Apple's just-released MacBook Air and Samsung's forthcoming NP900X1B-A02 laptop are two of the sharpest-looking ultraportable notebooks around. And at $999 each for the entry models, they're both targeting the same buyer. Yet despite their similar profiles and price points, these notebooks are sporting completely different innards. Or are they? We put both systems side-by-side to find out which is more deserving of your hard-earned cash.
Samsung's Series 9 laptops made their debut back in April, when the orginal 13.3" Series 9 laptop (NP900X3A) lost our face-off against the 2010 MacBook Air. Since then, Samsung has refreshed the series and added two new 11" models to the line up. The NP900X1B-A02 is the entry level model, which will ship in August for $999.
Like its 13" predecessor, the new 11" NP900X1B-A02 laptop features an attractive duralumin design, backlit keyboard, and LED display. However, the new 11" Series 9 downgrades to a 1.3GHz Core i3 CPU (from a Core i5) and just 2GB of RAM (from 4GB). It retains the same 64GB SSD drive and many of its other secondary features as listed in our chart above.
Rather than detract, the new 2011 MacBook Air got significant upgrades and yet maintained its $999 price tag. New in the 2011 MacBook Air is an Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge CPU (upgraded from an Intel Core 2 Duo) and a backlit keyboard, an option that was sorely missing from the 2010 model.
In addition to hardware upgrades, the 2011 MacBook Air now comes with Mac OS X Lion, Apple's highly-anticipated OS which combines the best features of iOS with OS X. Also worth noting is that the MacBook Air (like many Macs) is capable of running Windows 7 via its Boot Camp feature. By contrast, the Samsung can't natively run another OS.
It's abundantly clear that Apple's 2011 MacBook Air received multiple hardware and software upgrades (and maintained its $999 price tag), whereas Samsung's new 11" Series 9 laptop received multiple downgrades to reach its $999 price tag. It's also very likely we'll see early Apple reseller discounts on the new 2011 MacBook Air, whereas the previous Samsung Series 9 laptop didn't see a single deal since its April debut.
Thus, history is repeating itself as we favor the 2011 MacBook Air over the 11" Samsung Series 9 laptop.