Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review: an all-you-need 2-in-1
This relatively powerful, relatively affordable, art-friendly 2-in-1 tablet PC laptop is on my list of top drawing tablet PCs. This is the second generation and came out in late 2017. It comes in 13.3 and 15″ versions. This Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review focuses on the 15.”.
(There is no upcoming 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, but the soon-to-be-released Notebook 9 Pen will be similar).
The 15″ Notebook 9 Pro is one of the lightest in its class on the market, and the included S pen saves you money on an extra pen purchase. It also rests in a built-in silo, so you don’t have to keep looking for a place to stow it.
It’s not super powerful, but it can handle Photoshop, light gaming, and general use. The best thing about it, and Samsung’s myriad other S-Pen offerings, is the smooth Wacom EMR pen experience.
Type of tablet
Runs: Windows, comes with Windows 10 Home and Creator Update
Wacom EMR, S Pen, 4096 levels, tilt sensitivity
Uses Windows Ink
Comes in 13.3″ and 15″
8th-gen Intel i7 processor (on Best Buy model, only on the 15″)
The 13 also has an i5 version.
Aspect ratio 16:9
Can charge with portable charger
Display: LED LCD. HD 1920 x 1080p
Brightness 350 nits
Color gamut: 106% sRGB, 77% Adobe RGB
Weight: 3.79 lbs (15″)
2.91 lbs (13″)
AMD Radeon 540 (15″ – 15 also discrete graphics (2GB GDDR5, switchable).
Integrated Intel UHD graphics 620 (13)
RAM: 16GB (15) 8 GB (13). RAM not upgradeable
Storage: 256 GB (can swap to larger hard drive)
720p HD Webcam with microphone
Samsung’s Dual Channel Memory (quickens multitasking, viewing, and rendering)
Windows Hello facial recognition
Modes: Outdoor, quiet, HDR mode for videos
2 USB 3.0
13.7 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches (15)
12.21″ x 8.54″ x 0.63″ (13)
What’s in the Box
Notebook Pro 9
The Notebook 9 Pro has a solid build quality with utilitarian style, meaning, not much style. It has an all-metal, aluminum alloy body. It’s slender but solidly built, doesn’t bend, and has nicely rounded edges that won’t dig into your hands and thighs.
Its two hinges let you pose it into laptop/tent/stand/tablet.The hinges are sturdy and hold the positions without making the screen wiggle. It takes a little effort to open it from a closed position.
When bending the laptop into a tablet, I immediately accidentally shut off the power key, which sits on the right side where it’s easy to do that.
The other easy accident is putting the S Pen back upside-down, which I also immediately did. If you put it in wrong, it can get stuck and even cause damage.
It’s fine for lefties, but as one Samsung Notebook Pro review observed, lefties may do well to get a longer pen to be able to reach scrollbars.
The screen has really good color to the eye, bright without being oversaturated. It’s sharp (though not 4K) with realistic colors and deep blacks. You can pick different color profiles.
It’s glossy but not overly slippery or glarey and doesn’t attract a lot of fingerprints.
The display is bright at 350 nits, and colors are faithful, with deep, rich blacks.
The slightly raised bezel is thin, not the minimal “infinity” style, but i I don’t mind having what I’m doing separated from the environment around it.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard is backlit. Keys are comfortable and quiet, chicklet with each key slightly curved. It would be nice if they had more travel.
The keyboard when on the bottom, does not retract, but the keyboard and trackpad both stop working when folded back. So, if you want keyboard shortcuts you would need an external Bluetooth or USB-connected keyboard.
The trackpad is large, accurate, and accepts gestures.
The 1.5-watt speakers don’t seem to be a priority. They don’t have much bass or oomph.
The machine boots up really fast, and it’s fast and responsive; I didn’t get any annoying blue circles as can happen on lower-power computers even with undemanding tasks.
The 8th generation Intel chip, the dual core i7-8500, is the same used in the most recent MacBook Pro 15. The 15″ Notebook 9 Pro has a 2GB dedicated graphics chip that’s about half again as fast as the 13’s integrated chip. Both sizes are fine for Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite, video editing, and light gaming.
The 9 Pro is not a super powerhouse but it’s fine for digital art, students, and general productivity or busness.The quadcore Lenovo Yoga 720 is more powerful, but heavier.
It comes with some bloatware, such as Samsung apps you may not have much use for and can remove.
At 3.9 lbs., the 15″ is lighter than the same size Yoga 720 or HP Spectre. It’s still a little heavy to carry around but you won’t find something lighter at that size. The 13″ is a pound lighter and easier to slip into a messenger bag. The pen weighs hardly anything and the included charger is compact. The Notebook 9 Pro is lighter than Yoga 720 15 or HP Spectre 15.
You can charge it with a portable battery charger (not included) via the USB-C port.
About 7 hours of mixed use on both models.
The battery-free, Refined S pen fits into a silo in the front of the laptop base. The pen is skinny and short, and very light. Its fine point is .07mm.
Having a silo is super convenient since you don’t need to worry about keeping a separate pen someplace.
Should you want a larger implement, older Wacom EMR tablet-PC pens as well as the golden Staedtler Noris are compatible. The tilt sensitivity works with these pens as well as the S-Pen.The older tablet PC pen I tried on it didn’t produce an offset.
As with the Galaxy Note, the pen opens up Air Command, where you can do things like screenshot and annotate. Beyond the usual Windows Ink settings, there aren’t specialized pen settings.
Drawing on the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
Having a 15″ display is almost like having a Cintiq MobileStudio Pro 16, without quite the power so many art features, but the size makes up for it in many ways.
Being able to stow the stylus right in it makes working less fraught with anxiety over losing the little devil. Though you may definitely want a larger, slightly heavier pen for heavier work.
The pen has great accuracy, nearly no parallax (offset), and is calibrated right out of the box. It’s also very sensitive. Even though it’s superlight, gently running it over the screen produces a line. Lines come out fluidly, almost like ink. The fine tip makes it precise in hitting icons. Palm rejection works fine.
Tilt sensitivity doesn’t seem as obvious as with a Cintiq pen. I’ve gotten something resembling barrel roll with some apps using the S Pen, but I don’t think this is a feature intended to create designs the way it was in the old Wacom Art Pen for Cintiqs.
If you want to do 3D, it comes with Microsoft 3D, which is, as they say, fun for all ages. It’s sort of a premade way for young Makers to assemble a quick monster or robot. You can also go a lot farther with it.
Most who penned a Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review were very satisfied. Some praised the color quality as well as speed. While some wish the screen were 4K, others don’t mind. One pointed out that a higher resolution screen would cause issues with scaling Adobe icons. Most thought the speakers were just OK.
can charge via portable charger (not included) via USB-C
Wacom EMR, S Pen included
Must remember to put pen in silo the right way or can get stuck
RAM not upgradeable
Speakers lack oomph
This Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review is a pen’s-up. It’s speedy, affordable, portable and all you need for general art use. If you had one of the old Samsung slates, this will replace that with the same drawing experience and a lot more power.
Still, you might want to wait for the Notebook 9 Pen which you might think of as the 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pro. It’s not that different from the Pro but will weigh only 2.2 pounds because it’s built with a lighter-than-aluminum alloy called Metal12. You can see what’s ahead for Samsung’s new lineup.
Optional, if you want a longer pen than the one it comes with:
End of Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review