The Bottom Line
Oct 14 2013 - Samsung's ATIV Book 9 Lite derives its name from the lack of features and its lower price than its other ATIV Book 9 laptops. The problem is that it sacrifices a bit too much to be a really recommended system for those looking at a more affordable ultrathin laptop. Its performance is less than other systems in that price range. At least it does feature a touchscreen, has decent battery life for how small a battery it uses and has an above average keyboard and trackpad.
- Touchscreen Display
- Nice Keyboard and Trackpad
- Decent Battery Life
- Lower Performance Than Similarly Priced Ultrabooks
- Plastic Design Has Too Much Flex
- Mediocre Display
- AMD A6-1450 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 128GB Solid State Drive
- 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) Multitouch Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 8250 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet (w/Dongle), 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- One USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, microHDMI, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 12.8" x 8.8" x .69" @ 3.48 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite
Oct 14 2013 - Just by looking at the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite, it is apparent that the Lite is primarily referring to the cost of the system. Rather than using aluminum like the more expensive versions, Samsung has elected to use a plastic body here. The result is a system that does not have that same level of build quality as its other systems. The plastic results in a lot more flex on the body that just does not give the impression of being sturdy. In addition to this, the laptop is a good deal thicker at .69-inches compared to the ATIV Book 9 Plus at just .54-inches and being four tenths of a pound heavier at just under three and a half pounds.
To keep the costs does, Samsung also elected to use the AMD A6-1450 quad core ultra-low voltage processor rather than Intel. This is the primary reason that this is not branded as an extra processor cores does not really translate into much more performance. In fact, in many cases, the processor is slower than a 3rd generation dual core i5 processor that can be found in similarly priced ultrabooks. The processor was paired up with 4GB of DDR3 memory which provided a smooth enough experience in Windows 8 but it is unlikely that 8GB would have improved the performance much.
Just like an ultrabook, this version of the ATIV Book 9 Lite uses a solid state drive rather than a hard drive. This provides it with faster booting and application loads than if it used a traditional hard drive but the 128GB capacity does restrict the amount of data that can be stored on it. Boot times average around 15 seconds which is slower than the utlrabooks with similar capacity but it is certainly better than a hard drive. If you do need extra storage, there is a single USB 3.0 port on the left hand side that can be used with high speed external storage. There is no optical drive which is typical of most laptops of this size but it does still feature an SD card slot for use with the flash media cards.
The 13.3-inch display of the ATIV Book 9 Lite bucks the trend of moving to higher resolution displays and instead opts to use a lower resolution 1366x768 panel common to budget systems. The downside here is that the display offers mediocre brightness and color with limited viewing angles. Color and contrast drop off significantly when viewed even slightly off angle. At least the system does include a multitouch capability that makes it more useful for the Windows 8 operating system. The graphics use the AMD Radeon HD 8250 that are built into the A6 processor. This has a slight advantage over the Intel integrated graphics as it does a bit better job at accelerating non-3D applications. Sadly, it still really lacks and 3D performance even for casual PC gaming at lower resolutions.
They keyboard design of uses the isolated layout common to most Samsung laptops. Overall, it offers a nice feel to it if the keyboard desk is a bit bouncy because of the flex. This is probably because the keys seem to have a bit more travel than the other ATIV Book 9 models. In keeping with its budget pricing, it does not feature any backlight. The trackpad is a nice size and uses integrated buttons. It offered an accurate enough experience even with the multitouch gestures although this does have a touchscreen as well.
Another way that Samsung saved on costs is by using a smaller battery pack for the ATIV Book 9 Lite. In fact, the internal battery pack has a rating of just 30WHr which is much lower than most laptops in this size that use between 40 and 60Whr. Samsung claims that it can achieve up to five and a half hours on a charge. In my digital video playback tests, the system was able to run for just over five hours. This is good considering the size of the battery pack but it is below average when you compare it to other laptops in this size and it is half of what the Apple MacBook Air 13 can achieve.
Priced at $799, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite is a bit off when you look at its features. It certainly is affordable especially when you consider it has a touchscreen but there are more offerings starting to come out in this lower price with the Intel processors. Conversely, you can elect to go with a slightly older ultrabook and get something for about the same price or less. One such case would be the Toshiba Portege Z935 that features roughly the same specs minus the touchscreen but with a faster Core i5 processor and lighter weight. And if you want something even more affordable, there is the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 which uses a traditional hard drive in place of the SSD but it is a bit heavier and thicker.