Pros: Stylish, thin, light, wonderful display, nice audio
Cons: only 128 Gb SSD disk
Samsung entered rather lately the PC/notebook arena but managed to overtake all the competition in a few years. The NP900X3C which is part of the Samsung Series 9 is a good demonstration of Samsung capability to develop professional notebooks.
Design: an ultrabook has to be light and has to fit nicely into a think pocket or bag. With a weight of 1.16 Kg and a maximum thickness of 13mm this ultrabook fully matches the mandatory requirements for this kind of ultra portable notebook. The lightweight aluminum black case is nice and looks and feels very professional and sturdy.
Connectivity: of course it provides wi-fi and bluetooth (4.0) wireless connections but it has also useful range of additional ports considering the very thin design: 2 USB (1 USB3), micro HDMI, VGA (micro), LAN port (via adapter), SD card port, microphone. This is in general better than the competition, for instance Asus Zenbook which is quite similar uses one of the two USB for LAN connection. Also the possibility to install an SD card is a very useful addition if you need some additional storage.
Keyboard: this is a backlit keyboard with quite nice touch. Still the feeling of the key press is not as good as I'd like but this is a drawback of most ultrathin notebooks. Keyboards have to fit in an extremely limited envelope after all. The clickpad is wide and allows multitouch which is a nice addition. Keyboard and clickpad design looks clean and professional. There are some very useful LED both on the chassis and embedded in some keys which show the power state, wifi, Fn lock, battery charge status, volume on/off status. In general the feeling is that the overall design has been studied till the smaller details.
Display: this is a real gem. The 13" 1600x900 LED display is one of the best I have seen on any notebook or ultrabook. It has very deep black and nice colours. This resolution is the best compromise for a 13" display. A full HD 1920x1080 13" needs small changes in Windows font display in order to have good readibility. 1600x900 is the best fit on 13" display from my standpoint.
Processor, Graphic The Intel i5 1.7 Ghz is more than adequate for this ultrabook providing enough computing power for most fun and business applications. The embedded Intel graphic card has of course some limitations especially if you are going to play some games. This is however an ultrabook aimed to business users which require as worst case a nice video HD playback which is something that the Intel HD4000 graphic card is able to guarantee.
Hard Disk: The NP900X3C provides a fast 128 Gb SSD hard disk which allows to boot the machine in less than 10 seconds. I would have preferred a bigger disk (e.g 256 Gb) but luckily the SD port allows to add easily some extra storage. Due to the fact that a partition is used to keep the original Windows o/s and drivers only 92 Gb are available. Thanks to a clever Samsung FAST-ON software it is possible to let the ultrabook start in 2 seconds. It works very welll and it is a very nice feature.
RAM: 4Gb. More than enough for standard use. In may case the pre-installed operating system was Windows 7 Professional. Now it is provided with Windows 8.
Sound: One of the main complaint I have on similar ultrabooks (especially Sony) is the sound quality. This Samsung instead has really nice loudspeakers considering the size of this ultrabook and it can provide very good performances playing music without using earphones.
Battery: when used in power saving mode the battery allows to work with this notebook roughly for 5 hours. Perhaps it is not the best in its class but is more than enough. The battery duration depends of course on the actual use.
AOB: this notebook supports TPM protection and there are some additional Samsung software which do not look intrusive and in general work quite well. Among others for instance it is possible to power USB ports also when the ultrabook is switched off. It is possible to create a boot disk or perform a full backup of the HD.
Manual: I rarely read manuals but a couple of times I had to check it. It is available in electronic version and I found it profesionally prepared: clear and complete.
Conclusion: This Samsung series 9 ultrabook has a certain number of advantage versus its tough competitors. It has more ports than Asus Zenbook, it is significantly cheaper than Sony Z series with a much better audio. It is stylish, light, thin, it has a wonderful 13" LED display, backlit keyboard, very good audio, enough computing power and all the necessary ports for external connection and expansion. In my view it is the best Ultrabook in its class also considering its price.