Samsung Series 9 blasts away tablets - review

2012-03-26 17:25

Cape Town - Samsung is making a move to dominate developing markets and it asks an important question with the Series 9 laptop: Who needs a tablet?

The Series 9 is from the ultrabook school of laptops and at only 1.4kg, it feels almost weightless, especially when compared to regular laptops with their heavy components.

The Intel Core i5 1.4GHz processor provides more than enough grunt to take care of the most demanding tasks and while the 128GB may not be enough for some, it's more than adequate, especially when external storage is cheap.

Aside from the decent specifications on the top-of-the-line Series 9, Samsung has done something far more significant with this machine: It is beautiful - solid aluminium casing, backlit blue keyboard, and brilliant display takes this user to laptop heaven.

Acer unveiled its thin ultrabook at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and though it's lighter than the Series 9, the Samsung product is available in South Africa now.


Using the Series 9 is easy with the Windows 7 64-bit operating system and even after 5 hours of continuous, graphics-heavy use, the battery still had lots of life left.

RAM is more than useful at 4GB and there are some clever enhancements to the usual laptop hardware.

The inclusion of soft buttons on the large touch pad makes the device look and feel more elegant; and recessed USB slots (one USB 3.0) make sharing content simple.

It also has a MicroSD card reader so there are more options to copy content from smartphone to the laptop.

The built-in webcam with facial recognition software takes reasonably good pictures and Samsung has provided a suit of editing tools to have fun with your look.

Start-up takes place in under 10 seconds and the Function key provides easy access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and power use settings.

One can even set the backlit keyboard to auto-adjust its brightness based on ambient light readings.

Critics might argue that these ultrabooks have no optical drive, and it is a necessary compromise to limit power consumption while allowing for a high-power notebook.


Sound quality was decent from the recessed speakers and Samsung has ensured that the device looks the part to match its nose-bleeding price.

Samsung has been touting "Built for Africa" at its most recent Samsung Connect event and the Series 9 is perfectly portable for developing countries where power may not always be reliable.

Perhaps it might not be heresy to suggest that the monopoly that Apple has had on consumer product design has come crashing down as Windows users now have access to functional, as well as beautiful devices.

The Series 9 is expected to retail at around R16 000.

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  • Tony - 2012-03-26 17:52

    Mmmm, R16000' that's TWO tablets. Yeah, they got the price wrong for a start.

  • Mark - 2012-03-26 17:52

    R16000.00? Ouch!

  • pietopper - 2012-03-26 18:04

    Let's see -- almost four times the weight. About twice the price. About half the battery life. Software that costs about 50 times as much. Yeah, this thing is just going to kill the iPad stone dead. How much do you get paid to publish this advertorial?

      Chaapo - 2012-03-26 18:10

      No more than those who are paid to promote Apple products by slamming the competitors.

  • - 2012-03-26 18:12

    Well the dumb headline annoyed me and I wondered who thje hell is this Duncan Alfreds. After I read the article I realised that the headline was probably not wriitten by Mr Alfreds but some dumb sub-editor. The article does not even make the point that the headline is espousing. The Samsung seems to comapre to the MacBook Air (bnut with more oomph) Apple are probably going to change their MacBook Pros to be more Air like. The only valid point the article makes is that other manufacturers (not only Samsung) are finally stepping up to the plate design wise and even the Apple fanboys will like that because it helps raise the bar News24 - Headlines? Really

      werner.smidt - 2012-03-27 14:04

      Probably sends an SMS on a Sunday evening to his/her superior saying "Nt cming in 2mrw. I got da flu."

  • Deon - 2012-03-26 18:17

    Ummm... This is costed against the $1,999 price tag in the US... where there are over 140 different tablets.... ranging from $199 to $749. So what exactly is Samsung trying to say here..??? Oh, RIGHT! Beat the poor SA consumers to a pulp with this bull of "hurting the SA laptop market" and "who needs a tablet" Maybe they need some tablets... medicinal ones!

