Now, this is getting ridiculous -- in a good way. Samsung's 2015 update to its ATIV Book 9 Ultrabook is less than an inch thick and weighs a hair over 2 pounds, making this notebook nearly as light as some tablets. We went hands-on with this ultra-ultra portable notebook, which will start at $1,199 when it launches in Q1 2015, and found it be quite solid despite its featherweight frame.
Weighing 2.09 pounds, the Book 9 is even lighter than the 2.68-pound HP EliteBook Folio 1020 and the 2.6-pound Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. And, at 11.19 x 8.37 x 0.46 inches, the Samsung is thinner than both, although the Lenovo is just 0.5 inches at its thickest.
Visually, the Book 9 looks similar to previous iterations. The aluminum interior and exterior are all black, and the sides have a curved profile that makes the notebook seem even slimmer than its dimensions would suggest. Inside, the black backlit keyboard and chrome-lined touchpad are just as attractive as before, and equally comfortable for typing.
The Book 9's 12.2-inch display will have a resolution of 2560 x 1600, slightly higher than the Surface Pro 3 (2160 x 1440) and HP EliteBook (2560 x 1440), but lower than the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro's 3200 x 1800-pixel display. While it lacks a touchscreen, it will have a special mode that will boost its brightness from 350 nits to 700 nits, making it much easier to view when outdoors.
Powering the Book 9 is an Intel Core M-5Y10c processor, which delivers less power than its Core i5 chips, but allows for thinner, fanless designs. Also packed in this notebook is 4GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB), and SSD options up to 512GB. The Book 9 will also have an Intel HD Graphics 5300 GPU.
As expected on a notebook this thin, ports are limited, but the spread should suffice for most business travelers. You'll find two USB 3.0 ports, microHDMI, a microSD card slot and a combo headphone/mic jack. An Ethernet dongle will also be included.
With an estimated 10.5 hours of battery life, the Book 9 should last longer than the Surface Pro 3, which topped out at around 7.5 hours, but fall short of the Air's 12.5 hours of endurance. However, the HP Elitebook Folio and Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, which also have Intel Core M processors, both fell a bit short of 7 hours.
Other notable features for the ATIV Book 9 include 802.11ac and WiFi Amp, which promises up to 20 percent faster Internet connections, and the ability to shield your screen's content upon logging in by drawing a pattern on the touchpad and hitting one key.
Starting at $1,199 (with 4GB of memory and a 128GB SSD), the ATIV Book 9 will cost about $200 more than a MacBook Air, and about $70 more than the Surface Pro 3 with the same capacity SSD and a Type Cover ($1,128). It's $100 less than the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, and $300 less than the HP EliteBook Folio 1020, making this a very compelling Ultrabook for those who value portability above all else.