PROS / The high-resolution display looks sharp.
CONS / Port selection is limited, with just two USB ports and no full-size HDMI.
VERDICT / The Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus is a competent ultrabook, held back by middling performance and a sparse selection of ports.
Like the rest of the ultrabooks we reviewed, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus packs high-performance parts into a slim and portable design. This makes it easy to take the laptop anywhere without sacrificing day-to-day usability.
Our model boasts an Intel Core i7-5500U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), specs that are quite similar to other systems we reviewed. Other models are also available with less expensive components, like an Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 4GB of memory and a smaller 128GB drive.
The Book 9 Plus measures a slim 0.54-inch thick, making it one of the thinnest ultrabooks we reviewed, but its overall size of 12.58 x 8.78 x 0.54 inches is otherwise pretty standard. It weighs 3.1 pounds, a middle-of-the-road weight in a category defined by thin and light designs. In battery tests, it lasted seven and a half hours, not quite reaching the eight hour threshold that almost every other system met or exceeded.
The Book 9 Plus features a 13.3-inch touch screen with 3200 x 1800 resolution, making the display one of the sharpest and most detailed of any ultrabook we reviewed. Its brightness is good too, reading at 315 nits when tested, but the color accuracy is one of the worst of the bunch, with an average DeltaE rating of 6.8 (closer to zero is better).
The port selection is a bit sparse, with two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot and micro-HDMI instead of full-size – an irritant when you need to find an adapter dongle just to connect to a standard HDMI cable. Wireless connectivity is standard with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The Book 9 Plus is covered with a standard one-year warranty, and Samsung ranks quite high in Laptop Mag’s testing of tech support service, offering helpful advice via phone and the web. The company also offers a premium support program called Samsung Plus, which has such niceties as video-chat help, discounts on repairs and even express device-replacement service for some members. Membership requires registering your product and is tiered, based on how many Samsung products you have registered.
The Samsung Book 9 Plus is a well-made ultrabook with an impressive high-resolution display, but there's more to an ultrabook than looks. The Book 9 Plus is held back by middling performance and somewhat limited port selection, requiring adapters for some basic functions and offering only two USB ports.