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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus 13 inch – specs, price and features reviewed

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on July 3, 2014

The ATIV Book 9 Plus is Samsung’s most impressive ultrabook to date. It carries on from last year’s Samsung Series 9 line, while offering extra features and polishing even more those small details that can make a laptop great.

As a premium ultrabooks meant to compete with the Apple Macbook Air, the Acer Aspire S7, the Sony Vaio Pro 13 or the Asus Zenbook Infinity, Samsung’s ATIV Book 9 Plus is not going to be cheap. But if you’re willing to spend North of $1399 for your brand new laptop, it might be worth every penny.

Anyway, I’ll tell you all the things you need to know about this laptop in the rows below, and if you have any extra questions or things to add about the Book 9 Plus, feel free to leave your comment at the end of the post.

Before we start though, it’s worth noting that at the time I’m writing this article, Samsung only confirmed a 13.3 inch version of the Book 9, scheduled to be available in stores by the end of August 2013. That means no 15 inch version is in sight yet, but I’ll update the article if this is going to change in the future.

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus specs

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
Screen13.3 inch, 3200 x 1800 px resolution, IPS, touchscreen
ProcessorIntel Haswell Core i5/i7 ULV processor
Videointegrated Intel 4400 HD
Memory4-8 GB DDR3
Storage128-256 GB SSD
ConnectivityWireless N, Bluetooth
Ports2xUSB 3.0, SD card reader, micro HDMI, mini VGA
Baterryup to 12 h
Operating systemWindows 8
Size13.6 mm thick (0.55 inches)
Weightabout 1.35 kg (3 pounds)
Extrasstarts at $1399

Design, keyboard and ports

Aesthetically, the new ATIV Book 9 looks a lot like last year’s version, but that’s not a bad thing, as it’s still one of the sleekest and thinnest ultrabooks out there, with only a 13.6 mm waist in its thickest point.

On top of that, metal is used for the entire case, which does help with the overall gorgeous aspect, but with the sturdiness as well, as the body doesn’t flex, squeak or crank even when grabbed firmer. The Book 9 however is only going to be available in a dark ash-black color, at least for the time being. Hopefully, more options will be added later.

It’s also worth noting that the new 9 model is going to tip the scales at about 1.35 kilos (or 3 pounds), and that’s a bit heavier than last year’s model and even slightly heavier than its direct competitors, but I doubt you’ll actually be bothered by that in practice.

The Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus - the best Samsung Ultrabook right now

The Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus – the best Samsung Ultrabook right now

Lifting the lid cover, you’ll find a spacious trackpad, also covered in aluminum, plus what looks like an unchanged keyboard and trackpad. The trackpad was alright on the Series 9, but the illuminated keyboard was quite shallow and needed some time to get used to, something that hasn’t unfortunately changed on the ATIV Book 9.

Screen

The screen is brand new though, and what a screen it is. Samsung mounted a 13.3 inch touchscreen on their new top ultrabooks, with an high-quality IPS panel and a whooping 3200 x 1600 px resolution.

In theory, that sounds great. In practice though, the glossy display is going to be annoying to use outside, in bright light. Besides that, 3200 x 1600 px on a 13.3 inch computer running Windows feels like overkill to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong advocate of high-density screens, but given Window’s scaling limitations, you might actually need a microscope to be able to use this one in the classic desktop mode.

What do you think?

Oh, and as a cool extra, the screen leans flush on the back of the laptop, and that’s going to come in handy when using the device in bed or on the couch.

An awesome screen that completely leans on the back

An awesome screen that completely leans on the back – via PC Advisor

Hardware, specs and performances

Hardware wise, the ATIV Book 9 Plus bundles several Intel Haswell configurations, with Core i5 and i7 processors, 4 to 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB SSDs. Unfortunately, all the available configs mention Intel’s HD 4400 graphics, so you’re not getting that HD 5000 Iris boost on this laptop, at least not for the time being.

Even so, the Book 9 should easily handle all of your daily tasks, while facing multimedia tasks and maybe some light gaming as well.

