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Samsung’s Notebook 9 lineup gets the Kaby Lake treatment

samsung notebook  kaby lake x l hero
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

A new Intel processor generation also means incremental updates for a lot of systems, including Samsung’s Notebook 9 lineup. It isn’t the only change under the hood either, although details are still a little scarce at the moment.

First and foremost, the processor options in the Notebook 9 are now listed as seventh-generation Core i5 and i7 in the 13-inch model, or just the Core i7 in the 15-inch model. The processor in our Notebook 9 review unit from spring 2016 packed a dual-core Core i5-6500U, and we were underwhelmed by its performance in comparison to similarly priced systems like the XPS 13.

Similarly, our previous system’s drive was a SATA SSD, a 256GB Samsung MZNLN256HCHP-000, to be precise. It performed well as far as a SATA drive goes, but we’re used to seeing NVMe drives in more expensive systems. Samsung has responded by including one in the updated Notebook 9, but like the CPU, it isn’t clear exactly which model is inside.

Another notable addition is a fingerprint sensor. Windows 10 has native support for a variety of biometric authentication tools through Windows Hello, so this should speed up the login process for a lot of users.

Apart from that, it looks like most of the components are the same. Both the 13- and 15-inch models still pack a 1080p panel, which in our testing excelled in terms of brightness and contrast ratio, but fell behind in color accuracy and gamut. The former tends to be more important for most users, which makes the screen a solid choice, although it still falls behind higher-end options.

Whether a processor and hard drive upgrade are enough to boost the middling Notebook 9 to a more competitive position remains to be seen, but it should help ameliorate some of the issues we saw in our review. We’ll likely see more of the Notebook 9 at CES in just a few weeks, and will update you on the specifics as they become available.