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Samsung ATIV Book 9 (2015) vs the Apple MacBook - Which is the sleekest?

A few weeks ago, in a verbose and engineering laden press event Apple announced their new MacBook. Not quite the MacBook Air nor MacBook Pro, the MacBook is Apple's premium, ultralight laptop competitor. While the design and the thinness were praised, the single USB Type-C port was greeted mostly with jeers, especially for a device that starts at $1,299.

Despite Apple's self-congratulatory accolades on making the new MacBook, Samsung announced a similar device back in January with little to no fanfare. The new ATIV Book 9 (2015) was the answer to Apple's MacBook before it was even announced months later.

The ATIV Book 9 (2015) is already available to purchase, and we managed to get our hands on one. Here are the ways that it is better than Apple's MacBook.

Spec war

Breaking down both laptops by their core specifications, and we can see both devices run neck and neck for design, including both being completely metal except for their keyboard. However, each has a few tricks that are worth mentioning.

Samsung ATIV Book 9 (2015)

Display

Here, the Samsung clearly wins with its higher resolution (2560x1600) display over Apple's MacBook (2304x1440). Although that difference is not vast, combined with the extra 0.2 inches and the ATIV Book 9 gets the upper edge.

Both displays incidentally are 16:10 orientation and non-touch.

Apple is known for using high-quality displays, as in Samsung. In fact, Apple often uses displays from Samsung and LG, making quality comparisons similar between the two devices.

So far, the ATIV Book 9 has one of the best screens we have seen due to its low reflectivity, high resolution and excellent contrast. There are also bonus features like 'secret' mode to hide things on your screen with a tap of the button and outdoor mode, where the display can shoot up to a whopping 700 nits of brightness (300 nits is standard for laptops). Outdoor mode kills the battery right quick, but it is still a fantastic option.

Winner: Samsung

Samsung ATIV Book 9 (2015)

Ports

USB Type-C is the future, but that future is not here yet. It is not that people have an issue with switching to Type-C but rather there are no other ports on the MacBook: no HDMI, micro SD, or USB 3.0. As a result, people are planning to pick up the $79 dongle to get work done. It is not the end of the world, and Apple users should be used to buying dongles and expensive accessories by now, however, it does detract from the MacBook's convenience.

Meanwhile, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 goes in the other direction:

  • USB 3.0 x 2
  • HDMI
  • Micro SD
  • AC Power (proprietary barrel design)

If we had to knock the Samsung model, it would be that last one: the proprietary AC barrel plug. Sure, it is teeny tiny, but not nearly as opportune as using a USB Type-C. However, having two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and micro SD for reading or expansion is one heck of a bonus.

Winner: Samsung

Weight

The new MacBook is just 2.03 pounds (0.92 kg) versus the ATIV Book 9's 2.06 pounds (0.93 kg). If you think that half an ounce is detectable, you are likely a human scale. In fact, the just-noticeable difference (JND) for 32 ounces in humans would be closer to 3 ounces (0.09 kg). So these devices are equal.

Winner: Tie

Apple MacBook

Size

In terms of raw dimensions, Apple gets the nod for being smaller for width 11.04 inches (28.05 cm) and depth 7.74 inches (19.65 cm) versus the ATIV Book 9 at 11.19 inches (28.42 cm) and 8.37 inches (21.26 cm), however, both are very close.

In terms of height (or "thinness"), which is often touted as the big selling point for mobile devices, the ATIV Book 9 0.46 inches (11.7 mm) edges out the new MacBook 0.52 inches (13.2 mm) at its thickest point. Considering how much emphasis is placed on how thin these devices are, it is fascinating to see Samsung's ATIV Book 9 beat out Apple here.

Winner: Apple (overall size); Samsung for thinness

Performance

Comparing direct performance between the two devices is currently not possible, but here Apple has done some things right.

Both devices are running the new Intel Core M: the 5Y31 version for the ATIV, while the MacBook may have Broadwell Y-series (it is not yet known). However, Apple's is clocked higher at 1.1GHz or 1.3GHz (Turbo Boost up to 2.4GHz and 2.6GHz) versus Samsung's Core M 0.9 GHz (Turbo Boost up to 2 GHz). However, it is unclear which OS will make the most out of the Core M.

For what it is worth, the ATIV Book 9 does ship with Windows 8.1 64-bit.

One interesting difference that should help Apple is their usage of newer PCIe Flash storage versus Samsung's SSD (SATA III). The downside to PCIe is the price, which costs significantly more than SATA III SSD.

The ATIV Book 9 comes in 4 or 8GB variants for RAM while the MacBook is just 8GB.

Both devices use the Intel HD 5300 graphics.

Winner: Apple

MacBook

Battery

It is too early to do real world tests on battery usage, especially since you cannot yet buy and use a 2015 Apple MacBook. Nevertheless, in terms of battery ratings, Samsung is claiming 10.5 hours versus Apple's 9 hours.

Seeing as the MacBook has a CPU that is clocked higher than the ATIV Book 9 that estimate seems rational.

