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Samsung ATIV Book 9 (2014 Edition) review: This laptop sounds as gorgeous as it looks

Michael Brown | July 16, 2014
Based on the way most laptops sound, I'd venture a guess that audio is the last thing engineers think about when they design laptops. In fact, I'd go one step further to speculate that marketing efforts drive most laptop builders' decisions to collaborate with audio companies. But I won't lump Samsung's 2014 ATIV Book 9 in that crowd, because it sounds absolutely divine--especially with headphones.

Performance and final thoughts

In terms of benchmarks, the ATIV Book 9 squeaked past Dell's Inspiron 7537 in our Laptop WorldBench 9 benchmark suite. This can be attributed to the presence of an SSD in the Samsung versus the mechanical hard drive in Dell's machine. PCMark 8 — which is one component in that suite —is particularly sensitive to storage performance. But Samsung's reliance on integrated graphics resulted in its getting crushed in our gaming benchmarks. This is clearly not the machine to buy if you intend to play AAA games. Battery life, on the other hand, is excellent (and would be much lower if it did have an integrated GPU).

It should come as no surprise that the Toshiba and Dell machines I'm comparing to the ATIV Book 9 ended up with the same 3.5-star score. Each of these machines is compelling — and disappointing — in its own way. The Toshiba wows with its resolution, but it's a bit ahead of its time on that score. The Dell is a great gaming machine for the price, but its chassis isn't as strong as it should be.

The Samsung ATIV Book 9 is one of the sexiest laptops to come through the Lab this year, but it's  expensive for the processing power, memory, storage, and video resolution it has to offer. If you're passionate about high-quality audio, this laptop's premium price tag is probably justified. Just be sure to install Foobar2000 and its WASAPI component before you plug in your favorite headphones. 


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