July 17, 2024


Think spectacular technology

Samsung’s new laptops are so light, you can carry both in one hand

Looking to lighten your laptop load? Samsung wants to help. The new Samsung Notebook 9, which comes in 13-inch and 15-inch screen sizes, are constructed of a lightweight magnesium alloy that barely tips the scales. At just under two pounds for the 13-inch and under three pounds for the 15-inch, I can lift them both with one hand.

We got a peek at these machines in Samsung’s posh hotel suite at the 2016 International CES here in Las Vegas, and while we don’t know when they’ll arrive (beyond “early 2016”) or what they might cost, they definitely look like they’re worth considering if portability is key.

The new Samsung Notebook 9 series.

Sarah Tew/CNET


Typically, high-end laptops are made of aluminum, perhaps with some carbon fiber thrown in if you want to get fancy. Aluminum’s strong and shiny, but still a little heavy. Magnesium alloy is even lighter, but the downside is that it can look and feel like plastic. You’ll often find it inside laptops (like Lenovo’s ThinkPads) but generally, PC manufacturers don’t leave it exposed to the elements.

But recently, a few laptops have gone all out with magnesium to get the lightest laptops possible, like the Lenovo LaVie Z and the LG Gram 14. But those laptops lacked creature comforts like great keyboards and trackpads, and they definitely felt a little plasticy.

What amazed me was that the 15-inch Notebook 9 feels a bit more like cool metal to the touch. And with nice bright 1080p screens, Core i5 and i7 processors, up to 8GB of memory and 256GB of solid-state storage and what felt like some pretty decent keyboards and touchpads in a brief test, these feel like pretty well-rounded laptops. (Samsung’s also promising up to 10.5 hours of battery life.) If only the company would tell us what they cost.

What you still won’t find here is a touchscreen, or a lot of handy full-size ports. While Samsung’s recently introduced Ativ Book 9 Spin and Book 9 Pro finally added the full-size ports we’ve been missing, the Notebook 9 makes due with only a pair of full-size USB 3.0 jacks (one on each side) and a full-size SD slot on the 13-inch model. Otherwise, you’ll need to carry adapters for the tiny little mini VGA, HDMI, and Ethernet jacks you’ll find on these machines, and a microSD card if you’re looking at the 15-incher.

There is one of those fancy new reversible USB-C ports on the 15-incher, but we’re not yet sure if you can charge the laptop using that port.

Here are the other specs we’ve got so far:

  • 13.3-inch or 15-inch 1080p PLS screens (350-nit or 400-nit brightness)
  • 180-degree hinge lets the screen lie flat
  • Sixth-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors
  • Intel HD 520 graphics
  • 4GB or 8GB of memory
  • 128GB or 256GB of storage
  • Up to 10.5 hours of battery life
  • 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Silver or Pink colors
  • 2.84lb (1.29kg) for the 15-inch
  • 1.85lb (840g) for the 13-inch

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