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Friday, March 30, 2012

Samsung Series 9 NP900X4B-A02 (15-inch)

Well, first, the price: the 15-inch Series 9 NP900X4B-A02 will cost $1,499 when it debuts in late April. That's less than the $1,600-plus for last year's Series 9 13-incher, but it's still way up in the stratosphere. It's not unreasonable for a larger laptop, provided it also has better specs and performance than a tiny ultraportable computer.
That's problem No. 2: under the hood, the 15-inch Series 9 is really just the same as its soon-to-arrive 13-inch sibling. It has a Core i5 processor and a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), and even that big screen has the same 1,600x900-pixel resolution. An included 8GB of RAM is the only notably lofty spec. There's no optical drive (of course), and there aren't even any extra full-size ports like Ethernet and HDMI; you'll need dongles or special cables, and only the Ethernet dongle comes in the box.
Still, there's no denying that the larger Series 9 is a beautiful computer. However, is it worth the $1,499 price, especially when even a MacBook Air costs less, and perfectly capable if slightly less sexy full-size laptops can be had for half of that? That's up to you. After all, Samsung makes a less thin but equally powerful Series 5 Ultra that's still reasonably slim but costs over $500 less. Also consider that, for $100 less, the next-generation 13-inch Samsung Series 9 will offer much of the same functionality, in a smaller size with half the RAM. I certainly would love a 15-inch Series 9 if it fell in my lap, but it's a lot of money for what you get. In this instance, you're truly getting a super-size ultrabook. You're paying for thin.
Larger-screen ultrabooks will be a trend throughout 2012, but I'm still not sure I get the motivation for larger, thinner laptops...even though this Series 9 is probably one of the best of them, if you're judging purely on style and feel.
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