Hands On with the Samsung ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition

The newest ATIV gets one downgrade and tons of upgrades.

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When we reviewed the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus last year, we were especially impressed by the 3200x1800 screen. At CES 2014, Samsung showed off its beefed up "2014 Edition," which is both more powerful and physically larger, though the resolution has been dropped to 1080p to save battery life.

Aside from the resolution hit, almost every other spec has been increased. The most impressive jump is in the laptop's audio capabilities, to 24-bit, 192kHz output. If you like the Plus, and are willing to live with just a 1080p display, then you should keep a look out for the 2014 edition.

Design

Dressed in black and ready to pounce

The 2014 Edition's exterior is sleek as a greased up otter. The exterior is jet black. The body has crisp edges, but a smooth workspace for your hands. Coming in at four pounds, lugging this 15inch laptop should be a breeze. The keys and touchpad work as well as the pervious version. Everything we liked about the Plus has returned, but with more generous spacing.

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Features

A feast for the ears and a snack for the eyes

In an effort to boost battery life, Samsung decided to drop the retina searing 3200x1800 display. Instead, we get a 1920x1080 screen, but that's fine because there isn't an overwhelming library of beyond-HD content out there for viewing anyway.

On the other hand, the audio capabilities have been given a real polishing. This time around, you get CD quality playback. The 2014 Edition rocks out with 24-bit, 192kHz lossless audio. You also get either an i7 or i5 Intel processor. A 256GB SSD is a large upgrade over the 128GB from the Plus. Also, the memory has been doubled from 4GB to 8GB. All this hardware makes this machine an alternative for the Macbook Pro, even though it has lower screen resolution. At very least, the increased hard drive capacity and memory makes the ATIV 9 a plausible desktop replacement.

Conclusion

The Samsung ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition is a good generalist. Big screen, comfortable keys, and excellent audio combine to meet even demanding users' needs. The loss of the almost-UHD display of the Plus is countered by the increased battery life and increased real estate. If you want a svelte laptop and you listen to music while you work, then this machine may be for you.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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