Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus vs. Apple MacBook Pro With Retina Display: Specs Compared

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Less than a month after Intel introduced its new fourth-generation Haswell CPU, vendors have begun rolling out their flagship Ultrabooks for 2013. Samsung is no exception, as it took the stage in London this week to flaunt its latest refresh to the ATIV Ultrabook collection.

The newly announced slim Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus runs Windows 8 comes with an industry-leading 3200 x 1800 display , but can it hold a candle to Apple’s newest Retina Display MacBook Pro? The two competing flagships seem evenly matched for the most part, but we’ve broken down the specs to see how the two notebooks stack up.

Processing Power

In terms of performance, Apple’s 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro comes equipped with a 2.5-GHz dual-core Intel third generation Core i5 chip with 8GB of RAM configurable to Core i7. If you opt for the $1,699 version instead of the $1,499 edition, you’ll get a slightly faster 2.6-GHz CPU instead.

Samsung’s ATIV Book 9 Plus comes with Intel’s new fourth generation Core i5 CPU and is configurable up to Core i7 with 8GB of RAM. However, the ATIV Book 9 comes with Intel HD 4400 graphics built in, as opposed to the Retina Display MacBook Pro’s older Intel HD 4000 graphics. With its newer CPU, the ATIV Book Plus will likely offer better performance.

MORE: Samsung ATIV Tab 3: Thinnest Windows 8 Tablet Comes With Office


Both devices max out at 256GB of onboard storage, but Apple offers an option to purchase a 128GB edition for $1,499 while the 256GB variant costs $1,699. You’ll also find a 720p webcam on the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus and the Retina Display MacBook Pro.

Size and Weight

The ATIV Book 9 Plus is both thinner and lighter than the MacBook Pro. The Book 9 measures a svelte 12.58 x 8.77 x 0.5 inches, compared to the MacBook Pro's dimensions of 12.4 x 8.6 x 0.8 inches. At 3.1 pounds, the non-touch version of Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus is half a pound lighter than the 3.6-pound Retina Display MacBook Pro. 


There's a drastic discrepancy between the two laptop’s displays. Samsung’s new Ultrabook has the sharpest screen of any notebook on the market, with an unheard-of 3,200 x 1,800 resolution. The ATIV Book 9 Plus also features a touch screen display, unlike the Retina Display MacBook Pro’s 2,560 x 1,600 resolution display.


Currently, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 has better specs in every category with a newer processor, sharper screen, lighter chassis and higher-resolution screen. That said, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display launched in 2012 and has yet to be refreshed with Intel's latest CPU. We also have no idea how the ATIV Book 9 Plus's screen will stack up to the MacBook Pro's when they are put side-by-side. Adding more pixels is great, but color quality is equally important, particularly when both displays are sharper than many human eyes can see.

Pricing will play a large role in deciding which laptop is a better value.  Pricing and availability for the ATIV Book 9 Plus haven’t been announced just yet, but we’re hoping to see it launch in time for back-to-school season. 

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Author Bio
Lisa Eadicicco
Lisa Eadicicco, LAPTOP Staff Writer
Lisa has been reporting on all things mobile for since early 2013. When she’s not reviewing gadgets, she’s usually browsing patent databases or interviewing experts to track down the hottest tech trends before they even happen. Lisa holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Purchase and has contributed to The International Business Times, The New York Daily News and Guitar World Magazine.
Lisa Eadicicco, LAPTOP Staff Writer on
Add a comment
  • Kalvin Says:

    If Windows 8 is all Samsung is going to offer me, then this laptop is going to lose my vote, regardless of the specs. The 15 inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display impresses me far more than that Samsung ATIV Book. I don't want a laptop that requires me to keep Secure Boot on in order to use Windows 8. I'd rather have a powerful laptop without Secure Boot and allows me to wipe Windows 8 and replace it with openSUSE. Go ahead and tell me to simply disable it. It won't work in a few years when Microsoft finally decides to seal the fate of Linux. Samsung, if you want to impress me, please, at least remove secure boot and Windows 8 and give me the freedom to install Linux on it; even Gabe Newell hates Windows 8, Windows 8 lovers! Otherwise, it's down to using Macs; much easier to use and more simplified than Windows 8 for the commercial market.

  • Chang Says:

    I think no one will be buying this laptop to play games on it. Playing any games at this resolution would seriously cripple its frame rate.

  • KN Says:

    You should compare samsung ative book 9 pro with MacBook Air, not MacBook Pro for better understanding & comparison. Samsung's ativ book 9 pro is an "ultrabook" & MBP is not. Comparing them is almost like comparing apples & oranges.

  • WC Says:

    How can you compare an ULV CPU (Samsung) with a mobile CPU (Apple)? The Apple equivalent to Samsungs' Ativ Book 9 Plus (with the ULV CPU) is the MacBook AIR. Samsung is, at least on paper, way superior to Apple this time around. I can't wait to put my hands on the Ativ when it hits the store. Apple has not refreshed the MacBook PRO, but its problems are deeper seated. Apple does not know what to do with touch! Its touchpad on both AIR and PRO is outdated. It has yet to introduce touchscreens (while the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus has ten points multitouch) and the problem is more a software than a hardware one. Where is OSX for touch? Last but not least, when comparing the Ativ Book 9 Plus to the MacBook AIR, note that the AIR has slightly better CPUs. Samsung is using the stock i5-4200U and i7-4500U, both of which feature Intel HD4400. Apple uses the $50 more expensive versions with the HD5000 graphics. The performance differential is significant for gamers, irrelevant for office users. Also, when choosing the CPU, the battery lasts longer with the i5 so unless you need the extra computing power (and most of us don't) of the i7, stick with the i5.

  • kc Says:

    Samsung is superior...Samsung haters!

  • NOX Says:

    This Samsung seems to be better than the MBP 13". Unfortunately a 13" screen is too small for me. I hope Samsung will also clone and perfect a MBP 15". By the way, there is something in the MBP that beats the Samsung: it's the 16:10 screen. Samsung please, take notice: Apple fit a taller screen into a box with smaller depth (smaller vertical bezel). And another thing in Apple's 15" machine that beats the current ones of Samsung: the keyboard and the touchpad are centered with the screen because Apple didn't insist fitting a number pad into the MBP.

  • Michael A. Prospero, LAPTOP Reviews Editor Says:

    Danilo - Thanks for noticing. We updated the post.

  • rtimi Says:

    this are the specs you need for you comparison. 319.6x222.9x13.6mm ativ book 9 plus versus Height: 0.75 inch (1.9 cm)
    Width: 12.35 inches (31.4 cm)
    Depth: 8.62 inches (21.9 cm)
    Weight: 3.57 pounds (1.62 kg)2 mac book pro retina. which when converted 0.75 inches is 19.05mm so yes laptopmag is trying to give apple better credit but they're wrong.

  • mssoftmidn Says:

    On the left side of the notebook are connectors USB 3.0, microUSB adapter for connection to RJ45, micro-HDMI and a card reader.

  • Danilo Says:

    You have inverted the width specs in the text: "The ATIV Book 9 Plus measures a svelt 12.35 x 8.62 x 0.75 inches, but the MacBook Pro is noticeably thinner with a size of 12.58 x 8.77 x 0.5 inches."

    It's the ATIV Book 9 Plus which is noticeably thinner. Your specs differ wildly from those in the spec table as well. Too many inaccuracies that favor Apple products (look at MacBook Air 13 battery life blog post).

  • nerd1 Says:

    "MacBook Pro with Retina Display is thinner" WTF?