Winner: Samsung

Pricing

Neither one of these laptops are going to win an award for being budget-friendly. However, the ATIV Book 9 (4GB/128GB) does come in at $100 cheaper ($1199 versus $1299) than the base model of the MacBook (8GB/256GB).

However, if you even out the specs (8GB/256GB) and the Samsung is now more expensive ($1399 versus $1299).

Apple tops off their MacBook at a whopping $1599 for the 512 GB version, likely attributable to that pricey PCIe storage solution.

One caveat to add though is Windows laptops often go on sale, whereas Apple products do not. Additionally, users can expand the storage on the ATIV Book 9 with the built-in Micro SD card reader and use the free 30GB of OneDrive cloud storage.

Winner: Samsung for entry-level; Apple for parity cost

Samsung ATIV Book 9 (2015)

Conclusion

Overall, Samsung's ATIV Book 9 edges out Apple's MacBook in many areas (but not all). In terms of thinness, battery life, display and most importantly, ports, the ATIV Book 9 is one hot contender.

Perhaps the bigger story though is not so much who wins and who loses in raw specifications and pricing. Rather the big reveal is that Apple did not "invent" the super-thin, ultra-light category of premium laptops.

In fact, Samsung beat Apple to the market and did so with much less fanfare (in fact too little, in my opinion). There were no fancy engineering-porn videos, no half-hour announcements with gasps from the audience. Just a regular product line refresh from one of the largest PC and digital device manufacturers in the world.

The bottom line is this: If you have the money and want something like the new MacBook but for Windows, the ATIV Book 9 is your answer, and you can order it today.

Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of the ATIV Book 9 (2015) from Windows Central, including a forthcoming first-impressions article.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

