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Samsung's entry-level 9 Series model priced $200 above Apple's MacBook Air

A few weeks ago we told you about official pricing and availability for the 13" Samsung 9 Series laptop. This week, we now have official pricing for the 11" 9 Series laptop that will be hitting the market next month.

Official pricing is listed at $1199.99 for the tiny ultra-portable notebook. The 11" model (1366 x 768 screen resolution) comes packing a 1.33GHz Core i3 380UM processor, 2GB of memory, and a 64GB SSD. Other features include a backlit keyboard, Intel HD Graphics 3000 IGP, 1.3MP HD webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, WiDi, and Bluetooth 3.0. 

Despite its thin and light frame, the notebook still comes packing 3 USB ports, a GbE port, and HDMI output. A 6-cell lithium-ion battery provides up to 7 hours of battery life.

The 2.31-pound 9 Series notebook comes with a standard 3-year warranty.

Apple's 11" MacBook Air starts at just $999 and doesn't include nearly as many features as the Samsung offering. Apple also uses an “archaic” Core 2 Duo processor, is rather skimpy on USB ports (only two are offered), and it doesn't feature a GbE port.

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Samsung's "Air" is better...
By quiksilvr on 3/27/2011 1:22:54 PM , Rating: 2
However it shouldn't be a whopping $200 more. I know those ultra low voltage Core i3's are expensive, but lets be serious here. It's a Samsung product, not an Apple product. This thing should be $799-$999.

RE: Samsung's "Air" is better...
By nikon133 on 3/27/2011 6:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
I'm expecting them to go down with price as soon as they realize they are not selling as much as expected (or hoped for). HP did the same with Envy line, I think - they are more competitive (cheaper) to MacBooks than they were when 1st gen was released, if my memory serves me well.

Everyone initially tries to milk some fat margins with new premium products, but it is reality of PC market that, either because of competition or simple buyers' brand perception (or both), prices must go to more palatable sooner than later.

RE: Samsung's "Air" is better...
By BruceLeet on 3/28/2011 3:58:45 AM , Rating: 2
We don't know how to build a $799-$999 thats not a piece of junk.

RE: Samsung's "Air" is better...
By FlyBri on 3/28/2011 3:59:39 AM , Rating: 2
Totally agreed. When people say but the Samsung has better components than the Macbook Air, etc. etc., all I hear is blah blah blah. Yes, we know it does, but it's a SAMSUNG, not an Mac, and as such, it needs to be cheaper. Not everyone cares or really knows about all the specs and what they mean. If it does what they want, that's all they care about. Samsung will be perceived to not be as good as Mac, so to compete, they have to stay price competitive, even with a better spec machine.

Oh, and don't forget the Samsung has a lower res screen than the Macbook Air, and maybe not even as good a quality to boot. I don't care how good the guts of a laptop are, if I'm going to buy a high end notebook, it better have a high end screen to go along with it, otherwise it's a no-go for me...

RE: Samsung's "Air" is better...
By DanD85 on 3/28/2011 7:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I beg to differ, you should read a lil bit more about marketing. The only way to improve your "image" is increase your price and your quality. Pricing your product lower than Apple just reinforce the idea that your product is "weaker" than Apple and that the least thing Samsung want.

RE: Samsung's "Air" is better...
By chick0n on 3/28/11, Rating: 0
RE: Samsung's "Air" is better...
By omnicronx on 3/28/2011 10:48:16 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly, the idea that you should not sell your superior product at a higher price than your competitor is beyond me.

Just because Apple claims it can't sell a computer under $1000 that 'does not suck', does not mean that Samsung can not have a broad range of offerings from low to high end.

The machine is faster, and seems like more of a complete PC instead of a travel machine.(ethernet port, onboard HDMI, enough USB ports etc). Build quality also seems quite good, and its Duralumin casing should impress more than a few.

