Design and Layout
The ATIV Book 9 Plus features a sturdy and sleek aluminum uni-body design with a matte Mineral Ash Black finish that appears to have a navy blue tint in some light. This finish attracts a few fingerprints from time to time but they are considerably less noticeable than ultrabooks that have a glossy finish. A thin metal band surrounds the edges of the ultrabook. You’ll also find a thin metal band that surrounds the touchpad.
This machine measures just 0.54 inches thick and features a tapered profile with the widest spot near the hinge and ports. Because the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus is so thin, there isn’t a lot of room for ports and extras. If you take a good look at either side of the ATIV Book 9 Plus, Samsung did an excellent job at making use out of the limited space and has incorporated quite a few ports, some of which you won’t see on other ultrabooks.
The left edge of the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus contains the power port, a USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI, LAN (using the included dongle) and a 3-in-1 card reader. You’ll find a VGA port (requires a dongle that is sold separately), HP/Mic combo, USB 3.0, and SIM security slot on the right edge of the ultrabook. The Power button for the ATIV Book 9 Plus is located above the Fn Lock and Insert keys near the hinge of the display.
Compared to the previous generation ATIV Book 9, the ATIV Book 9 Plus is slightly heavier (3.06 pounds compared to 2.55 pounds). With the extra weight, you’ll get a gorgeous touchscreen with QHD+ (3200 x 1800) resolution that’s 2.8 times sharper than full HD. Although the extra weight may be noticeable if you had the two models side-by-side, we feel the tradeoff is well worth it for a display like this.
The display packs 275 pixels per inch and features SuperBright Technology with a brightness of 350-nits. Keep in mind that some apps aren’t optimized for viewing on screens with this high of resolution. As a result, there were a few instances where we were straining to read text or menus. Of course, you could turn on display scaling in Windows, but it isn't always perfect. Using this setting helps most of the time but some apps still display extra small text.
Viewing angles are excellent on the ATIV Book 9 Plus’s display, providing a great view at up to 178 degrees. The lid is very solid and sturdy and we had no problem keeping the notebook open at any angle. Above the display, you’ll find the camera along with a light sensor, camera indicator light and dual microphone.
Both the keyboard and touchpad found on the ATIV Book 9 Plus are roomy and comfortable to use. The keyboard is backlit with a subtle glow. You can control the backlighting from the Settings menu that is accessible from the Function keys. The touchpad supports standard Windows 8 gestures.
The ATIV Book 9 Plus’s speakers are located on the underside of the notebook near the front edge. Because of the ultrabook’s curved design, these speakers sound great even when the ATIV Book 9 Plus is resting on a hard surface such as a desk. During our tests, highs were good and lows were a little above average. Overall sound quality was better than many ultrabooks. The speakers also put out an ample amount of sound. In fact, we found setting the volume to 30-40% in a quiet room was very adequate.