127 Comments
  • I wouldn't buy an Apple with your money.
  • The 2015 MBA isn't even the slimmest by last year's standards... if you follow The Verge's crew of Apple fanboys it's hilarious how they went into immediate damage control.
  • That's why I don't read the Verge anymore.
  • Same here. 
  • Same here. The entire verge crew are a group of apple fanboys. Even there android writers can't go through a review without mentioning the iPhone at least 3 times.
  • Exactly. CrApple monitors and watches all these tech comps very very closely, and if they don't ALWAYS talk about CrApple iJUNK/MacCrap stuff, they will NOT be invited to any events or get free prods to test, and bonus $$$$$$$$ money. that's why, everyone constantly has to mention CrApple on every artical, or test, or.................. This is how this EVIL comp, doing its monopolization.  
  • It's true. I'm a tech nerd, but my father knows NOTHING about ANYTHING. He can't even unzoom the TV with a simple button. But he asks me one day out of the blue "Is that an iPhone?" and my jaw dropped. He knew the word iPhone even though it was a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 at the time. LOL. They do an awesome job at that crap. They're a group of people that makes EVERYONE talk about them either by NDA, bribery or good old fashioned advertising. They're not innovative in ANY way, and haven't been for a good many years. They make high quality feeling products, but the tech inside leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn't use an iPhone 6+ even if they paid ME to use it! Or maybe I would... I'd take their money, sell their product, and pocket 2 grand xD haha. I can't wait for Apple to die off like Blackberry did when their britches got too big for them... They though they were untouchable for many years, and they were! Until they forgot how to innovate and launched the 8800, 8810, 8820... 8300, 8310, 8320, etc. They lost touch with the market. Apple thinks they're untouchable now. Their products, in my opinion, are nice looking (subjective) and REALLY expensive (objective)
  • Please link that. I'd like to read.
  • http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/12/8198739/mac-vs-pc-new-macbook-pc-maker...
  • Forgot to mention the OS. Samsung wins there.
  • Lol. That's an important point.
  • PC OEMs need to stop putting stickers on around the touchpad/keyboard :P
  • Yes yes yes
  • Just like on Surface Pro 3
  • But then how will I know there's an Intel processor inside!!??
  • At startup(maybe ms could add a spot on the login screen)
  • Lol those are the first things I change
  • Damn, that side view of the Samsung looks good.
  • Ativ Book design has been destroying all ultrabook designs for years now. They haven't changed it because the style, the material, the construction, it's all flawless
  • ASUS zenbook ux305
  • Since I like High Def screens I would go for the Samsung.
  • This is one of those inferiority complex kind of articles. When windows products have specs that aren't up to par we are like "specs don't matter". When windows products have good specs and impressive numbers, we are quick to point them out and all of a sudden specs do matter. Any level headed person realizes tech products nowadays are much greater than the sum of their parts. This is why I bought a surface pro 3 and really love the device. But I'm not going to pretend like an Apple product is inferior simply because of price or when it launches- because the exact same argument can be made against the surface pro 3 vs other win laptops. If you really think a Samsung laptop has comparable build quality to a MacBook then you are delusional. Apple does not make perfect products but lets not be unreasonable about the overall experience of these products and what they offer to the user.
  • "If you really think a Samsung laptop has comparable build quality to a MacBook then you are delusional. "
    I have owned a MacBook Air. I own this. They are comparable in build quality and I'm not delusional. What is delusional is remarking about the build quality of a device you have never touched. Also, this is not an inferiority complex article. It is simply comparing two products in terms of specifications and features. Let's not pretend these articles are not valuable to readers. If you don't think they are, well, you are wrong. That simple.
  • I don't need to touch the MacBook to know what the build quality is like- because Apple is very consistent pretty much across the board. Same thing for Lumias- we know what to expect at each price point. You can't say the same thing for Samsung, the engineering quality is inconsistent from one generation to the next. Even they realize this when many reviews criticized the SGS5 for being plastic, and now Samsung is going with metal in the SGS6. If Samsung beat apple to market with a laptop that was as thin and NOT made out plastic then we could give them props. And it wasn't a very objective comparison because you opened by making snarky comments about Apple's claim of reinventing the notebook. Everyone, including MS, does this and its nothing to take personally. If you really think the Samsung trackpad will hold up as well as Apple's then I apologize, but I've never heard anyone say Samsung laptops have comparable build quality to Apple's. They typically offer more features but I've never heard anything about engineering and attention to detail.
  • Well, now you have. Welcome to a new year in the computing world. =)
  • So blind fanboyism it is for Apple - they made it so it must be good. Never mind the products they have been releasing over the past years have had one problem after another, but it has the Apple name stamped on it so it must be perfect! When Microsoft started using the term "lap-ability" to describe the Surface Pro 3, the tech media was full of snark, and even outright laughed at Microsoft, accusing them of creating words because it was a sign that the SP3 just was not a very good product. But Apple claims that they (re)invented the laptop, when there is nothing new, revolutionary, nor evolutionary in the new MacBook, then eveyone does it so stop picking on Apple, but everyone else laughing about lap-ability is just fine. The thing about these supposedly great Apple laptops, the only people who actually use Apple laptops are Apple devotees who will not say a single thing that is bad about Apple. Bad power supplies, bad graphics, overheating, problems with batteries, problems with Wi-Fi, and so on - why, those are not Apple's problems. Those are problems with components sourced from other companies, and you cannot blame Apple for problems from other companies because Apple has no responsibility in choosing good, quality parts. But don't forget, Apple uses only the best, quality components which justifies their higher prices and makes them better than companies like Samsung.