RE: Samsung's "Air" is better...
By amanojaku on 3/28/2011 10:15:59 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, we know it does, but it's a SAMSUNG, not an Mac, and as such, it needs to be cheaper.
You are absolutely correct, and here's why:

1) Samsung has the benefit of mass-manufacturing, while each Apple device is hand-crafted by leprechauns who subsist on pixie dust

2) Apple products are made from precious unicorn tears and children's dreams, while PC products are made from coal dust and demons' droppings

3) Apple products are clearly superior; in particular, the Air has an older CPU (younger CPUs may have more power, but older CPUs are more experienced!), smaller GBs (because less RAM is more!)
Oh, and don't forget the Samsung has a lower res screen than the Macbook Air, and maybe not even as good a quality to boot.
The 11" models have the same resolution. The 13" Air has a negligible increase in resolution: 74 (5%) whole pixels in one dimension and 132 (14.66%) in the other. That means you get an extra scroll bar or two on the screen, weeee... As to the quality, everyone seems to like the Samsung, although there have not been any comparisons. It's LED-backlit, so if my Samsung LED TV is any indication the screen is beautiful.

Someone else mentioned the extra ports on the Samsung are unnecessary; I disagree. You'll want a pointer for presentations, and external storage; you're out of ports by then. At least Mac mice work without dongles. There is no ethernet jack; that's bad because wireless is not ubiquitous, nor is it always reliable.

Add the cost of the extra RAM and connectivity (including the newer Bluetooth 3.x, HDMI and WiDi) and the Samsung is clearly competitive. The larger Air has one advantage, the SSD, which means you're sacrificing connectivity and RAM for storage. The smaller Samsung has the Air beat: longer battery life, greater performance, and more connectivity. Both Samsung models are smaller and lighter, too.

Add the cost of ethernet adapters, HDMI adapters, RAM, newer CPUs, and more cooling for all of it and you see why the Samsung is more expensive. It's also the introductory price, which will go down by the end of the year, like the Air did. Apple has had three years to develop the Air and reduce pricing. Give it some time and Samsung will figure it out. The Samsung comes closest to a powerful, but light, portable.

RE: Samsung's "Air" is better...
By Flunk on 3/28/2011 9:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
The higher-tier MacBook Air (which this still handily beats) is $1,200.

Samsung does it again!
By messele on 3/27/2011 1:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
$200 more for what (on paper) is a better processor and two extra ports that people will not use on an ultra-portable...and that's about it. Not even to begin on the flip side of the coin where things come up short.

I don't think people buy these things for processing power, so another great job Samsung have done understanding their market because people really will pay 20% more for Korean plastic.

RE: Samsung does it again!
By ikeke1 on 3/28/2011 1:01:50 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, whats the story with "plastic" being thrown around here? Anyone care to reaad the details?

Duralumin, the New Definition of Lightweight
The Series 9 is designed with mobility in mind, thanks to dramatic duralumin enclosure complete with arching curves and remarkable durability. Duralumin is twice the strength of aluminum, despite being light in weight. Elegant from every angle, the Series 9 also includes backlit keyboard, brilliant LCD display screen and a large multi-touch clickpad. It’s a minimalist look that is both simple and sophisticated.

RE: Samsung does it again!
By chick0n on 3/28/2011 8:49:24 AM , Rating: 2
because most people are idiots like messele, moron like him just love to throw his 0.02 around without knowing wtf he/she is talking about.

RE: Samsung does it again!
By messele on 3/28/2011 1:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
Oh my mistake, I couldn't be arsed to visit the Samsung website and read up on the spec. Calling other people morons while exhibiting such poor grasp of the English language gets you 25 internet points though. I like the irony.

So ok it's made of some metal alloy ... which Samsung have wisely formed into the crappy cheap plastic look, which had me fooled. That's a wise use of resources.

Battery life
By DanNeely on 3/27/2011 9:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
This is the real question, and Samsung doesn't appear to give any estimate on their site. Being able to best Apple by an hour or two here would be big, and could justify some of the price premium beyond the obligatory early adopter tax.

