Samsung Series 9 hands-on

What have England cricketer Alistair Cook and the photographer Rankin got in common? Not that much as it goes but one practiced his art upon the other to promote the Samsung Series 9 ultra slim laptop which Pocket-lint had a good feel of just the other day. Since Rankin can still pick up a camera, you can guess which way round it went.

The laptop itself is aimed at the premium consumer with both the sportsman and portrait specialists just the kinds of professionals, amongst many others, at whom the device is aimed according to Samsung UK head of marketing Neil Sawyer.

"We're aiming the Series 9 at both business and consumer markets. It'll be professionals using them most of the time when out and about; perhaps on planes, in hotel rooms where they can use something very thin, very light that’s connected but very high powered as well."

The 13.3-inch, 1.31kg machine is thinner than the MacBook Air and really not that far off as much of a treat to have in your hands. The build quality is excellent, on first spec, with it suffering from none of the flimsiness that so many of the X-series and ultras brought on themselves two years ago in their desperation to slim down.

The chassis is made from duralumin - a lightweight material that is twice as strong as aluminium and normally used in aircraft designs, and it obviously helps the designs keep the weight down while still allowing them to pack it full components. Inside, you'll find a Sandy Bridge (second generation) Intel Core i5 or i7 processor backed up with up to 8GB of RAM which help deliver solid, non-stuttering video performance despite just the integrated HD graphics offering from Intel.

Once displayed on that SuperBright Plus 400nit screen with 1,300:1 contrast, you won't really be too fussed about how those visuals are powered as it's quite the treat for the eyes. Our hands-on was in a fairly well lit room but perhaps the real test for the premium user will be when the sunlight is streaming in through an aircraft window when the cabin crew insist that you keep the blinds up. The team in the Pocket-lint labs will certainly be looking forward to the testing in that part of the full review.

Other nice features include the backlit keyboard, a 12 second Samsung Fast Start boot time, 1.3-megapixel webcam, 128GB SSD, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, microSD slot, 2 x 1.5W stereo speakers and SRS sound. It all comes packaged in a matte top and gloss keyboard finish and is rather a treat to touch and behold down to the little flaps which snap up to hide the ports. All in all, a seemingly good egg if you can stump up the £1,299 starting price, and, whether you can or not, according to Sawyer, plenty of people will.

"We're looking at the premium market as the top 20 per cent of people who buy but, with 660,00 laptops sold each quarter, that's a fair chunk to aim at."

Are you interested in an ultra slim and, if so, is the Series 9 enough of a challenge to the Mac Air? Give us your thoughts in the comments.