Samsung has revealed a pair of ultra-thin laptops, each with different parentage. These Series 9 systems include the 11.6" NP900X1A, which is priced at around $1199, and the 13.3" NP900X3A, which has a $1649 asking price. Samsung says both will be available in mid-April.
Strangely, Samsung has decided to build these twin models on completely different platforms. The larger NP900X3A is outfitted with a newer, Sandy Bridge-based Core i5-2537M, 4GB of memory, and a 128GB SSD. The smaller NP900X1A uses an older, Arrandale-based Core i3-380UM, 2GB of memory, and a more modest 64GB SSD. Both processors are dual-core affairs with similar base clock speeds, Hyper-Threading capabilities, and 3MB of L3 cache. Only the i5-2537M includes Turbo Boost, which raises its maximum frequency to 2.3GHz. The i5's newer Sandy Bridge graphics component should be much more potent than the i3's integrated GPU, as well.
While the notebooks have different panel sizes, both offer a 1366x768 display resolution and Intel integrated graphics. Decent connectivity options are offered via an external HDMI output, MicroSD slot, and 3 USB 2.0 ports. On the wireless front, you get 802.11n Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and Bluetooth 3.0. Samsung claims run times of up to 7 hours for both systems using the included 6-cell batteries.
The Series 9 systems have similar physical dimensions, too. Both are around 0.64" thick and weigh less than three pounds. They also share a textured Duralumin outer skin that looks an awful lot like brushed metal. Samsung says Duralumin offers "twice the strength of aluminum, despite being light in weight."
As for the controls, the good-sized touchpad looks to have the buttons on the input area itself. We saw something similar on the HP Pavilion dm1z Cyril reviewed recently. The chiclet keyboard in the picture above seems to have a UK layout, complete with a fat enter key, the @ symbol next to the semicolon, and backslash next to the left shift key. One would assume variants of the system that ship stateside will have a regular US keyboard, although the image above and the ones in the gallery below come from Samsung's US site.
Samsung clearly views the NP900X1A and NP900X3A as premium offerings—and prices them accordingly. While these machines have more recent processors than Apple's MacBook Airs, which still pack aging Core 2 Duo chips, the MacBooks are actually much cheaper. Apple charges $999 for the base 11.6" Air model, and its 13.3" sibling starts at $1299. Both also feature GeForce 320M integrated graphics.