Battery Life, connectivity and other things

With Haswell onboard, Samsung claims their Book 9 Plus will be able to run for up to 12 hours on a charge. In practice, that’s a bit OFF, as in everyday use, you should expect to get around around 6-7 or so hours on a charge, and while other ultrabooks will last longer, that’s still a solid performance in my book.

That aside, the 2012 Series 9 model had some wireless problems, and as a response, Samsung included Intel’s 7260 WiFi module on the new Book 9 Plus, which seems to solve the reception issues, based on what most buyers have been posting online.

Prices and availability

The Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus starts at $1399 in the US and for that kind of money we’re getting an Intel Core i5-4200U Haswell processor,  4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD. You can spec up the unit of course, but that will quickly drive up the prices.

That makes the Book 9 Plus one of the priciest 13 inch ultrabooks out there, with only the Asus Zenbook Infinity UX301LA matching its starting price. The Acer Aspire S7 sells for around $1300 these days, with 8 GB of RAM, while similarly equipped SOny Vaio Pro 13, Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro or Apple Macbook Air laptops sell for under $1200.

I do expect the Book 9 Plus to get some discounts though, and I’ll list them all over here.

Wrap-up

All in all, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus is for sure an impressive machine. There’s really little you won’t like about it, and I have the shallow keyboard in mind here or the miniaturized ports along the sides.

Samsung improved all the negative aspects of their previous Series 9, like the screen and wireless issues, while keeping the sleek design and upgrading the hardware to the latest Intel platforms, which doesn’t necessary equal improved performances, but mostly longer battery life.

There's plenty to like about the sleek ATIV Book 9, but are these enough to justify the high price tag?

Plenty to like about the ATIV Book 9, but can these justify the high price tag? – via Anandtech

At the end of the day though, the ATIV Book 9 is more expensive than nearly all of its rivals. And a lot more expensive than the most popular 13 inch ultraportable of the moment, the Macbook Air. Is it really worth the $300 extra? If you want the sharp touchscreen, then yes, as the MBA can’t compete here. If you can live without it though, the Book 9 is going to be a hard sell against Apple’s ultraportable.

But we’ll talk more about that in this post, we’re I’ve compared the Ativ Book 9 Plus with several of its direct competitors.

For now, it’s time to wrap this up. Hopefully, the post was useful and you now know a lot more about the new top-of-the-line Samsung ultrabook, the ATIV Book 9 Plus. If you have any questions or things to add though, make sure to leave your comments below, I’ll be around to reply.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

24 Comments

  1. John Smith

    August 25, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    It’s nice to see that Samsung have (finally!) produced a decent Haswell laptop… and it’s great to see both up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD at such a light weight (1.35Kg).

    BUT

    Surely 3200 x 1600 on a 13″ screen is bonkers!

    Firstly Windows doesn’t scale well if you increase the “textsize” beyond 150% and at that resolution you’d need well over 200% DPI textsize.

    Secondly, it will be rubbish at playing Full HD 1080p video (i.e.1920 x 1080 pixels) because by rendered on a 3200 x1600 screen. Surely it’s going to be a blurred mess.

    Surely Samsung should stick to 1920 x 1080 screens! The idiots.

    I was ABOUT to buy a Series 7 Ultra Touch model: NP740U3E (AKA “Ativ” something) which is 1080p and 1.65Kg, but apparently Samsung only sell them at 128GB of SSD, not 256GB both here in the UK [where I live], and also AFAIK in the US too, so I am now reconsidering. Worse the NP740U3E model only comes with an non-Haswell i5 CPU…

    So now I am now thinking about other brands e.g. Sony Pro 13 or possibly an Acer or even Dell…

    I really dont know what Samsung are thinking. Why on earth dont the may the Series 7 laptop have 8GB of RAM and 265GB of SSD?

    And why on earth have Samsung not produced a Full HD (1920 x1080) 1080p version of the ATIV Book 9?

    Idiots.

    • Gary

      August 29, 2013 at 1:35 am

      I have the current model Series 9 running Windows 7 and feel very happy about it for business use and CAD work (with an external monitor).

