MacBook Air vs. Samsung Series 9

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by w00t951, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    I got my hands on a Samsung Series 9 a few days ago, and I thought I'd pit it against my Apple MacBook Air 13" from 2010.

    Because the specs aren't comparable, I'm going to compare just the design and build quality along with the display , all of which have remained constant among recent MacBook Air generations.

    My Series 9 (NP900X3C-A04US) comes with an Intel i7-3517U (dual core w/Hyperthreading & SMT), 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 256 GB SSD of unknown manufacture, and a 13" 1600x900 IPS display. Performance in W7 x64 is extremely speedy, thanks to the two cores of 22nm power (+2 Hyperthreaded cores) and the extremely fast SSD.

    The design of the Samsung Series 9 is absolutely stunning. In my opinion, it easily beats the MacBook Air in terms of outright beauty. Maybe it's just my overexposure to the unibody design, but the curvy, accented aluminium body of the S9 is absolutely gorgeous. The display's bezel is about a centimeter wide at all points, making the Air's display feel restricted and small. The inclusion of speakers along the bottom projects this laptop's clear and somewhat punchy sound towards the user. The trackpad is (from a hardware perspective) just as large as the Air's. This laptop also doesn't get hot, even with its Ivy Bridge 2.4 GHz processor at full tilt.

    The only qualm I have this this computer is the placement of the trackpad. For no reason whatsoever, the trackpad is off center by about 2-3 centimeters.

    For some reason, the Air has an outdated TFT panel. The brightness may be decent, but the colors and viewing angle suffer accordingly. The Series 9 has an incredible PLS (similar to IPS) display with giant viewing angles and unbelievable brightness. The "SuperBright" 400-nit display seems to be at least twice as bright as any MacBook, and its 1600x900 resolution is practically Retina at this size. This is the main reason I believe the Series 9 has finally outstripped the Air as an ultrabook - the display is unbelievable. Whites are neutral white without any weird tints, burn in is nonexistent, and other colors are so vivid that they sear your retinas.

    The keyboard isn't anything special. It's a typical ultrabook keyboard in that it has very little travel while being very clicky. The backlight is slightly dim, but works perfectly fine. Nothing positive or negative to say here.

    Battery Life
    I don't know if the latest generation of Airs has improved in this department since my 2010 model, but the Series 9 definitely gives the Air a run for its money. Even running the notoriously inefficient Windows 7, the S9 manages over 8 hours of usage running on WiFi with active Chrome browsing. This is at 25% brightness, which is approximately equal to 50% of the Air's brightness.

    Well, this is the conclusion of my rant. Like it or not, the majority of people that I run into, even diehard Mac fans, agree with my points. While I prefer OS X as my OS of choice, the excellent hardware Samsung has created makes even Windows 7 bearable to use. Congratulations, Samsung. Keep up the great work. Apple, you've got some catching up to do.
  2. pedromartins, Oct 9, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012

    pedromartins Suspended

    Sep 7, 2012
    Porto, Portugal
    Your post is so stupid. Compare it to a 2012 air.

    you will find that the air is faster (much faster. higher clock processors (usually 0.1 or 0.2 more ghz) but much better silicon (7 to 10% faster than a zenbook with "same" specs", 8gb ram), has a much better touchpad (don't even try... no competition at all and this is a huge plus. it changes the way you interact with your computer (OSX)), has better graphics (thanks to 8gb ram), has a better build quality, etc.

    the only thing that the samsung has over the air is a matte display (if you want one, i (plus 99% of users) do not want one).

    the air is a far superior machine and unless you are a windows only type of guy or prefer the matte screen, buying the series 9 is a very stupid option. there's no more logical reasons left. it's stupid, very very stupid. period.

    ps: OSX. huge plus.
  3. w00t951 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    What did I say about performance and software? I'm not comparing those aspects because of the time difference. Only things that should remain the same, such as the display and build quality, are being compared here.

    You sound rather immature. It's time to grow up and accept the fact that Intel's Ultrabook initiative has finally achieved some traction among PC manufacturers.
  4. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    I can't buy that Apple 2012 Air is using same exact panel as 2010, AND all display wear out.