  • Leendert - 2012-03-26 18:29

    Sounds more like an advert than an article, for starters. Think tablets are pointless, all they need to do is develop a laptop where the screen can fold all the way back so it can be made into a tablet. And then one with a decent screensize. Tablets are an upgrade from any phone, but they don't compare to proper laptops.

      Deon - 2012-03-26 19:02

      @Leendert : agree with the advert side... but the tablets that are available overseas are pretty darn good, but the manufacturers unfortunately do not see the SA market as one that can offset their ROI in return for capital. Your comment on a tablet is an phone upgrade : You should see what we were playing with at R&D labs in Silicon Valley - makes ANY laptop look like R2D2!!

  • Leendert - 2012-03-26 18:30


  • Rudolph.Bergh - 2012-03-26 18:35

    For R4ooo less i can get a Apple Macbook Air with the same specs but a faster processor[1.6Mhz Dual-Core] and at ONLY 1.08kg a much lighter load to carry.

      sduplessis - 2012-03-26 18:51

      Uhm.. the i5 1.4 is way faster than a 1.6 dual core......

      sduplessis - 2012-03-26 19:27

      should have a look at the Comparison of Intel processors... dual core is a lot older than the i3, i5, i7 series.. bus speed for one..

  • meshvic - 2012-03-26 18:36

    why do you put "developing markets" and R16k in the same article?

  • Sam - 2012-03-26 18:54

    Duncan Alfreds doing more copy > paste press releases.

  • scadoosh - 2012-03-26 18:57

    This is not a competition to tablets in any way at all.. It is a competitor to other ultra PC's and the macBook Air..

  • jcmuller.SA.PROMO - 2012-03-26 19:11

    lol, it's still a laptop and NOT a tablet... it's like taking a knife to a gun fight LOL LOL LOL

  • gavin.kandier - 2012-03-26 19:36

    I saw the series 9 going for R12k at Incredible , and R13k at the Samsung Store In Canal Walk CT

  • Eliah Makgoatha - 2012-03-27 00:16

    "Who needs a tablet", really?! Samsung makes them. Why not compare to its competitor which is more brilliant, MacBook air?

  • cedjonkers - 2012-03-27 09:06

    Seriously?!?! Ultrabook vs Tablets? They're not sustitutes! Why not compare Series 9 to conventional laptops or other Ultrabooks? Apple's MacBook Air has been providing consumers with lightweight computing (without compromising speed, battery life or power) for quite a while now! Just in case some didn't know: Samsung released the Series 9 ultrabooks 2010 already and from early last year they have been available in SA! "Made for Africa" with a pricetag of R16K! Seriously??? How many in Africa can afford that? On the otherhand, Apple's MacBook Air is far cheaper, yet the quality is better.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-27 10:59

    I know of very few people indeed who have thrown away their desk or lap top because of tablets. And although versatile and filling a need it is highly unlikely that tablets per say will replace or even be able to compete with traditional computers in the next few years. The simple truth is that tablets are light easy to use and carry devices they cannot supply the power, storage space or computing ability of traditional PC's. In short tablets for now are little more than rich mans toys which do not meet heavy duty business needs and are for the most part novelty items, irrespective of how you look at them, having fairly much simply bridged the gap between cellphones and laptops.

  • Heinrich - 2012-03-27 14:59

    nah, sorry .. Dell's new ultrabook coming April is even better

  • Moktel G. Romeo - 2012-03-27 18:15

    Apple was at this stage like when 5 years ago...k well this is Samsung...battery life good most probably cos of that 'small' SSD *good comes with bad*,with no optical drive it becomes ultra-thin 'Netbook'...good luck getting one...@iMok

  • Moktel G. Romeo - 2012-03-27 18:15

    Apple was at this stage like when 5 years ago...k well this is Samsung...battery life good most probably cos of that 'small' SSD *good comes with bad*,with no optical drive it becomes ultra-thin 'Netbook'...good luck getting one...@iMok

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