Ultrabook shootout – Samsung ATIV Book 9 PLUS vs Apple 13-inch MacBook Air

ativbook9plusmacbookairSmartphones and tablets aren’t the only ¬†product markets where Apple and Samsung butt heads. Their competition will be fierce here in the ultrabook market too. So in this line-up, we’re pitting the new Apple 13-inch MacBook Air up against the Samsung ATIV Book 9 PLUS to see how they compare.

Overall performance is determined by the processor and here, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 PLUS features a selection of ¬†Intel’s new Core i5/i7 (Haswell) CPUs. Its Apple 13-inch MacBook Air rival does likewise, revving along with a 1.3GHz Intel Core i5 CPU or Core i7 chip clocking along at up to 1.7GHz.

Screen quality goes a long way to setting your overall experience and here, the Apple 13-inch MacBook Air runs a TFT LCD-type panel that measures 13.3 inches and delivers 1440×900 pixels. Samsung’s ATIV Book 9 PLUS also has a 13.3-inch display panel but with a massive 3200×1800-pixel resolution, it’s the highest resolution panel in an ultrabook so far.

Both of these ultrabooks feature Intel integrated graphics – the ATIV Book 9 PLUS gets the HD Graphics 4400 integrated GPU; the MacBook Air the uprated HD Graphics 5000 core. You don’t get far without memory on any device and in this comparison, both models top out at 8GB maximum.

Longer-term storage is supplied in both models via solid-state drive with the official maximum level set at 256GB (we wouldn’t be surprised to see the aftermarket offering deliver 512GB unofficially).

The Apple 13-inch MacBook Air’s operating system comes courtesy of Apple Mac OS X 10.7 (Mountain Lion) and the ATIV Book 9 PLUS is powered by Microsoft Windows 8 OS (not Windows 8.1 – yet but it’ll be a free upgrade when available).

Battery capacity is generally growing in all devices and here, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 PLUS doesn’t quote a battery size yet but claims 12-hour battery life, while the Apple unit has a 54-watt-hour Lithium-polymer battery and claims the ’12-hour battery life’ highground as well.

Wireless connectivity is deliver through the 802.11a/b/g/n/-standard options on both models – interesting that neither is capable of supporting 802.11ac. For personal wireless peripherals, they’re both Bluetooth 4.0-ready.

You can connect up various peripherals to these devices through USB – both have two USB3.0 ports on offer. And there’s no worry about bigger-screen entertainment either, with the Samsung ATIV Book 9 PLUS offering a microHDMI port and the Apple 13-inch MacBook Air also featuring a Thunderbolt port to connect it up to your big-screen digital TV.

All of those features are squeezed into a reasonably tight space with the MacBook Air measuring 325 x 227 x 17mm and weighing in at 1.35kg. By contrast, the ATIV Book 9 PLUS tips the scales at 1.39kg and measures 319.6 x 222.9 x 13.6mm. The Samsung ATIV Book 9 PLUS was announced in June 2013 while the Apple 13-inch MacBook Air first appeared in May 2013.

NOTE: All specifications are subject to change and may not be correct at time of purchase. Please check before you buy any device that it meets your expectations and requirements.


ModelSamsung ATIV Book 9 PLUSApple 13-inch MacBook Air
ProcessorIntel Core i5/i7 (Haswell)Intel Core i5/i7 (Haswell)
ClockTBAUp to 1.7GHz
GPU typeIntel HD Graphics 4400 (integrated)Intel HD Graphics 5000 (integrated)
Screen size (inches)13.313.3
Screen resolution3200×18001440×900
Screen typetouchscreenTFT LCD
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows 8Apple Mac OS X 10.7 (Mountain Lion)
RAM8GB maximum8GB maximum
Internal storageUp to 256GB SSDUp to 256GB SSD
External storageTBATBA
Battery typeTBA (12-hour battery life)54-watt-hour Lithium-polymer (12-hour battery life)
Wi-Fi connectivity802.11a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n
Rear cameraN/AN/A
Front camera720p720p
Video recordingUp to 720p@30fpsUp to 720p@30fps
Dimensions319.6 x 222.9 x 13.6mm325 x 227 x 17mm
Announce DateJune 2013May 2013

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