    I dunno what' the fuss with u people and an IPS panel. It was a wider viewing angle but unless you have people crowding around you all day, is wider viewing angle desirable on a notebook? I kinda want to keep my notebook activities private.

    But glad ur happy. Enjoy.
  5. Nova Sensei macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2012
    This was kinda like a bad Samsung commercial. What exactly are you trying to achieve by posting this? Troll points? Congrats, you earned one from me. :rolleyes:
  6. w00t951 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    It means the colors remain true over more of your viewing angles. Try using an iPhone 3GS/iPod Touch 4 vs. an iPhone 4/4S/5. Huge difference.

    I assure you, I'm not trolling. Gees, what is it with you guys and being oversensitive to new ideas?
  7. DrumApple macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2009
    Yep, everyone knows the S9 has a gorgeous screen that puts the MBA to shame. But its cheap clacky shallow keyboard, touchpad, and no i7 + 8gb config, are what hold it behind. If I could have the S9 screen on an Air... wow.
  8. w00t951 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    The S9 has an i7-3517U processor that runs at 2.4GHz and has 2 cores + 2 virtual cores. It is true that the max RAM is only 4GB though. But we're not discussing performance, so I fail to see how that is relevant.
  9. tredstone macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2010
    You say the 2010 MBA has an outdated display, but compared to other displays of its year (e.g. Anandtech's review), it fared quite favorably and many praised it for being less annoyingly glossy than the Pro.
  10. Wokis macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2012
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Do samsung have a cheapo-ultrabook line as well or something? I was checking out some really thin samsung-branded notebooks at some store recently and the screens looked awful on them. Can't be the panel you're talking about.

    As for the TN panel on the MBA.. I've certainly seen much much worse TN panels.. But yeah, feels somewhat likely that they will bring in a different panel in the next generation.

    Also, I'd credit MS and possibly Intel for Windows 7 being bearable to use. :p
  11. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    pedromartins you sound very immature. There is no reason to call his post stupid. He clearly stated he understood that the S9 would wipe the floor clean compared to a core 2 powered air. He did a pretty good comparison of the other things that could be compared fairly though.

    While the 2010 he was comparing with might have reduced brightness and all of that related to wear and age, it still stands true that airs use inferior tn panels. While the common user might not care (the screen on the air is still a great TN panel), it is still fact that IPS panels are superior and would be a welcome upgrade to the air line.

    In the end I don't believe w00t951 is trolling or trying to start a flame war but just sharing his views on his new laptop. Both the S9 and the 2011 Air are very good and it all comes down to preference (keyboard, trackpad, OS). This is like the iP5 vs S3 debate; both are awesome phones and some of the best the world has ever seen till now and all you have to do is pick one! And to someone who just wants great performance in a small quality package the S9 seems to fit the bill as a windows equivalent to a 2012 air.

    Written on a 2011 11" i7 MBA :D
  12. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Fine it's better. U win.

    Unless u can run OSX (what people do in this forum) on a S9, I don't see much point to ur post.

    There are other genuine ways people discuss Air-like hardware. I don't know where u going with this. Lots of things are personal preference. Am in the camp of not always purchase-by-the-number, it's a whole package for me. If the Air doesn't exist or it's too expensive as when it came out, I *may* had gone for a S9. I looked at the S9 before purchasing my Air if that makes u feel better.
  13. bluedoggiant macrumors 68030


    Jul 13, 2007
    MD & ATL,GA
  14. torana355 macrumors 68000

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I agree the S9 has a great screen but that is where is the positive points end for me, the air is superior in every other aspect, the most important being it runs OSX ;) Actually the MBA trackpad and keyboard are so far ahead of the S9's it really no contest.
  15. Nova Sensei macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2012
    I really like my Galaxy S2 screen. To me it looks better than an iPhone 4S screen. But I don't feel the need to post this in the iPhone forum.
  16. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    Jeez people, learn to lighten up. The OP is just telling us their opinion of both devices. No need to take it as a personal insult if they like the Samsung Series 9. People like you make all Apple fans look bad. Try to keep an open mind. It comes down to personal preference. Use what you want and let others have their opinions.