RE: Battery life
By amanojaku on 3/28/2011 12:22:49 AM , Rating: 2
By rundll on 3/28/2011 2:52:57 PM , Rating: 4
"Core i3 380UM processor... Other features include... Intel HD Graphics 3000 IGP"


Core i3 is ARRENDALE, not Sandy Bridge.
Hence the graphic is "Intel HD Graphics", not "Intel HD Graphics 3000".

CPU Refresh
By psenechal on 3/28/2011 12:01:01 PM , Rating: 2
On the subject of the somewhat outdated Core 2 Duo, is Apple planning a refresh of the MacBook Air line any time soon to put in a more powerful processor? I would think an i3 in the 11" and an optional i5 in the 13" and probably an updated graphics chipset would bring the specs more current.

My Core 2 Duo HP laptop is starting to age and I'm actually seriously considering buying a Mac next time...did I just say that out loud? =)

By Beenthere on 3/27/11, Rating: -1
By spathotan on 3/27/2011 2:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
That's a quest for the ages. Good luck with that.

By DanNeely on 3/27/2011 9:38:22 PM , Rating: 2
Good luck with that. More than performance what kills AMD's current mobile CPUs in anything except the dirt cheap category is their inability to catch up with Intel for power consumption and battery life. It's possible this is finally changing, the E350 is competitive with atom+ion, but until the first Llano systems get out to reviewers we won't know if their 320SP IGP will let them do the same for mainstream/entry level gaming laptops.

By Targon on 3/28/2011 9:01:48 AM , Rating: 2
The new AMD Fusion processors do a pretty decent job catching up in terms of system power draw while providing much better graphics compared to Intel.

By DanNeely on 3/28/2011 10:26:22 AM , Rating: 2
The fastest one out is the E-350 (Brazos) which is an atom+ion competitor and and looks fairly good.

The mainstream laptop fusion chips from the Llano family aren't out yet, and AFAIK AMD hasn't let any into the hands of 3rd party review sites to test. Until then how well they'll perform is open to question. On the GPU side with 320SPs they look like they should be capable of serving as light gaming machines. I'm more concerned on the CPU side because they'll still be using the older phenom cores. The issue here is less raw performance than the fact that previous generation AMD mobile chips were significantly behind Intel in power consumption. If AMD hasn't fixed this their mainstream laptop parts will probably remain trapped in low end systems even if their IGP is significantly better than Intels.

more proof
By headbox on 3/27/11, Rating: -1
RE: more proof
By Motoman on 3/27/2011 1:37:55 PM , Rating: 1
Ain't proof of nothin' other than the fact that apparently people are gullible enough to pay ridiculous amounts of money for something that is tiny and impractical.

Apple "build quality" is the laughingstock of the industry - the internet is festooned with reports of how pathetic their engineering is...the price being paid is one for form over function. Along with the stupid tax.

RE: more proof
By messele on 3/27/11, Rating: 0
RE: more proof
By Solandri on 3/27/2011 4:27:53 PM , Rating: 1
Is Apple build quality really a laughing stock in "the industry"

I wouldn't say Apple's build quality is a laughingstock. They (or rather their OEMs) make solid equipment, generally on par with or somewhat better than typical laptops. What's a laughingstock is the disparity between their reputation for build quality and actual build quality. It's good, but it ain't that good. I thinking their value is more in their functionality, and their service gets high marks.

And this stupid tax? Have you even read this article that tells us that Samsung are charging 20% more for a product that basically costs no more to make? (I justify that by balancing the cost of the CPU vs the Nvidia graphics that the Air

The nVidia 320M in the Air is an integrated graphics chipset, same as the Intel HD 3000. The Intel generally beats out a C2D + 320M, due to having a faster processor. nVidia is just tricking people who aren't careful about reading specs into thinking the 320M is the same thing as the GT 320M, which is a discrete graphics chipset. The marketers who dream up deceptions like that really should be taken out and shot.

