Can the lite edition of Samsung’s laptop live up to the reputation of the premium 9 series?
With the lite version of the ever-popular laptop book 9 series, Samsung is looking to strike the perfect balance between quality and cost, and they have almost succeeded. However, as with all cost-cutting exercises, there is always an element of compromise…
The ATIV Book 9 Lite edition is exactly that, a budget laptop that will quite happily work through day-to-day activities such as web browsing, utilising office applications and watching films. However, if you are looking for a gaming laptop or a laptop to conduct media and image editing then you need to look elsewhere.
Samsung has opted for an AMD A6 quad core APU (accelerated processing unit) which is a CPU with an integrated AMD HD 8250 graphics chip. Don’t get too excited by the thought of a quad-core processor – by no means is this the APU dreadful, but do not expect the performance of an Intel i series processor. On the plus-side, the AMD A6 processor is a power efficient APU, which results in better battery life and less noise thanks to less heat.
The inclusion of a 128 GB solid-state drive is a nice touch. Again, this is a budget specification so you are not getting the quickest SSD on the market, but you can expect the Windows 8 64-bit operating system to load in around 10 seconds, which is quick enough for most of us, especially those of us that remember using Windows XP!
The ATIV Book 9 comes with 4 GB of DDR3 memory running at 1066MHz, which is more than sufficient for day-to-day activities.
To conclude, number crunching tasks will make the ATIV Book Lite strain a little but most people will find the overall performance acceptable for a budget laptop that is priced around the £500.00 mark.
Unfortunately, the 13.3” screen is one of the main issues that I have with the ATIV Book 9 lite. The standard TN LCD panel running at a resolution of 1366 x 768 struggles to deliver the same viewing quality and level of detail delivered by other Samsung laptops. Brightness is also an issue. In comparison to other Samsung models, the screen looks quite dim and the viewing angles are not the best either.
Perhaps I am being a little too critical towards a portable laptop aimed at the budget end of the market; but ultimately, if you are fussy about the quality of your screen then I strongly suggest you try before you buy, otherwise you may be found wanting for something better.
In terms of aesthetics, there is no doubt that this laptop is a nice looking piece of hardware. For the cost, I challenge anyone to find a better-looking laptop. Yes, the chassis is all-plastic, but Samsung has done a great job of making it look polished, especially the lid that features a brushed metal effect finish and the classy Samsung logo.
The keyboard lacks the finesse of other series 9 laptops, but by no means was it unpleasant to use, it just lacks the quality material found on other models such as the Pro for example. Again, costs have to be cut somewhere.
The ATIV Book 9 Lite is available in three different colours, which are glossy black, sleek white and vibrant red. It’s all about personal taste, but for me, the black version looks the smartest.
In terms of portability, the Samsung is perfect for professionals and/or Applephobes on the move. The official dimensions of the laptop are 324 x 224 x 17.4mm. Measuring in at just under three quarters of an inch high, these dimensions put the laptop into MacBook Air territory – food for thought for those who like the portability of an Apple Air, but prefer the familiar surroundings of a Windows operating system.
The laptop weighs in at just 1.44kg (3.17lbs). If you are using the laptop over prolonged periods then don’t forget the charger and the power cable, which will increase the overall weight to 1.75kg (3.86 lbs.)
I am pleased to report that the battery life on the ATIV Book 9 Lite is good. We were averaging a run time of between 4.5 to 5 hours when multitasking a mixture of day-to-day activities, which included internet browsing, media streaming and word processing. Expect this to increase to approx. 6 hours if you knock YouTube and MP4 videos on the head!
Due to the size of the laptop, there has been some sacrifices made to the amount of ports that feature on the ATIV Book 9 Lite. The ethernet port has been replaced with a dongle and there is no standard HDMI port, only mini HDMI.
Personally, the lack of an ethernet port doesn’t bother me (when was the last time you used one on a laptop?) but the lack of an HDMI port may frustrate some, especially when an adaptor isn’t included.
Full port list:
- 1 micro HDMI
- 1 USB 3.0
- 1 USB 2.0 (sleep and charge)
- 1 headphone out/mic in combo
- 1 DC In
- 3 in 1 Card reader
- 720p HD webcam
At the time of writing, the cheapest price we could find the laptop is £518.00 from ebuyer.co.uk (this is for the model NP905S3GI). The touch screen version of this laptop is only £26.50 more, but we have yet to give this model a test drive so we cannot make any recommendations at this time. There is no doubt that this is a fantastic price for a portable laptop from a manufacturer as reputable as Samsung. If you are looking for value for money then you could certainly do a lot worse.
Should I buy one?
The laptop is very easy on the eye, especially when you consider that it is using a plastic chassis. Overall, this is definitely one of the best looking, if not the best looking budget laptop on the market. Portability is also key here and if you are looking for a cheap laptop to use on the move then the ATIV Book 9 Lite is a fantastic option.
The ATIV Book 9 Lite also represents fantastic value for money. Yes, there has been comprises (mainly with the screen and the processor) but the inclusion of a 128 GB solid state drive as standard is an advantage for a laptop in the £500.00 price bracket.
The processor isn’t the quickest in the world, and this has obviously been used as a trade-off for cost and consumption. However, you can live with it as long as you don’t want to do anything that is too CPU intensive.
I cannot say the same for the screen, which for me is a real disappointment. If you are used to a bright sharp display then I would strongly suggest that you take the laptop for a test drive before parting with your cash.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Disappointments aside, there are many positives to take from the 9 series maiden voyage into budget territory. It is important to remember that this is a laptop aimed at the budget market place and at £545.00, the ATIV Lite represents good value for money. However, the budget market is competitive and there are other options available that you may find more appealing.
Link to product on official Samsung website
Product review by Our IT Department Ltd. a professional IT support services for London business. Are you looking for a fully managed 24/7 IT support service for your business? Find out more about IT Unlimited, a premium support service for small businesses across the capital.
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