Anatomy of Utrabooks (Part 6) - Samsung Series 9 900X3A & Toshiba Portégé Z830

4/6/2012 9:27:25 AM

Anatomy of Utrabooks (Part 6)

Samsung Series 9 900X3A

Description: Samsung Series 9 900X3A

As a precursor of the real Ultrabook, the Samsung series 9 is magnificent and very useful but the price makes it out of the race.

People might think the Samsung Series 9 900X3A has started it all. Even before Ultrabook is a sparkle light to Intel, Samsung's ultraportable has blended perfect design with the real performance and be one of the thinnest Windows laptop ever seen.

Nearly 11 months have passed since the Series 9 released, but it isn’t outdated. It seems to be stick together from two pieces of metal that thin, roll and curve along the frame edge, stopping only to fold up into a swivel, Samsung create outstanding shape. Dim and spakle metal layer is around the place to set wrist, illuminated keypad emits flickering light above.

It's pretty light by today's standard - with 1.32kg, the Samsung is in the middle of the group this month - but it can not compete with some rivals. The tugging at the base and lid reveal a more flexible frame than rigidity Zenbook line.

However, this is small complaint and you will forget it soon once you start typing on the excellent keyboard. Each key bent down with a decisive action, a light boune at the end of typing brings more comfort.

Multi-point touchpad is not as delicate. The entire surface acts as a giant mouse button, buckling down with a light flick. The single swipe with four fingers to activate Flip 3D feature of Windows, but as ever, the touch features added feel temporary. Still faster than using Windows-Tab key combination to switch between applications, and sometimes touchpad ignore gestures.

After a modest change for the Series 9 pecification at the end of 2011, Samsung has appeared with Core i5, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD -  a combination achieved 0:46 points in our tests. It still lost the best, but SSD has hidden the limitations of the processor; with continuous read-write speed more than 200MB/second, applications loaded in a flash.

Samsung's anti-glare screen is too bright to the eyes, and 680:1 contrast ratio that rivals have to inhale the smoke. However, despite these great figures, images tend to be thin and unnatural color, with dark scenes seem overly exposed. Of course, it is good quality screen but needs alignment if it is too bright.

The maintenance of Series 9 lines requires Samsung to arrange ports on the side lid. With a USB3 port, USB2, microSD, micro-HDMI and Ethernet over proprietary adapter, Samsung has enough connections to make us happy. The presence of dual-band 802.11n is welcome, as well as Bluetooth 3.

Finally, the Samsung attraction is damaged by short battery life. With only 5 hours 41 minutes in light use test, Series 9 is defeated by its best rivals.

Despite being the oldest laptop in the tests, the Series 9 900X3A did the right things.After all, all outstanding features are paid by too high price. So far it is the most expensive laptop is checked and there is no reason to defend its second place.

Price: $2499

Light use battery: 5 hours 41 minutes

Performance: 3 stars

Battery: 4 stars

Feature/design: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars

Total: 4 stars

  1. Not only beautiful, Samsung's keyboard is excellent.
  2. With a piece of metal bends around the frame, Series 9 has a unique design.


Toshiba Portégé Z830

Description: Toshiba Portégé Z830

Toshiba Ultrabook become slim with 1.09kg, but cramming many business-friendly feature.

Portege Z830 is the most entrepreneur-friendly Ultrabook in current Ultrabook line. Besieged by impressive competitors, latest ultrabook of Toshiba offers a more practical approach.

In doesn’t mean this is a tedious business laptop - no. Even compared to most slender rivals, Portege Z830 is also slim; the lid and millimeters thick frame looks as if you can break them by a sight.

But looks can fool you. Z830's slim can make it win the lightest Ultrabook title - it just weighs 1.09kg, and the source is only added 300g - but not thin quality design.

Lid is more ductile than most Ultrabook - even a slight force can bend the screen - but still feel stretch to turn back from the occasional collision on the road. No elastic at the bottom of the Toshiba.

While other Ultrabooks past it on raw external appeal, it crams a lot of things on ultra-thin frame. USB3, SD card reader, headphone and microphone sockets are in two sides; the back edge hides 2 USB2 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and big D-SUB and HDMI ports. Additional fingerprint reader and TPM 1.2 module, nothing missing at all.

Its performance is competitive. As high-end model, Z830 has 1.7GHz Core i5 processors, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD - enough to put it into prospective team this month. With a total of 0.6 point in our test, low-voltage processors from Toshiba is very powerful. It also has efficient energy: Toshiba lasted 8 hours 3 minutes in the light use battery test.

We may have doubts about the Z830 keypad - the layout seems crowded, and almost without any movement for every single type - but in fact it is very convenient. Even people with big hands will find most easy way to reach fast typing speed, without looking at the keyboard.

