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.
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.
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.