The update to the Samsung Series 9 13-inch many not be called an ultrabook, but a laptop with a slim 2.6-pound weight and 0.6-inch profile is a prime Apple MacBook Air competitor. Today the Series 9 gets another comparison metric, a U.S. price, and the lucky number is $1,399.
Available in the U.S. exclusively at Gilt.com, the Series 9 is an update to last's year heavier and thicker model and packs a Sandy Bridge Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid-state drive for that $1,399 starting price. That's more expensive than the $1,299 13-inch Apple MacBook Air, but, in some regards, the Series 9 offers more.
For example, the Series 9 offers a 1600 x 900-pixel display. We went hands-on with the Series 9 in January and found that the screen was not only sharper than the MacBook Air's 1440 x 900-pixel offering, it was brighter than the Apple product's monitor too, at 360 to 285 lux. Needless to say, we found the Series 9 better for watching video, and audio output wasn't too bad either.
Moving past Air comparisons for now, ultrabook shoppers shouldn't expect the new Series 9 to be a simple re-boot of last year's system. One item on the generation-to-generation chopping block is the system's duralnium chassis. The new version of the Series 9 packs an all-aluminum frame and forgoes the former unit's curvier design aesthetics. Other features like a fast boot time (33 seconds) and near-instantaneous wake (>3 seconds) are intact as well.
There's isn't much room for ports along the Series 9's slender profile, but it manages to include microHDMI, miniVGA, and USB 2.0 ports. Classing up the system is an SD card slot protected by a spring-loaded door and a USB 3.0 jack to satisfy cutting edge laptop shoppers.
Speaking of class and shoppers, if you buy the Samsung Series 9 at Gilt.com, you'll receive a $100 credit to the exclusive, luxury consumer goods available to Gilt's community members. Trend-setters will need to move fast though, the deal expires Thursday March 8 at 12pm.
To learn more about how the Samsung Series 9 stacks up to the MacBook Air, read our in-depth hands-on for performance benchmarks, hardware shots, and more specification details.