Touchpad sometimes is criticized because of too small size, but it's actually quite good. Zoom and two-finger scroll functions work fine; the rapid response button with a single tap, definitely, whilethe button below turn on and off the touchpad.

Beside using for business, the screen is slightly disappointing. Anti-glare 1366x768 screen keeps reflections at minimum, and low-resolution helps text be easier to read, even at a distance, but less accurate color, as well as the contrast of the screen. The result is the color looks weak despite strong brightness, and blue images. Along with poor speakers, this is not Ultrabook for film addiction.

Final complaint to Z830 is cooling fan, a common problem we saw with the previous models that weren’t not Ultrabook. While not hear in office environment, it seems noisy in a quiet living room, bringing annoying buzz, even when doing nothing.

However, the Z830 is a great business laptop. Lightweight, strong and good connectivity, we can not think of another 1kg laptop offers a lot of things like that.

Price: $1721

Light Use Battery: 8 hours 8 minutes

Performance: 5 stars

Battery: 5 stars

Feature/Design: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars

Total: 5 stars

1. Illuminated keyboard and fingerprint reader create a perfect business companion.

2. Despite weighing 1.09kg, Toshiba packed more ports than any other Ultrabook.

  •  Anatomy of Utrabooks (Part 5) - Asus Zenbook UX21 & Lenovo Ideadpad U300S
  •  Anatomy of Utrabooks (Part 4) - DELL XPS 13
  •  Anatomy of Utrabooks (Part 3) - ASUS ZENBOOK UX31
  •  Microsoft predicts the future
  •  Expert computing advice (Part 3) - File-system conversion
  •  Expert computing advice (Part 2) - (Un)protect your Wi-Fi network & Endless updates
  •  Expert computing advice (Part 1) - Autorun worm, Sketching software & Two networks, one router
  •  Anatomy of Utrabooks (Part 2) - Acer Aspire S3
  •  Anatomy of Utrabooks (Part 1) - Users’ Guildance: How we test
  •  Add RAM to boost performance : Upgrading desktop PC memory
  •  Windows 9 : What to expect - 32-bit support , WinRT & XNA
  •  Get A Faster, Safer PC (Part 3) - Make text easier to read, Disable a laptop touchpad
  •  Get A Faster, Safer PC (Part 2) - Clean a PC and keyboard, Prevent PC hacks
  •  Get A Faster, Safer PC (Part 1) - Clear out the system tray, Remove crapware & A slicker setup
  •  Avanquest Fix-It Utilities 12.0
  •  Biggest tips guide ever! (Part 8)
  •  Biggest tips guide ever! (Part 7)
  •  Biggest tips guide ever! (Part 6)
  •  Biggest tips guide ever! (Part 5) - PC Problems
  •  Biggest tips guide ever! (Part 4) - Broadband: Wireless Security
    Top 10
    Windows Phone 7 Development : Using a WebBrowser Control to Display Dynamic Content
    Exchange Server 2010 : Meet Message Retention Compliance (part 1) - Enforce Records Management
    Becoming an Excel Programmer : Start and Stop
    Deploying a Native SharePoint 2010 Search Service Application
    The Best Time To Buy A Mac or iOS Device
    Mobile Application Security: Security Testing
    The best music apps for your iOS Device (Part 3) - ITUNES U, VOXER
    Programming .NET Security : Programming Digital Signatures (part 2) - Using the Implementation Class
    Programming .NET Security : Cryptographic Keys Explained
    iPhone 3D Programming : Blending and Augmented Reality - Rendering Anti-Aliased Lines with Textures
    Most View
    Communicating with the Silverlight Plug-in
    Tips from the Help Desk
    Windows Server 2003 : Creating and Configuring Application Directory Partitions
    Choosing a super-zoom camera (part 8) - Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ18 & Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
    Mobile Application Security : SymbianOS Security - Permissions and User Controls
    2012: the year of the mobile threat
    Understanding Exchange Policy Enforcement Security : Creating Messaging Records Management Policies
    Creating Link-Worthy Content and Link Marketing : Further Refining How Search Engines Judge Links
    Windows Server 2008: IPv6 Introduction (part 3) - The 6to4 Tunneling Protocolcol & The Teredo Tunneling Protocol
    Azure Programming Considerations
    Android Security : ContentProviders
    SQL Programming Language : Ordering, Calculating, and Grouping in Queries
    Leveraging and Optimizing Search in SharePoint 2010 : Customizing the Search User Interface
    SQL Server 2008: Managing Resources with the Resource Governor (part 2) - Workload Groups
    Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2010 with Business Connectivity Services : External Content Types (part 2) - Defining the External Content Type
    Installing the Exchange Server 2010 prerequisites
    Exchange Server 2010 : Administering Mailbox Content - Protect and Disclose Information
    Hosting a Multi-Tenant Application on Windows Azure : Selecting a Single-Tenant or Multi-Tenant Architecture
    Biggest tips guide ever! (Part 8)