  • LOL "If Samsung beat apple to market with a laptop that was as thin and NOT made out plastic then we could give them props." This one is NOT made of plastic. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way.
  • I was wrong, I do give samsung respect for getting it out sooner.  
  • You my friend have been Rubino-ed with the comment above.
  • 1)  "remarking about the build quality of a device you never touched' You declared the samsung screen better without ever having SEEN the macbook.  Why- because "Apple uses panels from LG or Samsung".  I can use the same exact logic to defend the build quality of macbooks based on what I've seen in the past.  And although Apple does use competitor panels, most of the time they do a better job calibrating them.  Source?  Anandtech articles from 2002-NOW, written by engineers who actually use instruments of measurement and not deduction. 2)  "Comparing two products in terms of specs and features. Let's pretend these articles are not valuable to readers" Actually I do not think these articles are valuable, they are written to rally the troops and to debunk a claim by Apple. A valuable article would have been to objectively compare the two by having them both in hand.  Using specs and cherry picking each category for comparison isn't going to help anyone (especially battery since samsung overinflates those consistently).  It reminds me more of those comparison charts on OEM sites that have checks and X's that are used for marketing purposes.
  • It is odd, you are criticizing them for not waiting until they have both devices in hand, but here you are praising the MacBook, without having it in hand, and dismissing the Samsung product, without having it in hand while making claims about it that we know are wrong. In fact, looking through your post history it seems like everything that Microsoft is wrong, while Google and Apple is doing everything right. You are talking about how wonderful Mac sales are (actually, they are quite pathetic), talking about how BillG and Ballmer should be homeless, and then there is your avatar. Sounds to me like you are just astroturfing.
  • No, I was saying it makes no sense to do a comparison review with the Macbook since Rubino didn't have it in hand.  I went on to say that based on the last 20 laptops Apple has released that it would be premature to jump to any conclusions. I'm pointing out shortcomings of MS in the hope that people stop blindly praising them and we can do something about it while we still can.  I'm hardly a fanboy of Apple or Google since I have a L925, SP3, and a Win desktop (my only devices). Mac sales have been improving over the past decade, and go to any college, university, starbucks, etc and then tell me that their sales are pathetic.  Their market share is still small relative to MS, but their gains are significant. Everything else you said was totally out of context.  I actually like Ballmer and don't think he deserves to be the scapegoat, although most MS fanboys enjoy putting the blame of the past 10 years on him. 
  • Web sites do comparisons between Apple and Microsoft products all the time without having the Microsoft product in hand - and the same for the Apple product. One of the biggest tech sites around knocked Microsoft Band's battery life, saying that at two days was horrible, but proclaimed the iWatch's battery life, which with no use will last 18 hours, as "impressive." Not only do they not have an iWatch in hand, but they say one with better life (that has proven two days as accurate) as worse than the one with fewer rated hours (just blindly taking Apple's word on it). This article made it clear that they were only comparing specs, not the look and feel of the device, but the specs of a device Apple claimed they "reinvented." The truth is that they have released an underpowered, under spec'ed, over priced device that makes it impossible to do even the most simple of tasks - plugging an iPhone into it to sync. If Apple sold Lightning/USB-C cables it would be one thing, but they have not even done that yet. S0 you go out, spend $1300 on a "reinvented" laptop, and you can't even use it. And if they did sell a Lightning/USB-C cable, don't try syncing it while trying to charge the laptop, that is just an obsurd scenario that nobody would want to perform.  I don't just blindly follow Microsoft, just today I was complaining to a collegue about problems with the OneDrive user model, how copying files through the Web UI does not merge files if there are duplicate files. If those are the only devices you have, then how could you proclaim Apple devices as good as you say they are? If they are not in your hands, then how could you say they are good? I have a Mac Mini (one at work, one at home), I had a MacBook Pro, iPads, an iPod Touch, and iPhones. I have had hardware problems with each of them except for the iPod. The MacBook had a motherboard replacement, and the touchpad you claim is the best (again, how do you know if you never used one?) went bad after a year. One Mac Mini overheated and had to be replaced. The One at home has a bad DisplayPort and can only be used with HDMI. I went through three iPhones (one bricked during a update, which Apple said was caused by me trying to jailbreak it and refused to cover the warranty). You need to look over a span of a decade to find evidence of increasing sales? OSX marketshare has only slightly improved over the years, improved so little that it could be considered a rounding or sampling error. That "failure" that people like to claim Win8.x is has sold more copies in a couple years (over 300 million) than there have been sales of Mac since they were first shipped. When you go from 3 million to 4 over that decade, it is laughable. ANd know where most of those sales are from? iPhone has been wildly successful, and they need computers to develop for those iPhones. Their marketshare compared to MS' is not small, it is insignificant. So again, I ask, of those 20 different laptops you mention, how many of them have you had in hand, and did a real comparison between them and a competitive device in the Windows world?
  • To make this article fair, you needed a section on design, not a sentence. Yes, of course it is subjective, but it doesn't mean you can't present the reader with the facts. Tbh if you are getting people not knowing if one is made out of metal or plastic, and you are qriting an article to conclusively suggest which is better, you need to look at aesthetics and genrally the build on more than just one sentence.
  • Yes!
  • You have really hate Apple to recomend this over the Macbook. Aside from ports, you are getting a better computer Macbook (more RAM, and bigger/faster SSD). It is still an overpriced laptop, but Samsung managed to putout an even worse offering. Even if you dislike OSX, the macbook would still be at least an equal Windows machine.
  • Look, just because there are people that like MacBooks that does not mean that experience is great. I've used a MacBook. The OS is just bad (for me), which means that the experience (for me) was also bad. And I'm sure that I'm not the only one with such opinion. As for the build quality, just read Daniel's post...
