Samsung ATIV Book 9

"The ATIV Book 9 is gorgeous, rivaling the MacBook Air in lithe aesthetics. However, like the Air, you can get more machine for your money."

With so many different shapes, sizes, and capabilities, the decision of which laptop is right for you can be purely personal. As such, when you’re shopping around, it pays to know what it is you’re looking for.

There are always tradeoffs: If you want long battery life, you know that you may be sacrificing speed. If you want a thin and light form-factor, you’re generally going to pay a premium. So it should come as no surprise that the 1.6ghz Intel i5-4200U inside this “Book 9” can be found in many less expensive 15” systems, like this bulky Acer Aspire. However, going for one of these low cost behemoths may leave your shoulders and back to foot the bill down the road.

Thankfully, if you’re looking for thin, light, long battery life laptops with a large enough screen to really get work done on, then the “executive class” 15+ inch ultrabooks, such as the ATIV Book 9 can give you everything you need.

Although these machines often offer processor and graphics options that fall short of their bulkier competitors, that is not to say that these $1500 laptops lack for speed. When built correctly, as in this case and in the case of the famed MacBook Air, all of the parts work together to give a very snappy, crisp response.  The Intel i5 processor in this Samsung Book 9 is nothing to sneeze at, nor is the solid state hard drive and ample RAM.  To top it all off, these power-conservative parts can give you around 11 hours battery life at idle, or 5-6 hours if you perform general tasks.

One hidden gem in this Samsung is the Wolfson WM5102 audio codec, allowing lossless audio playback. If this sentence is a lot of nonsense, don’t worry, it basically means the music and movies can potentially sound really great through a pair of high end headphones or the appropriate external speakers.

As with so many things, you get what you pay for. In the case of this 15” Samsung, you get a really slick looking laptop with a 1920x1080 screen, able to switch seamlessly from entertainment center to corporate work horse with a touch of class.

 

Pros

  • Big Screen
  • Thin Profile
  • Aluminum Body
  • Great Audio

Cons

  • Top Dollar
  • Integrated Graphics

 

 

Samsung ATIV Book 9

$1,499.99

Acer Aspire Switch 10

"Acer's Switch 10 is a nicely built machine. This cool and quite little convertible includes Microsoft Office 2013 so you can get right down to business!"

For some of us, portability is paramount. Whether you're going from one sales meeting to another, editing your slide deck in coach, or sharing your screen over a lunch table, a small form-factor can make all the difference.

Convertible laptops, or "hybrids" as they're known, attempt to give you the productivity of a laptop, with the portability of a tablet. Over the years, manufacturers in the PC market have had varying degrees of success with this concept, and so when a decent hybrid emerges, it’s time to take notice.

The Acer Switch 10 ticks all the right boxes. It’s light (1.29 lbs), thin (0.4"), and has an estimated 8 hour battery life. This tiny package runs cool and quiet, thanks in large part to its solid state hard-drive and low voltage Intel Atom processor.

Speaking of the processor (and performance specs in general), this laptop will not be setting any land-speed records, but this little fella isn't meant to be your hot-rod: This is your commuter PC. For browsing the web, office productivity, and basic multimedia (movies, music), the Atom handles well. The bundled Microsoft Office suite should give a good indication of where this hybrid wants to take you.

The silvery design and stout construction make the Switch 10 a "business styled" choice at a consumer, entry level price - perfect for any business without a Microsoft domain controller (for which you would need to upgrade the Operating System).

The only true downsides to the "Switch", really, are the screen, and the keyboard. At 1388x768, the tiny 10" display will have you struggling to fit everything in view. Thankfully, there is an HDMI output so, when you're in the office, at least you can throw those spreadsheets on the big screen. The same drawbacks carry over to the keyboard. They’ve crammed a lot of keys into this small space. The keyboard seems to be laid out well, but the spacing could prove awkward at first.

Overall, the Acer is a truly solid offering in this niche, edging out the more expensive Dell Venue 11 and Lenovo Yoga 11, while standing shoulder to shoulder with the $370 Asus Transformer Book T100.

Pros

  • Great Design
  • Thin & Light
  • Long Battery Life
  • Comes with Office 2013

Cons

  • Somewhat Slow
  • Underwhelming Screen
  • Small Hard Drive
  • Cramped Keyboard

Acer Aspire Switch 10

$379.99



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