Launched here in Malaysia last week, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite marks the start of the company’s new range of Windows 8 Ultrabooks. Available both in touch and non-touch variants, the ATIV Book 9 Lite Ultrabooks are currently some of the lowest-priced Ultrabooks available in the market with retail prices starting from RM1999.
We managed to get a quick glimpse of the laptops soon after the launch event. Read on for our first impressions on the budget Ultrabooks.
For its specs, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite Ultrabook is certainly pretty impressive, considering its retail price. Featuring similar design cues from the sexy Series 9 premium laptops of 2012, these new Ultrabooks are stylish, compact and pretty well built, too. The hinges are also designed to be able to be pushed all the way to 180 degrees flat. Given its target market of university students and young professionals, there is plenty going for the physical design and build quality of the Ultrabook.
The Ultrabook also comes in two flavours, touch and non-touch displays. There is actually no difference in terms of hardware and connectivity between these variants; internally they are the same, save for the increased heft and thickness of the touch-enabled variant. The difference is barely noticeable, too: the touch-enabled variant is only a mere 0.05mm thicker and 140g heavier than the non-touch model.
On the other hand, there some drawbacks to these Ultrabooks. The first, and perhaps most important (for me at least), is in the keyboards. The chiclet-style keyboards have pretty decent travel, but do not give enough tactile feedback to allow for quick touch-typing.
Secondly, the connectivity options are simply not good enough – especially for the Ultrabook’s target market. Having only two USB ports, as any university student will tell you, is not enough. In addition, the use of micro-HDMI, mini-VGA and mini-Ethernet ports and not bundling the adaptors together make the connectivity options extremely impractical and more expensive than they should be – proving that laptop this thin does come at quite a price.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test out how powerful the specially designed AMD APU chipset was. Our resident AMD expert, however, concluded that the 1.4GHz CPU and Radeon 8250 GPU combination should prove to be capable of performing well enough for the daily activities of a student or professional.
Ultimately, the RM1999 starting price point for the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite is a pretty compelling argument. After all, there is a 128GB SSD fitted inside, and it has a pretty solid build despite the glossy plastic exterior. And even better, should you find it unsatisfactory, Samsung is offering a pretty sweet 14-day money back guarantee for a limited time.