  • Totally agree there.. the tired slogan "Once you go Mac..." couldn't be more wrong for me... I went Mac once, I regretted it so badly I haven't used a single Apple product since. My life couldn't be better, with my SP3. It's not perfect, just like anything else (people who think what they own is perfect are delusional fanboys), but my requirements for mobile computing have never been so fulfilled as they're now! Everyday I'm wondering how I'm able to take handwritten notes in class for 6 hours straight, watch Netflix, browse the web and all that on a charge, and still, given the barely existent hardware, be able to play Steam games reasonably well, as well as do all the programming I need while using the full Spotify software, plus photoshop, premiere pro etc. on-the-go. Sometime in the future when Apple figures this out without removing all ports, keys and screen, everyone will think Apple invented this kind of computing. That's the sad part.
  • I haven't used the MacBook, but the only keyboards and trackpads I find better are on thinkpads. I have always found samsungs to be sub par. I think most people prefer the solid feel of a MacBook or surface, not the plastic enclosure of a Samsung.
  • Once again, you're talking about something you haven no idea about. Fact: ATIV Book 9 (2015) is 100% metal for the body. Metal, not plastic. The only thing that is plastic are the keys for the keyboard, which is a 'duh'. It also features a Microsoft Precision Trackpad aka the best trackpad you can get on a PC laptop right now.
  • I stand corrected!  And look, I'm not even being a dick about it!
  • The fact that you're going all holier-than-thou all over the comment section inherently makes you a d*ck. Some of us actually check our facts before we say anything, particularly something so trivial as Samsung's Ativ books (not Lite) having been made out of metal for a LONG time already (in fact, already back when it was called Series 9).
  • I wasn't going holier than thou, I was making a reference to a Rubino post in the forums (CHECK YOUR FACTS!). So I was wrong about Samsung have a metal enclousure, big deal, everything else remains the same.  It was a half assed fan boyish comparison that would have been fine if it didn't try and draw conclusions on both devices.  
  • Mac keyboards suck imho. Island style keyboards are terrible. My wife has a MacBook and I'd honestly rather use my surface type cover than the MacBook keyboards. The new MacBook keyboard and trackpad are worse than the old ones because they are so thin.
  • I havent tried the new MacBook's trackpad but the last version of it I hate. Its the worst touchpad I have to deal with. It never clicks where I want it too, it will suddenly skip down the screen a few inches when I go to click, and never reads my right click the first time around. Awful garbage for me.  I must be in the minority though because my coworkers love it. 
  • I never had problems with clicking, but moving the cursor around drove me mad! The trackpad seems to have a threshold for when it thinks you've dragged your finger, making miniscule movements (1-2 pixels) really hard! It doesn't do anything at first, and when it finally registers your drag, it flies off way past the point where I wanted the cursor! It's more like curseor!
  • I bought the first gen Series 9 Samsung some years ago, and it was sleek, metal, and an absolute pleasure to use. Each of these higherend Samsung notebooks are in my opinion very well made and worth the cash. Then on the other hand I wouldn't touch a Macbook with your hands but there are many reasons for that, but again that's my personal opinion and we're all allowed our personal tastes. But Daniel's article is just weighing up both devices. I happen to appreciate that. I also happen to dislike how some folk categorise. I believe I'm in the 'majority' of regular users, but to say 'most people prefer the solid feel of a MacBook' is pushing it. "Some people prefer..." would be a better way of saying it. :-)
  • You haven't used a mac, you haven't used ativ.. yet you write bilion comments judging which one's better. You win. Now please leave.
  • The same is done by the Apple fanboys, and they usually do it much worse. Take screen resolution, for example. Apple introduced "retina" resolution on the iPhone, immediately the Apple people were laughing at the competition because it had inferior resolution. When competing products were released that had a higher DPI, then they changed the argument to nobody needs a resolution that high, you will not notice the increased DPI (which is complete bull, you can see higher DPI than what is on Apple devices, but then it conflicts with what Jobs told us that retina was the best that you could see). Another example - 3G. When the iPhone 1 was released, it was criticized for not supporting 3G. Years of products shipping with 3G, and suddenly 3G was not important, it was good that Apple does not ship with it because it ruins battery life, and a long chain of other excuses. Then the iPhone 3G was announced, and Apple "did 3G right" unlike all those imitators. When Apple was criticized for not having 4G, the same excuses were used, but when 4G was added, then it was better than all the others (even though Apple admitted to shipping Qualcomm chips that were considered beta and caused connection problems - which were blamed on users). Now not having tech means it is good. Apple laptops were better than the others because they did not ship with a DVD drive, they are better because they never shipped Blu-Ray drives (but don't forget, Mac is the best for video, specifically HD video, editing), having only one port and a port that no one, not even Apple, yet supports. Want to plug in your iPhone to charge or sync it? Too bad, unless you buy an adapter. But remember, the Apple fanboys told us the Surface Pro only having one USB port was bad because you need to be able to connect all kind of devices and that is only possible with a USB hub, nobody wants to carry around those. But being able to either charge **or** connect only one device at a time is good, and needing to carry an adapter to plug in your iPhone is even better! There was even a group of people claiming that the MacBook Air was much better than the Surface Pro because the Surface Pro had a higher resolution screen, and that would just destroy the battery life. Now the high resolution of the MacBook is better than the competition, even though it is not as high a resolution than other devices. Apple users have had a monopoly on changing the story to make Apple look better because of the poor specs on Apple devices. And when, as shown in this article, some specs are a wash because they are generally comparable, then those same people who made excuses for Apple and the ones that are crying foul.
     
