Samsung has a new laptop on the way, and it's taking aim squarely at Apple's Retina MacBook Pro. Or the MacBook Air. It's actually hard to tell--the 13-inch Ativ Book 9 Plus adds a 3200x1800 pixel display to what is otherwise a fairly standard Ultrabook, although, at $1400, it's a bit on the pricey side for Intel's thin-and-light laptop series.
The Ativ Book 9 Plus measures only 0.54 inches thick, nearly a quarter of an inch thinner than Apple's 13-inch Retina MacBook, and weighs in at 3 pounds. Both laptops start with 128GB of solid state storage. But that's about where the similarities end. Instead of a full-voltage processor like the Pro, the Ativ is running on a Haswell ULV processor. It packs 4GB of RAM to start, as opposed to 8GB. And instead of the higher performance Intel HD Graphics 5000 found on the new Haswell-model Air, Ativ will ship with Intel HD Graphics 4400.
The laptop ends up in a bit of a middle ground between Apple's 13-inch systems--$100 cheaper than the more powerful Pro, but $300 more expensive than the starting point for the Air.
Those integrated graphics may struggle to run anything intensive on such a high resolution display. Battery life, too, will take a hit, though Haswell's low power usage will help offset that. Samsung claims 7.5 hours of battery life, though The Verge notes they were promising 12 hours back in June.
The Ativ Book 9 Plus is, of course, running Windows 8, and supports capacitive touch. With few Haswell Ultrabooks actually available to purchase, the Ativ doesn't have too much competition from the PC field. It stacks up fairly well against Sony's 1080p Vaio Pro, released just a few weeks ago, but it's also $150 more expensive in its base configuration. 3200x1800 pixel displays don't come cheap.
Samsung's putting the laptop up for pre-orders on August 18, with no word of when, exactly, it's being released.