    I thought it was a fair comparison between the two devices and the OP explicitly stated they are only comparing the hardware as the hardware for the MBA hasn't changed. I have to agree with the OP that the Series 9 does look pretty nice. From a purely asthetic perspective, I would probably also give the edge to Samsung.
  17. w00t951 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    A voice of reason amid a sea of chaos. Thank you.
  18. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    No one ever wins an internet argument. It amazes me to see people need to go so far just to prove to a stranger on the internet that they're right.
  19. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    If a Windows ultrabook came out that was drastically better than the MacBook Air for around the same price I'd consider getting one instead of a MacBook Air. Sure, you wouldn't get OSX - But if the improvement was enough I'd be happy using Windows :)


    Speak for yourself.
  20. whoknows87 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2012
    I totally agree, I really dont see what the fuss is about, the OP just gave his 2 cents about this Samsung Product, I guess anytime you see SAMSUNG some people assume trolling, it's a legitimate comparison, excuse me but Samsung does make great products whether some of you like it or not, they have been around for a while and will continue to be around( there is a reason for that)
    at the end of the day everyone is entitled to their opinion, and the OP stated his, I personally wouldn't go for the Samsung laptop, but plenty of people will why? their preference
    I'm used to OS but probably can do just fine with this Samsung laptop, I bet it will do the job plus more...I have no doubt that it is a great machine that is well engineered and designed just like the Air
  21. pedromartins Suspended

    Sep 7, 2012
    Porto, Portugal
    "Congratulations, Samsung. Keep up the great work. Apple, you've got some catching up to do."

    See? this is so dumb.. so stupid.. so irrational. I'm not being a fanboy, just saying that the person that wrote this part was not being smart, as facts obviously show.

    The macbook air is superior in every way besides screen (if you want matte), it is faster, has a better build quality, much better keyboard, a trackpad from another galaxy (lol), 8 gb option, 512ssd option.. same price or cheaper than the s9. And the thing runs OSX if you want too.. together with that trackpad it is awesome to interact with your computer. there's nothing like that with the s9.

    And this guy has the nerve to say "Congratulations, Samsung. Keep up the great work. Apple, you've got some catching up to do." Isn't this stupid? It is.. a lot. He should be embarrassed.
  22. RightMACatU macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2012
    I stopped reading at "...against my Apple MacBook Air 13" from 2010" and went directly to the replies :D
  23. Redbull916 macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2012
    Brighton, UK
    why would you even bother comparing a new machine with something that is two models old?

    it's like comparing an iPhone 5 with the original Galaxy.
  24. iMacC2D macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2010
    Considering it's a comparison of the Design (including Trackpad and Build Quality), Display, Keyboard and Battery Life, I fail to see the issue. The MacBook Air 2010 and 2012 revisions are basically the same machine to the point where you could in theory interchange the components between them and find no significant difference. It's almost entirely in performance and specifications that the MacBook Air has evolved from its 2010 major revision.

    I use a 2008 model at work, a 2010 model in the showroom, and I purchased a 2012 model with maximum spec configuration for my own personal use. Between the 2008 and 2010 was a massive shift. From 2010 to 2012 Apple managed to get the design right from the Revision A models, and so it has largely stuck for the time being.

    I think, at least in the areas the OP has covered, the comparisons still stand. That's not to say they have to be agreed with, but don't discredit them just because the sample machine is a 2010 model either. If the performance and specifications had been reviewed it would be a different story.
  25. mzjin macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2011
    I owned 3x different 2012 series 9s 13inchers. Two from the Microsoft store, one from amazon.

    Amazon one had a trackpad that did not work at all when plugged in to the outlet. Also uneven backlighting.

    Microsoft store all had an uneven screen. Significantly darker on the left side than right.

    I returned all of them after examining the one they had on display in the Microsoft store and finding the exact same backlighting defect.

    So the whole reason to buy the series 9 is the display, and all of them are defective.
    Most have severe issues with the trackpad, making the computer as as portable notebook nearly impossible to use.

    That said, if they update the system for late 2012 with 8gbs of ram, faster processors and faster SSDs ( the one they use is a trashy Sandisk U registries) and fix their defectives displays, yes, it can absolutely be better than a MacBook Air.

    One thing you should mention is that the series 9 has a smaller display than the MacBook Air, being 16:9

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