  • One word: Buyer's remorse (okay, two). FApples really like to exercise this.
  • Oh, and BTW, I believe there is an error in the article that gives the Apple device an edge when it really should not be. If you take the dimensions of the devices, the article claims that Apple is better except for thickness. If you take the dimensions (converting the thickness from mm to cm) they are: MacBook: 28.05cm x 19.65cm x 1.32cm = 727.5609 cm^3
    ATIV: 28.42cm x 21.26cm x 1.17cm = 706.924764 cm^3 Unless my math is wrong, it means that the ATIV has a smaller overall volume than the MacBook and it is one additional point in favor of the ATIV.
  • I'm sorry, Grimlock, but you are way off the mark. I had the 2012 version of this laptop and it was one of the most beautifully built laptops I have ever seen. Ditto for the Asus Zenbook it replaced. Both of those machines were at least the equal of a MacBook Air (and, yes, I looked at them side-by-side). My current laptop, a Dell M3800, has a feel to the palmrest that screams "quality" in a way no Apple laptop does. Same with the keyboard on my Dell M4400, it just had a high quality feel to the touch that I have enver experienced on any other machine. Apple do make good quality products but by no means do they have a monopoly on that and things like "Antennagate" and "Bendgate" show they are as prone to cock-ups as anyone else. I do understand your overall point but I think the thrust of the article is about the way Apple go about pushing their products, where many PC vendors do not. I don't think the article is born of an inferiority complex so much as a desire to cut through Apple's hyperbole and show things in a more objective light. And I don't think they were beng dismissive of the MacBook's faster processor so much as pointing out that, in this specific case, the difference is so small as to possibly be irrelevant. i.e. That the OS is likely to have greater impact on performance than the difference in clock speed (which is perfectly reasonable).
  • I would have praised the hell out of the article if it really did cut through Apple's hyperbole, but it is difficult to do without the device in hand.  In fact the way it was done was essentially no more credible then the way Apple was hyping their machine.   I think the best way to cut through Apple hype would be to do a thorough and exhaustive comparison.
  • This wasn't so much to shame Apple (it's not) as to highlight this Samsung laptop as a viable alternative to the MacBook. They are almost exactly the same except for the ports and a few minor details. It is important to get that message and tbh, we don't need to do an exhaustive comparison to reach the conclusion that these two devices are comparable.
  • Ativ is really sexy in these pics..
    One of few times when Samsung created mouth watering design..
    I would love to go for this one.
  • It is probably the most premium Windows laptop I have ever used. Complete metal design. Of course, you literally pay for that quality.
  • Its a good thing that Samsung has made a premium MacBook competitor. Microsoft should probably use ultrabooks like this and the XPS 13 to really showcase the best of Windows.
  • Agreed! While heartedly. Glad to see design coming along so well. I own the xps13 and between that and this, well, it's looking excellent in PC land!
  • Apparently, it works. Had to delete the WC app and reinstall, just because of a password change on my PC. Grrrrrrrrrrr!
  • The Macbook has a backlit keyboard. That is a good send. The Ative does not. That is a crime against history at that price.
  • Yup, and was saving that for my hands on/review. I don't find it to be a deal breaker, but I would have much preferred to have that than not.
  • Hey Daniel, I apologize if this is a dumb question, but is this version--in terms of specs--an upgrade to the Ativ 9 Plus 13-inch (NP940X3G-K06US)? I own the aforementioned model but would love to have the extra brightness that comes with the new model. Curious how much I'd have to spend if I were to sell mine for the new one. Thanks in advanced for your help.
  • I've never quite understood the need. Maybe I just use my pc a lot, but I don't ever have to look at the keyboard.
  • I'm with you... touch typists don't need backlit keyboards because they don't look at the keys. I've always found that a bit of a waste. It looks pretty with all the lights but I'd like to conserve my battery for actual work/play than pretty at most times.
  • Not to belittle anyone, but I really do believe that the reason Apple introduced backlighting to the masses (i.e. made it popular, not invented it), is because Apple thinks their users can't type properly, just like all the other things Apple did to make people seem like stupid kids. And people who already know how to type get spoiled with the backlight and forget how to type properly, much like PC-turned-Macs suddenly forget everything about how to do maintenance on their computer, having to resort to "geniuses" to even change keyboard language.
  • Too thin for me! Glad there is choice :P
  • Lets make a much simpler comparison: Windows vs Mac OS
  • This!
  • I get the joke you're making, but I'd say that's actually a more complex argument. You can compare parts more directly because they come from the same place (Intel processors, Samsung flash storage, etc). For the OS each one does things differently and that opens up a whole can of worms for which one someone would consider "better"
  • Both devices use not us
  • Everything works with windows is million times better than anything works with mac OS ( OS X )
  • God I hate Imperial units of measure. Inches this and inches that. Get onboard with Metric already, America!
  • Never
  • As an American, I wholeheartedly agree with this comment. Imperial units are stupid and make conversions such a pain.
  • I agree besides the statement that they are stupid. Although it's a pain to convert, imperial units feel more like it. For example, 17 degrees celcius is close to 0, so you might automatically think it's cold, which is not the case. Conversely, when it's 80 degrees fahrenheit, that's closer to 100, so you would think it's hot, which IS the case.
  • It appears that way from the perspective of fahrenheit. Someone who has lived with celsius their whole life then you would be able to adjust to that scale fine and know that 17 isn't cold despite it being closer to zero.
  • In construction of houses, we would be screwed though with a whole industry learning one way of doing things and having to switch over would cause all kinds of problems with timelines, ordering, and quality control.  Inches, feet, miles, just make more sense to me and many others in our field. 