      The 1600 x 900 screen with matt anti-glare finish is perfect. Frankly I reckon any step up from there in resolution is a negative unless the font scaling in applications can be adjusted. Even a 1080P is ridiculous in font size. I would have thought Samsung could run a virtual 1600×800 screen to get over any font scaling issues.

      I bought the available 128G SSD version and immediately upgrade to a Crucial 256G. It’s good to see the new model can be optioned.

      My wish list is: 8G/16G memory, core I7, non-glare screen with text sizing similar to 1600 x 900, 5000 graphics to support external display up to 2560 x 1440 without overheating, fast wireless.

      • Andrei Girbea

        August 29, 2013 at 8:58 am

        I agree, 1600 x 900 is great on a 13 inch screen, but with an IPS panel. I don’t know about you, but the TN panel on the Series 9 is rather washed out, plus the viewing angles aren’t perfect. And since I use an IPS matte panel on my regular drive, that’s something I can’t live with.

      • Maxi

        August 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm

        I understand your reaction, but 3200 x 1600 is an option. To watch 4k movies, work in photoshop or to admire your photos! You will be able to play at a lower resolution.

        I will probably buy this Book 9 plus because Samsung seems to cancel the Ativ Q. No news about it is a shame, Samsung..

      • EOTS

        December 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm

        Too bad you have no idea WTF you’re talking about, Gary.

    • nishant

      November 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Hello, I’m stuck between the ab9+ and the zenbook ux301. I am ready to spend about 2000$. But I wanted to know which is a better ultrabook for watching movies among the two??. Thanks

      • Andrei Girbea

        November 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

        Both are OK for watching movies… I mean, any laptop with an IPS screen should be more than OK for that

  2. Senny

    September 5, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Andrei, I have a question for you. I have an NEC MultiSync LCD3090WQXi 30-Inch LCD Monitor. I think it only has two DVI ports, one DVI-D and one DVI-I. What ultrabooks, of screen size 13.3″ or less, can power this at its 2560×1600 resolution without struggling? Should I be looking t ones with a DisplayPort and buy myself an adaptor to make this work? Thanks.

  3. geoffrey nolan

    September 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Note that Samsung only claims 1080 p monitor on this page but claims the 3200 x1800 on other pages.

    http://www.samsung.com/global/ativ/ativbook9plus.html

    • Maxi

      September 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      The ATIV Book 9 Plus is QHD (3200×1800) depending on Windows Version.

  4. Greg Banks

    September 12, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Memory upgradable ? Looks like only the base 4Gb / 128 Gb is available first off. Can anyone confirm – is it possible as the owner to upgrade the ram. Or have they foolishly locked it at 4Gb. Be a shame if it is. Cheers.

    • Deepers

      September 20, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      It appears, after much extensive research, and equivalent disappointment, that the current batch of Book 9 pluses max out at 4GB RAM (soldered onto the board, so no option to upgrade), 128GB SSD (expensive and hard to find upgrade that some have tried), and a relatively paltry 7 hour battery (compared to their initial claims months ago of 12 hours). Turns out 7 hours is typical light usage, but 12 hours MIGHT be possible in really rare circumstances (and abnormal use-cases). Quite disappointed in this misinformation from Samsung.

      People complain about Windows 7/8 scaling issues at this resolution (and even at 1080p), and that’s fair, however supposedly Windows 8.1 coming out October 17th/18th is supposed to address some/all of these issues. Along with that date may be the announcements of higher rez ultrabooks from other OEMs (Acer and Asus to name two). In particular, Acer initially advertised their S7 (S7-392) as being 2560×1440. As far as I can tell, globally they only released the 1920×1080 version. Yes, it has 8GB RAM (dual channel) and 256GB SSD (128GBx2 in RAID 0), so it easily bests the Book 9 plus there, but resolution is somewhat disappointing at 1080p if you’re looking to do serious graphics/photo/video work. It’s fine for the average person though.

      Anyway, so after much waiting, and the much belated releases of the August 2013 laptops, it looks like I’m going to be waiting even longer to see what October/November brings once Windows 8.1 is out. I’m debating between the Acer S7, Asus Zenbook Infinity, and Samsung’s Book 9 plus, but only if I can find them with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and 1440p or higher resolution. So far no one has released that combo (in an ultrabook).

