The Samsung Plus is here and I’ve been using it for four days. It’s a fantastic little machine with a few things that you’ll have to watch for; Micro ports being one of them, the screen being another. Yes, that 3200×1800 screen has not one, but two down-sides.
Firstly, here’s my 9-minute overview video.
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Apart from the gorgeous finish and style that we all know about, the battery is a real attraction. We’re seeing a lot of Haswell-generation Ultrabooks with smaller battery sizes (it saves money and space for the same battery life) but the Samsungcomes with a 55Wh battery that’s going to give you 8-10hrs of WifI web working. That’s a massive Plus-point, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Let me talk about that touchscreen though. 3200×1800 is a whopper and as sharp as you’ll ever need but there are two things to note. 1 – I’m seeing higher-than normal idle battery drain figures with the screen on and it indicates to me that the backlight, controller and GPU might be having to work harder. Even with panel-self-refresh turned on, the high drain figures are still there which makes me wonder, does the smaller LCD matrix mean that the backlight has to be more powerful? I can’t prove this right now and in normal use you might not care about the 1W additional drain i’m seeing but others might. On to the second point, which I can prove. The image on the top-right shows how small some desktop application elements and text can be. Too small to read or hit with a finger. Even with the DPI compensation ramped up (on Windows 8 or 8.1) some apps don’t take any notice of the setting. Sure, screen real-estate is huge but reading menus becomes a problem and you’ll need a mouse and 20:20 vision to get the best out of it. The solution, in my case, is to drop the screen resolution to 1920×1080 which, surprisingly, doesn’t show any of the major problems associated with running at a non-native resolution. At the end of the day, I would have been happy with 1920×1080.
One note about audio before I sign off – the speakers are great!
A full review will be coming up but feel free to ask questions or tell us about your experiences. More information on the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus in the database.