  • Try living in the UK. In your car its imperial and you travel miles, and speed in MPH. Yet our weight unit of measure is metric with Tonnes, KG etc. Small distances are in metres, cm, mm, and my engineering workshop still uses imperial air pressure and force units of PSi and Ft/lbs, yet some things are in Newtons Its all very confusing.
  • The metal Samsung used at the back of the Galaxy A5 they should use that to build a laptop.
  • Well, this is all metal, so...
  • I don't even want to talk about either of these. The Dell XPS won the pc world with the bezeless screen. If your screen has a bezel, it's no good. Just look at that guady bezel on the mac... ew.
  • I don't understand how you can review the displays without having a MacBook present. Especially has you are not solely comparing on just tech specs ie. "... due to its low reflectivity, high resolution and excellent contrast."
  • Not so sure I "reviewed" them so much as compared specs. Samsung's is: Higher resolution Slightly larger Can jump to 700 nits for outdoor use The bits about low reflectivity, high-contrast etc. were merely highlight why the Samsung one is good, but it did not condemn Apple's for not having those features as well.
  • I'd rather have a Surface Pro 3 than either one. Windows 8.1 is so much better with a touch screen.
  • Depends on what you are looking for. This is a fanless unit with excellent battery life and a great display. It's a true laptop. Surface is a hybrid device with a focus on the pen. If you need/want that, then Surface is awesome. Personally, I don't use a lot of what the Surface does, so a traditional laptop is what I want.
  • Is the focus on the Pen, though (asking seriously, as I never see ads)? I rarely use it and it makes a great laptop/tablet hybrid for me. I actually hate using Windows without touch now.
  • That Macbook looks like a cheap Acer thin & light from 2011. Not their best design moment.
  • That goes perfectly with the OS it's running though.
  • The Ativ Book 9 looks like a great laptop & worthy competitor for the MacBook & i can't wait for the hands on BUT for now this review reads a bit like it was set up for the MacBook to fail. Little things like a section called 'ports' rather than say a more general 'connectivity'. And battery life going to the Samsung when without real world tests I'd call that even, Apple tend to be more accurate with their battery life estimates than Windows laptop manufacturers. Anyway, just my opinion of course.
  • Re: battery life, the only reason I used that was (1) It is interesting and you cannot talk about both of these without mentioning battery usage (2) Having used this all weekend, I felt Samsung's numbers - off the cuff- were not fabrications and definitely attainable.
  • Well that's exciting. I've been a little dissapointed with the battery life the Core M devices so far (vs the previous generation). It sounds like Samsung may have it worked out.
  • The price-compare is nice, but kinda forgets you'll still be able to resell the Apple in 2-3 years, where you 'cannot' sell the Samsung. As i would never buy a laptop to sell it, i don't care, but it could be a facor for some.
  • “In fact, Samsung beat Apple to the market and did so with much less fanfare (in fact too little, in my opinion). There were no fancy engineering-porn videos, no half-hour announcements with gasps from the audience. Just a regular product line refresh from one of the largest PC and digital device manufacturers in the world.”   Daniel Rubino 3/23/2015   Daniel, I know you already own the internet but you sir, have just won a lifetime supply of the Internets. Yes, the "s" makes a difference and it is not a plural version of the Internet. This version includes the decryption keys to Skynet, hence the "s".   If only other companies could market and hype their technology they way that Apple does, we would really see some fierce competition of mind-share and media attention. Just about anyone that follows technology knows that there is a "new MacBook" but when was the ATIV Book 9 announced? It is almost like other companies have signed a secret agreement to not hype their products with glitz and glam andor try to fill consumers eyes and hearts with the residue of the magic dust that remains after a glorious product reveal.   Apple can hype up a paper bag and sell it for 5x the cost. I wish other companies could do so as it would be amazing to see Microsoft, Google, Samsung, LG and EVERYONE with magical events! Our collective wallets would not be able sustain the flood of brand loyal fans and the impulse of "they told me I have to have it so I must have it now!" buys.   I saw an attractive commercial for the Apple Watch on TV the other day. My daughter said "Wow, Apple has a watch??" I have had my MS Band since December and not once did she say wow about anything about it. I showed my MS Band to my other daughter for the first time as she was visiting and she thought it was just another fitness band and said "my friend has that". I can almost guarantee her friend does not have the Microsoft Band.   Guess where the MS Band is on Target and Best Buy websites.....at the bottom or on a different page with the lesser fitness bands and smart watches taking prime position to capture the minds and wallets of consumers.   This all goes to show where Apple wins in the all important Mindshare department while other companies that often have superior products, reach market first, cost less money yet are often out of sight and out of mind.   Can we get ONE commercial for the Microsoft Band? One? Even the super closup of the 12:45 time and tiles on the Band on the bottom of this website would be a great start to a sleek Microsoft Band commercial:   http://www.microsoft.com/Microsoft-Band/en-us   There is even a great quote from Yahoo: “It’s got more features for its size than any rival yet, and it does a lot of things no other gadget can.”   Too bad we won't see it on TV.    
  • Absolutely agree. Had no idea ativ 9 was out. As for MS advertising their products - I thought they were improving when the first surface adverts were out but its gone all quiet again.
  • I'd like to add that every user and fan, or ex. fan of Microsoft agree and it cant come as a mystery that Microsoft publicly is, if not the worst, among the worst handled companies in modern times. They way Microsoft keeps missing the points and todays youth is a death sentence.
    Thought today a interesting thought, when I die, and all of my generation is gone, is there going to be anybody left who knows how a PC even works? (maybe except some ex. Microsoft employees?) Are they going to make sci-fi movies about the mysteries company that fell in to oblivion and nobody remembers, but made the most powerful computers? :)
