (320 nit)
  • 64 GB Solid State Drive
  • integrated graphics
  • WLAN 802.11b/g/n, LAN 10/100/1000 Mbit/s, Bluetooth 3.0 + HS
  • Card Reader (microSD), 1 x USB 2.0 (incl. USB with recharge option), 1 x USB 3.0, headphones-out, microphone-in, integrated microphone, HDMI, Ethernet, Webcam
  • Battery Life: 7.5 h
  • Speakers: 3 watt stereo (2 x 1.5 Watt)
  • Size (W/D/H): 298 x 197.5 x 15.9 ~ 16.5mm
  • Weight: 1.06 kg
  • Warranty: 2 years flexible service in Germany
  • Available from: 07.22.2011

Verdict

It won't take months until a comprehensive review. Up to now, the Series 9 900X1B left a good impression, we especially liked its bright and contrast-rich display. You can hardly feel its 1.06 kilogram with non-removable battery when carrying the laptop. Without doubt, the fast 60 GB SSD and the Core i3 Low Voltage processor (17 watt) will ensure a good performance, much better than all the Dual Core Netbooks. However, the advised price of 1.099 Euro (MSRP) for the Series 9 900X1B is rather steep. The 11.6-inch should be available from 07-22.

Samsung Serie 9 900X1B: We await the production model with excitement
Samsung Serie 9 900X1B: We await the production model with excitement

Addendum Series 3 300V3A

After we could already take same pictures of the business-range 300V3A (see German news: IFA Preview 2011 | Samsung Series 3 300V3A Notebook with bright, matt display), we can now hand in measurements of the display

The black value of the Serie 3 300V3A is 1.43 cd/m². As a result, the contrast is a mere 157:1. So, the colors seem pale. Again please note: preproduction model! Our colleagues at the IFA Preview in Munich were somewhat tricked by the brightness. We measure only 200 to 250 cd/m² (edge/center). This is an ordinary brightness achieved by many (usable) displays.

The viewing angles are unfortunately only ordinary too: In horizontal direction ghost images appear from 45 degrees deviation from the frontal position. In vertical direction, they are even worse. The possible deviation is only 10 degrees here.

Samsung Series 3 300V3A
Samsung Series 3 300V3A
Samsung Series 3 300V3A
Samsung Series 3 300V3A
Samsung Series 3 300V3A
Samsung Series 3 300V3A
Samsung Series 3 300V3A
 

Specs

Samsung Series 3 300V3A

  • Intel Core i5 processor 2410M (2.30 GHz, 3 MB L3 Cache)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
  • 4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz
  • 13,3 Zoll HD SuperBright Matt LED-Display
  • 320 GB SATA II (5400 RPM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M Graphics, Optimus
  • Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n, LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Bluetooth: V 3.0
  • 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC) - 3 x USB 2.0 - 1 x headphones out - 1 x microphone in - 1 x built-in mic - 1 x HDMI - 1 x LAN - 1 x VGA - 1 x DC-in - multimedia web cam
  • Battery Life: up to 7.5 hours
  • 3 watt stereo speakers ( 2 x 1,5 W)
  • Size (W/D/H): 315.1 x 218.9 x 31.2 ~ 33.3mm
  • Weight: 2.1 kg
  • Warranty: 2 years flexible service in Germany
  • Available from 07-22-2011
  • Price (MSRP): 799.- euro
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Hands-On: Samsung Series 9 (11.6) & Series 3 (13.3) in Review
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2011-07-20 (Update: 2013-06-26)