Apple's street prices are typically 100% MSRP. If you're lucky you'll get a $50 educational discount. Sales are rare to nonexistent, mostly happening when new models are released. Browsing through Samsung's high end laptops on Amazon shows prices 10%-15% off MSRP. So street price for the two are probably going to be about the same, with sale prices favoring the Samsung.

The Samsung is still way overpriced IMHO. But it's not really that different than the Air.

RE: more proof
By kmmatney on 3/27/2011 9:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
I just got an email from today with the 11.6" MaxBookAir with 64GB SSD on sale for $930, after instant rebate, so you can occasionally get them below MSRP.

RE: more proof
By tayb on 3/27/2011 7:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the "Apple tax" that you are speaking of seems to be a $200+ CREDIT in this example. So, uh, what was your point exactly?

I would rate Apple #2 among all notebook makers in terms of design and build quality and #3 - end aren't even in the same realm. Are you really trying to tell me that Toshiba, HP, Dell, Gateway, etc are even close to Apple in terms of design and build quality?

I own a Macbook Pro because it is fast enough to do what I need it to do and it gets 8+ hours battery life under what I consider to be NORMAL work use. If I could find a comparable Windows laptop that gave me the form, function, power, and battery life of a Macbook Pro I would buy it but that laptop does not exist. I've looked for it.

RE: more proof
By someguy123 on 3/27/2011 6:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
Well it's nice to know that you didn't even read the article, as it compares this device with the competing apple device and notes that the apple device has substantially worse hardware.

RE: more proof
By snakeInTheGrass on 3/27/2011 9:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
So the integrated intel video is... oh yeah, at best comparable to the 320M on the Air. And if you don't get the base ($999) Mac Air, you could get, say, 128GB SSD instead of the Samsung 64GB SSD at the same price. Or how about the fact that the Samsung is .65" at its thinnest vs. .1" on the Air, as well as deeper, so you're talking at least double the volume of Air. Or was that left out of the article? If you double the space, sure, you can fit the ethernet port or extra USB port on it.

Not to mention having to run Windows or Linux on it. :) It IS amazing that they essentially can't offer a better value proposition than Apple.

RE: more proof
By Targon on 3/28/2011 9:00:14 AM , Rating: 2
You make it sound like Windows 7 or Linux are worse than MacOS X, which makes me feel ill after I use it for more than ten minutes. The feel of the GUI may suit people who are not familiar with a fast GUI, but even Radeon 4200 integrated graphics with Windows 7 feels better than most Macs I have had the displeasure to use.

Yes, this is subjective, but MacOS X does not have any real advantages over Windows 7, and it is all about personal preference, rather than about what is BETTER. Anyone who tries to say that a Mac is BETTER is comparing MacOS X to Windows XP or Vista.

RE: more proof
By omnicronx on 3/28/2011 11:07:49 AM , Rating: 3
So the integrated intel video is... oh yeah, at best comparable to the 320M on the Air.
And all the other hardware... oh is not. The Samsung specs beat any Air let alone the 11" model as far as CPU power concerned.
Mac Air, you could get, say, 128GB SSD instead of the Samsung 64GB SSD at the same price.
I'm sure you can get an 64GB upgrade for the Sammy too, and I bet it does not cost you 200 dollars.
Or how about the fact that the Samsung is .65" at its thinnest vs. .1" on the Air, as well as deeper, so you're talking at least double the volume of Air.
Which accounts for what exactly? The very tip of the device? The 11" air has a width of '0.11-0.68 inches', which is actually thicker than the Samsung at its thickest point (with .11 inches being for about 1 inch at the very tip on either end). They both weigh 2.3 pounds, and take up the pretty much the same space. It is not twice the size, they are actually quite close, nor does this mean anything in practice. They have pretty much the same dimensions for 80% of the device, its not going to save you any space and since they weigh the same, they would probably feel quite similar in practice.
Not to mention having to run Windows or Linux on it. :) It IS amazing that they essentially can't offer a better value proposition than Apple.
Showing your true colours.. Happy trolling bud..

RE: more proof
By retrospooty on 3/28/11, Rating: 0
"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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