  • My personal thought is more in the line of, what are people actually going to use these small devices for? And why? For these prices! It took the Surface series some years to find there buyers and I kind of like the idea what the Surface can offer....,this machines screams "-we did it because we can".
    Now there is certainly users out there but I'm for the moment sceptical. But hey, it wouldn't be the first time technology we really don't need AT ALL becomes the everyday necessity.
    And if that small Apple sulotion beat the Samsung in performance, well now we know why all technloggers use Apple devices.
  • Wow, never knew this existed.  I hope to see you compare this to the XPS 13 in your review. I still feel it's worth the wait for Windows 10 / Surface 4 to see what is out there ( I'm not in the need of anything right away).  Infrared webcams come to mind for "Windows Hello" and Sky Lake may be here this year too.
  • Yup, that comparison (XPS 13) is highly relevant.
  • Mac is better as an OS. I always prefer iOS or mac & I only like WP OS from microsoft. Go Apple. Sent from Windows Central using Lumia930 through an iPad retina screen.
  • Apple overrated just for the hype....... The only thing that Apple got ova MS is the apps that's it
  • Actually, when it comes to OSX vs Windows, Microsoft has FAR more apps.
  • Don't you mean OSX?
  • I felt the same way until I owned a mac for three years. Windows is far superior, and you couldn't pay me to go back to my MacBook pro or iPad.
  • OSX may be more simple and has less problems, but it offers less features as well. The bottom line is do you want simplicity with lack of choices or complexity with everything you want?
  • Yes I meant OSX which I used for a short time but it was great. The app I used similar to garageband but more advanced. Never got BSOD with it and the number of apps means nothing. The quality of apps is the first thing you notice.
  • Just one thing to point out: It is no longer true that Apple devices don't go on sale.
  • For the hundred time APPLE is overrated..... Alot are followers. Like for the iPhones if it want for those Apple won't be #1 that's a known fact. MS needs to get there #1 spot back, BC Apple is in the way..... They far away MS got the #2 spot
  • I have no clue what you just said.  
  • Even though I've been using a MacBook air for several years, my heart is ready for the next surface pro.
  • The macbook is WAAAAY better.  They reinvented the notebook.  It can't be worse.  It's impossible.  Because it's reinvented.  And it's fake gold.  Tech doesn't get any better than gold colouring.  It just doesn't.  And didn't you get the memo?  Nobody needs or wants traditional USB.  And nobody wants more than one USB port.  Don't be stupid and greedy with your usb ports.  You are all a bunch of idiots.  Macbook all the way!
  • Now, you have devices making use of USB type C, no!
    You will have to buy them apartheid! E.j Usb C to HDMI!
    Think of that! USB C nowadays is useless!
  • This looks great, but I've gotten so used to having a touchscreen (I own the Dell Inspiron 3000 convertible), that I can't imagine going back to a regular laptop. My Dell is cheap plastic and feels like it (and to be fair, cost like it!), but even so I'd want a touchscreen on any new laptop. Other than that, this looks awesome.
  • Non of this are made of real hardware components, considering a core M it's solution!
    (At least a core i3 would have more than good)
  • I don't understand why you keep comparing Windows laptops with Apple's. People who read Windows Central are interested in WINDOWS and Microsoft news. This looks like a flame-bait article.
  • Because's Apple's PR machine makes it's products direct competitors to the plethora of Windows machines out there.  It's a fair comparison, and it's certainly interesting to see how Apple and Samsung go about doing their machines. 
  • "I don't understand why you keep comparing Windows laptops with Apple's. People who read Windows Central are interested in WINDOWS and Microsoft news."
    Let me explain: We don't write all of our articles for the core audience who visits our front-page every day. Sure, they can read it, but we write these to get NEW AUDIENCE MEMBERS. How that works is this: You are thinking of a new laptop, you want something like a MacBook but for PC. Go to your search engine and what comes up? If our site with our views are not listed, we have failed. If all we do is write articles for the HxC readers, our site would barely grow. Crossing lines into Android or Apple is how you start the dialog, get people interested in your platform. We do not want to be insular, a closed-gate community on with blinders. Also, this laptop is brand new. Hardly any sites have their hands on it, let alone are writing on it. Finally, I will be comparing to other devices like the XPS 13 and Surface Pro 3 later this week. This is hardly the only article on this laptop we are writing.
  • Thank you Daniel for explaining the reason to me (us). It changed my opinion and made me realize I was wrong.
  • I buy Macs to install windows on them.
  • Dam the verge has sperm all over the place.
  • I regret the fact that Vaio productline isn't availble outside Japan, Sony always delivered a proper answer to the macbook. Anyway, respect to Samsung for delivering such an impressive ultrabook, only if they would've delivered windows phones with this quality, design and premium features..
  • amazing device.... good job samsung...
  • For that price point, I'd still go with a Surface Pro 3 in a heart beat; 3 times as versatile, much better performing. On it's own, the Surface Pro is already thinner and lighter (in Tablet form) for on-the-go use. When I want to type some essay while on the go (with the Type Cover), the added 0.34 lb of weight on my 5" lap is nothing.
  • Come on guys, can you at least make an effort to add in Metric units?! I mean you bothered to convert to ounces for some bloody reason, why not add in grams while you're at it? The vast majority of the World use metric!
  • Sorry, meant to do that. Will adjust.
  • Heey, i want that wallpaper for my old ativ book :D
  • Specs are really not worth much. Particularly if they are presented in such a poor style as this.  The elephant in the room here is that windows is very, very poor indeed on hidpi screens. I have the older version of the ativ 9 with the 3200×1800 screen (or something like that) and a retina mbp.   The Mac is light years ahead on the overall experience and the higher resolution of the Samsung screen makes it worse, not better. 
  • How does the ativ 9 compare to the XPS 13? I'd love to see that comparison