  5. Melanie

    October 9, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Does anyone know if this is available to buy in the UK with the 256GB SSD, i7 and 8GB RAM configurations?

    I have searched endlessly and cannot find it anywhere online, not sure if it will ever exist in the UK? I literally have the cash here ready to hand over!

    • Steve

      December 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Melanie, same here, I’ve been holding on waiting for the i7 8GB RAM & 256GB SSD. I saw it in Canada & States recently (wish I’d bought it there now). I’ve been in touch with Samsung and they say release in UK is “imminent” but they can’t give a date? Make of that what you will?

      • Another Steve

        December 28, 2013 at 9:55 pm

        Same here and also emailed Samsung a week ago but have yet to receive a reply. Seems a lot of us are ready to spend a great deal of money on some very nice kit. I have searched high and low for release dates for the UK. Shame Samsung can’t advise further. Might have to reconsider Sony Viao Pro with its PCIe SSD.

        • Melanie

          January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm

          Hi both Steves!

          Just an update… When originally posting this comment, I was toying between either getting the Samsung ATIV book 9 Plus or ASUS Zenbook Infinity (neither of which seemed to exist in the UK with the top specs I wanted!).

          Then I found the ASUS zenbook infinity with the 8GB ram and 256SSD I wanted on the following site and I can honestly say it works like a dream. Windows 8 took a bit of getting used to but I love it now – especially with the touchscreen!

          Ive had it for about 8 weeks now and have had no problems – looks gorgeous, lightning fast, came boxed with a nice magnetic carry case and connector cables for ethernet connection and TV output which you often have to pay for with other ultrabooks. Estimated delivery date was spot on and it currently has money off!! http://www.debenhamsplus.com/DE_ASUS_Notebook_10086125/version.asp?PID=10001470

          • Don

            May 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm

            Have more or less decided to purchase the Samsung ultra book 9 and have been checking out the box stores in Regina Saskatchewan. I was not up to date on all the specs, thanks to your efforts I now have had a chance to do a bit of due dilligence. My main concern is that I may end up being sold a “prior years unit”. With that in mind could you advise me of what model # or serial # etc etc that I should be looking for to be assured I am getting the most recent model of the $1300.00 unit.

          • Andrei Girbea

            May 18, 2014 at 8:39 am

            DOn, I’m not really familiar with the serial numbers you might have over there. But I do have a tip for you. Latest generation units will have processors looking like this: Core i5-4200U, core i7-4500U , so the first number after the dash is a 4. FOr previous generation hardware, the first number after the dash is 3. For even older generation it’s 2.

            However, Samsung Series 9 ultrabooks come with only Ivy Bridge previous generation processors (Core i5/i7-3xxx ). Only Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus come with the latest hardware. In other words, the changed the name for the latest series. Hopo this helps

          • Julian

            July 18, 2014 at 8:10 pm

            Still waiting for a UK version with 8GB RAM, 256 GB and i7. Is there actually anything different between the US and UK versions, thinking keyboard wise as I have a US trip in a couple of weeks and could purchase one there but would prefer a UK keyboard are are these things internationalised these days?

  6. Aldo

    May 21, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Hi Everyone,
    My question is that “Does anybody know if the Samsung 9 pro has the 3g/4g connection capable as well as Wi-Fi like the ATIV 7 pro?
    In my point of view, 3g/4g is very important.
    If some one would be able to let me know, I appreciate it.
    Cheers
    Aldo

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 22, 2014 at 8:48 am

      There’s no cellular version of the Ativ Book 9 Plus, if that’s what you’re asking

  7. Larisa

    June 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I’m impressed with this Samsung but I’m wondering if it’s still worth buying 3 months after the above review? Or has something else been released that I should be looking at instead? Is the Samsung Ativ Book 9 still a current model worth considering?

  8. Maria Abel

    September 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I hear from my computer “guru”, that he does not like Windows 8 at all. Would this be an argument to go to the MBA instead of the Samsung ATIV?

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