Depending on your point of view, Samsung was either late to the Ultrabook party, or perhaps just a bit early. Although the 2.8-pound Series 9 was a sight to behold when it first came out last year, it arrived shortly before Intel kicked off its Ultrabook campaign, and failed to match all of Chipzilla’s early-stage requirements. This year, Sammy’s back with a redesigned Series 9… along with two laptops it’s actually calling Ultrabooks. The notebooks, both of which fall under the company’s Series 5 line of products, include your requisite 13-incher, along with a larger 14-inch model with an optical drive.
Both machines will have Core i5 processors, 4GB of RAM, eight-hour batteries and Intel integrated graphics, along with the same matte, 300-nit (1366 x 768) display that we loved so much in the Series 5 Chromebook. And though the 13-incher will have a 128GB SSD option, each comes standard with a standard 500GB 5,400RPM drive with 16GB of express cache for faster boot times and application-launching. You may recall this feature from the Series 7 Chronos laptop, except this time around, Sammy doubled the amount of flash memory paired with the HDD.
Another thing the two systems have in common: they’re each denser than the early Ultrabooks we saw, with the 14-inch model coming in at 3.95 pounds, and the 13-incher tipping the scales at 3.5 pounds (a full fifth of a pound heavier than the HP Folio!). At least that girth comes with an unsparing port selection: Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 sockets and an SD slot. And that’s just the 13-inch version: its big brother adds an optical drive, VGA output and a larger memory card reader. The pair will be available January 30th, starting at $899 for the 13-inch model and $949 for the 14-inch version. (The 13-inch configuration with the 128GB SSD will ring in at $1,099.) We expect to get our hands on final review units soon enough, but since we’ve already scored a few minutes of hands-on time, we’ve got photos and first impressions for you to peruse right this second.
Gallery: Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook (13-inch)
Gallery: Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook (14-inch)