SEVERAL weeks ago we confessed to buying a MacBook Pro notebook with 13-inch screen because we couldn't find a Windows-running portable with a decent screen suitable for viewing and editing photos and videos. Well, now we can, and our choice might have been different if we had the two contenders side by side.
The MacBook Pro is a splendid portable computer and we don't regret buying it. We prefer the Windows operating system, but that could be because it is the one to which we have grown accustomed. We also like the broader selection of useful free applications for Windows, a couple of which we cannot live without. Anyway, in spite of that we bought Mac - now let's look at the new contender for best portable PC.
The Samsung Series 9 900X3C is really in the same category as the MacBook Air rather than the Pro, being a mere 12 millimetre thick at its fattest point and weighing in at 1.16 kilograms. In PC terms this makes it an Ultrabook, but apparently Samsung doesn't care for that appellation. Anyway we are comparing it with the MacBook Air. How do they stack up?
DISPLAY The MacBook has 1400 x 900 resolution and the Samsung 1600 x 900. Both screens are excellent but the Samsung has the advantage of a non-reflective screen, whereas the MacBook has reflective glass over the display. The Samsung SuperBright Plus display gives wider viewing angles, particularly on the vertical plane, but the MacBook is not bad. Samsung wins.
KEYBOARD AND TRACKPAD The keyboards are comparable but the Samsung has adjustable auto-backlit keys. The track pad on the Samsung feels slightly tinny compared with the Mac. Score one each.
BATTERY LIFE Both have excellent battery endurance, running for seven hours or more. It's a tie.
DRIVES AND CONNECTIONS Both have solid state drives, which means they are fast to boot and to load applications. The Samsung boots up in 20 seconds, but the solid state drives also mean that there is modest storage space left over after the operating system and other software is installed. An external hard drive will be essential unless you are comfortable with the cloud. Neither has an optical drive. Mac wins because it has twice the Samsung's storage - 256GB to 128GB. Both units have two USB ports and the Mac has a Thunderbolt connector. The Samsung has micro HDMI. Neither has VGA (for a projector) but both offer optional VGA adapters. Both have wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
PRICE The Samsung is $1600 with a 128 gigabyte SSD. The MacBook is $1690 with 256GB SSD or $1350 with 128GB. Apple wins convincingly.
THE HEAD OR THE HEART? Buy the Samsung for the better screen and operating system and the backlit keyboard. Buy the MacBook for the better track pad and storage. Buy either for industrial design. We want both, but Samsung needs to address the price differential.